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Amazon Fighting FTC Over In-App Purchases Fine 137

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the right-to-profit dept.
An anonymous reader writes One of the common problems of the smartphone generation has been parents who given their phones to children, who then rack up hundreds of dollars of in-app purchases without the parents' knowledge. The FTC smacked Apple with a fine for this, and Google is facing a lawsuit as well. Now, Amazon is the latest target, having received a complaint from the FTC demanding a similar settlement to Apple's. Amazon, however, is not willing to concede the fine; they plan to fight it. Amazon said, "The Commission's unwillingness to depart from the precedent it set with Apple despite our very different facts leaves us no choice but to defend our approach in court (PDF). The main claim in the draft complaint is that we failed to get customers' informed consent to in-app charges made by children and did not address that problem quickly or effectively enough in response to customer complaints. We have continually improved our experience since launch, but even at launch, when customers told us their kids had made purchases they didn't want, we refunded those purchases."
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Amazon Fighting FTC Over In-App Purchases Fine

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  • It's Intended (Score:5, Informative)

    by lawnboy5-O (772026) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @02:01PM (#47389399)
    There is no doubt in my mind this was part of the ROI model when they were thinking up ways to pilfer your dollars in somewhat covert ways... there is also no doubt they can make this effort much more transparent for the same reason.
    • It's Intended (Score:3, Insightful)

      The problem here is that parents/kids don't have enough authentication to block purchases being made by the wrong person... there really should be better security like face recognition to say "Uhm, kid, that costs money!" or "Parent, you can't spend your kid's money for them!"

      • Re:It's Intended (Score:5, Informative)

        by JMJimmy (2036122) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @02:26PM (#47389507)

        In app purchases should be banned. They're horrible for the industry, in some cases they're no better than gambling (ie: buy tokens to feed into this jackpot like system to win a random digital item!). At the very least they should have a maximum any one user can spend before everything becomes free.

        • Re:It's Intended (Score:4, Insightful)

          by maeka (518272) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @02:45PM (#47389585) Journal

          in some cases they're no better than gambling (ie: buy tokens to feed into this jackpot like system to win a random digital item!)

          Not that I disagree with you, but what part of the gaming industry isn't preying off of exactly the same neurons as gambling? Nearly every game, be you buying the game itself, in-game purchases, or DLC, is getting its revenue almost entirely due to exploiting pleasure-seeking behavior.

          • Re:It's Intended (Score:5, Interesting)

            by causality (777677) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @02:59PM (#47389651)

            in some cases they're no better than gambling (ie: buy tokens to feed into this jackpot like system to win a random digital item!)

            Not that I disagree with you, but what part of the gaming industry isn't preying off of exactly the same neurons as gambling? Nearly every game, be you buying the game itself, in-game purchases, or DLC, is getting its revenue almost entirely due to exploiting pleasure-seeking behavior.

            Gaming typically relies on skill, not chance. If you play most games long enough, you'll be able to consistently beat certain levels. If you win at the roulette wheel, you're no more likely than before to win again. That's the difference. Otherwise, "exploiting pleasure-seeking behavior" could be stretched to describe every last industry in existence beyond the sales of food, water, shelter, and basic utilities.

            With the model of directly purchasing the game itself (and no in-game purchases, like standard PC/console gaming) you can at least read about the game and have a reasonable expectation about what you are paying for. The real problem with in-game purchases is that the game is "free" or low-cost in the most technical sense, but after you invest many hours advancing the game you find that you can't really prosper without making additional purchases. It could be construed as a form of bait-and-switch.

            The other problem would be that many of these games are aimed at children who make purchases the parents later get stuck with, but this problem begins in the home and should be solved within the home by actual parenting. That's not as convenient as using the tablet like a cheap babysitter but it would certainly be more worthwhile. If you wanted to solve this by government action, that's simple too: declare that these purchases are contractual in nature (the parent agreed to pay charges made to the phone bill or whatever) and that minors who make them cannot be held to a contract, therefore the companies cannot collect money when children make them. *Poof* - end of shitty business model.

            • by maeka (518272)

              ty

            • by JMJimmy (2036122)

              The only in app purchasing I can't decide is legit or not is Collectible Card games... Buying pre-defined sets of cards is fine, no different than DLC, though it severely limits the fun. Are the randomized packs akin to gambling or a necessary evil of the genre? If there was no randomness then buying individual cards/decks just becomes an "outspend" the other guy and developers could just keep upping the ante slightly so new cards are always a little better than the old ones.

              Not sure...

              • by cygnwolf (601176)
                Pretty sure that's always been the MO for CCG's, even before they became electronic...
                • by JMJimmy (2036122)

                  Pretty sure that's always been the MO for CCG's, even before they became electronic...

                  Very true, it's slightly different in the digital world though. Cards can be "rebalanced" after purchase, no digital CCG has provided the ability to sell your cards so they don't retain value, they are limited to the game in which you purchase (thinking of Magic games which release a new version each year but can't transfer decks)...

                  That said back in the day I spent a crapload on ChronX and didn't regret a penny of it.

          • Re:It's Intended (Score:4, Insightful)

            by JMJimmy (2036122) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @03:32PM (#47389803)

            The pleasure seeking isn't the problem, it's the money->chance->loop. When you buy a game outright/DLC/etc it's a fixed cost no matter what actual mechanics are in the game. The moment you buy tokens (or gems or whatever name they want to put on it) and you're feeding it into something that has any sort of random generator it creates an entirely different dynamic. Companies would have a vested interest in tweaking the "randomness" of an item/game mechanic/etc.

            Same issue arises with non-random items. Take a game that sells health packs - the developers could tweak damage output without the user knowing to encourage more purchases.

          • by mysidia (191772)

            what part of the gaming industry isn't preying off of exactly the same neurons as gambling?

            It's just fine if they 'prey' off the exact same neurons as gambling. Selling a game package for a fixed dollar amount, or a subscription fee agreed upon before you start playing should be just fine. The customer is agreeing to payment for entertainment, which is clearly without coercion, since they have not started playing yet.

            Selling an 'expansion pack' containing additional content while users are not playing

            • by N1AK (864906)

              Selling an 'expansion pack' containing additional content while users are not playing the game should also be legal, as long as the expansion pack is announced in advance and not prompted for purchase in the game, or given a 'sample' of the expansion.

              Why? People can show me adverts for a game I don't own already to make me want to buy it. What is so magically different about showing me an advert in the game for something else that it needs laws creating to stop it?

              2.) Selling ability to access something sho

              • by mysidia (191772)

                What is so magically different about showing me an advert in the game for something else that it needs laws creating to stop it?

                Because 'paying for more action' during gameplay is fundamentally the same as a slot machine at a casino; there's a big difference between placing an advertisement VS an "instant in-game purchase" experience of one of thousands of unlockables.

                It should be treated exactly like casino gaming or other forms of paid gaming. (Personally, I am not in favor of it being banned compl

        • by nurb432 (527695)

          If you cant control yourself, then its your problem, not the app makers. Perhaps you need to seek professional help for your lack of control/addiction.

          • by JMJimmy (2036122)

            I have no issue thank you, I refuse to support games with that type of business model.

            The app makers are preying on children who haven't developed an understanding of money/self-control and those with addiction/impulse issues - how is that not their fault?

            • by nurb432 (527695)

              Not supporting them is your right.

              Them supporting their customers is their right. If their customers have issues, then they need to not use the products. I still suspect you have a severe issue with control and are staying away to avoid the problem. But hey, admitting you have the problem ( and avoiding triggers ) is the first step to recovery, so i commend you on that.

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        The legal requirement is the seller is to ensure the person making the purchase is the holder of the credit card, nothing more and nothing less. The commonly extort payment by threatening the holder of the card children with criminal charges even when under law the minor they threaten is to young to enter a contract. So the courts need to rule on real and actual harm. What is the real and actual harm engendered by a minor making a false purchase of a virtual product, would the parent have ever allowed the

  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @02:02PM (#47389401) Homepage

    I think Amazon's problem is going to be that just refunding the purchases doesn't help the parents. If the kid maxes out the credit-card on in-app purchases, the parents have to deal not just with those purchases but the fees and interest from over-limit charges on the card and/or the additional costs associated with any declined charges (eg. if I pay a bill on-line using my card and the charge is declined, I get hit for late fees and possibly service disconnections). Having this happen when you're out-of-town (eg. the kid does this while the family's on vacation, and when you go to check out of the hotel you can't pay your hotel bill and you have to figure out why without being able to check your accounts on-line to see what unexpected charges are there). The only acceptable way of handling things is what Amazon should've done from the start: once parental controls are turned on in an app, all actions that would cause a charge or affect parental controls always require a PIN (and ideally there'd be an option to say "don't allow charges period until parental controls are turned off again").

    • by Xenx (2211586) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @02:15PM (#47389461)
      People aren't willing to accept responsibility for themselves and their kids. We shouldn't be forcing the companies to accept the responsibility instead. If you don't agree with how Amazon does it, don't buy their devices or use their appstore. If they feel they're losing too many customers based on their business practices.. they'll change them. Either way, they shouldn't be targeted by the FTC.
      • by lawnboy5-O (772026) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @02:32PM (#47389531)
        "People aren't willing to accept responsibility for themselves and their kids" Buillshit. The practice is deceptive and industry is play on the ignorance of the consumer.
        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Xenx (2211586)
          If you can't take the time to learn how to use your tablet, you shouldn't use the tablet. If your kids don't know how to use the tablet, they shouldn't use the tablet. It really isn't too much to ask people to actually be at least halfway responsible with their choices. Admittedly, I am technical support for an ISP... and I'm a bit jaded. But, I get to see some of the worst when it comes to people not understanding the first thing about the devices they feel they NEED to have.
          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            Well, the problem is that Amazon doesn't have all the experience Apple has.

            Why do you think there is a 15 minute timeout now? (iOS4)

            Why do you think the 15 minute timeout is split between IAP and regular app store purchases (iOS5)?

            Why do you think apps now have clearer markings on IAPs (iOS7)?

            Apple ran into this, then implemented the safeguards - the 15 minute timeout because kids were clicking "buy now" without realizing it and running up thousand-dollar bills.

            The split because mommy/daddy would get the ap

            • by Zaelath (2588189)

              it doesn't matter if you pirate anymore (because pirates can't do IAPs and can be put in a disadvantage).

              You might wanna have a look at Minion Rush.. either people on the top of the high score charts are *regularly* forking out $1000 to run up massive scores, or they're using a hack to get them tokens/bananas.

              I've seen a lot of games that can "restore" purchases, but that's a lot different to confirming your current in-game balance as accurate every time you start the game.

      • If you don't agree with how Amazon does it, don't buy their devices or use their appstore.

        The problem with your "free market solution" is that most people are unaware of Amazon's policies until after they bought the device, bought the app, and have the charges on their card. Markets work well when people are well informed. But, in this case, people are NOT well informed, and Amazon has been intentionally deceptive.

        • by Rockoon (1252108)

          The problem with your "free market solution" is that most people are unaware of Amazon's policies until after they bought the device

          Why is it amazons problem that people are stupid?

      • Why? In what way is it better to have companies allowed to fleece children and their parents like this? What benefit is there to allowing it?

        • by eclectro (227083)

          What benefit is there to allowing it?

          Because he is a developer on Slashdot who likes the way things are presently done.

        • by Xenx (2211586)
          A customer's stupidity isn't the fault of the company, it's the fault of the customer. It's all well and good to want the company to change things and to express that. It's not ok to blame them for your inability to understand what you're getting into and make the FTC clean up your mess.
          • Answer the question. In what way is what you suggest better?

            Right now you are blaming those parents that have been caught out by unknowing kids rather than the businesses who created their business models intending that exact thing.

            At the moment you are presenting no reason that wouldn't also say phishing and spamming are OK and should be allowed. That you think that people that aren't 100 per cent in control of everything 100% of the time deserve to be ripped off. And that's somehow good.

            • by Xenx (2211586)
              Seriously? Personal accountability should always be first and foremost. You, as a person, should be responsible for your actions. You're suggesting that the companies should be forced to be accountable for you. You're saying it's ok for our populace to not care they don't know the first thing about what they're doing. Someone else will take care of it for them.
              • Seriously? Personal accountability should always be first and foremost.

                Yes, seriously.

                Why should personal accountability be first and foremost? To the extent that people who aren't guarded enough get punished. To the benefit of those who are trying to take advantage of them. In what way does that make the world a better place?

                You know I keep on asking you how your view makes the world a better place, and you can't answer. All you keep doing is coming back with more assertions that you hold true. It's looking more and more like it's religion for you rather than rationality.

            • by Rockoon (1252108)

              Right now you are blaming those parents that have been caught out

              Yes. Right where the blame belongs.

              We arent talking about fraud here. Amazon isn't pretending that the in-app purchases are free and then charging people anyways. Quite the contrary.

              If you really dont want to be responsible for your actions, then let me take control of your life. You will love it. Living in a room with no windows (sunlight gives you cancer) or electricity (electricity is dangerous.) The door is locked because wandering around the world is dangerous. You will earn food by performing sim

              • We arent talking about fraud here. Amazon isn't pretending that the in-app purchases are free and then charging people anyways. Quite the contrary.

                Whilst it's not fraud, clearly it isn't "quite the contrary", as the courts have criticised Amazon.

                And coming up with your own set of bizarre rules is not an argument against employing reasonable consumer protection laws and regulations.

      • by Rich0 (548339)

        People aren't willing to accept responsibility for themselves and their kids. We shouldn't be forcing the companies to accept the responsibility instead. If you don't agree with how Amazon does it, don't buy their devices or use their appstore. If they feel they're losing too many customers based on their business practices.. they'll change them. Either way, they shouldn't be targeted by the FTC.

        When I was a kid there wasn't some little box that both let me play games and run up a $1000 credit card bill. In order to spend my parent's money I'd need to get their wallet and drive to a store, or try to order something over the phone (and NOBODY would accept a phone order from some 6 year old). I doubt I'd have any idea what to do with a checkbook at that age.

        Sure, I'm all for teaching responsibility, but giving device owners reasonable options for preventing unauthorized access to spending money is

        • by Rockoon (1252108)

          When I was a kid there wasn't some little box that both let me play games and run up a $1000 credit card bill.

          Yes there was. It was called a telephone.

          • by Rich0 (548339)

            When I was a kid there wasn't some little box that both let me play games and run up a $1000 credit card bill.

            Yes there was. It was called a telephone.

            Sure, and people could restrict the ability to make calls to pay numbers, which is what this whole issue is about.

            I'll agree that you could call a long-distance phone number, but kids weren't too likely to do that for fun. I'd have been all for giving parents the ability to restrict access to making toll calls, though.

        • by N1AK (864906)

          The same is true of things like pay-per-view - if some cable company had a big BUY button on the remote control that if you pushed it twice automatically tuned to a PPV station and bought the first thing on the list without an option for a PIN, then you'd see outrage over that as well.

          If that was clearly explained functionality then I expect you'd find very quick;y that no one would use that company. If it wasn't defined functionality or was a bug, then you'd see people suing the company for the error. You

          • by Rich0 (548339)

            If that was clearly explained functionality then I expect you'd find very quick;y that no one would use that company.

            I guess that they would just use the other local cable company. Oh wait, back in the 80s there wasn't ANY competition for the local cable company. Today there is hardly any competition, which isn't much better.

      • by zr (19885)

        completely missing the point.

        unless companies help the parents out the only sane option for the parents is to shut off access to paid content completely, as it yank CC info.

        who lost? exactly.

        this is not about responsibility, this is business in the free market, pure and simple.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        This is a simple case of Amazon failing to follow the rules of credit card charges. Amazon benefits from the practice of storing credit card information; if they don't adequately protect that stored information in a way which allows unauthorized charges to be made they should be held accountable for that lack of proper responsibility.

        • by dgatwood (11270)

          This. And while the government is at it, please fine the bajeezus out of Amazon for having a "disable" switch on one-click that doesn't actually disable one-click in large parts of their website (e.g. Amazon Instant Video). I complained about this, and they said to set a PIN on the account to prevent purchases. Unfortunately, that also prevents streaming viewing, and there's no way whatsoever to prevent purchases or streaming of G-rated material, because there's no setting lower than "G".

          Amazon has a lo

      • by dk20 (914954)
        So you honestly don't think this process is intentionally deceptive? If so, why do the games all have some sort of "abstraction mechanism" for money (money becomes Smurfberries, coins, tokens, balloons, etc) "Smurfs' Village" has an age rating of 8. Does someone who is only 8 understand that when they are spending what are now "Smurfberries" are actually real money?

        If this is the case, why does almost every country in the world have special laws around children and their inability to enter into contract
        • by N1AK (864906)

          Does someone who is only 8 understand that when they are spending what are now "Smurfberries" are actually real money?

          Why would you give someone who is 8 a device on which they have all the details they need to spend real money? Also, when they buy in game currency that screen will explicitly say how much real money you're spending. It's misleading to pretend that an 8 year old wouldn't be aware they were spending real money.

          • by dk20 (914954)
            Unfortunately the courts don't agree with you when it comes to children and money in past cases like this.

            Why does the device which has the ability to spend real money not simply ask for the credit card number back to confirm the purchase? THis is the exact same mechanism amazon uses online to prevent fraud.

            instead of "smurfberries" why doesn't the in-game purchase simply say you are going to spend [whatever unit of your currency] REAL money?

            The abstraction is intentional.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tomhath (637240)
      I suppose it depends on how old the kids are. But really, if the kid is old enough to have their own phone then the parents need to do some better parenting. The first step I would take is to give them a Tracfone. Don't like being uncool? Learn that actions have consequences.
    • by mysidia (191772)

      I think Amazon's problem is going to be that just refunding the purchases doesn't help the parents. If the kid maxes out the credit-card on in-app purchases, the parents have to deal not just with those purchases but the fees and interest from over-limit charges

      Top recommendations: (1) Use a $20 pre-paid debit card as the CC loaded on your Tablet for in-app purchases, OR a Virtual Account Number (VAN),

      Note... however.... I am sure Amazon themself should have a limit on the amount of in-app purchase

      • by jabuzz (182671)

        If you are stupid enough to give a your kid a Kindle Fire linked to a credit card then that is your stupid fault.

        Both my nieces have Kindle Fires and firstly in app purchasing is turned off and secondly the only credit they have is from Amazon gift vouchers or free Amazon coins from various random give aways. There is zero requirement to link a credit card to a Kindle Fire to make purchases.

        The biggest moan that we have is with the BBC iPlayer app. If you turn on parental controls you have to approve every

  • by Frobnicator (565869) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @02:04PM (#47389409) Journal

    Nope, they need the penalty.

    The Amazon AppStore app seems to have an update every two weeks. Every time it updates itself, it resets the values for IAP and parental controls. You need to manually go in after every update, disable IAP and confirm with the password, then manually reset the parental controls and confirm with the password. EVERY FREAKING TIME.

    There was one instance (that I know of) that I didn't reset the parental controls and IAP flags after an update, and sure enough, that was when the kids discovered it and went on a spending spree.

    NO EXCUSE for resetting the flags every update. They know about it. It isn't a bug, it is a feature that enables profits.

    • by Greyfox (87712) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @02:13PM (#47389447) Homepage Journal
      Glad we didn't have this in the 70's. I don't think my sister or I would have survived the beating.
    • by eclectro (227083) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @03:18PM (#47389741)

      They know about it. It isn't a bug, it is a feature that enables profits.

      The games are purposefully engineered to be faulty so that you are *required* to make an in app purchase. And with the 'one click' nature of the in app purchases, it is easy for the game to make a purchase for you - either by mistake or by design!

    • by sjames (1099) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @03:51PM (#47389885) Homepage

      THIS!

      All of the excuses about how parents should know how the device works and blah blah blah cannot overcome this. Even if the parents do exactly what the scolds demand, Amazon goes behind their back and un-does it, contrary to reasonable expectation.

      • by Rockoon (1252108)

        Even if the parents do exactly what the scolds demand

        Looks to me like they demand that the parents take responsibility. How does anything said here undermine that?

        Take Some Fucking Responsibility. Thats your kid, chief. You are letting your kid use a device that can charge up thousands of dollars in credit card bills, completely unsupervised, and you want to blame someone other than yourself?

        Thats your fucking kid, chief. Be a fucking parent. Good parents dont let their children do that. Yes, this means that you arent a good parent Suck it up and be a be

        • by sjames (1099)

          The parents set it to NO in app purchases. They have good reason to believe that they have controlled the risk. Then Amazon sneaks in and un-sets it. Perhaps they should take some "Fucking Responsability".

          I suppose if an airplane crashes on the house you'll blame the parents for the kid's injuries too?

          • by Rockoon (1252108)

            The parents set it to NO in app purchases.

            Yes, and?

            They have good reason to believe that they have controlled the risk.

            Lazy bad parent reasons.

            • by dk20 (914954)
              When i purchase something online using Amazon it asks me to re-enter my credit card number. I dont use amazon to do in-app purchase, but i suspect this "anti-fraud" requirement is not present?

              If they required you to re-enter the credit-card at purchase time it would address a lot of this.

              Are you serious? They used Amazons own controls to reduce the risk, and you still claim "lazy bad parent reasons"?

              Perhaps you can explain why a game rated at age 8 allows in-app purchases? DO a lot of adults pl
              • by Rockoon (1252108)

                Are you serious? They used Amazons own controls to reduce the risk, and you still claim "lazy bad parent reasons"?

                Yes.

                Stop blaming other people for what your child is doing. Man up and be a father.

                • by dk20 (914954)
                  Your argument seems to fail logic 101. The people in question used Amazons tools to protect them from this problem. Had amazon simply used the same rules for in app purchases as they do for their own online site this wouldn't have happened.

                  Regardless, the law is often based on previous cases and each time this comes to the courts the company in question has lost and given refunds.

                  Let me guess, you develop games with in-app purchase and so you naturally want to exploit this loophole?

                  As i have st
                  • by Rockoon (1252108)

                    Let me guess, you develop games with in-app purchase and so you naturally want to exploit this loophole?

                    yes, thats it.. couldn't possibly be that I have integrity and a moral compass and a strong belief in liberty... instead I am conspiring against you.

                    Take off the tinfoil hat, man up, and be a fucking dad to your child.

                    • by dk20 (914954)
                      Please learn to read before posting, lest you look silly.

                      See where i said "As i have stated before, my kids have never had this issue as i made them create their own google play accounts and they dont have CC numbers. Flip side it is clear the companies involved shoulder some responsibility as well."

                      Now outline the part where I am not being a dad to my child?

                      Nothing like flying off the handle and making wild accusations (i am not a god father) with ZERO facts is there?
                    • by Rockoon (1252108)
                      What you say and how you say it do not jive. You are on a crusade and are fully willing to slander other folks in the process of defending your kids from your own lack of parenting through government action. Its quite clear.
                    • by dk20 (914954)
                      OMG, please list some examples of my "lack of parenting"?

                      You seem to be on a crusade to slander every parent on here, despite you clearly knowing NOTHING about them to protect corporate profits at the expense of vulnerable members of society. This makes zero sense. Long ago they removed child labor laws, and changed the rules to protect children from being taken advantage of.

                      Kids are not adults, they can not be expected to make sound decisions which is specifically why they have different rules aro
              • by N1AK (864906)

                So asking for a refund for in-app purchases made by a minor should be legal, they are simply voiding their purchase.

                There's no reason to interpret voiding a contract as requiring that a payment be returned. There would also be issues around the fact the child has no contract with the credit card provider, and that the person who does will have a contract with the credit card provider which they almost certainly broke by allowing someone else to use it.

                None of the above says in-app purchases are right. I

        • by dk20 (914954)
          And when should the company take responsibility for entering into a contract with a minor which can not be enforced?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    um... how bout... we don't give our children expensive toys... especially ones that have the ability to rack up bills.

    Now I get it... you don't want your kids to feel left out... but seriously when did it become a good idea to give your child the smartphone/device? I mean geeze, a replacement costs anywhere from $100-$600 or more. My parents would never have let me have one as a child. Heck... they were reluctant to let me watch TV all day.

    I remember being told no more than a 1/2 hour... And I thought t

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by A Li N (3608009)
      Partially agree with you here. It's a new age and these 'expensive toys' are quickly becoming the needed tools in life; teaching your kids how to use them and the consequences of their actions is a great lesson for any child. Teaching yourself how they are, and can be, used is an even bigger lesson; one that a lot of parents fail at and then blame someone else. Who, in their responsible mind, would give a child a device that can be used to spend money? Yes, there's some checks and balances in place, but
      • by DRJlaw (946416)

        If Amazon's updates cause resetting of in-app purchase flags, learn to deal with it. Part of dealing with it is to inform Amazon that their policy is broken, but it's their policy to make; if you don't like it, move on to the next or learn how to deal with it to fit your needs.

        No, it's not their policy to make. You may wish it was, but (1) that's your individual opinion, (2) that's not the law, and (3) there are quite a number of people who disagree with you which, even in a representative democracy, goes

    • by jabuzz (182671)

      My 36 month year old nephew has a 100GBP early learning centre train table

      http://www.elc.co.uk/Big-City-... [elc.co.uk]

      You can buy a Kindle Fire HD from Amazon delivered to your door for 89GBP if you have Amazon Prime, and there have been plenty of times where you have been able to buy a new Kindle Fire for under 100GBP.

      Where he given a Kindle Fire he would be perfectly able to work his way around it. He loves the CBeebies app, particularly Andys Dinosaurs, and will spend ages browsing through all the photos on his par

  • by nospam007 (722110) *

    So my kid purchased some international roaming calls in the 'phone' app, it didn't even have to enter a password.
    Can I please have my 3000$ back?

  • "when customers told us their kids had made purchases they didn't want, we refunded those purchases."

    True, at least in our case.

    Still, I could have done without the shock of seeing the huge charge (over $200 ... more than the cost of the Kindle Fire HD!) ... our 8-year old could have done without the stress of having his parents mad at him when he didn't realize he wasn't doing anything wrong ... I could have done without having to spend time getting a refund.

    And what about those who didn't jump through t

  • Amazon is just viewing themselves as above the fray while being in the middle of it.
  • Every memember of my family has a Kindle. The Free Time app prevents all in-app purchases regardless of what the App Store settings are. If I let the kids turn off Free Time I still get an email almost instantly when any purchase is made. Amazon has done their due dilligence, if people are still having huge bills racked up by their children they need to look in the mirror for the guilty party.
  • What is the difference between an App and a website?

    At this point the apps in question are basically clients for a web or internet program.

    So really the difference between an app and a website is pretty limited.

    Obviously we have no problem with in website purchases. We do those all the time.

    And websites through cookies often keep us logged in allowing people to buy things without going through additional steps. Amazon One Click for example lets you go through the whole checkout process very quickly.

    But no o

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