Apple Offers Refund After British Boy Spends $2500 on In-App Purchases in 15 Minutes

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 1, 2013.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    A five-year-old boy in the UK accidentally made £1700 ($2550) of in-app purchases in a freemium game in just 15 minutes after asking his father to type in the password for a free download, reports the BBC (via Gizmodo).

    The Zombies vs Ninja game was a free download, but with £70 ($105) in-app purchases for game keys and weapons packs. Neither the 5-year-old, Danny Kitchen, nor his parents were aware of the charges being racked up as the child played. His mother Sharon Kitchen said:
    Apple refunded the charges, but the incident does highlight the dangers of freemium games aimed at young children. As for Danny:
    The publicity comes just days after Apple settled a U.S. lawsuit over the same issue, offering affected customers iTunes credits of at least $5, with cash payments available to customers with claims over $30.

    It is not entirely clear how Danny Kitchen was able to purchase in-app content if his father had only entered the account password to download an app, as Apple separated app and in-app purchases with iOS 4.3 two years ago. The Kitchen's password should have been required a second time before in-app purchase could be downloaded.

    Apple also provides a variety of parental controls and restriction tools to help minimize the possibility of such issues, allowing parents to restrict what types of content may be used on the device, turn off app downloads or in-app purchases, and require the account password for every app or in-app transaction.

    Article Link: Apple Offers Refund After British Boy Spends $2500 on In-App Purchases in 15 Minutes
  2. The Bulge macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2012
    Up your ass.
    In-app purchases are the one single worst thing to happen to iOS. That's why we have those ****ing freemium games and apps. Jesus ...
  3. hollin, Mar 1, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2014

    hollin macrumors newbie


    Oct 23, 2011
    Something is wrong with society if a 5-year-old child is able to spend $2500 in a few minutes.
  4. Andy-V macrumors 6502

    Oct 1, 2007
    I expect the game was already on the iPad at that point, downloaded any time before. The kid then goes up to his father, asking for the password saying it's a free download. But it was actually for these paid in-game credits.
  5. macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2011
    Mumbai (India)
    we just a "kid mode" or "child mode" or whatever apple chose to call it. you just switch it on and pass it on to a kid, that's it.

    "Restriction" in iphone is good, but every time i switch it off all the settings done are lost. its frustrating to go and select all the settings again if your kid is not stopping crying. it becomes practically useless.
  6. jonnyb macrumors 65816

    Jan 21, 2005
    Rye/London, UK
    I love these sorts of 'won't someone think of the children/western civilization is falling' comments.

    They're always so well thought out.
  7. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    wow... $$$ in 15 minutes... must be one heck of an app.

    Don't you think any bells would have gone off saying "Why am i giving this to someone else to type in a password?"

    I can see after 3 or four purchases, but $2550 worth ? how many purchases would that be exactly ?

    I bet he didn't even know how much he was spending .......
  8. Unggoy Murderer macrumors 6502

    Jan 28, 2011
    Livingston, Scotland
    As stated, there's Parental Controls... that toggle is there for a reason, and I don't get why people don't enable it.
  9. r018u macrumors member

    Aug 4, 2010
    I wouldn't go that far. Sure, in-app purchases in games can rip you off to make money, but things like magazine purchases and service subscriptions make in-app purchasing more valuable.
  10. yousifabdullah macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2011
    It's really cool that Apple refunded everything, but this also highlights the problem that parents should oversee what their children are doing and that both the parents and the child understand what is going on. A good parent wouldn't give an iPad to a 5-year-old logged into an iTunes account with billing information. :/
  11. jonnyb macrumors 65816

    Jan 21, 2005
    Rye/London, UK
    Because they want everyone to do their thinking for them
  12. Rudy69 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 30, 2009
    We need people to start owning up for their own mistakes. The password was put in by an adult, he's responsible for that purchase.
  13. anti-microsoft macrumors 68000

    Dec 15, 2006
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    This is not Apple's fault. Its a bit "cheeky" of the developer to put a £69.99 IAP in a Children's app but, ultimately, its the parents' fault. Parental Controls DO exist (and are not hard to find) and, technically, that app was aged 9 and upwards. So only the parents have themselves to blame.
  14. jtrenthacker macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2012
    This exact same thing happened with my 5 year old son a few weeks ago. It was to a much lesser extent though. He spent $40 on an in-app purchase. Our credit card was immediately refunded. From that point on, we have removed our credit card information from our iTunes account. If we ever need to purchase anything, it will be with iTunes gift cards. I realize you can turn off in-app purchases in settings, but now I'm paranoid.
  15. vmistery macrumors 6502a

    Apr 6, 2010
    They should restrict in App purchases more if targeted at kids. Apple guides heavily what Devs can and can't do already and clearly no 5 year old is going to have the money to afford that amount of stuff. Perhaps some 'cap spend' option or just no in App purchases for under 10s games or something.
  16. jrswizzle macrumors 603


    Aug 23, 2012
    McKinney, TX
    Except that the limitations you can set in the restrictions menu require the password for EVERY in-app purchase.....he would've either had to buy something that cost $2550 once, of have asked his dad hundreds of times for the password if it was working properly.....
  17. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    true.. but we they refund to "mistaken" purchases such as this, how many more people will be n on the same deal...

    "no problem,,, just tell Apple this , and they'll refund your money" type.

    Its probably a mix affair... No control, but Apple bending over backwards for their customers even though their App store says otherwise.

    I like a company thats honest, don't you :p

    If this word gets out, and it will do.... Apple got loose money, since we can all phone up, and say "we didn't know what we were doing".....

    There are such things as rules in a terms of service,, maybe Apple should re-think again....

    The parents, and kids may be out of pocket, but if they made the purchase, its their fault. No other company but Apple refunds money, and to me, hats kind of what they should be doing as a business model.
  18. jamojamo macrumors 6502

    Feb 12, 2010
    When I see these things I think of the sad fact that while we have Parental Control settings on devices, many of these Parents have no desire to exercise any real Control and just want to keep the peace vs. the hard job of parenting.
  19. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    Apple could perhaps help matters (and save any future bad publicity) by making In-App Purchases an opt-in rather than the current opt-out to restrict it.
  20. gumblecosby, Mar 1, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013

    gumblecosby macrumors 6502

    Jun 22, 2010
    I look at this from another angle. I think it's amazing that technology allows people from ages 5 to 100+ to blow entire savings from the comfort of their toilet seat (or kitchen in this case).

    Edit: I am an illiterate buffoon
  21. samcraig macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    True. They aren't "that" hard to find. If you know they even exist in the first place. Which - say whatever you want - not everyone knows. The phone doesn't come with an instruction manual. Nor tips on "first run."

    If you're brand new to a smart phone and or iOS - can everyone say with certainty that everyone pokes around the OS and sees what's available. I imagine some don't. And we can point fingers saying then it's still their fault. But a little education goes a long way. And yes - people could/should be proactive when it comes to entering their credit card info and all the ways they can be charged.

    But like I said - a little education from the company your dealing with goes a long way.
  22. mbarriault macrumors regular

    Dec 3, 2008
    Their name was Kitchen, not that it took place in a kitchen.
  23. street.cory macrumors 6502


    Oct 13, 2009
    $2500 in in-app purchases for free?

    My god. I can't even imagine how many people are going to try and take advantage this.
  24. anedwar macrumors newbie

    Feb 10, 2012
    North Carolina
    I don't download new apps on my son's iPad

    I buy the apps on my computer and then sync them to the iPad.

    For me it's faster than me downloading it directly to the iPad and it prevents this sort of situation where he can continue to purchase apps or get his own in-app purchases without my knowledge.

    However Apple could easily put in a throttle for in-app purchases or something. Say if you have more than $20 of pending in-app purchases or if an individual purchase is more than 'X' amount you have to type your password.
  25. The Bulge macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2012
    Up your ass.
    That's the only thing it should be used for.

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