Free to play games commonly offer users the option to trade real life currency for in-game features. Whether it’s an extra turn in Candy Crush or a sweet new tractor in Farmville, this business model is not expected to go away any time soon, much to the chagrin of parents shelling out for features.
But parents may not be the only ones who will want to keep tabs on online micro-transactions; a court ruled on Dec. 20 that platforms like Facebook may also bear some responsibility for not actively enforcing their parental consent policies.
Facebook will still face a class action brought by a group of minors who made purchases using their parent’s credit cards without consent, despite their attempts to have the suit thrown out. While the court has ruled that the parents cannot fight the charges, their kids will still be allowed to. The suit has already been amended several times in the past year.
According to the court filings, the plaintiffs “initiated this putative class action against Facebook in 2012 seeking to obtain a refund for several purchases which the minor Plaintiffs, I.B. and J.W., made through their Facebook accounts. In particular, their Third Amended Complaint alleges that the minor Plaintiffs used their parents’ credit and debit cards, without permission, to purchase several hundred dollars’ worth of Facebook Credits.”
Courthouse News Service reports that “U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken on Friday rejected the social media site's argument that the minors did not identify an injury-in-fact because they purchased the Facebook credits with their parents' money, not with their own money.”
Facebook’s attempts to have the suit thrown out on the grounds that the plaintiffs continued to use the site even though had agree to obtain parental consent for purchase via that service agreement were also grounded. The court argued that there was no way for the social media giant to confirm that the plaintiffs were still using its services.
That doesn’t mean the fight will be an easy one for the minor’s in question though. The judge also ruled that the plaintiffs would be unable to suit under the California Unfair competition law, nor the Electronic Funds Transfer Act.
For more on Facebook, check out the following InsideCounsel coverage: