updated 03:00 am EDT, Thu July 11, 2013
Child buys herself her own sweet 16 birthday present
While many parents let their children play with their smartphone or other mobile device for temporary amusement, a story out of Oregon may make some think twice about the practice. According to reports, a 14-month toddler named Sorella Stoute managed to bid on and win an auction on eBay for a 1962 Austin Healy Sprite, buying the junked vehicle (with the name "FrankenSprite" printed on its door) for $225 using her father's logged-in account with the eBay app. While the parents could have nullified the sale, they ultimately decided to keep the car -- and the father, Paul Stoute, plans on restoring it and presenting to Sorella on her 16th birthday. The parents learned of the purchase through an email from eBay after the auction.
Stoute said his daughter enjoys playing on his iPhone, according to Portland's KPTV. Their initial reaction to the notification from Ebay was "panic," but said that Stoute had been recently using eBay to look for fixer-upper cars -- which is probably how Sorella found the auction -- and that after thinking it over decided to keep it and try to restore it over the next 15 years. The seller was gracious about the mix-up, the parents said. Christina Stoute, the girl's mother, told the station that her husband has "a major project" ahead of him with the car, known as "FrankenSprite."
"It comes with two engines," she said. "They're both in the back seat."
She added that the incident "cannot happen again" as the couple have since added password protection to their phones, and deleted apps that have the option of making purchases. Given the propensity of somewhat older children to rack up enormous bills on in-app purchases that are part of most free games, the Stoutes will likely need to keep a close eye on Sorella as she gets older.