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11-Year Old Racks Up $7,500 Bill for In-App Purchases, Apple Agrees to Refund

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According to a BBC News report, an 11-year-old boy named Alfie spent nearly £6,000 (US $7,500) playing online games over two weekends, after accessing his family’s iTunes account. The boy’s father Roy Dobson from Lancashire, had linked the account to his credit card, which allowed his son to spend £99 on more than 50 in-app purchases. Apple has however agreed to refund the family.

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Mr Dobson told BBC, “The first time he spent £700 in less than five minutes, then £1,100 in half an hour and it just racked up and racked up, all on the same game.” His wife Jill, who said that Alfie is only allowed to play on the iPad at weekends, added that he’s bought things in the past for 99p or £1.49, but he’s always asked and then he saw this at £99 and was just curious as to what you would get for £99. 

“It was just to get better in the game, there’s nothing to show for it, I didn’t even know you could buy things for £99. It’s scary. He said the game was that good he couldn’t stop, but he only thought he pressed it a few times.”

Games journalist Guy Cocker said: “These games were initially released for £8.99 or £9.99 but the games companies found they were able to make more money from them by offering in-app purchases, so the idea is that you download the initial game for free and then you pay for items or extras as you play.

Apple emphasized that its parental controls and “Ask to Buy” features are a good way to protect such unauthorised purchases in future.

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  • Bill___A

    The kid needs to learn not to do that. An 11 year old is generally quite well aware of what spending money is. I remember watching prices when I was six. He should not be playing games if he isn’t better at this. The games companies are bad to do this too.

  • Joe

    Yeah, there’s gotta be some responsibility with the parents. An 11 year old is well aware of what they’re doing. Most of us have probably tried an in-app purchase by now. Apple makes it pretty obvious that you’re about to spend money.

  • mcfilmmakers

    Sorry but if apple means it when they say their parental controls work, they need to prove it by pointing out that if the parents used their phones correctly and responsibly the purchases would never have been made.

    Instead, apple has rewarded ignorance and proven that their features ar inadequate (when theyre not).

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