One of the worst feelings in the world is getting a credit card statement in the mail with a lot of charges you didn't know about. Thousands of parents have experienced this over the past few years, courtesy of their children and in-app purchases.
For those who aren't big on smartphone and tablet games, in-app purchases are a big money-maker for developers of free apps. Those apps, such as Candy Crush, let you play for free but for only a short time. Those games reel you in and when you're out of time you get the sales pitch to pay a little more to keep playing. In Candy Crush you can spend as little as .99 cents and as much as $100 on an in-app purchase.
The Federal Trade Commission heard from parents left holding the bag and sued Apple, Google and Amazon over how those purchases were made. Since the app developers made it easy to purchase extras with just a tap on the screen, it made it too easy for kids to ring up a big bill on their parents device without their knowledge.
Apple and Google settled with the FTC and refunded millions of dollars to customers who were stuck with a big bill. One man's son purchased almost $6,000 worth of extras in an iPad game.
Amazon fought the FTC but dropped its appeal this week and is ordered to pay out $70 million to customers with unauthorized in-app purchases between 2011 and 2016.
What do you do if you're certain you've had to pay for extra time or extra lives or extra striped candies? The FTC says Amazon will handle the refunds and they'll begin notifying customers shortly