Newfoundland Mom ‘Shocked’ as Twin 7-Year Olds Rack Up $3,000 iTunes Bill

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Newfoundlander Paula Marner thought she was the victim of fraud or criminal activity while on a vacation in the U.K, after her credit card showed a shocking $3,000 credit card bill. It turns out the culprit originated with her iPad, where her twin seven-year old sons had racked up the massive bill via in-app purchases playing the game Clash of Clans while overseas.

“To make a long story short, it was not fraudulent activity or criminal activity that I thought was happening from the U.K.; it was actually my seven-year-old sons who were playing a game while I was gone called Clash of Clans,” Marner said.

Marner told the CBC “Our house rule is never download an app without permission,” unfortunately she had no idea about the power of in-app purchases, as her children kept agreeing to buy boxes of ‘gems’ every time it was displayed on the device. Her boys were putting in her password and made purchases ranging from 99 cents to $99.

Marner shared her feelings about in-app purchases and said “I think it’s very deceptive,” and told Apple how she felt: “I accused them of a little bit worse, but it’s just greed.” Apple agreed to refund her $3,000 bill and she wants Apple to disable in-app purchases on their devices.

For the parents out there, Apple has implemented the requirement of a password since iOS 4.3 to make in-app purchases. The company this April created a new page highlighting more info about in-app purchases with instructions on how to restrict them altogether.

Earlier this week, a similar story resulted in an 8-year old boy racking up a $6,000 bill via in-app purchases, only to be refunded by Apple. Looks like it’s just another day of iTunes in-app purchases ‘bill shock’.

What do you think? Should Apple be clarifying in-app purchases or should parents learn how to enable restrictions on iOS devices?

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • Michael Moniz

    It’s called the Settings app! It’s Apple’s fault that you choose to remain ignorant or figure out how your device works? Sheesh! And giving your 7 year old kids the password? That’s the first mistake. Might as well had them your debit card, pin and let them loose in a toy store too!

  • ThisUIisAwful

    There is absolutly no need for 99$ in app purchases in these games.. Has any person in their right state of mind willingly purchased $99 worth of gems in a free game?? This is obviously nothing but a trap. The parents are also to blame for their ignorance but apple should limit the max price of in app purchases especially in games where the target audience is children. If they dont like that at least have the user re enter their credit card details for purchaes over $25. Clicking “OK” and “I Agree” are not sufficient safeguards. Perhaps it should ask “ok money mr/mrs moneybags you know you are about to spend $99 real dollars on a purchase in a fictional world for fictional gems that have absolutly no real value?? Please speak to a therapist before procceding.. OK / Cancel”

  • K3

    Apple has iTunes/ App store cards that can be purchased at an big box chain stores?

    Will iTunes now have to include sub accounts that can only use these cards for any purchases?

    Itunes ratings maybe? “PG13” access to parental credit card only???

    IT SO BEWILDERING…

  • How about you don’t give your kids your password.

  • HelloCDN

    Seriously… Giving a password to the account with you f**king credit card on file to your 7 years old… Might as well give them access to your online bank account and then blame “those evil finance corporations” for robbing you…

  • Chrome262

    Yeah, I don’t see why Apple should be responsible for first, the inept parents of these children, first in being crappy parents, and for giving their child their password. Hell you can associate a gift card to an account so as not to have this happen. and second its the apps fault that puts these tricks in to get stupid people. While some offer you the option to purchase things to make life eaiser in the game, other constantly thrust it in your face. Do you know that Candy Crush makes over 600,000 dollars a day on in app purchases. People are stupid for sure lol

  • CC

    Agree. Why does Apple and in some cases other carriers need to “babysit” the parents?
    It is common sense that you don’t give out your password to others including a 7 years old kid. This is bad parenting. I am surprise the mother has the face to be on TV and talk about it. Shame.
    $3000 in app purchase is crazy. What game was the kid playing? You can buy 6 PS3s with games.

  • Another one of the “It’s not my fault” generation. Unfortunately, you can’t fix stupid

  • Arcsvibe

    My son has access to my iPad and iPad mini and he has to ask me to download something everytime. I don’t understand people sometimes. What happened to personal accountability??

  • SV650

    Unfortunately, the process to use gift cards is not particularly clear when you set up an iTunes account. Unless you know the trick, it is not at all clear as to the process.

  • einsteinbqat

    People these days… >__<

  • Brian H. Harvey

    Please tell me she is not a Newfoundlander? I hope she is a come-from-away!

  • Ryan

    This is why i dont have a credit card attatched to my ITUNES account. just buy Loads!!

    This way its controlled and when they go on sale its 20% off… $50.00 for only $40.00

  • Chrome262

    Actually if you have an account already, and then you put in gift card it takes presidents, then you can deactivate your credit card. or you can set up another account. But yes it would be nice if Apple made it easier to have a “kids” account.

  • jim

    I think in these cases where Apple agrees to reverse the charges, they should also take away their paid iTunes purchases too

  • Torben

    “Everybody is responsible for their own knowledge” is all I have to say.

  • Ryan

    Amen!

  • Joel campos

    Apple should stop with the in app purchases!