Amazon has started offering refunds to consumers for unauthorized in-app purchases made before May 2016.
If your 4-year-old racked up hundreds of dollars in charges by playing the seemingly free gaming app “Pet Shop Story” — or you had a similar situation involving a child and unauthorized purchases — you’ll soon receive an email from Amazon.com that you may be eligible for a refund.
Amazon has started offering refunds to consumers for unauthorized in-app purchases made between November 2011 and May 2016, the Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday. During that time, children spent more than $70 million by buying virtual goods in “free” gaming apps because Amazon didn’t require a password.
The commission sued Amazon in 2014, alleging that it allowed children to make purchases even though the company knew they were doing it without parental consent. Amazon sells gaming apps, targeted at kids, from its Appstore to play on mobile phones or tables, and receives a percentage of purchases. In those games, children could buy virtual items like “coins” or “pet food” without verification.
A judge ruled two years later that Amazon is liable for the purchases. In April, Amazon and the commission agreed to end litigation that had held up the reimbursement process.
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Anyone who had a child under 18 make in-app purchases during the time period can apply for a refund, according to the commission. Anyone who had an in-app purchase added to their Amazon account will receive an email. Amazon will review the request and may ask for additional information.