Google Sued By Mother After Her Son Makes $66 of In-App Purchases in Marvel Game

Discussion in 'Android News' started by dgstorm, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. dgstorm
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    dgstorm Editor in Chief Staff Member Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    Here's a story that might exacerbate your potentially diminishing faith in humanity. At the very least you might be disgusted at how people simply don't take responsibility for their actions these days. A woman named Ilana Imber-Gluck is suing Google because her son racked up a "whopping" [sarcasm] $65.95 of in-app purchases with the game Marvel Run Jump Smash. She is suing Google in a northern California court on behalf of herself and "all others similarly situated."

    Her main point of contention is that there is a 30-minute window after downloading an app, in which the user - regardless of who that user might be - can activate in-app purchases without a password. Obviously, because the Google Play Store keeps your credit card on file, this "window of opportunity" allows the children of parents to potentially grab their device and rack up a huge bill before the parent has a chance to stop it. The problem comes because some games are free apps (which don't need a password), yet Google's account setup registers this as a "purchase" which attaches the ability to use the stored credit card info for in-app purchases without any password restriction.

    Of course, the real wrinkle here is that this 30-minute window will exist only if the password check was previously disabled by the user, which had to have been done by the mom. Here's a quote with a few more details,

    As you can see, the password situation could probably use some tweaking by Google, but the issue is a relatively minor one. Furthermore, users themselves should probably pay more attention to what options they choose for their apps to balance personal convenience and security. In this instance, it seems that Imber-Gluck is using the court system to address a grievance which could have been handled in other ways. It also seems she is avoiding taking responsibility for her own action (or inaction).

    BTW... here's a link to the Google Play Store to check out the game for those interested: Google Play Store - Marvel Run Jump Smash ;)

    Source: AndroidPolice
  2. johnomaz
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    johnomaz Well-Known Member

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    Google has no liability here. They put into place that a password is required every time unless they turn that feature off. Its enabled on my phone because I have kids that use my phone. If she is so lazy she can't type in her password, its her own fault.
    9 people like this.
  3. pc747
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    pc747 DF Administrator Staff Member Rescue Squad

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    1) Where was the parent when the kid was making $65 worth of purchases?

    2) the money she is going to spend to sue Google over $65 is going to be more than the money spent. Learn from the mistake and either A) re-secure it where a password is required B) open up another checking account or get a prepaid card, a google play card or a google wallet card to attach to the account with a set limit that way you prevent the kid from running up your card. C) you do like my parents would have done and make the kid pay it back by doing chores and cutting grass. D) All the above.

    When are we going to take responsibility for our actions again. If the company was being negligent then I may have seen the plaintiffs point, but the blame goes to the plaintiff on this issue.
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  4. Hugh Jass
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    Hugh Jass Well-Known Member

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    Please super company, protect ourselves from ourselves!!!

    :blink:
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  5. FoxKat
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    FoxKat DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    Totally not Google's fault, and a frivolous lawsuit IMHO.

    Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
    2 people like this.
  6. kodiak799
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    kodiak799 Well-Known Member

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    I will not install a game that can't be reasonably completed without the aid of in-app purchases. It's kind of an evil development, in so far as the potential to be abused.
    2 people like this.
  7. CJM
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    CJM Developer Relations Staff Member Rescue Squad Premium Member

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    I don't recall reading that she tried to contact Google 1st to see if they could fix this. My son did the same thing on my wife's iphone. He racked up $66 on in-app purchases before she found out. She called itunes & had it straightened out in minutes. I can only imagine Google would've tried to help her out too.
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  8. pc747
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    pc747 DF Administrator Staff Member Rescue Squad

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    ^ looks like the plaintiff may have a valid point. Not saying she should win the suit but this may be something that Google needs to address in the future.
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  9. SquireSCA
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    SquireSCA Well-Known Member

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    Why any parent would let their kid on their phone is beyond me. Every time I see a friend or relative with a smashed phone or cracked screen, 9 out of 10 times the answer is, "My kid..."

    It's a $600 piece of delicate electronics. If you are too stupid to keep your kid off it, you deserve whatever happens...
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  10. johnomaz
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    johnomaz Well-Known Member

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    I let my kids use a drawing app in restaurants or play a game or two on the couch at home. Its not like they walk around with mine.
  11. Narsil
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    Narsil Active Member

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    Dear Ilana,


    [​IMG]
  12. jspradling7
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    jspradling7 Active Member

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    It's probably the "automated babysitter" syndrome. It's just something to keep the child occupied and not bothering them.
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  13. jroc
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    jroc Well-Known Member

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    Seems like the password request, 30 minute window needs to be tweaked.... Google might have to pay up.... Why have a password setting if it isnt activated until 30 minutes later?
  14. TheDig
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    TheDig New Member

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    If everything in the video is true it looks like: 1. Google is going to pay 2. This is a money grab by her, possibly saw the Apple case and how it played out 3. This sucks, now I will have to put my password in for every purchase rather than having a grace period where I remain logged in....all because some people aren't responsible or can't watch their kids.
  15. SquireSCA
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    SquireSCA Well-Known Member

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    And when one of your clumsy kids drops it because they have no concept of how much $600 costs, don't expect any sympathy...

    Get them someone else, something cheap to play with, not a fragile $600 pocket computer that you likely need for work. ;-)
  16. pc747
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    pc747 DF Administrator Staff Member Rescue Squad

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    When you have kids otter box is the first accessory you buy and install before leaving the store.

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk 2
  17. acousticshade
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    acousticshade New Member

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    That's a lot of work for a few bucks. Oh wait-I forgot the pain & suffering associated with losing $66.00! OH THE ANGUISH!!!
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  18. pc747
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    pc747 DF Administrator Staff Member Rescue Squad

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    I think this is just going to go away. Google will refund her the $70 bucks probably agree to split the cost of lawyer and court fees (if it went that far which I think it didnt if she got a smart lawyer he threatened Google with a letter and then shared the info to various media outlets to put pressure on Google), Google will update their play store to fix the issue (they did last night) and life will go on. Regardless of how we may feel Google have to take in account the feeling of the general public and you can bet there are parents who are not tech savy who saw that story and went into panic mode. Google's bread and butter is their play store in fact they almost treat it like Walmart as far as customer service (customer is always right). They want people to feel good about going there not just for apps but eventually music, movies and tv shows, and devices. If people get the creepies about a free app then it could keep them from buying anything else. Companies that stay in business long understands that you do not let a $5 decision (in the case a $70) keep you from making billions.

    So I do not see Google playing hard ball here. Apple on the other hand would have already spent that money and just have one of their techs give the sympathetic "I am sorry and wish there was something else I could do but it is beyond my control". But Apple being the larger and more lucrative store can do that.
    1 person likes this.
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