By: Nick Gambino

Are you one of those parents who give their kid free reign to peruse their tablet or smartphone only to find that they’ve racked up purchases that’ll have the family eating nothing but Ramen for the next month?

Well, some of you will find a bit of relief when Amazon refunds a large chunk of money for unauthorized purchases as part of a recent settlement. The settlement with the Federal Trade Commission has Amazon refunding $70 million to users whose kids downloaded apps or made in-app purchases between November 2011 and May 2016.

You see, Amazon didn’t require a password to purchase apps during that time period making it really easy for kids to not only download free apps but to purchase them as well. And sure there are plenty of free apps but most of those have in-app purchases available which, when given to a little kid, is the equivalent of swiping your credit card non-stop for the duration of your time on Earth.

In April of last year, it was ruled by a U.S. District Court that Amazon would have to refund purchases due to failing to clearly inform parents that certain free apps also had in-app purchases. Shortly after that Amazon wanted to refund using gift cards but this was declined by the judge. So this will be a straight-up refund to debit cards, credit cards or in the form of a check.

Amazon now offers the option to set up parental controls and pin codes for in-app purchases but it took them way too long to install this feature in their app. That was a mistake. A $70 million mistake.

The FTC announced that those eligible for a refund should have already received an e-mail from Amazon. You can also check this website to see if you’re one of the lucky few entitled to your piece of the $70 million pie.

Users have until May 28th 2018 to submit their claim. If you have any questions the FTC says to contact Amazon at 866-216-1072.


Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.