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Amazon snubs FTC: We'll see you in court over kids' in-app cash blowouts

Don't tar us with Apple's brush says Bezos & Co

Website security in corporate America

Amazon has said it won't acquiesce to the Federal Trade Commission's plans to punish it for not preventing kids from running up in-app purchases on mummy and daddy's credit card.

The FTC is seeking a punitive fine from Amazon, similar to the one levied on Apple. The agency says Amazon wasn't quick enough to crack down on unauthorized purchasing by children within applications running on its Android-based tablets and smartphones. Such purchases are usually extra weapons, map packs and similar gumble for games, and naturally Amazon takes a cut.

The g-men also accuse Amazon of not refunding money fast enough when parents complain, and they want to have a 20-year oversight over the company to make sure that this doesn't happen in the future. But Bezos and Co are having none of it after the FTC published its proposals.

"It's an understatement to say that this is deeply disappointing," said Andrew DeVore, an Amazon associate general counsel, in the letter sent on Tuesday – a copy of which The Register has seen.

"The commission's unwillingness to depart from the precedent it set with Apple despite our very different facts leaves us no choice but to defend our approach in court."

DeVore pointed out that Amazon has always refunded unauthorized purchases promptly and that it had included prominent signs on its website warning that purchases must be approved by the cred card or account holder.

At all times Amazon's conduct has been lawful, DeVore said, and the fact that the FTC was seeking to treat it the same way as Apple wasn't fair. Therefore, if the FTC wants its pound of flesh it will have to fight for it in court. ®

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