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Entering into a Contract with a Minor

Posted Fri January 15, 2010 1:21 pm, by Terri F. written to EMusic.com

Write a Letter to this Company

My underage daughter entered into a contract with emusic.com.

This is copied from the home page of your website, emusic.com "Offer only available to first-time eMusic customers only who are located in the US and are 18 years of age or older."

Your customer service representatives in the Phillippines told me the following:
They are instructed to tell customers that the supervisors are always in a meeting.

There is a strict no refund policy.

When asked who is in charge, in the building in which they are located, I was told "We don't have that information."

When asked for the phone number of the corporate offices, I was again told " We don't have that information."

When I asked who they call when there is a problem, I was told that they only communicate with the corporate offices through email.

I was also told that emusic.com operates under the laws of the State of New York. According to the laws of the State of New York, a minor cannot enter into a contract.

After looking at your website today for the first time, it appears to me you have it set up in such a way that it is easy to deceive people.

Return the $30.99 you charged me for the contract you entered into illegally with my minor child.


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by andrea f. Posted Wed January 27, 2010 @ 6:19 PM

What steps should they take to verify people are 18 and over? What
could have prevented your daughter from entering this contract and how
is it due to negligence on their part? How do you feel they need to
do more to ensure their customers are actually 18?
If they discountinued online sales completely (which is totally
unrealistic and absurd), your daughter probably would have phoned them
and lied over the phone too.


by dulynoted (aka duttycalls) Posted Sun January 24, 2010 @ 6:29 PM

Why are you making your daughter the innocnet in all this? Why are
you not punishing her for lying about her age and signing up for a
service she has no business doing so with unless she asked you first?
Seems that she was the one who lied to sign up for these services...so
where is her culpability in all this?

by sarahsmile Posted Fri January 22, 2010 @ 12:18 PM

Please come back and explain to us all how this is emusic's fault.
Your daughter lied every step of the way on that site.


by Samantha C. Posted Fri January 22, 2010 @ 4:01 AM

Your daughter stole your credit card, lied to the company, ran up
charges, and now you want them to take responsibilty because you
cannot accept the fact that your daughter lied and stole. Your
daughter is the one responsible and you should be holding her
accountable, not the company. If anything, the company could come
after her for fraud for fraudulent use of a credit card and fraud for
claiming she was 18 when she was not, but they probably won't.

by hussyinterrupted Posted Mon January 18, 2010 @ 1:04 PM

I was in my tweens during that whole phone psychic-madame cleo phase
of the early 90's. I remember my friends and I being bored oen night
and kept calling the number from my parents house phone. We ran the
phone bill up pretty high. When my mom found out she flipped her lid!
She didn't blame the phone company, the "physics" or the commercials
though. She blamed me! She made me work off every red cent of the
bill. No allowance, no new anything, extra chores, and she even made
me miss practice a couple of times to do housework until I worked off
the entire bill. Boy did I learn my lesson.


Didn't you read. Personal Responsiblity died a couple of years ago. by waterbury01&02 Mon January 18, 2010 @ 2:01 PM

waterbury by PepperElf Mon January 18, 2010 @ 9:11 PM

by RedheadwGlasses Posted Sun January 17, 2010 @ 8:11 PM

One possible solution: Contact your credit card issuer and dispute
the charge. Not sure how that would play out vis a vis the CC company
and your kid, but it's an option.


Wouldn't it make sense by Donno Sun January 17, 2010 @ 10:08 PM

that might not work by PepperElf Mon January 18, 2010 @ 10:31 AM

by RedheadwGlasses Posted Sun January 17, 2010 @ 8:04 PM

I can't even *imagine* using my parents' credit card without their
knowledge and approval.

Not for a single moment.


Agree by LadyMac Mon January 18, 2010 @ 12:47 PM

Me too. by Just Simply Bella Sera Tue January 19, 2010 @ 11:59 AM

Not quite by Sarah Valentine Thu February 4, 2010 @ 6:04 PM

Reminds me of a time... by Chadg Mon January 18, 2010 @ 6:51 PM

No kidding! I'd be exactly the same way! by RedheadwGlasses Tue January 19, 2010 @ 1:03 PM

by Teresa B. Posted Sun January 17, 2010 @ 3:14 PM

Emusic is not a fault here, your daughter is. Make her work off the
money doing chores or community service.


by Harleycat Posted Sun January 17, 2010 @ 2:32 PM

In NYS a minor can enter into a contract but that contract is voidable
at the minor's (not parent's) request.


Then by Donno Sun January 17, 2010 @ 4:25 PM

by memnochthdevil Posted Sun January 17, 2010 @ 11:55 AM

I agree w/the other comments. It was not emusics fault.. it was the
daughter making a bad decision..& now Mom wants to put the blame where
the blame doesn't belong. I feel that is a lot of the problems now a
days... no parental responsibility. My son received a card from emusic
in his GameInformer where he could get free 25 songs..but a credit
card is required. I said no because if a credit card is required...he
or I might not remember to cancel the subscription. He asked..that
was the right thing to do. If he had just grabbed up a card and sat
down on his own & opened an account...it would not be a fun time for
the boy. He is 13 & knew better than to go & do it w/ out asking. I
also never trust anything that says "free but credit card required".
If it's free... why need a card?


Credit Card required by Ginger2.0 Wed January 20, 2010 @ 12:40 PM
by Anonymous A. Posted Sun January 17, 2010 @ 5:28 AM

Your daughter was the one who took it upon herself purchased the
music, that was not the fault of the company.They didn't force her
into any contract as a minor- it seems like she clicked the button to
say she was an adult. How are they supposed to know how old she really
is? She sounds old enough to know better than to click the "18 years
or older" button. Sorry, you are not entitled to a refund.

by gb Posted Sat January 16, 2010 @ 8:44 PM

Wow, my parents would have never asked emusic.com to refund the money
they would made me pay them back,locked the computer up (not that we
had those when I was a kid LOL)and grounded me forever. Today's
parents just make excused for their childrens bad behaviour and then
we wonder why society is the way it is.


LOL - as I was reading this letter by fairywithfangs Sun January 17, 2010 @ 11:14 AM

by olie Posted Sat January 16, 2010 @ 8:16 PM

You should make sure that your daughter knows that she is very, very,
very lucky to get out of this owing you only $30.99 plus whatever
penalty you would like to charge her.

I looked at the website, too. I first looked around for the Terms of
Service, which clearly state that if you're under 18, you need to quit

Then I began the signup process. I did read the fine print before I
got too far, and I did click on the link for the Terms of Service(or
Terms and Conditions--I didn't complete the signup and I went back to
my homepage.) You have to agree to the terms!

Also, you need a credit card or debit card. Where did your daughter
get one?

You don't mention how "underage" your daughter is.

emusic.com believed your daughter when she said she was 18 or older.
Now you want them to believe that she's not. Who are they supposed to

Another question. Did she download $30.99 of music? If so, she owes
the money to someone. Since emusic.com already has the money--she
owes you.

The website makes it look easy to cancel. Do that immediately, and
then get your money back from your daughter.

by Knight Posted Sat January 16, 2010 @ 7:11 PM

Should you daughter be charged with stealing and using your credit


by Just Simply Bella Sera Posted Sat January 16, 2010 @ 3:16 PM

I agree they need to cancel the contract. And I would even say you
should get a refund since yes, they did enter into a contract with a
minor which then makes the contract void.

However, I'm wondering how the website is set up to deceive people
when they make it clear you need to be at least 18 to order the
service and the charges are clearly stated when you go through the
process. It doesn't sound like they were the ones being deceptive


by RowdyRetailer Posted Sat January 16, 2010 @ 12:00 PM

Ah the joys of credit cards

Good Day


Are we to blame credit cards by Donno Sat January 16, 2010 @ 12:58 PM

And it looks like the child used the parent's card by Donno Sat January 16, 2010 @ 1:02 PM

My point by RowdyRetailer Sun January 17, 2010 @ 9:16 AM

So then the cash could be stolen by fairywithfangs Sun January 17, 2010 @ 4:39 PM
by Kelshir Posted Sat January 16, 2010 @ 11:44 AM

You could "probably" get a refund through your credit card company,
but you would have to file a police report for fraud against your
underage daughter and have her arrested.

In the end, you are responsible for keeping your credit cards away
from your kids and monitoring your internet.


by Donno Posted Sat January 16, 2010 @ 10:31 AM

I love this letter - especially the first sentence.


by Lisa H. Posted Sat January 16, 2010 @ 9:58 AM

I'm with the others who said that your issue is with your daughter.
Unless she's too young to understand what she did, which would be
about 3.

They should cancel the contract going foward, but I don't think they
owe you a refund.


by PepperElf Posted Sat January 16, 2010 @ 9:54 AM

however in quoting the laws about contracts with minors one must keep
in mind that...

1) if the minor lies and then uses an adult's credit card there will
be no way for them to tell that it's a minor. electronically all they
can see is that an adult made the purchase.

computers are decades away from being able to do genetic verification
of age, so there is no reasonable way for the company to verify age -
other than checking the box, and checking the age associated with the
credit card.

2) Technically the company did nothing wrong. They acted on good
faith that the person making the purchase was in fact of age to. It
is not their fault if the customer was in fact lying.

3) Refund... I don't see where that's applicable. No one - especially
not the company - forced the child to lie on the form. She possessed
free will throughout the entire transaction.

I would, however, recommend making sure she cannot access any credit
cards not specifically belonging to her.

by PurPink Posted Sat January 16, 2010 @ 9:27 AM

If you dug a little deeper (in my case, less than 5 clicks) I found a
contact number in NY for emusic



by gennee Posted Sat January 16, 2010 @ 8:46 AM

At the time they charged the $30.99 they believed your daughter was
over 18 because she likely checked a box certifying that she was. They
weren't aware she was a minor or wasn't who she said she was and acted
on good faith.

Now that you have made the company *aware* that the member is a minor
they are, of course, obligated to cancel the contract and not charge
you further.

However you are still on the hook for the $30.99 unless you report the
theft of your credit card to the credit card company and/or the police
and ask for a chargeback. Realize, though, that your daughter could be
prosecuted for that theft if the credit card company or eMusic wishes
to. $30.99 isn't likely to result in jail time, but she could get in

Personally, as a mother, I'd simply pay it and make my daughter pay me
back. With interest. Lots of it. So she gets the message that stealing
my stuff is *not* worth it.

But that's up to you to decide as a parent. Whatever you decide, good


by Irving Patrick Freleigh Posted Sat January 16, 2010 @ 5:45 AM

So how is it emusic's fault your daughter lied about her age?


by NathanG Posted Fri January 15, 2010 @ 4:41 PM

I think you should have a conversation with your Daughter, lying about
her age and apparently using your Credit Card without your permission.


by Donno Posted Fri January 15, 2010 @ 3:23 PM

are making this into emusic's fault. Your underage daughter evidently
ignored the warning on the webpage that the offer was only for those
18 and older. Therefore she entered into the contract under false
pretenses. I would say all resposibility is on her shoulders.


by Nate. Posted Fri January 15, 2010 @ 2:37 PM

This is a website, there is no way to physically check that a person
is a minor or not.
Likely she clicked a box acknowledging she is 18, or clicked a box to
accept terms and conditions where this is mentioned.

It is not their fault, she obviously lied about her age if it says
right on the home page you must be 18.

by Steve OH (IO) Posted Fri January 15, 2010 @ 2:14 PM

entered into a contract that she was not allowed to?


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