The Federal Trade Commission has already gone after Apple and Amazon over deceptive IAP systems in free-to-play games. Now the U.S. governmental body has ordered Google to pay at least $19 million for similar practices.
Apple was forced to offer $32.5 million in refunds
earlier this year, when the FTC found that App Store users were being hit with unfair bills that resulted from deceptive IAP systems -- mainly due to children accidentally purchasing items in mobile games.
Amazon was also hit with a complaint
, although the company later sent a warning to the FTC, saying it would file legal action if the complaint went ahead.
Now Google is the latest target, with the FTC stating that
[PDF] it has conducted an investigation, and found that unauthorized in-app charges have occurred, that were incurred by minors.
The FTC has charged Google with providing refunds for Google Play account holders who can prove that unauthorized in-app purchases were made by children. The FTC says that Google should refund "no less than $19 million" for eligible claims.
These claims can go all the way back to 2011. The complaint states that Google "is willing to enter into an agreement containing a consent order resolving the allegations," and thus will pay the amount in refunds, while also making sure that its Google Play Store adheres to the rules set out by the FTC.