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Amazon may owe you money

Amazon may owe you money
PHOTO COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

If you have kids in your family, there's a really good chance you let them download free apps. Or, maybe you download them yourself.

It's easy to get lulled in by that word, "FREE." So you or your family members download them, maybe a fun game that everyone's playing.

The problem is, a lot of times those free apps allow you to make in-app purchases. In other words, if your kids are playing a game and they buy virtual gold coins to give their character more lives or a new weapon, you click on the gold coins and make the purchase.

Typically, those in-app purchases are attached to your credit card. You know how that goes. Suddenly, someone in your family is racking up tiny charges that over time result in a big credit card bill for you. So annoying!

Your kids may not even know they're spending real money when they buy those in-app purchases. What's worse, on top of the money you have to pay, you also can waste hours or days trying to contact the app to get your money back.

As it turns out, Amazon may soon owe you a refund for some of those in-app purchases. A federal court ruled that Amazon in the past hadn't done enough to let people know they were being charged for those purchases.

Note: Amazon now allows parents to require a PIN be entered before an in-app purchase goes through.

In 2011 when it first introduced in-app purchases, those charges were directly linked to credit cards and did not need any additional authorization. More recently, Amazon required a password for purchases of more than $20. However, in-app purchases are often just $0.99 or a few dollars.

On Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission said Amazon will have to refund parents for some of their kids' in-app purchases, if the parents didn't authorize those charges.

No word yet on how much those refunds will be or when you'll get them. Keep reading Happening Now and we'll let you know when we get updates on this case.

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