Google has committed to refunding at least $19 million (£11.8 million) in in-app charges raised by children using applications on Android devices. The complaint was raised by the US Federal Trade Commission earlier this year, claiming that children using mobile apps downloaded from the Google Play store had bought additional products and services without the authorisation of the account holder.
Apple resolved a similar FTC complaint in January, while Amazon is currently defending itself against claims of allowing unauthorised payments.
According to the FTC, Google will provide full refunds to consumers who were charged for children’s purchases if a child had initiated the payment without authorisation. Google’s billing process has also been changed to ensure all consumers give formal consent before making in-app purchases.
Originally, additional Android in-app purchases didn’t require a password to be entered by the person using a smartphone or tablet.
Edith Ramirez, who chairs the FTC, said “For millions of American families, smartphones and tablets have become a part of their daily lives. As more Americans embrace mobile technology, it’s vital to remind companies that time-tested consumer protections still apply, including that consumers should not be charged for purchases they did not authorize.”