US Class Action over Children’s Online Facebook Purchases

April 21, 2015 - Facebook, Inc. faces a nationwide class action lawsuit that seeks refunds for purchases children made on Facebook social media company’s website without parental permission. San Jose, California’s U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman said plaintiffs numbering in the hundreds of thousands should press their claim against Facebook to change their online policy regarding purchases by minors.

The judge also stated that plaintiffs would need to seek individual refunds because any refunds would differ for each case making it impossible to seek group compensation/refunds under U.S. Supreme Court precedent. A trial date was set for October 19th.

Facebook responded to the lawsuit stating that they think the case lacks merit. They will be defending themselves wholeheartedly.

According to details outlined in the 2012 lawsuit against Facebook, the social media site allows minors to use their parents’ credit cards to purchase Facebook Credits (online, virtual currency). When parents complained about the purchases made without their permission, Facebook declined their requests for refunds pointing towards their “all sales are final” policy. The suit claims that this response violates California law. Judge Freeman stated that state law offers protection for parents as children sometimes have a lack of judgment when it comes to purchases. Facebook responds that plaintiff claims are too disparate – that they won’t be addressed by an injunction.

The Facebook Credits previously mentioned were discontinued in 2013. The new system in place is called Facebook Payments. The lawsuit was brought by a set of parents and their children. Many wait to see how the case will end and wonder if there will be a possibility that it will set a precedent regarding the treatment of “minor” members of social media sites.

For additional information on becoming a class member or what warrants a class action lawsuit, contact the experts at southern California’s Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.