Saturday, 21 March 2015

Don’t Worry, The State Will Parent Your Children For You!

A US federal judge said Facebook Inc must face a nationwide class-action lawsuit seeking to force the social media company to provide refunds when children spend their parents’ money on its website without permission.
I’m tempted to say ‘Only in the land of fruits and nuts…’ (California) but honestly, can you really not see this happening here too?
The April 2012 lawsuit said Facebook let children use their parents’ credit and debit cards to buy the virtual currency Facebook Credits…
Wrong! The parents let their children use them, or in some cases, didn’t safeguard their cards and had them stolen by their precious little cherubs.
The lawsuit was brought by two children and their parents.
One child said his mother let him spend $20 on her credit card toward the game “Ninja Saga,” but was later charged several hundred dollars for purchases he thought he made with “virtual, in-game currency.”
I’ll try that in Ladbrokes, shall I? “Wait, you don’t understand, I thought I was putting my life savings on a winner, not the one that fell at the first fence!”
The other said he took a debit card from his parents without permission and spent $1,059.
And…that’s hardly the fault of Facebook, is it?

Declare your child a thief, get the US equivalent of a crime number and then the bank might refund you. But don’t seek to blame a third party for your carelessness or the disobedience of your offspring.

I have little hope that this will be thrown out by an increasingly risk-averse US government. So remember, in a year’s time, when you are struggling to navigate the labyrinthine systems set up to purchase something online (which used to be a simple ‘sign in and click’ process), the reason you are having to jump through all those hoops is because some people are hopeless parents, and have persuaded the State that somehow, that’s not their fault.


selsey.steve said...

The credit/debit card providers should just say "No" to any claims where parental laxity has enabled a child to use an adult's card.
That'll stop it tout suite methinks.

Anonymous said...

I don't normally side with parents in these cases but a lot of these sites seem to work on the assumption that kids will be using their parents cards. It's often a case of buying a kid an app then the card being on file for future purchases. It wouldn't seem that difficult to use a 'verified by visa' type password for each individual transaction to make sure a parent had to authorise each purchase.

JuliaM said...

"The credit/debit card providers should just say "No" .."

They should. But sadly, they often do give in when a parent has a strop in the pages of a local newspaper.

Thus making a rod for their own backs.

"It's often a case of buying a kid an app then the card being on file for future purchases."

Every single game I've played makes it quite clear you are buying things with real money, with a 'Are you sure you want to purchase XXX with £££..?' notification.

How about parents teach their kids to read?