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Mother Sues Google After 5 Year Old Son Buys Digital Crystals

     
1:35 pm on Mar 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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A New York woman whose child spent $65.95 on digital “Crystals” has filed a lawsuit on behalf of other parents across the U.S., claiming the Google Play store is full of games and apps that lure children into spending money.

The lawsuit, filed on Friday in San Francisco, claims the woman’s five-year old son spent the money while playing “Marvel Run Jump Smash!” on a Samsung Galaxy tablet, and accuses Google of unjust enrichment and violating consumer protection laws.

Source: [money.cnn.com...]
4:28 pm on Mar 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Hey- I want to sue Best Buy because it's full of "toys" and gadgets that lure adults into spending money!

This seems like yet another example of an irresponsible parent trying to make other people take responsibility for something the parent refuses to do.

If the parent lets the kid use a tablet as a toy, sue someone else! If the parent doesn't make the tablet kid-safe, sue someone else! If the parent doesn't monitor the kid's online behavior, sue someone else!
5:38 pm on Mar 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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If the parent lets the kid use a tablet as a toy

We are talking about a game for children here.

Reading the article, the problem is that there is a 30 minute window after the initial purchase where additional purchases will be applied to the user's payment card without further authorisation.

It's reasonable to expect a children's game to be downloaded for immediate use by a child. It will be down to the court to decide if the womabn was given appropriate notice of this 30 minute window.
5:56 pm on Mar 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Agreed, LIA, the irresponsible parent.

It's obvious and clear in the Terms and Conditions for Google Play. It clearly states age-related restrictions of 13 to 18, and that any additional fees from the third party service is the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian. In different wording, of course.

A headline grabbing news story about a case that I suspect won't go far.

[play.google.com...]
8:59 pm on Mar 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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She'd probably win her case here in the UK. We have an Unfair Contract Terms Act that would take away Google's T&C defence. A judge would ask; why the half hour window? Was it made clear that purchases could be made during it, without having to read the TOS? And would kids between 13-18 want to spend good money on a late 1980s shoot-em-up, so is it really aimed at a lower age bracket no matter what the disclaimers say?

Now parents keeping kids of five quiet by sticking them in front of a games machine is a whole different subject but thankfully we can leave that to the 'Mother and Child' websites.

BTW, Don't I recall that Apple was fined for something similar recently?
9:06 am on Mar 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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BTW, Don't I recall that Apple was fined for something similar recently?

The article mentions that, Apple had a similar 15 minute window which they have abolished.

Am I being redirected to a European version of the ToS? What I see is a contract with Google Ireland Ltd which is quite clear, in my layman's view, that the contract is completed by delivery of the product.
9:23 am on Mar 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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The complainant is in the US so US T&Cs and laws will apply.

Never mind for one moment that this was a child racking up fees on the account, which they shouldn't have the use of, I would suggest that there ought to be a way of capping an account in such circumstances. Perhaps there is; I haven't looked.
2:18 pm on Mar 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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What's to cap? Customer makes a purchase, accept card, close transaction. Customer wants something else that's a new purchase requiring new authorisation.
5:32 pm on Mar 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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>What's to cap?

It's a way of stopping someone from running up debts. It's the kind of thing a responsible parent might want to be able to add to their settings to avoid debts spiralling. It's possible to do that with mobile phones and roaming charges, why not app purchases?