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The Washington Post reports that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a lawsuit against Amazon, charging that the e-tailer has made it "too easy for children to make purchases when using mobile apps without a parent's permission … The FTC said in its suit that it seeks a court order for the company to pay refunds to families affected by the unauthorized charges that began in 2011. It also wants the court to permanently ban Amazon from charging parents for in-app purchases without their consent."

According to the story, the FTC says that Amazon has "charged parents millions of dollars of unauthorized payments for what's known as 'in-app purchases,' typically make-believe items popularly offered within mobile games such as Candy Crush Saga that enhance a game or allow a user to advance levels."

The Post - which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos - notes that the company has not commented on specifics in the charges, except to say that it was "deeply disappointing" because the company has worked hard to improve its controls.
KC's View:
As a parent who occasionally got a surprise when I opened up the cable bill and found purchases that I had not made nor authorized, I'm completely sympathetic to the FTC position on this matter. It isn't just kids who need to be protected, it's their parents wallets … and it seems to me that Amazon maybe ought to be a little more vigilant in creating safeguards. If not, it ought to be forced to do so…

Of course, it is hard to argue with a retailer that apparently is on the verge of launching its own drone air force…