A local court has ruled that Google and parents are equally responsible for in-app transactions made by a child without parents knowing. This is the first time that the tech giant was held responsible for a child’s purchase of mobile game items, and the verdict may lead to similar lawsuits in the future.
The Suwon District Court said Friday that it ordered the South Korean unit of Google to “pay the plaintiff 909,000 won back.” “The defendant (Google) has a duty to take caution to verify the name of the cardholder and the person who made the transaction under a different name and to request credit card information when minors attempt to make transactions,” the court said in a statement. Still, the plaintiff was also held responsible for failing to monitor their son’s mobile purchases.
The plaintiff earlier bought their 10-year-old son mobile game items on Google Play in 2015. The purchase, worth around 25,000 won, was made through the son’s Google account and his mother’s credit card information was put in and saved in the in-app system.
The search engine’s system automatically saves credit card information, and allows users to buy items only with an ID and password after the first charge. The plaintiff’s son made unauthorized 25 in-app purchases, totaling 1.81 million won, without his mother knowing. The boy’s parents requested refunds to Google, but Google denied their request, and they decided to bring it to a court.
“The ruling holds great significance as it marks the first time that the judiciary saw that Google is liable for an issue with its current payment system,” said Lee Sang-wha, lawyer representing the parents.