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Apple refunds $6000 to dad over 8 year-old's iPad bill

updated 07:28 am EDT, Sun July 21, 2013

Apple wipes clean $6000 in-app bill after dad takes story to papers

A UK dad has had a $6000 App Store bill refunded by Apple after his 8-year old daughter racked up the total playing free games with in-app purchases. The father, Lee Neale, only discovered what had happened after his bank account was frozen. After initially being told by Apple iTunes support staff that the bill would not be refunded, Apple took action after the story reached the The Mirror.

"I was very surprised how dismissive Apple were," Neale said. "This was an 8-year-old girl." While Apple has instituted a password wall when in-app purchases are made, Neale's daughter Lily had seen her dad's password used it when the authorization prompt appeared as she purchased multiple upgrades for her games. The games at the center in question were said to be Campus Life, My Horse and Injustice.

The issue of in-app purchases being made by young children without their parent's knowledge has cropped up on several previous occasions. Back in March, Apple refunded a Belfast couple $1,464 after their 8-year-old son clocked up the bill playing The Simpsons: Tapped Out. In addition to password walls, Apple has also implemented a number of other methods by which parents can protect their accounts including disabling purchases, disabling in-app purchases, enabling restrictions as well as setting up iTunes allowances. [via CNET]




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  1. groveguy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-21-13

    There are a host of valuable parental controls baked into iOS that device owners should take a few moments to familiarize themselves with. This situation could have been prevented had the father simply navigated to: Settings>General>Restrictions>In-App-Purchased=Off

  1. Waragainstsleep

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 03-20-04

    Apple is going to have to stop paying out sooner or later.
    Giving your iPad and password to an 8-year-old is like handing them your wallet or credit card. No-one would have any sympathy for you then.

  1. Inkling

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 07-25-06

    Duh! When I make an iTunes purchase, I get an email from Apple detailing the purchase and charge. That same charge should also be appearing in this dad's monthly credit card bill. Running up $6,000 in charges a mere UK pound or two at a time should have triggered a lot of warning flags.

    It's difficult to stir up much sympathy for these clueless parents.

  1. JohnSimpleton

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-21-13

    "I was very surprised how dismissive Apple were," Neale said. Rather than complain about Apple, Neale needs to learn how to parent.

  1. nowwhatareyoulookingat

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-13-09

    1. Kids are surprising smart and inventive, while also not having a good grasp of how money works [other than spending it].
    2. He claim he did not give the password to his kid, but that the kid saw him enter it [which is understandable]
    3. Apple does not always send out emails detailing new charges. Maybe there is a configuration option somewhere to turn it on?
    3. These games have ridiculous in-app charges, for up to $100/purchase. For adult games fine, but for games targeting children, the developers should have to pay back the charges with an extra 30% on top.
    4. Apple could fix this if they wanted to, by setting the defaults the other way, but they WANT to make it easy to spend, in particular, they want kids to go on a spending spree, then tell the parents, "so sorry, no refunds" in the hope keeping the hundreds or thousands of dollars, even when it actually costs them next to nothing to refund the charges [as the app developer also doesn't get paid].

  1. jeffnudi

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 11-08-00

    I thought the "It's not my fault" mentality was an American phenomenon. I guess it is international in scope. Parents need to be responsible for the actions of their children. There is a serious problem with financial ignorance in this world. Responsibility needs to start at home.

  1. jmonty12

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-02-03

    This is why I will NEVER accept a "credit card" that is actually a debit card directly linked to my bank account. The part of this story about this guy's bank account getting frozen just doesn't happen with a real credit card. Sure, you can still get charged $6000 that you have to fight, but better to fight the charge than to fight when your cash is already gone. My ATM card is really just that -- just an ATM card. Several times my bank has tried to send me a debit card to replace it, but one testy phone call later I got a new ATM card again!

  1. bitchinbob

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 02-04-09

    YOU KNOW WHAT, IM GOING TO GO ROB A BANK. And when I get caught, I'm going to sue Apple because I used my Mac to look up the directions to the bank.

  1. DarkStarRed

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 06-09-05

    This also begs the question which has been asked of Apple by many: "When will they have
    surport for Guest Accounts on iOS"?

    I won't defend the parent whom doesn't secure their setup against in-app-purchases.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 01-25-07

    "4. Apple could fix this if they wanted to, by setting the defaults the other way, but they WANT to make it easy to spend, in particular, they want kids to go on a spending spree, then tell the parents, "so sorry, no refunds" in the hope keeping the hundreds or thousands of dollars, even when it actually costs them next to nothing to refund the charges [as the app developer also doesn't get paid]."

    1. "...in particular, they want kids to go on a spending spree,.." Uh, yer gonna need a policy statement, recorded meeting statements, or something like that to support that statement.

    2. "...even when it actually costs them next to nothing to refund the charges..." I'm sure you've got the dollar value there somewhere.

    And last, but not the least:
    3. "Apple could fix this if they wanted to, by setting the defaults the other way..." I don't have kids, and I don't share. Do NOT set the defaults the other way.

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