| Consumers wishing to download free Kindle applications
(apps) are required to have a credit card on file despite only wanting to
download free content. This is a concern because some apps may charge for
activation upgrades after the fact using hidden terms, such as 30 days free in
fine print and other automatic upgrades. Sometimes software vendors can
purposely place 'buy now' buttons in locations that facilitate 'accidental'
button presses to finalize a purchase.
Consumers should never be put in a position where they are
trapped into paying for hidden fees. Additionally, some companies may use
online credit cards to charge small amounts to a consumer credit card in hopes
the small amount may go unchallenged as not worth the consumer's time to
challenge; or even not notice because many people glance over small charges.
We have contacted Amazon Kindle support and we keep being
told 'that's the way it is programmed' and the like, which we consider to be
non-answers. The last person I spoke to, "Robert K.," a
"Customer Service Manager" who clearly has no authority to do
anything or follow-up on issues since he cannot give his last name or contact
information. We asked him to name just one free app that does not require a
credit card on file and he could not. This revealed that since all apps require
a credit card on file, it is in fact Amazon policy to demand a credit card, and
not that of the app developers. As such, Amazon.com is responsible for the
policy, plus any and all resulting problems.
The question becomes, therefore, is Amazon engaging in
activity that may result in, and in support of potential fraudulent charges by
app developers who wish to offer free apps and then charge the customer after
the fact? One thing for sure, Amazon.com has created the ability for app
developers to advertise a free product and then charge for it later.
Boycott Watch believes Amazon.com must allow free access to
all apps advertised as free, and not demand an online payment method when none
is required. Boycott Watch sees the demand of an online payment method for free
apps as an open the door to consumer fraud, discrimination against poor
consumers who may not have credit cards and to those who do not want to use
online payments, and therefore demands Amazon.com reverse this policy
Boycott Watch has filed a complaint to the Federal Trade
Commission will be continually reporting about this problem to our readers. We
seek an official statement from Amazon, including information about any and all
plans to correct this problem, thus protecting consumers.