March 08, 2024

Does California's Right for Minors to Disaffirm “Contracts” Apply to Online Purchases?

Bloomberg Law

Business litigation partner Jeff Jacobson authored an article for Bloomberg Law that discusses California Family Code § 6710 and how it applies to a minor’s everyday retail transactions. The law provides that, with certain exceptions, “a contract of a minor may be disaffirmed by the minor before majority or within a reasonable time afterwards,” and it codified a common law doctrine that the California Supreme Court recognized in 1864 and that exists as a statutory right or common law privilege for minors nationwide, in one form or another.

Jacobson discusses three prominent cases – Apple, Google and Facebook – which were all settled. Even if one assumes that a minor can disaffirm online terms of service to which that they personally agreed (rather than their parents), the premise that individual retail purchases from an online marketplace are separate “contracts” that minors can disaffirm had no precedential support, and the courts did not cite any. Conceptually, there would seem to be no difference between a minor’s hitting a “purchase” button in an online game and a minor’s putting quarters in a physical video game or buying blind-item goods at a physical store, which had never been thought subject to the principle of disaffirmance.

The full article is available to Bloomberg Law subscribers.

Full Article

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