Google agrees to refund $19 million in unauthorized in-app purchases

By Shawn Knight
Dec 10, 2014
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  1. Unauthorized in-app purchases have been a major headache for big-name app store operators. After fielding numerous complaints from disgruntled parents over the years, the Federal Trade Commission finally stepped in to take action.

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  2. Hexic

    Hexic TS Addict Posts: 272   +127

    Or you could parent your kids. That's always been an option as well.
    Skidmarksdeluxe likes this.
  3. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,105   +533

    While I cannot approve of parent's that leave their children to play on electronic devices all day, that is really only part of the issue at hand here.

    Not only did Google fail to properly inform parents of the details of in app purchase and the android operating system but in-game APP purchases can be very ridiculous. Some Apps will charge insane prices while others (even more shady apps) would try to get the user to impulse click to purchase in game items. Newer iterations of IOS and Android have mitigated some of the concern but you still see much of it occurring today.

    If anything, Google and Apple can stand to save allot of face by including a 1 time permission button.
  4. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,383   +105

    They also need to go after Amazon too. Charging me for services I never even used or knew about. All they tell me. We're sorry your canceling your subscription. I had to call directly into this ACC additional division for tablet software slapping me with $14.95 per month fee. Well that was taken off right away. I am sure there are others out there who had this appear on the cards. Shame on Amazon.

    As Google (Market / Play Store) I never gave them any means of purchase power. See what happen's when they have such power. They abuse it! So all those parents with heavy CC and DC charges for tablet software apps they never even thought about that their kids were getting or wasn't suppose to get!

    I see yesterday updating my Toshiba Thrive Tablet with the latest Android apps changes it now reads we need form of payment type. I say nope your not getting that info. So basically Google Plus Services has account info for purchasing stuff off Play Store. Just have to make sure you see what your updating and what is require for them to get.
  5. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,159   +67

    Amazon support was pretty good when my daughter bought a few apps without realising it. They issued a refund immediately.
  6. I bought my gf an itouch one xmas. I said, don't let ya kid touch it, thats the only rule...
    She didn't listen. She never does.Typical women.
    So the lil girl buys her giraffe on some stupid game a £10 virtual ice cream...
    I was like wtf. I complained to apple and they agreed to refund it. Always nice when you think you are going to get nowhere with them.
    Parents need to realise that kids are stupid and not to let them touch stuff.
  7. EClyde

    EClyde TS Maniac Posts: 624   +147

    There is no way the progressive wholesome love everyone people of Silicon Valley could do this. They must really be republicans in disguise
  8. S_Brideau

    S_Brideau TS Rookie Posts: 65

    That's why people should parent their kids. Also I don't think it's even Apple or Google's responsibility to refund them even if they didn't make it apparent that there was a window with the payment option still open. Parents shouldn't let their CC info on the devices either as it sticks and usually they have weak passwords on it that kids find very easily.
  9. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,729   +1,093

    I'm guessing you both either don't have kids or are completely perfect parents with 100% attention span and have never ever been distracted. My daughter once burned herself on my coffee when she was 3 because she picked it up and drank out of my coffee mug. I was right there, had only turned my back for a second. 'Be a Parent' is not the only answer.

    Do you think it's possible that maybe Apple and Google make it easy to spend money on purpose? And maybe game developers do to? There should have at least been an option to enter your password every time, and that should have been the default.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  10. Is the website that google sends you to not working for anyone else? been trying to get a refund for 2 days but their site is very broken and keeps just giving me errors...
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,467   +1,760

    Are you suggesting that those two cornerstones of the American society are guilty of taking advantage of customers, in a crass and exploitative way?
  12. Its your fault your daughter burner herself on YOUR coffee. You should have kept it out of her reach.
    I bet if she burned herself on a McD's coffee, you would be suing them.
    Google, Apple and any other company should keep the $$...
  13. Hexic

    Hexic TS Addict Posts: 272   +127

    Irrelevant - mistakes happen, spilling coffee upon herself is quite unfortunate, yes.. comparing that situation to Google Play, etc. in-app purchases isn't a equivalent comparison.

    One can give their children access to their electronic devices, that's their choice. Don't let them play certain games. Turn kids mode on (at least for Android), or don't punch in a password for them without knowing the terms you were informed of, and agreed to.

    It's not rocket science, mistakes happen - yes. Using others as a scapegoat for one's lack of oversight isn't the company's fault. Is it McDonald's fault that the lady was burned by [hot] coffee, years ago? Didn't think so.
  14. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,729   +1,093

    No but it was their fault it was 180 degrees (that's about 40 degrees hotter than Starbucks). :) Fun facts about that case, she won because McDonalds had been warned repeatedly that their coffee was way too hot, but they kept it that way anyway to preserve taste. Also, she sued for 1 day's worth of coffee sales, which was a whole pile of money.

    Anyway, what's the penalty for a parent not paying attention, or letting their kid play with the tablet? Is it worth $5? $20? This was $19million in total, and you know some of those parents had bills in the hundreds or thousands of dollars.

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