If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Google refunding $19m to those whose kids bought in-app purchases

Following FTC ruling.

The Federal Trade Commission has ordered Google to pay $19 million (about £11.6m) to those whose children mistakenly bought in-app purchases.

Simply removing the 'free' moniker wasn't enough for the FTC. It demanded a clearer explanation that your purchase options remain unlocked for a half hour after an initial verification.

This covers purchases made back from 2011, when in-app purchases were first introduced on Google's service. The FTC deemed these a violation as they were a commercial practice that charges consumers for purchases made by their children.

The FTC initially took issue with Google's failure to ask for a password or proper authorisation when buying in-app purchases. Google then added a password verification screen in 2012, but this failed to note the exact amount the transaction would be, and worse, that all transactions would remain accessible without re-entering a password for the next half-hour.

"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 authorise."

Back in July, Google removed the "free" label from free-to-play games in compliance with the European Commission's recommendation that it makes these sorts of things clearer.

In January, Apple had to pay back $32.5m (about £19.9m) over basically the exact same thing. The FTC likewise filed a case against Amazon for its similar practices back in July. That case is still ongoing.

Topics in this article

Follow topics and we'll email you when we publish something new about them.  Manage your notification settings .

About the Author
Jeffrey Matulef avatar

Jeffrey Matulef


Jeffrey Matulef is the best-dressed man in 1984.

Eurogamer.net logo

Buy things with globes on them

And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!

Explore our store
Eurogamer.net Merch