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Toddler accidentally purchases car on eBay using dad's smartphone

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.

by MacNN Staff



  1. FastAMX79

    Junior Member

    Joined: 09-23-00

    So some idiot leaves his account logged in, his kid buys something with it, and this is a news story?

  1. koolkid1976

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 05-08-03

    If you read between the lines, they are blaming Apple for this. That's why it's a news story. If it was a Samsung phone, it wouldn't make the news.


    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-18-09

    Yup they are blaming Apple. Just because the idiot parents did something stupid Apple gets the blame. And of course the press thinks it is a big deal.

  1. coffeetime

    Senior User

    Joined: 11-15-06

    The moral of this story is don't mess around with a 14-month old. She knows what she wants! Way to go, Sorella! Hi-Five!

  1. coffeetime

    Senior User

    Joined: 11-15-06

    ....And to her Dad: don't even think about of getting Sorella a cheesy cheapo chewy plastic toy that makes stupid noises when you shake!

  1. hayesk

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 09-17-99

    The original story says "smartphone." So how did MacNN know it was an iPhone?

  1. prl99

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 03-24-09

    I hope the $225 includes shipping. If he thinks it will be inexpensive to restore this car, he has another things coming. He can get parts but they won't be cheap. I'd start by fumigating the vehicle to get rid of spiders. I always wanted a 60's Austin Healey 3000 but those are very expensive after restoration.

  1. Grendelmon

    Senior User

    Joined: 12-26-07

    Yeah... what hayesk said. I searched Google News and MacNN is the *only* website that says it was an iPhone. Are we making up news, now?

  1. DiabloConQueso

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-11-08

    I don't know where you guys are getting all this Apple-blame and "Apple's fault" stuff -- this is one of the more lighthearted "child accidentally spends money via iPhone" stories where the parents didn't blame Apple and make ridiculous demands.

    The parents decided to keep the car and turn the experience into a nice story they can tell their daughter later in life, they didn't freak out and demand their money back, and they took logical, common-sense steps to make sure it didn't happen again (like putting a password on purchases).

    I don't see where any kind of hate or blame is embodied anywhere in this story.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    I believe the original UPI wire story identified it as an iPhone, but may have been using the term generically. Looking at the video on KPTV I don't believe that is an iPhone, so we'll correct the story. Thanks for pointing this out.

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