The Federal Trade Commission has filed a lawsuit against Amazon, claiming the online retail giant billed parents millions of dollars for unauthorized charges made by children in a statement released Thursday. The suit comes as the latest in a string of actions the FTC has taken against tech giants, including a settlement with Apple and a complaint filed against T-Mobile.
In a press conference call, FTC Consumer Protection Director Jessica Rich said the spree targeting tech companies aimed to make clear to retailers that they must ensure authorized purchases.
"We are very concerned about the issue of unauthorized charges," she said. "As you'll note from our complaint last week against T-Mobile and our case against apple, we believe this has been an issue on the mobile platform, and we want to make clear you can't place charges on a bill without getting informed consent... We encourage all companies to follow informed consent."
This "informed consent," Rich said, could include retailers preventing charges until the consumer provides a password, or including features that deter children from tapping on purchase buttons for the apps.
Rich also declined to comment on whether the FTC will pursue Google, as Android smartphone owners have also found unauthorized charges made by children for downloadable apps and games.