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Remember last year when Apple was sued for allowing children to make in-app purchases? Well, now Facebook is at the center of a very similar suit.
Arizona mom Glynnis Bohannon sued the social network after it refused to refund the hundreds of dollars her son spent on virtual currency for the game Ninja Saga. She's seeking class action status and wants the court to ban the site from selling Facebook Credits to minors.
Facebook does warn minors not to make purchases without parental consent, according to Technorati. However, the Facebook Credit lawsuit asserts that it doesn't disclose the fact that the site stores a parent's credit card number for further use.
Bohannon had let her son purchase $20 worth of Facebook Credits, but claims he "thought he was expending virtual, in-game currency" when making later purchases.
The fate of the Facebook Credit lawsuit rests primarily in contract law. Attorneys assert that California law permits children to rescind contracts at their leisure, reports MediaPost. And they're technically right.
In most states, children can't enter into contracts for non-essential items. If litigated, such contracts would likely be deemed "voidable" by the court. The minor could then choose to cancel the contract and would be entitled to a refund.
Nonetheless, the Facebook Credit lawsuit exhibits just how difficult it is to get to this point. Which is why parents should probably hand their younger children a prepaid, reloadable "credit card" instead of the real thing. They can't accidentally accumulate charges if it's empty.