The case, brought by the Federal Trade Commission against Amazon, essentially hinges on whether ostensibly free to download apps were clearly marked as containing chargeable in-app items and whether suitable safeguards were in place to stop unapproved purchases. It seems in this instance, the judge thinks not, though the exact amount owed warrants further discussion.
Amazon was granted a partial summary judgement against the FTC’s claim for injunctive relief, as the judge didn’t see the likelihood of the problem recurring.
While unauthorized billing of customers, even for small purchases, constitutes part of the substantial harm that Amazon caused customers, and for which monetary damages should be assessed, the Court does not find this to represent a cognizable danger of a recurring violation.
Although the amount of the settlement is unknown – and Amazon could presumably appeal the decision – the case follows similar moves by the FTC against Apple and Google, which it says resulted in refunds of over $50 million to consumers.
Amazon hadn’t responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.