Roblox is being sued for allegedly scamming kids by selling in-game items, then deleting with no refunds
- Roblox is being accused in a lawsuit of removing in-game items that customers bought and not issuing refunds.
- A Michigan girl and her father sued after the digital pajamas and jeans she bought were deleted from her inventory.
- Digital accessories can be bought on Roblox's Avatar Shop, where the company takes a 30% cut.
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Popular gaming platform Roblox is being accused of ripping off children by deleting items they bought from its in-game Avatar Shop without providing refunds.
A class-action lawsuit was filed by Michigan dad John Dennis and his daughter, known anonymously as Jane Doe, on May 25. It alleged that the Roblox gaming platform is providing "sham content moderation" by deleting items it sold, then refusing to refund users after the items are removed from inventories.
Roblox is not just one game - it is a collection of 18 million games called "experiences" that are created by independent developers. It was recently listed on the New York Stock Exchange, where it debuted at a $44 billion direct listing.
According to the court filing seen by Insider, Doe bought 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.
Bloomberg reported that the company earns a 30% commission on third-party sales, which can include anything from outfits to themed accessories. The company removes items that violate its content moderation policies, which span from restrictions on the use of a copyrighted logo to regulations on posting explicit images.
The lawsuit accuses the Roblox platform of deleting the items Doe bought from her inventory - which her attorney says did not contain offensive or trademarked content - without providing a refund. The items were de-listed, the lawsuit says, from Doe's inventory without explanation.
Lily Hough, one of the attorneys representing Dennis and his daughter, called Roblox's content moderation process "a cover for its attempt to generate additional revenue from its users - which are predominantly children."
"(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," Hough wrote in the court filing.
"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," the filing also read.
Roblox's refund policy appears to not be standardized across all purchases.
"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," said Roblox on the support section of its website.
Roblox did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider on its content moderation and refund process. However, the company's prospectus does indicate that "content submitted by developers and creators, including images, models, meshes, and audio, goes through a multi-step review process before appearing on the platform."
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