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Amazon begins refunding up to $70M in kids' app purchases

By Allen Cone
Amazon begins refunding up to $70M in kids' app purchases
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos talks about the new Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Fire HD during a news conference September 6, 2012, at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif. Amazon has begun refunding $70 million to parents charged for purchases made by their children using a free app on devices. Photo by Phil McCarten/UPI | License Photo

May 31 (UPI) -- Amazon has begun offering refunds of up to $70 million to consumers for unauthorized purchases made by their children using an app.

In April, Amazon agreed to make the refunds after the company decided not to appeal a District Court last year that the e-commerce powerhouse illegally billed customers for the purchases between November 2011 and May 2016. The Federal Trade Commission said Amazon didn't inform consumers that children could make purchases inside a free game app.

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The children could make the purchases without a password.

In a release, the FTC said all eligible consumers should have received an email from Amazon.

Consumers can also go to a refund website or they may log into their Amazon.com account and go to the Message Center for information on requesting a refund.

The deadline for submitting refund requests is May 28, 2018. Questions about individual refunds should be directed to Amazon at 866-216-1072.

In the court documents, it was revealed: "a child may be prompted to use or acquire seemingly fictitious currency, including a 'boatload of doughnuts, a can of stars and bars of gold,' but in reality the child is making an in-app purchase using real money."

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Also, according to the documents: "In developing its Kindle Fire tablet, Amazon identified 'soccer parents' as a key target customer base, referring to them as 'low-hanging fruit.'"

In 2014, the FTC also settled against Apple Inc. and Google Inc. for unauthorized in-app charges incurred by children. Those refunds were a combined $51 million.

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