Mar 12, 2014 04:47 PM EDT
Google is being sued by a New York woman whose 5-year-old son made $65.95 worth of in-app. Apparently while playing games her kids managed to bypass the password protection and rack up tons of in-app charges. This isn’t the first time this has happened, Apple has been sued for a similar situation where certain free apps allowed in-app purchases. Apple ended up having to pay $5 million to settle a case in 2013 and $32.5 million in fines.
In the case of Google while normally users have to enter a password to make a purchase there is a 30 minute window following the initial in-app purchase where other apps are offered, often in a bundle and they can be purchased without entering the password again. One example cited was the game “Pet Hotel” where 1500 treats could be purchased for $99.99. This could in both theory and practice allow children to rack up hundreds of dollars’ worth of charges. Phandroid decided to test it out and showed in a YoutTube video just how easy it was to make in-app purchases in the 30 minute window (HERE).
Some of the apps in question are called “bait apps” because they are free but the in-app purchases are extremely hefty, clearly intended to take advantage of users, most likely children. In this case the app in question was “Marvel Run Jump Smash” a game which is 99 cents but allows in-game content to be purchased for anywhere between $1 to $40. After purchasing the app for her son initially this allowed the 30-minute password window to open which allowed her son to make a number of other purchases afterwards. In this case and based off Apple losing a case in which it had a similar (now removed) 15-minute purchase window we imagine that Google will be made to provide restitution to this woman.
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