Unsuspecting children downloaded apps from the Google Play store with “unlimited in-app charges without Google requiring entry of a password or other account holder involvement to obtain the account holder’s consent before the charges were incurred” according to FTC (Federal Trade Commission) Chair Edith Ramirez. On September 4, 2014 the settlement between Google and the FTC was announced that:
Google Inc. has agreed to settle a Federal Trade Commission complaint alleging that it unfairly billed consumers for millions of dollars in unauthorized charges incurred by children using mobile apps downloaded from the Google Play app store for use on Android mobile devices.
Under the terms of the settlement, Google will provide full refunds – with a minimum payment of $19 million – to consumers who were charged for kids’ purchases without authorization of the account holder.
Google has also agreed to modify its billing practices to ensure that it obtains express, informed consent from consumers before charging them for items sold in mobile apps.
Google is not the only app store violator, on January 15, 2014 Apple agreed to refund $32.5 million for similar charges “incurred by children in kids’ mobile apps without their parents’ consent” and on July 10,2014 the FTC filed suit against Amazon for similar claims for sales to children at the Amazon App Store for the Kindle and Droid.
Leave a Reply