Judge rules Amazon is liable for kids' in-app purchases

Apple and Google settled with the FTC over the same issue in 2014, agreeing to pay consumers more than $50 million

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A federal judge on Wednesday sided with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in its lawsuit against Amazon, ruling that the company is liable for unauthorized in-app charges incurred by children.

Amazon's warnings to consumers regarding the possibility of incurring in-app charges from otherwise free apps were insufficient, ruled U.S. District Judge John Coughenour. In its case against the company, the FTC compiled complaints from "thousands of parents" about unexpected charges. When she filed the case in 2014, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez also pointed to evidence that Amazon's own employees recognized there was a problem with the gap between parental knowledge and children's actions on devices such as the Kindle Fire.

It's unclear what monetary damages Amazon is liable for -- the judge called for Amazon and the FTC to provide further information to determine what the company owes consumers.

"We look forward to making a case for full refunds to consumers as a result of Amazon's actions," Ramirez said in a statement.

The FTC went after Apple and Google over the same issue in 2014, and the two companies settled with the agency, agreeing to pay customers more than $50 million.