Yesterday we were discussing how FTC accuses T-Mobile of ‘cramming’ extra fees in clients’ bills. Today we found out that FTC is very active once again. After the two had several discussions during the last several weeks, Amazon objects FTC’s proposal. The whole issue surrounding the quarrel refers to who has more responsibility for children’s actions concerning online purchases. Amazon objects FTC proposed fines by arguing that the company already takes pains to ensure the clients’ best interests. Amazon objects FTC’s stand so strongly that they are ready to face the Federal Commission in court.
Amazon objects FTC fines after Apple reached a settlement
The FTC apparently tries to enforce Amazon to follow Apple’s example. At the beginning of the year Apple had to pay a $32.5 million fine. The reason was similar, the company had not done enough efforts to make sure that children will not use the services to make purchases unwanted by their parents. The sum was redistributed to clients who priorly filed complaints.
The FTC is strict in applying principles. “The commission is focused on ensuring that companies comply with the fundamental principle that consumers should not be made to pay for something they did not authorize,” an FTC spokesman said. “Consumers using mobile devices have the same long-established and fundamental consumer protections as they would anywhere else.” FTC insists that Amazon must offer more prominent notices, along with requiring passwords for in-app payments. The goal is to make sure that the clients have indeed offered their consent for the transactions. Holding up credit card data brings a lot of responsibility.
Maybe the FTC is being overly pedant on this issue, but the fact is that people usually have a hard time adjusting to new ways of shopping. They should not be penalized for little mistakes. Amazon, even if it does offer refunds at request and warning messages, it will inherently profit from each of these mistakes. For some clients, following the procedures to get a refund might cost them more, if their time is precious. I will take sides with the FTC on this one. A cautious FTC is healthy for American pockets. Amazon objects FTC arguments, but let us see if they will actually go to court. Amazon knows that Apple already settled for payments just a couple of months ago, so FTC is not offering just a friendly advice.