Facebook Faces Class Action Over Kids’ Purchases of Facebook Credits

By David Cohen Comment

ChildDraggedAwayFromTabletFacebook Credits became a thing of the past in September 2013, but the social network must still face a class-action lawsuit related to kids’ ability to purchase them.

Reuters reported that U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman in San Jose, Calif., ruled that the plaintiffs in I.B. et al vs. Facebook Inc., U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 12-01894, could press on with their case.

The class action was originally filed in April 2012, before the demise of Facebook Credits, and it was brought by “hundreds of thousands” of parents whose children used their credit cards and debit cards to buy the virtual currency. The plaintiffs also challenged the social network’s “all sales are final” policy of refusing refunds in such cases.

According to Reuters, Facebook said the lawsuit lacks merit, and the company vowed to “defend itself vigorously.” The company added that the plaintiffs’ claims were too disparate, and an injunction would not address them, Reuters reported.

Freeman said the plaintiffs could not pursue refunds as a group, but they could do so on an individual basis, adding that the trial is set to begin Oct. 19, according to Reuters.

The judge said in her decision, as reported by Reuters, that parents and their children are protected under California state law when the latter “occasionally use their lack of judgment” to make unwise purchases, writing:

Although some minors undoubtedly may wish to continue making purchases through credit or debit cards they do not have permission to use, such a desire cannot prevent the named plaintiffs from bringing suit to demand that Facebook’s policies comply with the law.

J.R. Parker, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in a phone interview with Reuters:

We’re very pleased with the decision. The difference between Facebook and other businesses is that the company is on actual notice of a user’s age, but treats children the same as adult users when it comes to taking their money.

Readers: How do you see this case playing out?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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