Parents have a lot of worries when it comes to their kids. Will little Timmy make it into a top college? Will Jamie make the team? Will you ever get a refund for the $3,000 your smaller child blew on in-app purchases using your smartphone or tablet?
While the third example probably isn’t as important as the first two, it can still be a bit of an unwelcome surprise when you’ve learned that your kid has just maxed out your credit card on to buy some stupid shiny items in latest, big mobile game fad.
For Facebook users, there’s a bit of relief on the way. As The Guardian reports, parents who found themselves with hefty bills after their kids made in-app purchases — mainly via the now-defunct Facebook Credits — can now request a refund from Facebook.
The news comes as part of a settlement for a class-action lawsuit brought against the social network in February 2012, and covers those who made any kind of purchase through their Facebook accounts between February 2008 and March 2015.
Facebook maintained that it did nothing wrong, as those purchasing digital currency received what they paid for. But California’s Family Code stipulates that minors can void contracts they make at any point when they’re under 18 years of age. In other words, the legislation is designed to prevent other entities from preying on minors who don’t otherwise understand the ramifications of their actions — like tapping repeatedly on an in-app item to acquire it.
If you want a refund, you can make your case via Facebook’s standard Payments Support, which should indicate recent purchases you (or someone acting as you) has made. The Guardian says the social network is also considering other ways to nofity members about the refunds.
In 2014, Google agreed to refund up to $19 million to customers whose children accidentally racked up in-app purchase charges via their Android devices. It later removed the word “free” from any app that included in-app purchases.
Apple followed suit two months later, replacing “Free” with “Get” in its App Store. It also had to refund at least $32.5 million to customers in an FTC settlement over unauthorized in-app purchases made my children.