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Google agrees to pay $19 million in FTC in-app kids lawsuit

The FTC alleges that Google made it easy for children to buy items.
September 5, 2014

On Thursday, Google agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and pay $19 million to consumers whose children were allegedly deceived into making mobile purchases through Google Play. The FTC alleges that since 2011, Google had made it easy for children to use Android devices to buy items without a parent’s permission.

As the Washington Post notes, this is a victory for the FTC who has been investigating in-app purchases on devices running software by Apple, Amazon and Google. Last January, Apple agreed to pay the FTC $32.5 million for the same claims while Amazon has since stated that they would fight the FTC complaints.

“For millions of American families, smartphones and tablets have become a part of their daily lives. As more Americans embrace mobile technology, it’s vital to remind companies that time-tested consumer protections still apply, including that consumers should not be charged for purchases they did not authorize.” – FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez

In 2012, Google did start using passwords for in-app purchases. The FTC also mentioned how Google employees internally referred to the problem as “family fraud” and “friendly fraud.”