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UK Boy Leaves Family With £2000 iTunes Bill

By - Source: The Telegraph | B 37 comments

Talk about bill shock.

A family in the United Kingdom was shocked to receive a massive iTunes bill after their six-year-old grandson went on an in-app buying spree. The Telegraph reports that Will had been playing Monster Island on his grandfather's iPad and, unbeknownst to the iPad's owner, had been making tons of purchases for virtual food and coins.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Will's grandfather Barry Smith explained that his grandson was just pressing buttons and buying baskets of food and coins for his monsters. While he did admit that he 'must have synced [his] credit card up with the App Store,' he said he couldn't believe how easy it is to make in-app purchases.

Luckily, this story has a happy ending, at least on the financial side. Will's grandparents, who noticed the mistake when his grandmother's credit card was declined at the supermarket, said they explained the situation to Apple and the company gave them a refund. Sadly, things didn't work out so well for Will. His mother said he was sad when he was told he couldn't play the game anymore because he was about to reach level 26 and fight the Dark Monster.

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  • 21 Hide
    steve360 , September 21, 2012 12:00 PM
    Don't blame the kid - youngsters have absolutely no comprehension of the consequences of their actions. The onus is on the parents/grandparents to unlink or remove their credit card information so it would not be misused like that.
  • 16 Hide
    alidan , September 21, 2012 12:37 PM
    dood, these games are made specificly to exploit kids, i honestly think crap like this should be banned.
  • 15 Hide
    Au_equus , September 21, 2012 12:15 PM
    I think there's more cases of kids buying movies, in game materiel and such using a mode of unprotected payment than parents would like to realize. That being said I think the surprise here is not the 2000GBP spent, but the fact that apple gave them back the money!
Other Comments
  • -8 Hide
    officeguy , September 21, 2012 11:39 AM
    Quote:
    mother said he was sad when he was told he couldn't play the game anymore because he was about to reach level 26 and fight the Dark Monster.
    I would be pissed if I got up to lvl 26 and couldn't fight the Dark Monster. I would swipe the Ipad when no one is looking and find another credit card just to beat the Dark Monster and then I would be done :) 
  • 4 Hide
    tolham , September 21, 2012 11:40 AM
    "he was sad when he was told he couldn't play the game anymore because he was about to reach level 26 and fight the Dark Monster."

    was this game developed by Pierce's dad from community?
  • 21 Hide
    steve360 , September 21, 2012 12:00 PM
    Don't blame the kid - youngsters have absolutely no comprehension of the consequences of their actions. The onus is on the parents/grandparents to unlink or remove their credit card information so it would not be misused like that.
  • 14 Hide
    COLGeek , September 21, 2012 12:05 PM
    What? Everything on the Internet isn't free! How can that be?
  • 15 Hide
    Au_equus , September 21, 2012 12:15 PM
    I think there's more cases of kids buying movies, in game materiel and such using a mode of unprotected payment than parents would like to realize. That being said I think the surprise here is not the 2000GBP spent, but the fact that apple gave them back the money!
  • 8 Hide
    Hspito , September 21, 2012 12:34 PM
    and they didn't know?
    when you do an in-app purchase there is a window that pops up asking you "CONFIRM YOUR IN-APP PURCHASE do you want to buy xxxxx for $x.xx?" and you need to input the password at least one time then you can buy all you want whitin a few minutes without typing the password again. so either they gave the password to the kid or they where typing the password for him.
  • 15 Hide
    d_kuhn , September 21, 2012 12:35 PM
    Those mobile games are just a stupid tax... but since kids don't understand they occasionally will put a spotlight on the idiocy. The fact that a kid COULD spend 3 grand in-game... in ANY game... is proof positive that P.T. Barnum was a genius.
  • 16 Hide
    alidan , September 21, 2012 12:37 PM
    dood, these games are made specificly to exploit kids, i honestly think crap like this should be banned.
  • 11 Hide
    memadmax , September 21, 2012 12:58 PM
    This is why I don't buy anything that doesn't come on a cd/dvd and will continue to work offline >_>
  • 1 Hide
    halcyon , September 21, 2012 1:53 PM
    Will...oh, he would suffer in some slightly inappropriate (by today's politically-correct losers standards) way.
  • 3 Hide
    halcyon , September 21, 2012 1:53 PM
    steve360Don't blame the kid - youngsters have absolutely no comprehension of the consequences of their actions. The onus is on the parents/grandparents to unlink or remove their credit card information so it would not be misused like that.

    Oh...but he would after this ...I guarantee it.
  • 1 Hide
    hate machine , September 21, 2012 2:07 PM
    Apple doesn't give refunds!
  • 13 Hide
    Onus , September 21, 2012 2:32 PM
    A six-year old should be outside playing tag, climbing trees, and playing wiffle ball, not in a screen-induced stupor.
  • 10 Hide
    deksman , September 21, 2012 2:57 PM
    steve360Don't blame the kid - youngsters have absolutely no comprehension of the consequences of their actions. The onus is on the parents/grandparents to unlink or remove their credit card information so it would not be misused like that.


    Sorry, but no.
    Children can comprehend the consequences of their actions if they are exposed to such education from the get go and not cuddled into the mentality 'oh kids are too young to learn this'.
    That's just a simple cop-out.
    They are human beings like everyone else... so if you want them to understand something, TEACH them.
    Same thing with adults.
    A human adult wouldn't be able to comprehend the consequences of his/her actions if they were never taught them in the first place.

    On the flip side of things - this IS the grandparents fault for syncing up the credit card in the first place, and not checking in regards if the game will require purchases or not.

    Apple is a different beast though.
    Their applications and games do have a tendency to 'quietly' charge various purchases if you synced up your credit card.

    There's a lesson to be learned here:
    Educate yourselves on what the heck you are doing on the device.
    If you will give a child the device to play with, educate them on how to use the thing in the first place to AVOID this sort of stupidity in the future/first place.

    Thinking that children are 'too young' to learn is an idiotic nonsense.
  • -6 Hide
    Hspito , September 21, 2012 3:06 PM
    deksmanApple is a different beast though.Their applications and games do have a tendency to 'quietly' charge various purchases if you synced up your credit card./citation]

    WHAT? False.
    I bet you don't even have an iTunes account. Comments like this are what people hear and then form an opinion of something based in somebody else's false comment.

    Just like when people say you don't own the music you buy in iTunes. Guess what I can burn it in a cd and rip it in any othe program or computer.
  • -3 Hide
    lamorpa , September 21, 2012 3:11 PM
    memadmaxThis is why I don't buy anything that doesn't come on a cd/dvd and will continue to work offline >_>

    What do you do when you get bored with of the 7 games and media that are still available this way?
  • 6 Hide
    ice_melted , September 21, 2012 3:14 PM
    InApp purchase are simply a deceptive measure for price hiding and should be eliminated altogether. Think about it, you go to the Top Grossing section in the app store and they are all free.

    The price should be clearly listed on the store page.

    Single price: $4.99

    Single price plus recurring: $0.99 + recurring for vitrual goods or recurring for subscription.

    and the consumer should be able to set a cap on the recurring fee. People just don't have infinite money and most of us have to live on a budget.


  • 6 Hide
    spartanmk2 , September 21, 2012 3:36 PM
    I only use prepaid debit cards for online stuff
  • 4 Hide
    willard , September 21, 2012 3:44 PM
    steve360Don't blame the kid - youngsters have absolutely no comprehension of the consequences of their actions. The onus is on the parents/grandparents to unlink or remove their credit card information so it would not be misused like that.

    I think the onus is on Apple and Google to figure out how to stop this kind of thing. I've heard of half a dozen identical cases over the last couple years, and there are probably more.

    If in-app purchases required you to enter a password, we'd never hear about this again. I think a tiny inconvenience is totally acceptable to fix the problem once and for all.
  • 2 Hide
    razor512 , September 21, 2012 3:58 PM
    not sure if the iOS has a proper file manager now but with those games, you can generally get extra credits or food or other crap by finding the save file, then using one of the many free hex editors, then fins the values of the food and just give your self a few million of them.

    I have seen some games targeted at kids where they will charge like $20 for some virtual food, and that is a single player offline game, how many berries your character eats has 100% no effect on the company that made the games.


    Those parents should have removed the credit card info, then handed the kid a computer and a hex editor and tell him to make more food instead of buying it.
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