Boy Buys £1,000 Worth Of Doughnuts In An iPad Game, Apple Issues Refund


An 8 year old schoolboy left his family with a £1,000 credit card bill after buying virtual doughnuts in a game on his grandfather’s iPad, reports The Telegraph. He made more than 100 purchases on iTunes for between £1.50 and £75, from the middle of January and the beginning of this month. Apple has however refunded the money, saying it considers such incidents on a case-by-case basis.

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The case is one of several that have been highlighted recently. The young boy was playing Tapped Out, an iPad game based on The Simpsons television series. His dad said he and his wife only realised there was a problem when they discovered their bank account was empty.

“We received no emails alerting us to what was happening.”

He added: “Theo is only just eight and has no real concept of the monetary value attached.”

Earlier this month it was reported that a five-year-old boy had bought £1,700 worth of virtual goods in just 10 minutes, which was also refunded by Apple.


  • Airplane mode. Easy. Password. Done.

    How hard is that? If you play, you have to pay – no more getting off easy because you’re ignorant.

  • Qaz

    Ironically at the beginning of the game Homer makes a joke about buying lots of in-app purchases and saying he’ll just blame it on his kid and get his money back.

  • If only the parents could turn off Airplane Mode for their brains, maybe some common sense would start flowing again.

  • LOL

  • Simon B

    Here’s a better solution; stop giving your 5 year-olds or 8 year-olds the iPad (or any mobile devices) to play with. What ever happened to toys made specifically for kids those ages? Legos, nerf guns, hot wheels, action figures, etc? I personally don’t think it’s appropriate for kids that young to be given the opportunity to get hooked on to internet/mobile technology. It’s bad enough that most teenagers now are spending so much time on video games and now we are starting them early on the idea of being able to have so much fun sitting in front of a screen for hours.

  • Mark

    That’s an unqualified opinion.

  • Nick

    I’m sorry, but I’m done with this foolishness. Parents need to suck it up and get smarter with this stuff. Simple as that. There are AMPLE measures in place to prevent this from happening now.

    My kids are 8, they share an iPad and use my iTunes account. What they DO NOT have is my iTunes account password. They don’t have access to even click through for IAPs, I’ve specifically turned that off.

    If they want something, they have to ask. It will stay that way for a while. When they get to the point that I trust them to have their own account, it will be filled with an iTunes card. There will not be a credit card put on file, ever.

    Parents need to be informed, they need to be parents, they need to take responsibility for the actions of their children. It’s simple to block this now, there are now no more excuses. The “my son is 8 and doesn’t understand money” is stupid. These parents are stupid. My girls have a friend who is 7 and has full access to iTunes, she isn’t the most reserved person and she’s yet to do something crazy like this. At 8, kids are smart. They are aware. If you take the time to explain it, there’s no excuse why they can’t comprehend what they are doing. But hell, even with that there is still no way I would risk it.

  • Nick

    You don’t have kids, do you?

    Mobile devices are fine in moderation, and they are necessary for kids these days. They need to know how to work them, they Improve their knowledge of available technology and have many, many, many apps that are incredibly educational and informative. The number of books they have, the number of math and reading comprehension apps are incredible. They’re easier and more portable than a computing device, and drain much less energy than a computer.

    Should kids be sitting in front of iPads for hours a day? No, and any good parent would not allow that. I don’t. But I do let them have it regularly, oftentimes for music to listen to in their room while they do other things. Being able to expose them to music in this way is something I could never have dreamed of when I was younger. And in no world is that a bad thing. My kids love Weird Al, I consider that one of my biggest successes as a parent 😉

  • Ricky

    I’d make the parents eat it, whoever let’s a child play with a $1000 computer is an idiot

  • m Arch Tom’s on Bar N Ass

    i don’t believe this scum article. What does a virtual doughnut look like? it’s not like purchasing a e-book, a app or whatever. i can’t even believe itunes sells virtual doughnuts. marc

  • excaliburca

    For a lot of games that could work, but for Tapped Out it needs to connect every time it starts. Course that would mean no Tapped Out, but eh… not the end of the world.

  • excaliburca

    In game purchase.