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You’ve probably heard stories about someone’s child ordering toys on their Amazon account without their knowledge or racking up huge bills through in-app purchases. But what is the extent of the problem of under 18’s shopping online and what are the legal implications of selling to children? Here at VeeLoop, we wanted to find out and raise awareness of the risks that kids, parents and retailers face in this growing area. We teamed up with legal experts from The Law Boutique to publish a whitepaper: Ticking time-bomb: the hazards of selling to children and teenagers online.

What we discovered

The problem is more widespread than ever, as now 7 out of 10 kids spend money online*. Those children are getting younger as 94% of 8 to 11 year olds have internet access. Without their own payment cards, 35% of kids have used their parent’s bank card to pay online. 79% of parents believe children should be over 14 before they can shop independently online but most don’t realise that legally under 18's need parental consent for non-essential purchases and to share their data. Major retailers have paid a heavy price for getting it wrong, for example Amazon faced refunds of $70 million for unauthorised purchases by children.

What the experts say

VeeLoop founder Randa Bennett said: “It’s frightening as a parent to think about young children shopping online and putting their data and their parents’ credit cards at risk. It’s not just down to us to supervise our kids - I believe that retailers should be taking more responsibility and offering child-friendly payment options that protect both parents and kids. That’s the whole philosophy behind VeeLoop - letting under 18’s shop independently but safely online.”  Electra Japonas, CEO of The Law Boutique added: “With GDPR and recent data privacy controversies, the gathering of data and payment details has become a hot topic, particularly where minors are concerned. What many retailers may not realise is that under 18’s cannot legally enter a binding contract without parental consent - which includes an online purchase of anything non-essential - and they also need parental permission to share their data. This opens up a range of risks, which are highlighted by this whitepaper.”

Retailers getting it right

VeeLoop is already working with a number of retailers to offer a child-friendly payment solution, including Europe's largest online beauty retailer, FEELUNIQUE. Jim Buckle, COO at FEELUNIQUE said: “We know that many of our site visitors are younger teenagers and Veeloop is a great way to engage with these shoppers in a responsible way, without ever holding their personal data.” The VeeLoop solution is easy to use, allowing the child to send their basket to the parent for approval and payment, providing peace of mind for families and a great user experience.

Find out more

Published by Essential Retail magazine, the whitepaper is available to download now. If you’d like to find out more or talk to us about integrating with VeeLoop, please email
* All statistics quoted are from our whitepaper Ticking time-bomb: the hazards of selling to children and teenagers online published May 2019.

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