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Federal judge orders Amazon to refund in-app purchases made by children

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Amazon has been ordered by a federal judge to set up a process to reimburse parents whose children made unauthorized in-app purchases through games. According to Reuters, the company will be required to alert parents and to begin reimbursing them beginning in 2017.

In April, a federal judge sided with the Federal Trade Commission, which claimed that the retail giant failed to sufficiently warn parents that some free games allowed players to make purchases within the app. Children playing these free games could then make numerous purchases, catching their parents by surprise when the abnormally high bills came in.

The FTC estimated that parents were charged upwards of $86 million, and had asked for $26.5 million in damages from the company. US District Judge John Coughenour rejected this lump sum payment, noting that reimbursements will help in "placing liability on Amazon." However, the judge rejected Amazon’s request to reimburse parents with gift cards.