The Federal Trade Commission is suing Amazon over charges that the company has not done enough to prevent children from making unauthorized in-app purchases, according to a complaint filed Thursday in federal court.
The move had been expected since last week, when Amazon said it wouldn’t settle with the FTC over the charges. Amazon said in a letter to the FTC last week that it had already refunded money to parents who complained and was prepared to go to court.
On Thursday Amazon said its statements in the letter still apply and did not comment further.
The dispute is over in-app charges in children’s games on Kindle devices, where it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate whether users are spending virtual or real currency to acquire virtual items. When it introduced in-app charges in 2011, a password was not required to make any purchase, from 99 cents to $99. That changed in 2012, when Amazon required a password for charges over $20. In 2013, the company updated password protection again, but in a way that allowed windows of time where children could still make purchases, according to the FTC complaint.
Wholesaler restocking slows as sales weaken
U.S. wholesale stockpiles rose in May at the weakest pace in five months as companies kept their supplies in line with slower sales.
Wholesale stockpiles grew 0.5 percent in May, the Commerce Department said Thursday, down from a 1 percent surge in April. Big gains in inventories of autos, lumber and metals drove the latest increase.
Sales at the wholesale level, meanwhile, rose 0.7 percent, down from 1.3 percent in April. Auto sales jumped 1.1 percent while sales of computers and electrical equipment fell.
The slower pace of sales and restocking suggests that consumer and business demand weakened a bit in May. But the figures also show that companies aren’t building up large stockpiles.
Jobless aid requests dip to near-2007 level
Fewer people sought U.S. unemployment benefits last week, driving down the level of applications to nearly the lowest in seven years.
Weekly applications for unemployment aid dropped 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 304,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That’s not far from a reading of 298,000 two months ago, which was the lowest since 2007, before the Great Recession began.
The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dipped 3,500 to 311,500, the second-lowest level since August 2007. Applications are a proxy for layoffs, so the low readings indicate that employers are letting go of fewer workers.
The unemployment rate is at a 5 1/2 -year low.
Boeing raises forecast for airplane demand
Boeing Co. raised its long-term forecast for new airplane demand by more than 4 percent, based on expected orders of smaller, more fuel-efficient planes and burgeoning travel in Asia.
The Chicago company said Thursday it expects deliveries of 36,770 new airplanes over the next 20 years, with total list prices valued at an estimated $5.2 trillion.
That’s up from Boeing’s forecast last year that global airlines would need 35,280 jets worth $4.8 trillion over the next 20 years.