First it was Apple and now Google is facing criticism and potential lawsuits over in-app purchases in the Google Play Store. A case has been filed in New York by a mother who was unhappy after realizing that within 5 minutes of downloading a game (Marvel Run Jump), her five-year-old was able to spend $66 on in-app purchases.
Similar complaints were made against Apple because of how easy it was for young children to spend money while inside of applications. Once Apple finally settled, it paid out more than $30 million to customers that lost money due to this issue.
It now appears as though Google and its mobile OS, Android, are just as bad when it comes to allowing in-app purchases.
In the case of Google and its mobile app store, users must enter a password to initially download an application but if an in-app purchase is then made within 30 minutes, the password does not need to be re-entered.
This was the case for the New York mother who allowed her son to download a game but quickly realized that his purchase of “crystals” inside of the app cost her a good amount of money.
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 has requiring the entry of a password. – Berger & Montague, law firm, representing New York parents
While this is definitely an issue now that younger children are using tablets and smartphones on a consistent basis, it seems unlikely that Google thought things out in order to make extra money in this way. Instead, much like Apple tried to do, Google came up with a policy that prevented customers from having to re-enter their password numerous times in a short time span. Unfortunately, when you are dealing with a five-year-old and not an adult who knows what they are doing, things like this can happen.
Summary: Google is facing a lawsuit in New York after a young child racked up a $66 bill for in-app purchases. Apple dealt with a similar issue by issuing $32.5m in refunds to its customers.
Image Credit: digitaltrends