It seems that Amazon is not having a great week. On Tuesday a federal judge ruled that Amazon illegally billed parents, in the United States, for allowing their children to make in-app purchases. That was happening without their knowledge or permission. The decision was in favor of the Federal Trade Commission. The judge agreed that Amazon did not notify the consumers that some free apps would allow purchases. So, imagine the parents when they saw the credit card’s invoice. Now, the FTC is looking for a way to make Amazon to fully refund purchases made by kids. They have to cover in-app purchases from November of 2011 until June 2014, when the website added details about the apps and the extra charges.
FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez.stated about the case:
“We are pleased the federal judge found Amazon liable for unfairly billing consumers for unauthorized in-app purchases by children. We look forward to making a case for full refunds to consumers as a result of Amazon’s actions.”
The FTC’s case against Amazon was first filed in July, 2014. The FTC reached settlements with Apple, Inc. and Google, Inc. related to unauthorized in-app charges incurred by children requiring the companies to fully refund consumers for such charges, resulting in refunds to consumers totaling over $50 million.
Also, this week Amazon was on the opposite side of the court. The company continues its efforts to tear down fake, paid-for reviews of the products it sells. Amazon’s latest suit targets the operators of five websites. These sites offer verified reviews for products and books. They also promise to give free products to the reviewers. The sites are Amazonverifiedreviews.com; Paidbookreviews.org; Amazonreviewstar.com, Buyamazonreviews.info, and reviewconnections.com. Despite the legal dispute Amazon claims that only a small portion of the reviews are fakes.
But, we wonder what Amazon is going to gain from this legal battle. Maybe, money? We can’t say that for sure. But, one is certain. The goal is not just to crack down these websites, but to make public that everyone who enters into this type of business will have repercussions and maybe end up in a courtroom.
According to TechChurch.com an Amazon representative gave the following statement:
“While I cannot comment on active litigation, I can share that since the beginning of 2015, we have brought lawsuits against over 1,000 defendants for reviews abuse. Through these efforts we have obtained data allowing us to take enforcement action against parties not directly involved in the lawsuits, including banning sellers and reviewers. To help eliminate the incentives to engage in reviews abuse, we will continue to pursue legal action against the root cause of reviews abuse.”
Image source: Time