Google fields class action lawsuit for failing to prevent in-app purchases

Being sued by parents claiming Google encouraged kids to buy

While screens have acted as babysitters since the dawn of television, the last decade has introduced technology that allow screens deliver information in both directions. While the business implications of that have made for convenient transactions for consumers, they’ve also left many parents wishing they’d shelled out the 10 dollars an hour for a human babysitter, rather than tossing junior their iPhone and the latest iteration of “Angry Birds.”

Google is the latest to feel the ire of those parents in a lawsuit filed on March 10 that claims the company didn’t do enough to prevent kids from making purchases on their parents accounts via its Google Play App Store.

The case, Imber-Gluck v. Google Inc alleges that a feature in the Google store that kept users logged in after a purchase, allowing and encouraging their kids to make in-app purchases.

According to the announcement by the law firm Berger & Montague, P.C. and Del Sole Cavanaugh Stroyd LLC, “Google permits the user of a device to make additional purchases for up to thirty minutes without re-entering the password. 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 or guardian.”

Similar allegations were levied against the Apple store earlier this year, resulting in a $32.5 million payout to customers. That case resulted in changes to Apple’s applications that strengthened purchase verification methods. Google has not yet implemented similar controls.

The lawsuit is seeks damages for the parents whose children purchased items online without their permission.

 

For more emerging tech issues check out these stories:

Apple to pay at least $32.5 million over no-consent app purchases

Congress seeks Google Glass privacy assurances

Deloitte survey: New lease standards could be a technological nightmare

Associate Editor

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Chris DiMarco

Chris DiMarco, Associate Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, has a background in multimedia production with previous involvement in projects in which he developed and created content...

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