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Purchases and minors, Amazon in the viewfinder

After Apple, the company of Jeff Bezos also attracts the ire of the Federal Trade Commission due to the in-app purchases that those under 18 can complete without authorization.

Amazon store

In the world of smartphones and tablets, in-app purchases are one hen with gold eggs for developers and publishers. The app you find in the virtual store often costs you nothing, but to unlock certain content or features you have to pay a one-time fee. In the case of games or software addressed to minors, this kind of practice is generating more and more criticism. If the developer has done his job 'well', in fact, the dialog boxes that are used to unlock the purchases have a graphic style consistent with the app's interface, they do not require passwords and confuse confusingly the border between the real currency and the virtual one you need to buy chickens or power-ups.

The last note in this regard comes from the US Ftc, the Federal Trade Commission, which on Thursday denounced one of the most influential realities in the sector, Amazon. The company of Jeff Bezos accused of having held meshes too wide in those mechanisms that should be used by parents to give consent to certain expenses. The result is millions of dollars of unauthorized purchases (on which Amazon retains 30%) subtracted from the bank accounts of parents more or less unaware of the crazy expenses of their children.

But Amazon in good company. Some time ago Apple also ended up under the magnifying glass of the commission for an identical case: in January it agreed to compensate users for 32 and a half million dollarsthe. And at the invitation of the same company of the apple, the Ftc could soon point the antennas on the other great operator of the sector: Google.


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