Kids use their parents credit card on Facebook and rack up unauthorized debts. Users’-parents file for a class action, to absolve those debts. In particular, regarding credits purchased for the game “Ninja Saga”
No. C 12-1894 CW
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
Decided, October 25, 2012 by Opinion of Judge Claudia Wilken
Below are the facts from the Opinion (citations to complaint removed):
Facebook operates the largest online social network in the world and provides a payment system, Facebook Credits, for users to make purchases within the Facebook website. Facebook permits minors to register on its website and use its service
In October 2011, Plaintiff I.B., a minor, asked his mother, Plaintiff Glynnis Bohannon, for permission to spend twenty dollars on his Facebook account using Bohannon’s Wells Fargo Master Card, in exchange for twenty dollars in cash I.B. purchased Facebook Credits from Facebook for use in “Ninja Saga.” Subsequently, without any notice that his mother’s credit card information had been stored by Facebook and the Facebook Credits system, or that his mother’s credit card information was being used again after the initial twenty dollar purchase, I.B. made in-game purchases for which he thought he was spending virtual, in-game currency. As a result, Bohannon’s credit card was charged repeatedly and without her consent, and the charges totaled several hundred dollars. Upon discovering the transactions, Bohannon tried to obtain a refund from Facebook by leaving a phone message at a phone number listed for Facebook but received no response.
This opinion is on motions to dismiss,
Facebook moves to dismiss the 2AC for failure to state a claim and to strike the class allegations. Plaintiffs oppose the motions.
As to requests for Judicial notice:
Facebook asks the Court to take judicial notice of screen shots of webpages from Facebook’s website on the grounds that they were specifically referred to in the 2AC or illustrate the allegations in the amended complaint. These include Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, Payment Terms, Help Center pages and payment screens in the game Ninja Saga. Plaintiffs object to these exhibits. Facebook’s manager of Payment Operations, Bill Richardson, provides a supporting declaration concerning the public availability of these webpages. However, Mr. Richardson states that the screen shots were viewed and printed between April 13, 2012 and May 10, 2012, and his declaration does not indicate whether these webpages were in effect or available at the time of the events alleged in the 2AC. Richardson Decl. at 2-4 nn.1-6. In support of Facebook’s reply, Mr. Richardson states that Facebook did not “materially alter” the Ninja Saga payment pages between October 2011 and May 2012. Suppl. Richardson Decl. 3. However, whether the minor Plaintiffs I.B. and J.W. would have viewed these particular payment pages is subject to reasonable dispute. Facebook’s request for judicial notice is therefore denied. See In re Easysaver Rewards Litig., 737 F. Supp. 2d 1159, 1168 (S.D. Cal. 2010) (denying request for judicial notice where “[t]he Court finds that whether these are the webpages Plaintiffs would have viewed during their online transactions is subject to ‘reasonable dispute.'”) (citing Fed. R. Evid. 201).
Then discussing applicable law regarding minors in contracts, subheadings: “2. Contracts Voidable Under Family Code Section 6710” and “a. Minors May Disaffirm Contracts Even After Receiving Benefits”:
Facebook contends that minor Plaintiff I.B. cannot disaffirm his contract because he has already received the full benefit of the Facebook Credits that he purchased by using the Credits to make in-game purchases in “Ninja Saga.”
Facebook contends that the ruling in E.K.D. on the enforceability of the forum selection clause is directly applicable here because minor Plaintiff I.B. has already accepted the benefits of the contract to purchase Facebook Credits, as demonstrated by his concession that he used the Credits to make “in-game purchases” in the Ninja Saga game. Mot. at 10-11 (citing 2AC 25). Although Plaintiffs do not allege what Plaintiff J.W. did with the Credits that he purchased, Facebook infers that he also spent the Credits online and argues that allowing the minor Plaintiffs to disaffirm their contracts would result in “an unfair windfall to the minor.”
The court goes on to address claims of violations of Electronic Fund Transfer Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1693 et seq. (EFTA) to which
Facebook contends that it is not a “financial institution”
Plaintiffs do not contend that Facebook is a financial institution but rather assert a claim under HN22Go to this Headnote in the case.15 U.S.C. § 1693m, which provides for civil liability against persons other than financial institutions.”
Plaintiffs do not sufficiently allege which provision of the EFTA has been violated … motion to dismiss the EFTA claim is granted with leave to amend
Then the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, California’s Unfair Competition Law and the Money Transmission Act.
In conclusion a mixed decision of dismissals, some with leave to amend, and some denied. The claims under the California Family Code remain.