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Google The Almighty Buck

Google To Refund $19M In In-App Purchases Made By Kids 88

An anonymous reader writes "Google has agreed pay $19 million to refund customers unfairly charged for in-app purchases made by children without authorization from their parents. The company has agreed to change its billing practices to ensure that it obtains informed consent from customers before charging them for items sold within mobile apps, according to the FTC. "For millions of American families, smartphones and tablets have become a part of their daily lives," said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. "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.""
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Google To Refund $19M In In-App Purchases Made By Kids

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  • Re:Insane (Score:5, Informative)

    by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @08:29PM (#47831289)

    I have kids...I'm not a moron...I didn't save my password. It prompts me for each purchase.

    I have no idea how they lost this.

    Well, let's see, could it be because they didn't always offer the options that you think are so great now??

    From TFA:

    The FTC's complaint against Google says that when the company initially introduced in-app purchases in 2011, buyers did not have to input their passwords. When the company implemented the requirement the following year, Google did not tell users that entering a password triggered the opening of a 30-minute window where the password would not need to be entered again when making a purchase.

    Since then, Google has added more password protection options, letting users control how often they need to input a password: every time they make a purchase, every 30 minutes, or never.

    It doesn't take a moron to get caught in a situation where they don't offer the reasonable options you mention, or don't clearly warn you that it's a "free-for-all" for purchases for 30 minutes.

    Frankly -- everytime Slashdot runs an article like this, a bunch of ACs (mostly) come out of the woodwork who want to "blame the victim." And yes -- that is precisely what you are doing. Taking money from someone without their express authorization is THEFT. I don't care if you are some app programmer who makes 90% of your profits off of ill-advised in-app purchases. It's wrong, unless you are damn sure that the purchase is authorized..

    I don't care about the kids argument. As an ADULT, I don't want purchases without confirmation to be a default unless I expressly authorize it. For developers out there -- the moral thing to do in any system where you are going to take money from someone is to at least allow them to confirm that they want you to take it... at least once (probably twice). There's nothing wrong with offering an option, a la Amazon's "one-click" check-out, for people who OPT IN, but that is precisely what it should: a screen popping up and saying explicitly, "You are about to authorize password-less purchases for forever/next 30 minutes/whatever!! Please type in your password again and check this box if you agree you REALLY want this!"

    Everyone around here seems to get offended in other situations where people "blame the victim" or where technology doesn't offer "opt-in." When someone's gonna take your money, you damn well should have a system that is opt-out by default.

    Google didn't clearly have all of this a few years ago. Hence, they were taking money from people without permission. Hence, they should definitely give it back if people request it. This has nothing to do with kids or bad parents or morons or whatever -- it's basic ethics that you don't get to take people's money if they didn't say you could.

  • Re:Shareware via IAP (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bing Tsher E ( 943915 ) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @09:32PM (#47831633) Journal

    The concept of shareware, as originally envisioned by Buttonware back when the term was first coined, is that the software is totally available, and people should donate money in an honor system, if they wanted to support the software. Partially functional software that has to be paid for to get the whole use is called crippleware.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!