Boycott Watch  
August 12, 2012
Boycott Watch to FTC: Violates Consumer Protection Laws, Demands Payment Access for Free Apps
Summary: is silent to consumer complaint
    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, 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, has created the ability for app developers to advertise a free product and then charge for it later.

    Boycott Watch believes 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 reverse this policy immediately.

    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.

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