Amazon: Put yourself in a hypothetical situation.You haven’t used your credit card the entire month.
Naturally, there is neither worry nor the usual tension when the bill arrives that month, right? But what if the bill shows an outstanding figure of $4500 dollars spent on in-app purchases? You begin to wonder whether somebody else has your credit card details, and yet the culprit of this act would be the little one who lights up your world. Micro-transactions. The very beauty of it will be that your child will have no recollection whatsoever of spending your hard earned money. All they can remember is going through a couple of apps or playing some games on your phone. Strange, isn’t it? So now what? How to get your money back? Your hard earned money for which you work 8-hours a day which was spent on useless things. Well, if your bills show Amazon as your kids shopping destination, you might have just gotten lucky.
From the look of things, it most certainly looks like the American based, E-Commerce giants may just have a ‘small’ problem on their hands. The appeal was made against them in the year 2014 by the FTC, claiming that Amazon had failed to provide protection to its users from micro-transactions that enabled kids to make in-app purchases without issuing any warnings prior to the purchases. This resulted in hefty amounts being charged to the kid’s parents credit cards without their knowledge. The ease with which the children can carry out such micro-transactions lies in one-touch in app purchases. The lack of a warning or a mere re-confirmation of the purchase could definitely cost Amazon somewhere in the millions.
Amazon isn’t the first big company to face such problems of refunding with micro-transactions. Google, Apple and a number of other gaming apps especially, deal with such problems. In fact, in a similar case Google were made to cough up a staggering amount of $50 million dollars to its customers as a refunding the amount.
Micro-transactions are transactions which generally do not exceed the $10 dollar amount and are found within a particular game or app. Now the problem arises because of the ease with which these micro-transactions can be made. Once you register to a company’s website, their database will then have a record of your credit card details stored within, which does not need to be typed in again and again, thereby enabling children to make such in-app purchases even in the absence of their parents. These type of transactions are such a menace that the South Korean Ministry of Culture have imposed strict rules on the gaming industry and people of the ages below 18 to reduce such transactions. Perhaps, they have taken it to the next level when you look at how there are certain gaming centers in the country where fingerprint IDs and high school diplomas are a necessity to be allowed to game. What do you think?
What’s next for Amazon? It is imperative for them to revamp this one-touch purchase structure to safeguard their customers against unwanted purchases made by mistake. One simple strategy could be by implementing a two-touch purchase structure instead, displaying a warning before such purchases. Maybe they can afford this small blip after out-performing their expected revenue by $1.15 billion dollars this quarter.