In July 2015, a California woman filed a consumer fraud class action against Internet search giant Google, alleging that the company violated California law by refusing to redeem Google Play gift cards with balances of less than $10.

Google Play is a digital media store offered by Google that sells music, movies, TV shows, books, and magazines.

The Allegations

According to allegations brought by the lead plaintiff, Malynda Hernandez, consumers like herself who are left with low balances on their Google Play gift cards are forced to choose between using a credit card, rather than the gift card, to pay for the entire cost of an item, or buying an additional Google Play gift card that is worth more than the item they are looking to purchase.

According to the complaint, in 2006, consumers who bought Google Play gift cards lost 10 percent of their gift card balances because of unredeemed value on their cards, or loss or expiration of the cards. In response, California passed a law that guaranteed consumers the full value of any gift cards with values of less than $10.

Hernandez filed suit after she tried to redeem a Google Play gift card with a balance of $7.03, only to have her card refused by a Google representative under the card’s terms of service. According to Hernandez, every Google Play gift card will always end up with a balance that cannot be spent and that Google refuses to refund. In addition to refusing a refund, Google does not permit the remaining balance to be combined with another form of payment to make a purchase.

Google’s refusal to issue a refund violates the California law that specifically requires companies to allow customers to elect to receive a cash payout for any gift card with a balance less than $10, the complaint contends.

The proposed class would include any person who purchased, received, held, used, or redeemed a Google Play gift card since March 6, 2012.

The lawsuit asks that the court order Google to issue a refund of all unpaid balances on Google Play gift cards held by the class members. It additionally requests that the court require Google to change its Google Play policies going forward.

Consult an Experienced California Class Action Attorney

The prospect of taking on a giant corporation through a class action lawsuit can seem complicated and overwhelming. There are strict rules that govern which cases can be brought as class actions and who qualifies as a class member. An experienced class action attorney can explain the process and in detail and will ensure that all the necessary requirements are met.

At McCuneWright, LLP, we have extensive experience representing plaintiffs in a wide variety of class action cases, including consumer fraud, personal injury, product liability, and wrongful termination. With over twenty-five years experience handling class actions, our dedicated attorneys are here to guide you through the class action process. If you or a loved has questions about whether a class action is the right approach in your situation, contact us today for a free consultation.