This week a woman has sued Google, suggesting that because her child spent precisely $69.95 USD on a phone on an app, the search giant is responsible. This case was filed on Friday, March 7th, 2014, in a court in San Francisco, California. The game in question is "Marvel Run Jump Smash!", and the device used was a Samsung Galaxy tablet.
This case rings a bell with a situation that went down with Apple over the past several years. In Apple’s case, families of children who’d spent hundreds of dollars in Apple’s iOS-based App Store suggested the hardware/software company was responsible for the cash. In that case, Apple was found guilty.
Apple was responsible more recently for a case settlement of around $5 million in 2013 as well as a "related" $32.5 million to the FTC this year. This FTC case was not pleasing to Tim Cook, who back in January when the case was settled, suggested the following.
"It doesn’t feel right for the FTC to sue over a case that had already been settled. To us, it smacked of double jeopardy. However, the consent decree the FTC proposed does not require us to do anything we weren’t already going to do, so we decided to accept it rather than take on a long and distracting legal fight." - Tim Cook
At Law360, it’s suggested that the "30 minute window after [initial] authorization to buy in-app [goods]" is the center of the controversy here. Meanwhile GigaOM notes that the lawsuit aims at "games and apps that lure children into spending money."
Sound like par for the course to you? If you have smartphones and tablets lying about your living space, do you often expect that your children will abstain from tapping their displays? If you found that your child had purchased $65 USD worth of goods on your tablet, would you sue Google?