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Sunday, March 3, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Android Users Want App Store Quality Control

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Google fails to test Android phone programs for its online store, and then will not refund customers who purchase defective apps, a federal class claims.

Lead plaintiffs Dodd Harris and Stephen Sabatino say that misconduct in the Google Play Store, formerly known as Google Android Market, amounts to unfair and fraudulent business practices. They want damages and an injunction.

"Defendant engaged in deceptive and unfair practices by misleading purchasers of the applications into believing that all of the applications available for purchase in the Google Play Store controlled by defendant were in working order, were compatible with all Android phones, and functioned as represented," the complaint states.

"Defendant controls the Google Play Store, the software for which comes preinstalled on Android phones, and retains a substantial portion (30 percent) of the revenue from the sale of each application as a transaction fee," the class says. "To the detriment of application purchasers, defendant maintained no quality control, safety parameters or regulations concerning the sale of applications in the Google Play Store."

Harris says that he paid $4.83 in the store for a "worthless" application to learn Chinese. Sabatino claims he spent $4.99 on a defective BitTorrent client.

"In contrast," the Apple iTunes App Store for the iPhone and the Amazon Appstore for Android both test the functionality of the applications they sell, the class says.

"Based upon Google's control over the Google Play Store, and Google's reputation as a leader in the technology industry, purchasers of applications believed they were downloading safe and secure software from Google that would function on their Android phones as represented," according to the complaint. "In fact, many applications do not function at all or do not function as represented in the Google Play Store. Although Google is aware that it is selling many applications which do not function as represented, once a consumer purchases an application from the Google Play Store, it is almost impossible to return the application for a refund."

The plaintiffs are represented by Jeffrey Berns with Berns Weiss of Woodland Hills, Calif. They filed suit for breach of implied warranty of merchantability, and unfair and fraudulent business practices.

Google and Does 1-100 are named as defendants.

Berns Weiss did not immediately respond to a request for an interview. A Google spokesperson declined to comment.

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