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Amazon will fight FTC in-app purchases changes

Sends a letter to regulator over kid-unfriendly software apps system
Thu Jul 03 2014, 12:17

Amazon Fire PhoneONLINE BOOKSELLER Amazon is not keen on making changes to the operation of freemium in-app charging software sold through its application stores, according to reports.

Freemium apps are something of a modern day gingerbread house. They lure children, and some adults, into an often very sickly sweet looking world and attempt to drain them, or more specifically their parental bank accounts, for all they're worth.

We've heard much criticism about them in the past, not least of all the fact that they act like vacuum cleaners on bank accounts, and realistically deliver nothing more than a virtual bow on a virtual pig.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is not keen about them, and neither are other regulators, but Amazon is, and has written to the regulator with its concerns.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which has seen court papers and other documents, Amazon is prepared to go to court to defend its right to not to be censured over something that it says isn't as bad as it seems.

"When customers told us their kids had made purchases they didn't want, we refunded those purchases," said Amazon associate general counsel Andrew DeVore in the letter to the FTC.

The newspaper added that Amazon claimed that its application store provided "prominent notice of in-app purchasing, effective parental controls and real-time notice of every in-app purchase".

We have asked Amazon to confirm and comment on its legal challenge and its stance on in-app purchases.

The FTC has a good history of looking at kids and apps and separating technology firms from their money, and has recently taken Apple to task for $30m over in-app payments. µ


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