Menu
Class action suit filed against Google over children's in-app purchases

Class action suit filed against Google over children's in-app purchases

In-app purchases by minors led Google to pocket millions of dollars, according to a complaint

Google is facing a lawsuit over unauthorized in-app purchases on Android devices by children.

The class action suit is brought on behalf of all persons in the U.S. who paid for unauthorized purchases of game currency by their minor children through the Google Play app store. It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, one of the law firms that filed the suit said Monday.

Many games in the Google Play store are offered free but are designed to induce in-app purchases of virtual supplies, ammunition, fruits and vegetables or cash, the class action law firms involved in the case noted in the complaint.

"These games are highly addictive, designed deliberately so, and tend to compel children playing them to purchase large quantities of game currency, amounting to as much as $100 per purchase or more," according to the complaint.

Google requires users to authenticate their accounts by entering a password prior to purchasing an app or buying in-game currency. But when the password is entered, Google permits the user to make in-app purchases for up to 30 minutes without reentering the password, even if it is a minor, according to the filing.

This enables minors to make expensive in-app purchases without entering a password, "causing Google to pocket millions of dollars" from such transactions with minors, according to the complaint. This is done without the authorization of their parents, whose credit cards or PayPal accounts are automatically charged for the purchases, it added.

The lawsuit, which asks for a jury trial, is seeking damages for affected parents.

The case against Google is similar to one brought by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission against Apple over children's in-app purchases. That case was settled in January and Apple agreed to pay at least US$32.5 million to customers.

Unlike Google, Apple changed its practices so that its users must enter their password to make all in-app purchases, law firm Berger & Montague noted in a news release.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobile applicationsAndroid OSGoogleCivil lawsuitslegalmobile

Featured

Slideshows

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow Electronics introduced Tenable Network Security to local resellers in Sydney last week, officially launching the distributor's latest security partnership across Australia and New Zealand. Representing the first direct distribution agreement locally for Tenable specifically, the deal sees Arrow deliver security solutions directly to mid-market and enterprise channel partners on both sides of the Tasman.

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel
Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Typically, the New Year brings new opportunities for personnel within the Kiwi channel. 2017 started no differently, with a host of appointments, departures and reshuffles across vendor, distributor and reseller businesses. As a result, the job scene across New Zealand has changed - here’s a run down of who is working where in the year ahead…

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel
​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

Digital Transformation (DX) has been a critical topic for business over the last few years and IDC is now predicting a step change as DX reaches macroeconomic levels. By 2020 a DX economy will emerge and it will become the core of what New Zealand industries focus on. From the board level through to the C-Suite, Kiwi organisations must be prepared to think and act digital when the DX economy emerges in 2017.

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?
Show Comments