July 2 Amazon.com Inc is fighting U.S.
regulators' requests that it tighten policies on in-app
purchases, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, taking
a hard line on a controversial issue that rivals like Apple Inc
Consumers have complained about mobile apps that can be
downloaded for free but then encourage users to pay for
additional services through registered credit cards, a practice
consumers say children are susceptible to and can result in huge
Apple has struck an agreement with the FTC over its own
in-app purchase polices.
Amazon said in a letter to the FTC, seen by the Journal,
that it was prepared to defend its policies in court rather than
submit to fines, or adopt additional record-keeping and
disclosure requirements over the next two decades.
Amazon was not immediately available for comment.
"When customers told us their kids had made purchases they
didn't want, we refunded those purchases," Andrew DeVore, an
Amazon associate general counsel, was cited by the Journal as
saying in the letter. He said Amazon's app store included
"prominent notice of in-app purchasing, effective parental
controls and real-time notice of every in-app purchase."
The FTC is asking Amazon to make those notices more
prominent, require passwords for all in-app purchases and make
refunds simpler and easier, according to the Journal.
The FTC declined to comment on the Journal report, but said
it "is focused on ensuring that companies comply with the
fundamental principle that consumers should not be made to pay
for something they did not authorize."
"Consumers using mobile devices have the same
long-established and fundamental consumer protections as they
would anywhere else," the FTC said.
Apple had agreed to refund customers at least $32.5 million
and change its billing practices to ensure it obtains consent
from parents before charging for in-app spending. Purchases of
digital goods -- from extra game lives to special in-game tools
-- are key to the success of tech companies' app stores, which
in turn drive usage and mobile device sales.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington, D.C., and San
Francisco Newsroom; Editing by Leslie Adler)