Facebook must refund purchases by minors upon request, court rules

Way back in 2012, Facebook was hit with a lawsuit over real-world currency children had spent playing games on the social network. The issue revolved around Facebook Credits, which gamers could buy using a credit card; the currency, then, would be used to buy virtual goods of one sort or another in Facebook games. This quickly became an issue as kids charged huge bills on their parents' bank accounts without realizing what they were doing. The issue has dragged on in various legal matters since, and now a judge has ruled that Facebook must refund parents.

It all started with a class-action lawsuit filed in 2012 after a couple kids charged large amounts of their parents' money to get the currency Facebook Credits. The existing policy made it so that Facebook wouldn't refund the purchases those kids — and others like them — made. It wasn't until early 2015 that the lawsuit was given permission to proceed. Facebook Credits were discontinued in 2013 and replaced with Facebook Payments.

Lawsuit against Facebook over kids' purchases to proceed

Unfortunately, the policy resulted in many parents claiming they'd lost hundreds or sometimes thousands of dollars to Facebook games. The social network allows kids as young as 13 to create an account and allows those accounts to make payments, but doesn't verify whether the account owner authorized the charges. Now, because of a settlement, Facebook has added a refund request option to accounts belonging to minors (those aged 17 and under).

The legal ruling largely has a California bill called the Family Code to thank; the legislation is intended to prevent kids from being taken advantage of or otherwise falling victim to their own juvenile judgement. The ruling, thankfully, applies to minor Facebook users across the nation, not just those located in California. If your child has a Facebook account, make sure his or her age is set appropriately. If they end up charging something they shouldn't have, head over to this link to dispute it.

VIA: The Guardian