Amazon faces federal lawsuit over charges racked up by children playing app games

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The Kindle Fire, Amazon’s first color tablet computer, is at the heart of a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission. The federal agency accuses Amazon of charging account-holders for charges racked up unknowingly by children. (The Associated Press)

The Federal Trade Commission has accused of billing its customers for millions of dollars in charges racked up unknowingly by children.

The FTC filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Inc., seeking to require refunds for parents and other account-holders and to ban the practice in the future.

Wrongly charged for in-app games?

The Federal Trade Commission encourages Amazon customers who believe they’ve been wrongly charged for fees racked up by children to file a complaint. Lodge your complaint online or by calling 1-877-382-4357.

An Amazon did not immediately return a call or email for comment.

Parents or other account-holders who believe they may qualify for a refund should file a complaint with the FTC.

A number of tech companies, including Apple Inc., have faced this issue with applications they sell and the devices that run them. The problem arises when children play application-based games, which offer extras or bonus features for a fee. Consumer groups say young people aren’t always aware how quickly costs can add up for extras such as "coins," "stars," and "acorns."

Companies that create the games typically keep most of the money. However,…

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