Despite Policy Changes, Google Must Face Class Action Suit Regarding In-App Purchases

A class action suit against Google involves the in-app purchase of currency for the game Marvel Run Jump Smash.

A class action suit against Google involves the in-app purchase of currency for the game Marvel Run Jump Smash.

Google may have made changes to prevent inadvertent in-app purchases within the Google Play store, but the company still has to answer for their previously lax controls that allowed children to run up huge bills on their parents’ accounts.

Reuters reports that a U.S. district court in San Jose ruled that Google must face a class action lawsuit filed by a New York woman earlier this year.

The suit [PDF] was filed in San Francisco by a mother who says that one of her young boys ran up $65.95 in in-app purchases while playing the game Marvel Run Jump Smash on her Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 tablet.

“Prior to the purchase of an App, Google requires account holders to enter their password,” reads the complaint. “However, once the account holder enters the password, he or she (or… his or her minor child) could make purchases for up to 30 minutes without re-entering the password. Thus, a parent could enter his or her password to permit a child to download a free gaming App, and then allow the child to download and play the game. What Google did not tell parents, however, is that their child was then able to purchase Game Currency for 30 minutes without any supervision, oversight or authorization.”

The federal judge Monday denied Google’s motions to dismiss portions of the case that alleged its advertisements were “unfair, deceptive or misleading” and allegations that Google breached the “duty of good faith and fair dealing.”

Google is just the latest company taken to task over in-app purchases.

In June 2013, Apple settled a class-action lawsuit over in-app purchases made by children on their parents’ phones and tablets. Then in January, the company reached a deal with the Federal Trade Commission in which it would issue at least $32.5 million in refunds to consumers.

Earlier this month, the FTC sued Amazon in federal court related to an investigation into the e-tailer’s in-app purchase policy that essentially allows children to make unauthorized purchases.

Google must face class action over kids’ in-apps purchases [Reuters]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.