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A five-year-old boy who racked up a ?1,700 (about $2200) bill in just a few minutes on his parents' iPad has said he has learned his lesson.

Danny Kitchen innocently ran up the debt by playing a game which automatically billed his parents? iTunes account as he progressed.

His parents, Greg and Sharon, provided the schoolboy with a password for the game after he told them it was a free download.

Despite having several emails from iTunes the next day itemising the successive ?69.99 payments Danny incurred, the Kitchens dismissed them as simply an error - until a call from their credit card company made them realise what had happened.

Mrs Kitchen, from Bristol, told the BBC: "We were pretty distracted on Sunday with it being a family day. He'd asked my husband if he could have the passcode for a free download. My husband said no and he (Danny) insisted. He said 'Please, Dad, it's only a free one'.

"My husband put the iPad close to his chest, put the code in and gave him back the iPad. He continued to play for about 10 or 15 minutes because shortly after that we were due to go out so it wasn't a long period of time he was playing.

"At 6am on Monday I checked my emails and I saw the repetitive emails coming through from iTunes. The first three were ?69.99. It all looked like it was the same thing, I presumed it was a mistake.

"It was only when the credit card company called to say were these 19 transactions normal? I said 'No, it's not'."

She added: "He (Danny) was very upset when he realised what he had done. His brothers and sisters were telling him off, but of course he didn't know what he did - he's only five. To be honest, I'm not sure how he did it."

Mrs Kitchen said Apple, the company which owns and runs iTunes, had been "fantastic" in helping them get a refund for the money.

Describing how he came to rack up the eye-watering bill, Danny said: "I just clicked on it because it said it was free. I gave it (the iPad) to Dad, he put the password in, and the next day it cost the money."

Asked what he had learned from the saga, Danny replied: "Not to do it again."

But it does not appear he will get the chance.

His father said: "I have now barred the iPad from any more downloads, so that's the end of that."

Martyn Landi, writer with British-based Apps magazine, said parents concerned about their children running up similar bills should turn off "in-app purchases" on the iPad's settings tab.

He added: "iPads are no longer a luxury within the home, they are a regular part of it. Children are becoming more tech-savvy and are attracted to the games on them.

"We are hearing stories like this all the time so credit to Apple for paying the money back. But it is a risky strategy for parents to simply think they can claim the money back if all goes wrong. A few seconds spent checking these things can save a lot of money and stress in the long run."

Apple has agreed to give more than $100 million (?66m) in iTunes store credits to settle a lawsuit by parents in the US who complained about big bills run up by children using iOS devices.

source

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I heard Apple refunded the money, a pretty rare move of kindness from them. To be frank I don't even think they needed to, the parents should have been more careful.

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Since I don't have iTunes, do they have limits to what you can charge built in? I would think this would be great for parents.

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Why are you letting a 5 year-old on a computer ... :laugh:

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To be frank I don't even think they needed to, the parents should have been more careful.

Yes they should have but $105 for (automatic) in-app purchases to progress in a game? It's clear the developers did it as a way to rip people off or people who don't read the information properly. A brand new PC/PS3/360/Wii game costs like $60...and this iPad game racked up $2200 in 15mins?

Wish they mentioned what game this was.

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A five-year-old boy who racked up a ?1,700 (about $2200) bill in just a few minutes on his parents' iPad has said he has learned his lesson.

.....lets hope the real people learned the lesson....the 'Parents'.....and be greatful the boy didn't ask the 'pre-occupied' parents for a free kitchen knife.... :laugh:

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Seems like there are a lot of scam applications on apple devices - ?69.99 for progressing in a video game!?

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parents should have enable restrictions, that will make any in-app purchase to require a password. by default there is only a ok/cancel button to confirm the purchase...

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Since I don't have iTunes, do they have limits to what you can charge built in? I would think this would be great for parents.

Yes. This used to be a problem way back in iOS3 or so, but since then they've made entering the password for in-app purchases required. The father had to enter the password at least twice for this to happen.

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Ok, if I get an email and its from a valid source saying I owe money, I would be calling right away to make sure it was a mistake. The guy wasnt very bright for not calling as soon as he saw the emails.

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The sort of predatory business practices being employed by these apps developers are completely immoral and should be banned. They are not legitimate products; they are designed entirely to exploit users, particularly children.

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Yes they should have but $105 for (automatic) in-app purchases to progress in a game? It's clear the developers did it as a way to rip people off or people who don't read the information properly. A brand new PC/PS3/360/Wii game costs like $60...and this iPad game racked up $2200 in 15mins?

Wish they mentioned what game this was.

I actually agree, it's clear the developers are also trying to rip their players off as well. Perhaps Apple need to start examining in app purchasing systems in a bit more detail before apps get approved.

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God, I hate when these stories pop up. Parents need to know that an iPad (or any other tablet or phone) is not a babysitter. And if you plan to let your kid use them, for the love of Darwin, turn on the parental controls! They're there to stop incidents like this from happening! They should consider themselves lucky Apple refunded them, so they haven't been punished for their stupidity.

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God, I hate when these stories pop up. Parents need to know that an iPad (or any other tablet or phone) is not a babysitter. And if you plan to let your kid use them, for the love of Darwin, turn on the parental controls! They're there to stop incidents like this from happening! They should consider themselves lucky Apple refunded them, so they haven't been punished for their stupidity.

Parental oversight should play a role but that doesn't excuse predatory and immoral business practices. Apple should be taking a hard stance on charges like this, as it is completely unreasonable for in-app charges to amount to huge amounts more than the price of a second hand car in such a short amount of time without the explicit consent of the account holder. When you're talking about thousands of pounds in charges for trivial in-game items there should be a cooling-off period to ensure that users are not falling victim to deceptive business practices.

I was astonished by the price of some in-game items in "free" games on the Android market, with bundles being offered for in-game credits costing as much as ?70. We're not talking about apps targeting at affluent individuals; we're talking about games aimed at kids, where items are locked out if you don't buy such credits. They shouldn't consider themselves lucky that Apple refunded the money; the app developer should consider themselves lucky that they're not being sued.

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I think people are missing off what really happened.

the dad entered the password to make a purchase thinking it was free

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-21629210

'Danny Kitchen, from Bristol, was using the family's iPad when father Greg put in a pass code, believing his son was downloading a free game.'

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He should have made sure it was a free download with no catches and not taken his son's word for it. Entirely the parent's fault. They had a passcode on there for a purpose.

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While in retrospect it's clear he should have had in app purchases disabled. Who would have ever thought a free game would have add ons at ?70 a time, that's just disgusting

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Parental oversight should play a role but that doesn't excuse predatory and immoral business practices. Apple should be taking a hard stance on charges like this, as it is completely unreasonable for in-app charges to amount to huge amounts more than the price of a second hand car in such a short amount of time without the explicit consent of the account holder. When you're talking about thousands of pounds in charges for trivial in-game items there should be a cooling-off period to ensure that users are not falling victim to deceptive business practices.

I was astonished by the price of some in-game items in "free" games on the Android market, with bundles being offered for in-game credits costing as much as ?70. We're not talking about apps targeting at affluent individuals; we're talking about games aimed at kids, where items are locked out if you don't buy such credits. They shouldn't consider themselves lucky that Apple refunded the money; the app developer should consider themselves lucky that they're not being sued.

Honestly, it's not surprising to me at all. One of my best friends fell into depression recently, and racked up $1500+ in expenses on Guild Wars 2. Needless to say, he had a problem. He got refunded though, I guess when he realized how serious he screwed up... I dunno. It's like a gambling addiction to some I suppose.

I'd be much more involved with what apps my kids were downloading anyway. Maybe set them up with an account which was only usable with preloaded iTunes cards, if possible. No way in hell I'd give anyone a password which allows them to make purchases from my credit/debit card. That's just... man, that's just stupid, no doubt about it.

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Honestly, it's not surprising to me at all. One of my best friends fell into depression recently, and racked up $1500+ in expenses on Guild Wars 2. Needless to say, he had a problem. He got refunded though, I guess when he realized how serious he screwed up... I dunno. It's like a gambling addiction to some I suppose.

Did he rack up $1500 in 10mins? This "game" charged their credit card multiple times automatically for a total of $2200 in 10-15mins of gaming. THAT'S the screwed up bit.

The parents should have checked before putting in the password but who would have thought that it could amount to that many charges in that short a time?

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I wouldn't be able to sit down on my @ss for a year if I had of done something like that as a kid.

And yeah, I totally agree with others saying parents need to pay more attention to what their kids are doing and stop letting them play with things they shouldn't be touching.

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I'm more alarmed that a five year old was on an iPad. I was raised in the 90s and I did not touch a video game until I was in the 6th grade... Why, because of technological advances, do parents feel the need to neglect important aspects of childhood--such as playing outside and getting dirty, or writing/reading/drawing? I remember a study done that indicates parents who do not let their children use their imagination tend to be unable to creatively express themselves later on (that's probably a big "DOH!"). Now that I'm older I'm saddened I didn't play outside more, or read more, or draw more (despite me doing it all the time as a kid)! The drudgery of everyday life, especially the almighty computer in the modern world, make me cherish the moments I was really free of them.

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Did he rack up $1500 in 10mins? This "game" charged their credit card multiple times automatically for a total of $2200 in 10-15mins of gaming. THAT'S the screwed up bit.

The parents should have checked before putting in the password but who would have thought that it could amount to that many charges in that short a time?

No, but that's irrelevant, isn't it? We can talk about horrible business models, pricing, and so forth until we're blue in the face, but so long as you give a kid access to something that can pull money out of your account, whether it's 5 minutes or 5 days, you're still an irresponsible person. Considering the purchases that can be made in some games, it's definitely worth noting at least.

Lf20ryE.jpg

(yes, I know how RMAH works but just a helpful image to demonstrate the ugly side of "micro"transactions)

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Turning off in-app purchases is not exactly an obvious setting for most parents, you would have to go digging to find that it even exists even if it is obvious to us geeks (and geek parents) who are more resourceful.

My advice to others is to use iTunes Gift Cards instead to limit the potential charges that can be accrued Also it is very common to find discounted iTunes Gift Cards so it saves money also.

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That is disgraceful, allowing an app on the market to charge that sort of money for a game

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