Shortly after securing a hefty settlement with Apple over unauthorized in-app payments within iOS, a Philadelphia-based law firm is now going after Google for the same issue within Android.
Berger & Montague on Friday sued Google in California District Court on behalf of Ilana Imber-Gluck, a woman whose children made about $66 worth of in-app purchases while playing Marvel Run Jump Smash on her Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 over the course of a half hour.
The suit alleges that Google does not do enough to prevent unwanted in-app purchases. Google does require a password when purchasing or downloading games, but does not require users to re-enter that PIN while in the game.
“Google has unfairly profited by marketing free or low-cost games to children and by permitting them to easily rack up charges for worthless in-game currency, by failing to incorporate reasonable controls such a simply requiring the entry of a password,” Shanon J. Carson, who is representing Imber-Gluck, said in a statement.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“A company of Google’s size and sophistication either is or should be aware that it is permitting unauthorized charges by minor children,” lawyer Edwin J. Kilpela said. “We look forward to vindicating the rights of consumers victimized by Google’s policies in this regard.”
“Google is certainly aware that its primary competitor, Apple, has taken steps to end this unfair practice, and Google should do the same,” Carson said.
Last year, Apple reached a settlement with iOS users whose kids also racked up in-app purchase bills, some of which totaled thousands of dollars. Parents whose kids downloaded less than $30 worth of content got a $5 iTunes gift card or the equivalent of their total Game Currency charges. Cash refunds were provided to consumers who no longer had active iTunes accounts, or whose bill exceeded $30.
Apple started requiring a password for in-app purchases via the iOS 4.3 upgrade that was pushed out in March 2011, but the purchases in question happened before that update.
In January, meanwhile, Apple agreed to refund at least $32.5 million to customers in a similar settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).