Google Inc 'Won't Be Evil' With $19 Million Settlement
Google Inc's (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) corporate motto "Don't Be Evil" came under a curious light Thursday. It agreed to pay at least $19 million to settle federal charges that it allowed children to incur millions of dollars in charges unauthorized by parents.
The Federal Trade Commission said Google will provide full refunds to consumers who were charged for kids' purchases without authorization of the account holder.
Google has also agreed to modify its billing practices to ensure that it obtains express, informed consent from consumers before charging them for items sold in mobile apps.
The purchases were made through Google Play, the company's official app store that also sells music and other materials. Revenue has been estimated at more than $4 billion.
With the rise of 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," FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in a statement.
This marks the FTC's third case concerning unauthorized in-app charges by children. In January, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) agreed to pay $32.5 million in a similar case. In July, the FTC filed a complaint in federal court against Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) which has refused to settle.
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