OAKLAND — A federal judge has brought back a class action Fortnite developer Epic Games, alleging the Cary-based game developer lures kids into making impulsive in-app buys with no “get-out” clause.

A California boy learned this hard lesson after opening a Fortnite account in 2018, the Courthouse News Service reported this week.

The minor is identified as C.W., and he used Fortnite’s virtual currency “V-bucks” to buy some nonrefundable items he claims he didn’t know at the time were nonrefundable.

His mother Rebecca White filed a class action against Epic Games in 2019 on his behalf, saying the company violates California law by exploiting children’s ignorance about the relationship of in-game currency to actual money.

C.W.’s amended complaint says that he also used his mother’s credit card.

In January, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers tossed much of the case. However, she has kept alive one claim that under California law, C.W. has a right as a minor to deny responsibility for a contract.

In her latest order, Gonzalez Rogers said she found no reason to reconsider.

“In sum, instead of simply stating that no notice was given, which was contradicted by one of the screenshots in in the initial complaint, plaintiffs now allege in greater detail that the manner in which defendant made or failed to make representations about refundability was confusing, inconspicuous, inadequate, and designed to induce frequent in-App purchases, which it did by virtue of C.W.’s age, the nature of the Fortnite ecosystem, and the lack of parental controls,” she was quoted as saying.

“Taking plaintiffs’ allegations as true, they suffice to state a claim that defendant made material misrepresentations or omissions on which C.W. justifiably relied to his own detriment.”

More legal woes

This isn’t the only legal battle Epic is facing.

In a role reversal, it is waging an antitrust case against Apple and Google over mandatory fees charged by their respective app stores.

On Monday, the same judge in the class-action lawsuit, Gonzalez Rogers, presided over this case recommending that it be tried by a jury. It could be heard as soon as July 2021, reported CNET.

The legal war erupted on Aug. 13 when Epic released a new payment system that skirts giving Apple and Google a 30 percent cut of the sales.

Epic Games is now offering the “Fornite Mega Drop” — a permanent 20 percent discount on V-Bucks, the in-game currency used in “Fortnite.” However, it only works if players paid Epic Games directly rather than using Apple or Google’s payment systems.

This broke rules applied by both stores.

Google and Apple subsequently banned “Fortnite” from its app stores.

Epic is now suing Google and Apple over the ban, while Apple has filed a countersuit.

Trial by jury? Judge says Apple-Epic legal battle should be decided by the people