Back in April of this year, Amazon was deemed accountable for a number of in-app purchases made by customers using Kindle and Android devices. The reason behind the accountability was that it was not the customer who actually made the purchases, but their children. As such, the purchases were deemed to have been made without permission from the account holders, the parents, and those who would otherwise be responsible for footing the bill.
Following on from that judgement and the same judge who oversaw the original verdict, U.S. District Judge John Coughenour, has today instructed Amazon to start to make good on issuing those refunds. According to the details coming through, Amazon has until January 2017 to begin the process of setting up a notice-and-claims procedure where affected parents can register their claims and receive their refunds.
It was the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) who was largely behind bringing Amazon to account and had originally requested that a lump sum of $26.5 million be awarded. However, Coughenour is reported to have turned down the set among deeming the number to be “too high”. Although, Coughenour is also reported to have turned down Amazon’s request to issue refunds in the form of Amazon gift cards. The reason being that Coughenour feels that Amazon will inevitably be recouping some of the profits made by the unauthorized in-app purchases, if the value was issued and redeemed again via Amazon’s services. Therefore, Coughenour has opted for the notice-and-claims procedure which does not rely on set amounts being awarded or gift cards being issued, but simply the customer requesting the refund and having the monies returned
This most recent judgement will presumably bring to a close what has already been quite a lengthy process. While the judgement comes six months after the verdict, the verdict itself stems back to charged that were leveled at Amazon back in 2014, for actions that are said to have occurred from as far back as 2012. So while it has taken its time to come to today’s instruction, it would be expected that by the end of 2017, most, if not all, of the refund claims will have been satisfied, ended this particular issue.