Do you have children who play games on a Kindle or other Amazon device? If you answered “yes” — or even if your kids have played such games in the past — Amazon might owe you some cash.
The e-commerce giant has begun offering refunds to consumers for unauthorized in-app charges incurred by children between November 2011 and May 2016, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
The refunds mark the end of a lengthy legal battle with the FTC, which sued Amazon in 2014 for making it too easy for kids to use mobile devices to make app purchases without their parents’ permission. In many cases, children racked up hefty in-app charges using “free” apps on Amazon.
In-app purchases allow users to purchase virtual items — such as coins, stars, extra levels or songs, or game hints — within a free or paid game or app. However, it can sometimes be difficult for users to distinguish whether the items cost real dollars or virtual game currency, and this is especially true for children.
Although Amazon began billing for in-app charges in November 2011, the online retail giant didn’t require consumers’ informed consent – such as entering a password — for those purchases until 2014.
Consumers deemed eligible for a slice of the $70 million in refunds should have already received an email from Amazon informing them of the refunds. I got a message from Amazon on May 30. I was eligible for two refunds — totaling $14.98 — on a game my young daughter used to play. I completed a refund request, and Amazon approved it just one day later.
If you haven’t received an email from Amazon, but you think you might be owed a refund for unauthorized in-app purchases, here’s what you should do:
- Check out this Amazon webpage. Simply log into your account, and Amazon will let you know if you’re eligible.
- If you believe you’re due a refund, file a claim. The deadline for submitting a refund request is May 28, 2018.
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