Parents drag Facebook to court over kids' online purchases

New York: Social networking site Facebook is up against a class-action lawsuit over kids making purchases without parental permission.

The site faced the lawsuit over its refusal to provide refunds when children spend money on the site without the permission of their parents, CNET reported.

Facebook will find itself in the court later this year defending itself.

US District Judge Beth Labson Freeman in San Jose, California, ruled that the company must face a nationwide class-action lawsuit that aims to force it to provide refunds when kids spend money on the site without their parents permission.

Estimated to number in hundreds of thousands, the plaintiffs contend that Facebook violated California law by citing its "all sales are final" policy in denying the refunds.

This issue of children buying stuff online without the permission of their parents is a dicey one that has cost other tech companies a fair amount of money.

In January 2014, Apple was forced to refund at least $32.5 million in a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over the ability of children to make in-app purchases without parental consent.

Last September, Google was ordered to shell out $19 million in refunds over the same issue, while in July, the FTC sued Amazon over unauthorized in-app charges made by children.

Given the outcome of these past cases, Facebook is likely to face a tough challenge in court and may end up having to settle the suit and refund the purchases.

The lawsuit contends that the company allowed children to use their parents credit cards to buy Facebook Credits, a virtual currency that has since been done away with in favour of Facebook Payments.

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