Google Faces Lawsuit over In-App Purchases
Published on: 11th Mar 2014
A US law firm has filed a class action lawsuit against Google alleging that the company did not do enough to prevent unauthorised in app purchases by children from the Google Play store.
Although Google requires users to authenticate their accounts by entering a password prior to purchasing and/or downloading a game or buying in-game currency, once the password is entered, Google permits the user of a device to make additional purchases for up to thirty minutes without re-entering the password.
The law firm says that this practice is designed to enable children to purchase in-game currency without parental permission and without having to enter a password. The purchases are then billed directly to the parent.
This lawsuit follows Apple's $32.5 million settlement in January 2014 with the Federal Trade Commission over similar allegations, as well as a private class action lawsuit that Apple settled in 2013 with its customers. As a result of those actions, Apple changed its practices so that its users must enter their password to make all in-App purchases.
"Google has unfairly profited by marketing free or low-cost games to children and by permitting them to easily rack up charges for worthless in-game currency, by failing to incorporate reasonable controls such as simply requiring the entry of a password," said Shanon J. Carson of Berger & Montague, P.C., one of the attorneys representing Plaintiff. "Google is certainly aware that its primary competitor, Apple, has taken steps to end this unfair practice, and Google should do the same."