Facebook Sued over In-Game App Purchases

April 20, 2012 -

A California mother is suing Facebook claiming that the company is allowing minors to make purchases via in-game micro-transactions and that allowing this to happen without parental consent violates California's consumer protection laws.

Glynnis Bohannon filed the lawsuit in California and is asking the court for a full refund on all the purchases made by her daughter without her consent. She also claims in her lawsuit that Facebook is not providing enough preventative measures to stop underage users from making purchases. She also wants refunds for "all parents and legal guardians in the United States whose minor children made unauthorized purchases of Facebook Credits from the minor child's Facebook account." 

Under Facebook's policies regarding purchases, children under the age of 18 are not allowed to buy items off the site without parental approval. We're guessing that Facebook may say that this policy does not extend to third-party apps. We would also assume that giving your child access to a credit card is considered a form of consent in some legal circles, but who knows for sure...

Details on what specific Facebook apps the plaintiff is talking about were not disclosed. We will have more on this story as it becomes available.

Source: Gamasutra


Comments

Re: Facebook Sued over In-Game App Purchases

I thought this would be a funny way to put this story in context.

Jon Stewart to the rescue!

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Managing Editor at TheBestGameSiteEver.com

Re: Facebook Sued over In-Game App Purchases

To all those knee-jerking in their reactions... How about we wait for the details of the case and *then* form an opinion?

Re: Facebook Sued over In-Game App Purchases

you missed a very important point:

some third-party company have (like, *cough* zynga) have play cards with codes for credit points (think M$ points) that can be bought from stores, thus bypassing the credit card issue.

Re: Facebook Sued over In-Game App Purchases

I would think - by giving her daughter the credit card number, that serves as 'permission'.

Either that, or her daughter is guilty of theft. Since I don't believe anyone under 18 can legally have a credit card, since it requires entering into a 'contract' with the card issuer.

Re: Facebook Sued over In-Game App Purchases

Or it may have been transactions through the phone line.

I remember watching a news story of a kid who bought in-game items by leeching off his phone line (thinking that it won't cost too much). The next month, it turned out that the phone bill inflated by 300% at least (I don't remember the exact number). All he had to do was putting his phone number.

The news story was from last year, so it's rather recent. The parents understood the principles, but were outraged that there wasn't much in term of warnings.

I don't know if the facebook apps allows to buy in-game items using your phone line, but if it does, the parent may have a good point (since most children might think that it is harmless at first).

Re: Facebook Sued over In-Game App Purchases

20 years later, most parents don't know what responsible parenting is.

Better idea- if there's an unauthorized purchase that a parent finds out about, the parent should then smack the hell out of the kid and take away access to the product so it doesn't happen again.

 
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