Google settles with FTC to issue $19 million in refunds for Google Play in-app purchases



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.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Please. Google has access to everything. You can submit a claim, but Google goin’ know. Believe me, they goin’ know if you lying to them.

    1. Hide ya kids, how ya wife cause they swindlin’ every company up on here!

  2. The money should only be paid out to those that made an initial claim as it clearly only bothered them. By allowing ANYBODY to back a claim based on history is just ridiculous and enables people to game the free market. (Ok, so it happens all the time, but my point still stands.) People suck.

  3. Here’s an idea Google. Let me tie my children’s accounts to mine until they reach 18 or later if they agree to it. Then, since it’s my card info on their account, send me a text to authorize every purchase in app or in the play store. And give me the ability to override that too if I so choose. That could solve a lot of problems.

  4. If they “settle” for 19 MILLION can you imagine what they actually took home on these in app purchases. wowsers.

  5. I can’t believe my three year old bought Tasker when I wasn’t looking.

  6. I’m a little unbalanced about this because if you can’t safe proof something you give to your child than you are kind of a bad parent. It is way too easy to make an in-store purchase but also a lot of it is just laziness on the parents part.

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