Family Sharing payment methods very screwed up

Discussion in 'iOS 8' started by WolfSnap, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. WolfSnap macrumors 6502a


    Sep 18, 2012
    As seen here, Apple's Family Sharing feature uses payment methods in very odd ways.

    Currently, if you have an iTunes gift card balance on your account, and you purchase something, the iTunes credit will be used first; then your credit card will be billed for any amount in excess of the credit. This makes sense.

    Once you activate Family Sharing, even though the organizer is responsible for the purchases of their family, the iTunes gift card balance is NOT used when the purchase is initiated by someone other than the organizer.

    In other words, let's assume that Frank is the organizer of his family share group. He has $100 in iTunes credit. Frank has Amy (his wife) and Beth (his daughter) as members of the group.

    Frank buys Angry Birds for 99¢. Beth and Amy can play and download Angry Birds too, and play it, for no additional cost. Frank now has $99.01 remaining in his iTunes gift card balance, and no charges are made to the credit card. This is correct.

    Frank decides to upgrade his iCloud storage to 200GB - $3.99/mo. Because it's iCloud storage, no one else shares the space. This makes sense too. Also, because Frank has a balance, his credit is used first. Balance now: $95.02. Great! Makes sense.

    Beth decides she needs 20GB of iCloud storage. It costs 99¢/mo. Frank has agreed to pay for it; beth purchases it, and Frank pays. Makes sense too. However, in this case, even though Frank has an iTunes credit of $95.02, the 99¢ iCloud drive subscription does NOT use the credit; it charges 99¢ to his credit card. Frank still has $95.02 credit. huh?

    Amy decides to buy Cut the Rope for $1.99. Frank has agreed to pay for that too. Frank and Beth can ALSO download and play Cut the Rope without Frank paying more. In this case, Amy's $1.99 purchase also does not use his store credit. Frank has to pay $1.99 on his credit card. The $95.02 credit is not used at all.

    At all times Frank was responsible to pay for his family's purchases. At all times, family members could share apps/music/TV Shows/Movies, etc. At all times Frank had a substantial store credit. But, only when Frank purchased the music/app/storage/etc himself did iTunes use the credit.

    This is wrong.

    Please let Apple know you also think this is wrong.

    You can leave Apple feedback here:
  2. macduke macrumors G3


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    If what you're saying is true then that's pretty jacked up. My wife and I just share the same store account so I haven't tried family sharing yet, and our daughter is an infant so it's not yet an issue. Hopefully they get this sorted out. Also I didn't realize iCloud storage pulls from iTunes credit now. At Christmas we usually get some iTunes cards and my wife adds them to our account and she uses her share of them to buy music over the next few months. But if it gets drained out then she won't know how much she has left to use and she's all about budgeting. I'd prefer a setting to make iCloud stuff come out separately, especially as I can charge it as a business expense.
  3. JacksTLOS macrumors member

    Aug 31, 2011
    It's like that on purpose. I don't necessarily want my family to be able to use my gift cards (technically that's what an itunes card is) with their purchases. So just like your other examples, itunes cards are icloud account specific and don't get shared.
  4. extremei5 macrumors member


    Jun 7, 2009
    So. Cali
  5. GreyOS macrumors 68040


    Apr 12, 2012
    Really though, do you have to be that precious about it? It all comes down to money in the end. In one cases Dad has x dollars less to spend on gift card, in other case Dad has x dollars less to spend on credit card.

    I thought anyone would want to prioritise their iTunes credit for iTunes purchases as it's only usable in iTunes. If you don't get through that credit then it's wasted.
  6. ender21 macrumors 6502


    Jul 15, 2010
    Southern Cal
    Not to mention that many people take advantage of discounted iTunes cards to pad their accounts with credit from anywhere from 5% to 20% off. Dinging one's credit card first would severely diminish that benefit.

    I'd prefer it default to using store credit no matter who initiates the purchase, but make that defeatable within the Family Sharing settings for those that prefer the card be charged first. Or vice versa.
  7. dan.synergy macrumors member


    Oct 9, 2014
    Unfortunately I came across this issue and another one regarding family sharing on the day it was released.

    We tested the 1Password app that I have owned since its release and not only was she charged for the "In-app" purchase, but my $90 iTunes credit was untouched and her credit card was charged. Now this "In App" purchase for 1Password is not 'Gems', or 'Bucks' simply unlocks the full features of the app which I had payed for when the app was NOT free.

    According to Apple, since the developer changed their app to a Freemium model, it is not the same and worth charging again.

    Check out this response from apple support, in which they address the purchase but make no mention as to why her card was charged over my iTunes credit. I have since emailed them back without a response.

    I could not find any verbiage on their website that explained this other than a fine print stating:

    "Not all apps are eligible for Family Sharing"

    They stopped responding when I continued to inquire as to why the Credit Card was charged instead of the store credit.
  8. bgro macrumors 65816

    Jul 6, 2010
    South Florida
    I agree that this is a terrible practice. I routinely buy iTunes gift cards at 15-25% off and I want ALL my family's purchases to use the gift card balances (to effectively get 20% off all my app store purchases). So what I had to do was load up gift cards on my wife's and kid's accounts too. Complete PITA and I really wish I never switched to Family Sharing.

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