A class action lawsuit has been filed against Google accusing the search giant of charging “unauthorised charges for in-app game currency without parents’ knowledge”.
A New York mother, Llana Imber-Gluck, on behalf of other parents across the U.S, has filed the lawsuit against Google in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, claiming that her five-year-old son spent $65.95 on in-app purchases while playing “Marvel Run Jump Smash!” on a Samsung Galaxy tablet and that too without her permission.
The lawsuit alleges that Google Play Store first induces users to download games for free or at a modest price, and then lures them to make addictive in-app purchases costing users as much as $100 for every purchase or sometimes even more.
Shanon J. Carson of Berger & Montague, one of the attorneys representing the NewYork mother, said “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.”
The lawsuit also alleges that the 30-minute window where the users, after the initial password entry, get the opportunity to buy extras without re-entering the password “is designed to enable children to purchase in-game currency without parental permission and without having to enter a password.”
The search engine giant is not the only one facing such a lawsuit over in-app purchases. Apple went through the same situation after a similar class-action lawsuit was filed by parents claiming that their kids ran up heavy charges on in-app purchases without permission.
Cupertino was forced to pay $5 million to settle the case in 2013 and also a related $32.5 million fine early this year. The settlement also led Apple to change its policies requiring users to enter their password every time they wish to purchase in-app content.