Zynga Sued Over Deceptive Advertising

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Zynga Sued Over Deceptive Advertising

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Zynga, the game development company best known for social games like Farmville and Mafia Wars on Facebook, has been targeted by a class action lawsuit over allegations of misleading advertising.

Both Zynga and Facebook itself are named in the suit, which is seeking roughly $5 million in damages for their use of "false and misleading special offers" which have helped generate "enormous" profits over the past four years. The ads in question promise free in-game currency or items to players but in fact end up costing them hefty charges through cellphone subscription services or mail order products.

The plaintiff in this case, Rebecca Swift, first provided her cellphone number to a Zynga advertiser in April so she could be sent a code for "Yocash," the currency used in the Zynga game Yoville. She claims that while she wasn't told that there would be any charges applied to her account, she was billed $9.99 four separate times, beginning in April, "without her knowledge or consent." Then in June she answered an advertisement for a "risk-free Green Tea Purity trial" while playing the same game, providing the advertiser her debit card number and agreeing to a $5.95 shipping charge. However, although she was informed that she could cancel the trial anytime within 15 days, her attempts to cancel apparently failed; she was ultimately charged over $165 for two shipments of green tea pills and tea bags which she has thus far been unable to recover.

"Most, if not all, of the online advertisements presented through Zynga are scams. The advertisements are highly misleading and often result in users subscribing to goods or services they do not want or need," the suit says. "Consumers who attempt to cancel services or obtain refunds are then met with roadblocks designed to thwart cancellation and/or refunds or otherwise 'save' the customer."

Allegations of impropriety in so-called "lead gen" offers were first raised by Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, who alleged that the ads were "completely unethical" and tricked consumers with false promises. Offerpal CEO Anu Shukla's spirited defense of the ethics of her business at the Virtual Goods Summit in San Francisco was met with cheers from the audience but less than a month later it's hard to argue that Arrington wasn't on to something - a point bolstered by a video clip of Zynga CEO Mark Pincus admitting, as Allen Varney noted in the article "An Offer You Can't Refuse" in last week's issue of The Escapist, that he did "every horrible thing in the book" to generate quick revenues for his company.

Source: GamesIndustry

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Damn. In that case, they deserve to get sued.

One thinks that the phrase "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me" is very applicable in this situation. To be honest, she doesn't a penny for doing it twice. In fact, she doesn't deserve anything, because I'm sure the $9.99 charge was in the small print, maybe she should have read it

I always knew FarmVille was evil...turns out I was right.

Quadtrix:
Damn. In that case, they deserve to get sued.

This, just because these people are bit dim doesnt mean they should be taken advantage of

DAYM STRAIGHT HOMIE

Sue their asses off. They got me with that cellphone bullshit.

As long a Zynga burns I don't care. Farmville is about as fun as spreadsheet software.

Pipotchi:

Quadtrix:
Damn. In that case, they deserve to get sued.

This, just because these people are bit dim doesnt mean they should be taken advantage of

At first the stuff was free then they started charging. (it was actually free for the first few months of the program being out)

Pincus had to know that basically admitting to scamming the shit out of people would bite him in the ass sooner or later.

AgentChunk:
As long a Zynga burns I don't care. Farmville is about as fun as spreadsheet software.

I like Mafia Wars though

but if they bomb out and go broke i wont shed a tear

5 million is nothing to a company their size

"A fool and his money are soon parted through the Internet." Someone needs to talk to these people about online scams and research...

Farmville is like wow for casual-tards, it soaks up lives.

If you're dumb enough to give out your cellphone number and card numbers for Yocash in Yoville (are you kidding me) you deserve to be taken advantage of, because money was dangerous in your hands to begin with. As Maddox once put it "how do you dumbasses manage to breathe?"

bbch:
If you're dumb enough to give out your cellphone number and card numbers for Yocash in Yoville (are you kidding me) you deserve to be taken advantage of, because money was dangerous in your hands to begin with. As Maddox once put it "how do you dumbasses manage to breathe?"

Totally Agree
OT: i hoping that Zynga wins because frankly she should have known better

I knew the shit was a scam the first time I looked at it. I hope the lawsuit is successful, but people are so flippin' gullible.

ahhh... the eye for an eye attitude shows its true form on this site. The fact of the matter is, these scams are VERY difficult to tell from surveys and quizzes, and if you think some one is a moron for missing some horribly worded charge contract hidden between 5 paragraphs, you really are arrogant.

Class Action Lawlsuit.

razer17:
One thinks that the phrase "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me" is very applicable in this situation. To be honest, she doesn't a penny for doing it twice. In fact, she doesn't deserve anything, because I'm sure the $9.99 charge was in the small print, maybe she should have read it

Mmm I'm thinking the same. This whole thing reeks of scapegoating from ignorance.

Seriously she already lost this case. She gave away her cell phone number. Giving that away to an advertisement company is like signing a contract to accept Premium text messages that cost surprisingly high for their worth. And then she is dumb enough to give her credit card number away too? Thats just saying, "I know nothing about the advertisement industry." Giving your credit card number is the equivalent to signing your life off.

Nothing is for free...so for the sake of stupidity she deserves it but for fine-printing the "we will charge you enormous amounts of money for accepting this offer" clause they deserve a studded belt across the ass and be ordered to repay the funds

razer17:
One thinks that the phrase "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me" is very applicable in this situation. To be honest, she doesn't a penny for doing it twice. In fact, she doesn't deserve anything, because I'm sure the $9.99 charge was in the small print, maybe she should have read it

I agree.
She has the right to be angry about this, but she really needs to wake up.
While scams can be unethical you really need to read the fine print.

She wouldn't probably had a case but that moron went and admitted to it. Pride comes before the fall.

She should be angry for being scammed, anyone would. However if she's clicking on advert pop-ups and giving away card details to anyone on the internet that isn't a bank or a reputable company then I'm afraid she's a fucking idiot.
Her winning wont stop the scammers, they'l just find new ways, perhaps if she loses it could have more effect?

AgentChunk:
As long a Zynga burns I don't care. Farmville is about as fun as spreadsheet software.

That's an insult to spreadsheets. At least I can scare my friends with spreadsheets.

A simple fix would be to to put a note when you open the game that says "Every link is a virus."

yes the idiots are taking over. It's easy to see how people get duped with fine print etc, but no matter how many times you warn or say don't do it, you cannot stop stupidity. How many people still get done with the nigerian scam, where the deposed kings son writes you a letter and all you have to do is send $10,000 to help release $10 million and they'll give you 5% of it.
I remember hearing a story about a software company to prove that no one reads the terms and conditions included a condition that by agreeing to it that your house and possesions would belong to the company, i can't remember if after a month or two they just came clean and said this is what you've agreed to or someone actually read it and discovered it. Either way the company didn't enforce it and gave them a new terms and conditions agreement as it was only there to prove that people don't read the fine print.

Wow I'm seriously amazed at how callous most of you are being.

Just because you wouldn't fall for it because you're so web savvy, that doesn't mean no one will.

And even if a scam is not particular deceptive, doesn't make it any better.

Don't you think that being billed for receiving something that's called 'free cash' is a scam? Or a 'risk-free trial' where you are eventually billed $165?

Imagine if it were your mom or kid who when promised something believes it and doesn't see the likelyness of it being a scam?

Anything that takes a chunk out of companies like Zynga is fine by me. Its for reasons like this I don't bother with Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, or whatever the hell the next big social interweb trend will be. I tried Facebook once but got tired of seeing that some random friend sent me a pumpkin seed or tomato plant or a request to join "their gang" or some other kind of garbage from these worthless games.

I knew something like this would come up after he admitted he was doing such things...

I'm sorry, but I'm having trouble feeling sorry for that woman. Who in their right mind actually clicks on Internet advertisements? At least 70% of them are scams if not more.

Reuq:
Farmville is like wow for casual-tards, it soaks up lives.

Dude... WoW is WoW for casual-tards.

If you're dumb enough to fall for those dodgy-ass scams then you deserve to be swindled.

Fair's Fair.

razer17:
One thinks that the phrase "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me" is very applicable in this situation.

I thought the phrase sounded like this :
There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on - [pauses] - shame on you. Fool me - You can't get fooled again.

Damn them! They're so evil! I will boycott them!

Right after I check how my ponies are doing

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