Roblox is at the center of a lawsuit alleging it ripped off children “by deleting items they bought from its in-game Avatar Shop without providing refunds.”
Roblox, a popular gaming platform, was recently hit with a lawsuit over accusations that it ripped off children “by deleting items they bought from its in-game Avatar Shop without providing refunds.” The suit was filed by John Dennis, a dad in Michigan, and his daughter, who is referred to as Jane Doe in the suit. It was filed May 25 and claimed Roblox “is providing sham content moderation by deleting items it sold, then refusing to refund users after the items are removed from inventories.”
It’s important to note, Roblox isn’t only one game. Rather, it’s a platform for “18 million games called experiences that are created by independent developers.” It recently debuted on the New York Stock Exchange at a $44 billion direct listing. On any given day, the platform gets about 32.6 users, many of which are under 16 years old.
According to the lawsuit, Doe purchased “digital pajamas and jeans from the Avatar Shop using Robux, an in-game currency…Players can buy Robux at the rates of 400 Robux for $4.99, and 10,000 Robux for $99.99.” However, Doe claims the platform deleted her items, “which her attorney says did not contain offensive or trademarked content — without providing a refund.” Her items were then delisted from her inventory without a heads-up or explanation.
Lily Hough is one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs. When commenting on the matter, she said Roblox’s content moderation process is a “cover for its attempt to generate additional revenue from its users — which are predominantly children.” She added:
“(The company’s) decision to sell first and ‘moderate’ later has (an) obvious monetary benefit for Roblox. By the time defendant has deleted items from the Avatar Shop and users’ inventories, it has already taken its 30% commission from the sale.”
“The result is a win-win for Roblox. Removing content that may on its face violate the platform’s policies earns Roblox the appearance of content moderation while dovetailing with Roblox’s financial interests. The scheme allows Roblox to deflect blame for deleting users’ content without issuing refunds, forcing users to make new purchases to replace their in-game experience.”
Another important thing to note is the platform’s refund policy is not standardized. Under the support section of the website, Roblox states:
“Whenever possible, we work with parents and customers directly as part of our permissive refund policy to provide a refund for unauthorized purchases. However, some third-party payment processors require refunds to go through their support services and Roblox is unable to refund charges for those providers.”