Google faces lawsuit over in-app purchases by children

Google is facing a class action lawsuit filed by parents in the US whose children downloaded a free or modestly-priced game on Google Play, and then chalked up charges for in-app game currency without the parents’ knowledge or authorization, according to a press release issued by law firm Berger & Montague. GigaOm reports that the lawsuit stemmed from a mother in New York, who says her five-year-old son spent $65.95 on in-app purchases while playing “Marvel Run Jump Smash!” on a Samsung Galaxy tablet.

A New York woman whose child spent $65.95 on digital “Crystals” has filed a lawsuit on behalf of other parents across the U.S., claiming the Google Play store is full of games and apps that lure children into spending money. The lawsuit, filed on Friday in San Francisco, claims the woman’s five-year old son spent the money while playing “Marvel Run Jump Smash!” on a Samsung Galaxy tablet, and accuses Google of unjust enrichment and violating consumer protection laws. The case mirrors a similar case brought against Apple over so-called “bait apps” that are typically free to obtain but encourage users to spend money within the game. Apple paid $5 million to settle the case in 2013 and also paid a related $32.5 million fine early this year.

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