April 28, 2016
Partner Alysa Hutnik was quoted in the Law360 article “Amazon's Liability For In-App Buys Weighs In FTC's Favor.” A federal judge sided with the Federal Trade Commission in finding Amazon liable for charging many customers for unauthorized in-app purchases made by their children, providing a significant boost to the commission's ability to police data collection and privacy practices that it deems to be unfair. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge John Coughenour rejected Amazon.com Inc.'s argument that the FTC was applying the incorrect legal test in asserting that the online retail giant's billing of parents and other account holders for in-app purchases made without permission by children violated the unfairness prong of Section 5 of the FTC Act. In addressing some of the practical lessons that companies may glean from the ruling, Ms. Hutnik commented on the utility of tracking consumers' experiences and quickly responding to their complaints. "In the consumer protection area, there are many areas without black-letter law," she said. "But many issues can be spotted and addressed with good judgment and a balanced pro-consumer perspective."
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