Much like the lawsuit earlier this year with Apple having to refund purchases made by children, Google is now under fire for the same thing. The FTC has finally settled with Google over the identical matter, and Google will be contacting customers starting next week in order to discuss potential refunds of in-app purchases.
The FTC proposal in September has assigned Google to hand out at least $19 million in refunds to customers who, essentially, were allowing their children to make purchases on their devices without securing their credit card information. It should also be noted that many apps did not require a PIN or password prior to making an in-app purchase. Because of this, the FTC has decided that, like Apple, Google will be responsible for the total cost of any purchases made without parental authorization.
As per the settlement, Google does not have a cap on the final amount it will have to pay out, but it will have to be at least $19 million. If somehow Google refunds less than that, the balance will have to be sent to the FTC instead. The ruling also placed a limit on the age of the claim, with in-app purchases having to be made in 2011 or later. Customers will have a one-year windows to request a refund from the time Google sends them information on how to proceed.
It is also interesting to note that there were a total of 16 public comments made on the proposed settlement between the FTC and Google. They are definitely worth reading in order to provide some perspective on the case as a whole. In one of the cases, a parent set up a restricted access account for her child, yet she was still able to make purchases within a game without authorization.
In the end, it looks like Google will escape for about $12 million less than Apple did, at least at the minimum. Does this ruling affect you? Will you be making a claim to Google for some unauthorized charges? Let us know in the comments below.