Looks like Apple isn’t the only company taking a lashing from the FTC for “lack” of “proper” protection against “unauthorized” in-app purchases. The governmental body has also tapped Google to issue refunds to customers for purchases bought within various games and apps in the Google Play Store. Google has settled to pay out over $19 million refunds, and that’s just the minimum amount before any extra claims crop up. The FTC contends that many of these purchases are to be considered accidental as Google hasn’t always had proper authentication steps for in-app purchases.
What does this mean? Well, if Apple’s fiasco was anything to go by then anyone who purchased in-app goods before Google implemented their latest authentication measures can claim their son Little Jimmy downloaded in-game coins, toys and other nonsense without their consent, citing Google’s lack of a stopgap in the purchase process to make sure the account holder / card owner was the one responsible for making the purchases.
So what’s going to happen? Google will soon send notices to anyone who has purchased content within an app or game on Google Play and ask them to submit a claim if they believe their purchase was unauthorized or accidental. The problem? People who had every intention of buying those goods are going to make claims anyway. You needn’t look further than the most popular technology forums out there to see the hordes of folks plotting to get refunds for legit purchases.
It sucks, but some will consider it a victimless crime — Google does have a crap load of money, after all. Keep an eye out on those inboxes.