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The Almighty Buck Games

Kid Racks Up $5,900 Bill Playing Jurassic World On Dad's iPad (pcmag.com) 540

theodp writes: For Mohamed Shugaa, the scariest Jurassic World creature is perhaps Apple CEO Tim Cook, not the Indominus Rex. That's because Shugaa discovered his 7-year-old son had managed to rack up a $5,900 bill playing the Jurassic World game on his iPad in six days. "Why would Apple think I would be spending thousands of pounds on buying dinosaurs and upgrading a game," Shugaa told The Metro. "Why didn't they email me to check I knew these payments were being made? I got nothing from them. How much longer would it have gone on for?" Shugaa discovered his son's 65 in-app purchases when a payment he tried to make to a business supplier was declined. His son had upgraded dinosaurs using the game currency 'Dino Bucks' without realizing it was charging his Dad in real money. The good news is that Apple has decided to refund the money, so the kid doesn't have to worry about Apple making him work 8,500 hours for $5,980 to settle the debt. Btw, before you developers get too excited about the possibility of using In-App Purchase to take kids to the cleaners at $6,000-a-pop, remember that Apple call dibs on the first $1,800!
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Kid Racks Up $5,900 Bill Playing Jurassic World On Dad's iPad

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  • Well deserved. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 03, 2016 @01:29PM (#51230773)

    You let your brat play unchecked with a credit card-enabled tablet, you deserve every bill you get.
    Especially if you're too dumb to read the fine print and adjust your settings, so that these things can be avoided.

    • Re: Well deserved. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 03, 2016 @01:40PM (#51230841)

      They require a credit card to install free apps. What gets me is they required password for doing anything on the app store even free apps, but no password to buy thousands in upgrades. It's a deliberate scam, or incredible incompetence. I succpect the latter.

      • You mean like "touch your finger to this little fingerprint reader to say 'I'm me doing this?' Instead of type your alphanumeric string?" That they do for absolutely everything after you type your password literally once on turn-on?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You can opt out of that. It's not forced on you, it even asks the first time if you want to enable it, so it isn't even on out of the box. Blame the parent.

          • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

            It is not opt-out, that is a lie, more accurately it is once only opt out. That opt out should be routinely repeated and have real spend caps placed upon it via legislation. For Phone purchases a sound legal limit on spends per day should be enforced, say a low $100 per day and a maximum of $500 per day (they should be enforced by law with real legal penalties for the abuse of spending caps), they are simply not secure enough from the manufacturers who would so readily abuse them. If they are going to beha

      • They require a credit card to install free apps. What gets me is they required password for doing anything on the app store even free apps, but no password to buy thousands in upgrades. It's a deliberate scam, or incredible incompetence. I succpect the latter.

        Yeah, it's hard to see how they "missed" this elephant in the room when setting up the app store and in-game purchases.

        Really, if this isn't deliberate then it's the next best thing.

        • Re: Well deserved. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by JMJimmy ( 2036122 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @02:17PM (#51231095)

          The elephant in the room is that we, as a society, are allowing these games to exist at all. Yes they are entertainment products but they should have limits on their abusive nature. I mean if you can fleece someone for $500 on a game that no one would pay $60 for - good for you you've scammed someone but $5000+ is criminal (or rather should be).

          • Re: Well deserved. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 03, 2016 @02:33PM (#51231169)

            We don't just "allow" them, as a society, we demand them.

            We're a society that happily spends $8 on a latte we drink in under a minute but refuses to pay $1 for a game we'd spend hours on.

            We're a society that balks at paying a monthly subscription fee to pay for game servers, yet will happily spend far more money on fake items. Think of how many times you've heard of a game "going free to play" and had their profits skyrocket because of it?

            The elephant in the room is that, yes, Apple does absolutely think it's possible some guy will randomly spend $6000 on virtual dinosaurs. It happens all the time. And we, as a society, are quite willing to make that possible solely so we don't have to spend our latte-money on a game we'd spend far more time with. We demanded free to play games, and we got them.

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by JMJimmy ( 2036122 )

              And that's why I'm not advocating abolishing these games, just setting reasonable limits on the gouging that can go on.

              • And that's why I'm not advocating abolishing these games, just setting reasonable limits on the gouging that can go on.

                And who is going to appointed to be in charge of setting these limits?

                It's an unworkable idea, even if it appears sensible at first glance (it doesn't appear that way to me, but I'm sure some others would consider it a reasonable idea).

            • Who demanded? (Score:4, Insightful)

              by phorm ( 591458 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @03:10PM (#51231333) Journal

              WHO demanded fee-to-play (they certainly aren't free) games? Nobody I know fucking did, and most I know hate it.
              First they took local LAN play, so you could only play when online.
              FTP is basically just a scam to hide the real cost of a game, be it free install or otherwise.

              On tablets etc, games didn't *require* paying of course, unless your actually wanted to progress beyond a certain point.

              Meanwhile on PC/console, we got unlockable "achievements", which was kinda cool until those became necessary to unlock items in the game.
              Then off course, came the ability to "pay" for unlocks, so you had the ability to play 10,000h for a sniper scope or pay in order to compete with the fucking rich kids who bought them at $50

              Back to tablet, oh now we're not charging you money, you get game "credits" (which of course your can purchase) to obfuscate the cost of things further.
              Lastly, let us not forget DLC. What used to be legitimate add-ons a year or so after release became 0-day nickel-and-dime cash grabs to get a full game.

              Tell me, when did we ask for this shit? Because it seems to me that as soon as the industry see dollar signs, every fucking game went there. EA was the biggest sell-out, but with them and other big names buying out any game studio that produces a decent product, your choices are pretty much limited to whose dick you want to take up your ass, and with how much lube (lube available in micropayments of $5/application).

            • Not so much (Score:4, Insightful)

              by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @06:36PM (#51232193)
              It's mostly Whales. Obsessive compulsive types with mental issues. A large percentage of the revenue free to play makes comes from these folks. I think the point the Grandparent was getting at is that these games survive by taking advantage of people with varying degrees of sanity. As a society we like to think that we protect those kind of people. We don't.
          • Re: Well deserved. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @02:54PM (#51231265)

            The elephant in the room is that we, as a society, are allowing these games to exist at all.

            I think people should be allowed to spend their time and money on whatever stupid, shallow things they want. They should be able to piss away their entire lives on twitter and facebook and fondle their phone 24/7 if they like.

            It's not for me, but if the bliss-ninnies want to spend their lives waiting for the next photoshopped picture of Kim Kardashian's ass to hit the newsstands, who am I to say no?

          • Re: Well deserved. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @06:20PM (#51232123)

            The elephant in the room is that we, as a society, are allowing these games to exist at all. Yes they are entertainment products but they should have limits on their abusive nature. I mean if you can fleece someone for $500 on a game that no one would pay $60 for - good for you you've scammed someone but $5000+ is criminal (or rather should be).

            I don't quite see the problem. Either the purchaser is a legally competent adult, or he/she isn't. In this case the purchaser was a child, not a competent adult. So no legal contract was entered and the money should be refunded. I'd say the competent adult (the father) should be responsible for any actual damages caused by him not taking car - but that would be for example credit card fees, so a few dollars at most.

            On the other hand, if you, assuming that you are a legally competent adult, make $5000 worth of in app purchases, then that's your own fault. It's the same as handing out $5,000 worth of dollars to strangers on the street. Maybe it would be a reason to have you declared incompetent.

        • Re: Well deserved. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Jiro ( 131519 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @02:22PM (#51231127)

          This is a dark pattern [darkpatterns.org] which is a user interface designed to trick people into doing things.

          I'm surprised how many Slashdotters have replied "he ought to keep closer control of what his kid is doing" and "Apple isn't at fault, they just created the system". Apple is responsible for the user interface and just because the user "could have navigated the user interface" and not had his kid buy the in-app purchases doesn't mean that Apple isn't responsible. "You could have figured out the bad user interface" is never an excuse, especially when the bad user interface is on purpose.

          • by HiThere ( 15173 )

            You can't prove that it's on purpose. The correct phrase was "is so blatant that it appears to be on purpose".

            I don't feel I'm just being nitpicky here. To assume that Apple did this on purpose is to make an assumption about the kind of micromanagement that the company is exerting, but companies are not real entities. Someone at Apple probably did this on purpose, but I doubt that upper management was aware, much less the Board of Directors. This doesn't mean that they aren't responsible, as upper manag

          • This is a dark pattern [darkpatterns.org] which is a user interface designed to trick people into doing things.

            Yep, and there's that whole whole "engagement" concept that is now baked into games to keep you clicking. A little work, a little reward, but then it goes into times cycles, contingent rewards, goal-teasing, etc etc etc. Zinga hired teams of psychologists to make their games (in their own words) "as addicting as possible". And it's worked.

            Farmville, Candy Crush, etc etc etc...practically all now use this timed-reward technique along with other motivational "pokes" to keep you glued to the game or at least c

      • Re: Well deserved. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Rosyna ( 80334 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @02:10PM (#51231045) Homepage

        Purchases do require a password. The problem is, which the summary left out, the kid knew his dad's password. Because of this, all of the iOS protections that exist to stop excessive IAPs were bypassed with the password.

      • by ruir ( 2709173 )
        They do not have required a CC to install free apps for years. I have had free accounts, my sis-in-law and my father still have their free accounts that I helped her create with no CC whatsoever. In iOS it is quite easy to setup it as free, in OS/X it is also possible, however it not so apparently straightforward.
    • To be fair, mobile operating systems should have different default behavior.

      The fine print and settings adjustments should be to turn on the ease of use "1-Click" saved-payment-info-without-confirmation options. Not to turn them off.

      I don't actually know what Apple's default settings are like but Amazon tablets really want to make it easy for you to spend money.

      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

        As far as I know, Apple's default settings are to require a password every time you make a purchase. All of my devices certainly do. There are several additional options, including enabling purchases without a password for a certain period of time, or not requiring a password at all, but you have to select those. Plus you can create an account with no credit card info at all for your children to play with.

    • You let your brat play unchecked with a credit card-enabled tablet, you deserve every bill you get.
      Especially if you're too dumb to read the fine print and adjust your settings, so that these things can be avoided.

      Yeah, there's enough blame to put a bit on everyone's plate here.

      It's worth mentioning that you can enter your password once on an ipad and then it won't ask again, which frankly seems a bit careless and maybe even "trappy". If you're spending real money, the least they could do is require you to enter a password each time. It's not like that would be a difficult thing to add. In fact, they make it SO easy for this kind of thing to happen it has more than a whiff of deliberate intention to it.

      It's similar t

      • iOS asks for a password whenever things are purchased, regardless of method. Buying free apps can skip a password.

        However, the kid had the password needed for purchases and was able to enter it when asked.

        • iOS asks for a password whenever things are purchased, regardless of method. Buying free apps can skip a password.

          However, the kid had the password needed for purchases and was able to enter it when asked.

          Nope, not on my ipad it doesn't. My wife's ipad also doesn't ask for a password.

          Yes, I know it can be set to do so, but apparently it's not the default. I just bought her an ipad mini 4 days ago and after setting it up it asked for a password once, and it hasn't asked for one again.

          • The default is to ask for passwords and the only way to not ask is if the item is free or you buy two things within 15 minutes. You will also always get asked first time you try to get something after reboot.

  • by Noxal ( 816780 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @01:30PM (#51230781)

    Knowing Apple, why not require that in app purchases have to actually provide you something of value beyond arbitrarily increasing counters in games?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Knowing Apple, why not require that in app purchases have to actually provide you something of value beyond arbitrarily increasing counters in games?

      In-App Purchases require you to enter your Apple ID password. A better question is why has this father provided his password to his son?

      • the password is needed to install free stuff / maybe (some are forced) app updates as well.

        • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @02:00PM (#51230987) Journal

          My question is why would hand a child a device to 'play' with that is tied to a system authorized to make payments? I realize all kinds of people do that every day but its still stupid. You would not hand your kid a wad of cash to used building a house of cards, why would you hand them a computer with credit information embedded?

          Both IOS and Android can be set so you at least have to enter your Apple / Google password to make a purchase. If your device isn't set to lock itself with a short timeout or you ever hand it to anyone you can't trust entirely (like your spouse) then you absolutely should have the password for ordering functions on! It is true that the result is this also requires the password for free stuff, but there again if you can't be arsed to manage the entertainment software on your phone for your kid, you probably should get them their own device like maybe a PSP or their own phone with no credit card info associated.

          Frankly this is an expensive lesson but this day should pay up and learn it well.

          • Frankly this is an expensive lesson but this day should pay up and learn it well.

            You don't need to pay to have the lesson well learnt. A serious near miss is enough to change a behaviour, and getting a fat bill in the mail can very quickly make people realise they were financially left open.

            But the parent does have a point. While it's their own fault having their credentials handed over even a bank or a credit card company often has the ability to prevent out of pattern transactions, and quite frankly suddenly blowing $5900 on small in game purchases in a single game should trigger some

          • by Lehk228 ( 705449 )
            the kid memorized his dad's itunes password
        • Steam requires you to reenter your credit card CVC if you've been making a lot of purchases recently. Apple could do something similar.
          • by Kohath ( 38547 )

            They probably should, just for PR reasons. Then the next time this happens, they can put out a statement saying essentially "Don't look at us. This moron told his kid his password AND told his kid his credit card number."

  • Kids Ipad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geoskd ( 321194 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @01:32PM (#51230795)

    Whenever the kids ask for a game on their tablets, as soon as it is installed, I log out of the itunes account so that they cant purchase anything more. It takes only seconds, and if this guy can't figure out how / cant be bothered to take that simple step, then he deserves to have to cough up the money. Its like they say, a fool and their money are soon parted.

    • updates may need the account / password at least they do on the mac os app store and that is not the system password and it's need to update the build in apps.

      • Really, they don't.

        Works for me with my kids. Updates are applied perfectly fine without needing a password.

    • I don't know about the UK, but in the US, another option he has is to reverse the charge with the credit card company.
      • I don't know about the UK, but in the US, another option he has is to reverse the charge with the credit card company.

        Well... I'm not sure it's that simple or automatic. He can dispute the charges, but unless he can demonstrate fraud/theft the CC company may deny the dispute. Sure, it was his child that made the purchases -- or, so he says :-) -- but he allowed the child to use his tablet and arguably his CC. Alternatively, he can return items for refunds, but I don't know if that's supported for in-game purchases.

        • I've never had problems with it. Every time I've disputed a charge, it's been refunded to me within a few months.
    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      Sounds like a pain, and then it'd always be a risk of forgetting to log out one time.... I'd just use a different device the kids can't touch to make the actual purchase of content to the shared account, and then the kids can Download it to their device over the account their device is linked to.

      I guess if I used iTunes Drive/AirDrop for remote password vault and cloud-based file storage, then I might use a separate account for the kids altogether ---- keeping all your devices logged into iTunes has the

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      While you maybe right about the Dad being a moron. Let's not pretend that apps like this are not created with the intent to defraud by deception or addiction and their creators are not in fact part of the worst of humanity.

    • Yeah, you are an idiot.

      So people who are "uninformed" or "ignorant" deserve "to have to cough up the money."?? Did he commit a crime so he deserves anything?? How retarded and sociopath are you??

  • Bad Parenting (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wjcofkc ( 964165 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @01:38PM (#51230833)
    Talk about naive. A seven year old absolutely needs to be supervised when using a mobile or any internet connected device. The most maddening part of this is that he seems to be expecting Apple to babysit his kid.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Quick guess...you are not a parent, and have never had to look over a seven year old in any substantial way.

    • Heck no! The whole reason to buy mobile tablets and such is to allow the computer to be the parent, thereby freeing the parent from the drudgery of actually interacting with their children and doing things like playing outside, going for hikes or bike rides, and such...
    • Re:Bad Parenting (Score:4, Informative)

      by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @06:41PM (#51232211)

      Talk about naive. A seven year old absolutely needs to be supervised when using a mobile or any internet connected device. The most maddening part of this is that he seems to be expecting Apple to babysit his kid.

      Absolutely not. Only if the parents need to be supervised when using a mobile device as well. Apple allows you the following settings: 1. Password for every purchase. 2. Password for every purchase, but no further password for 15 minutes. 3. No password for free purchases. 4. No in-app purchases whatsoever. 5. Have no credit or debit card registered but use giftcards which cannot be overdrawn. 6. Have a family account where junior can buy what they like on their device, but the purchase only goes through if dad says "yes" on dad's device.

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @01:48PM (#51230889)
    The Dad should not blame Apple for making something so easy to use that a child can use it.

    .
    Instead, the Dad should take responsibility for letting a child use a device without knowing how and for what purpose that child is using the device.

    This is nothing but a lack of parental responsibility.

  • by Guspaz ( 556486 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @02:00PM (#51230985)

    The smart child had memorized his father's Apple ID password

    A password was required to make an in-game purchase, and even if the father entered it himself, that only works for 15 minutes. How is it Apple's fault that the kid memorized the guy's password?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by thegarbz ( 1787294 )

      If you took my credit card and ran off with it and started making 100s of micro purchases the credit card company would likely block the card. While I agree that the parent left their financial details insecure, how does such a large sum spent on a single game not trigger some kind of additional protection? Oh that's right profit.

  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Schnapple ( 262314 ) <tomkidd@noSPAm.viatexas.com> on Sunday January 03, 2016 @02:01PM (#51230997) Homepage

    This is maybe the shittiest article I've seen posted to Slashdot in a long time, and that's saying something.

    First, why does the blame fall to Tim Cook of all people instead of the developers of the game?

    Second, Apple has already set up a Family Sharing system to prevent just this sort of thing. Never mind the fact that your have to give your kid your password to the account tied to a credit card for this to happen in the first place.

    http://www.apple.com/icloud/fa... [apple.com]

    To say nothing of the fact that in the article itself they said Apple refunded him the money. But yeah, they're assholes because he doesn't know not to give your kid access to your credit card.

    Finally throw in a dash of globalization scare tactics and remind developers that they *only* get 70% of the IAP revenue, which they know about already, and you've got the Slashdot Shithead Trifecta.

  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @02:05PM (#51231015) Homepage Journal

    Dad: "Hey VISA, I didn't authorize this. Charge back." There. Now it's someone else's problem.

    Honest question: doesn't it work like this? If the app or the OS (whatever's in charge) is both storing the credentials and also not taking common-sense measures to authenticate people who try to use those credentials, I'd think chargebacks would be an extremely common occurrence. Isn't this happening? If not, why not?

    • VISA: "ok, so you are saying fraud has been committed? Passing this over to the police so they can investigate."

      Charge backs do not have zero repercussions - if he claimed fraudulent activity, his son could have a visit from the police.

      Of course your post ignores the fact that Apple requires a password before in-app purchase, and after the last debacle with kids running up purchases, changed the default behaviour so the 15 minute grace period after installing an app (and thus having entered the account pass

      • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @03:09PM (#51231331)

        Charge backs do not have zero repercussions - if he claimed fraudulent activity, his son could have a visit from the police.

        Correct. Last time I performed a chargeback (admittedly not in the USA) I had to sign a statutory declaration that I had zero control of the purchase. Zero control has a lot of meaning and typically requires some kind of criminal act to be valid (stealing the card, stealing credentials etc). In my case someone managed to make 2 purchases a day after I left my wallet in my hotel room. The I had a follow up interview with the police who were investigating the hotel service staff (apparently my case wasn't isolated) even though I never called them, though I did give all the details to the bank.

        I also know of someone, who's never been very bright, who gave their credit card to a "friend" to quickly go and buy something. That other person then spent big without her knowing. After doing the charge back she had an interview with the fraud department from the bank (she charged back the expensive item which was bought, but not the other item a few seconds earlier which she needed so they questioned whether or not she was in control of the credentials). Once they found out that she voluntarily gave someone the card that was the end. She was liable for the full cost and a $200 administration fee, not to mention that a fraudulent chargeback is now recorded with her bank.

        I'm going to guess that giving someone the password to your iPhone to use with Apple Pay, or in app purchases or whatever falls under the same category. You can't charge back stupidity.

  • by zoffdino ( 848658 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @02:07PM (#51231029)

    First there's a way to adjust the password settings on iPads: Settings > iTunes and App Store > Password Settings. Set it to Always Require for paid apps and in app purchases and Do not require for free downloads. But that's all moot in this case because the kid did know the password and the account is linked to a credit card. It's like he gave his son key to the gun cabinet and later blame the gun manufacturer when the kid hurts himself. Bad bad parenting. The article also mentioned that he should received several email receipts for these purchases. That's Apple's way of reaching out to him and say "something is suspicious". What does he really want? A police officer knocking on his door telling him that there have been big charges on his CC?

    In the end though, Apple did reimburse him all the money what else is left to grunge about? Had he given his kid an Android, the situation would have been the same: kids swipe the parent's CC clean. I have no doubt Google would promptly reimburse him, just like Apple did. However, this article was written only because it involved Apple.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hankwang ( 413283 )

      "Settings > iTunes and App Store > Password Settings"

      This sounds like the beginning of THHGTTG, where the guy's house is bulldozed because he didn't know that he should have checked in the city hall to find out that this was planned.

      The default should be to protect the user against them shooting in their feet and to make them go out of their way to disable the protection. Don't expect them to oversee and remember all potential consequences of typing in their cc number.

  • by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @02:23PM (#51231129) Homepage Journal

    I feel IMHO should be banned on any game targeting an audience below 12 years old. At the very least in-app purchases above a certain amount or accumulated amount should require external authentication, to prevent this exact scenario.

    As for the 'in-app purchase are evil' subject, it is because you'll frequently get a free app and then find it goes on to nickel-and-dime the whole experience. What is the real price of a free app with in-app purchasing? Here we saw it was potentially well above $5000. At that price $60 console games look cheap.

  • The real WTF (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @02:29PM (#51231157) Homepage Journal

    The real WTF is that you can possibly run up a bill that large in just 6 days with a free to pay game.

    • Re:The real WTF (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fox171171 ( 1425329 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @02:52PM (#51231253)

      The real WTF is that you can possibly run up a bill that large in just 6 days with a free to pay game.

      $5,900 bill / 65 in-app purchases

      Sounds like an average of around $90 per purchase. That is the real WTF!

      • by jandrese ( 485 )
        That sounds about right sadly. "Freemium" developers know that only a tiny number of their users will ever buy anything, but those that do often spend hundreds of dollars on the game. The industry term is "whales". So they set their price points to milk as much money as possible out of the whales. It's really shocking how little value you get for your money on so many of those games.
  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @02:43PM (#51231209)

    Know what your kid is doing on the computer/tablet/etc. It's not a trained babysitter.

    Yet as a parent, I get it. We're fairly conservative, we limit screen time but it's a HUGE magnet for kids and it's easy for non-technical parents to not realize their kids can spend real money or how to block it, and kids aren't stupid, they can guess passwords. Our son figured out my wife's password (observing her typing) and ran up $90 on iTunes before we caught it. Kids are impulsive.

    That being said, we paid it and made him pay us back through extra chores accounted on a big sign on the fridge and a loss of access to the iPad. We didn't ask for a refund because we owned the problem and of course getting the refund would be a time consuming headache in and of itself.

    That being said, in-app purchases are bullshit. They degrade the quality of all apps by masking their true cost and lack of basic quality. Apple's controls are really weak, especially for parents, and there should be a way to set spending limits that protect the parent and the kids.

    The $6k refunded by Apple is bullshit compared to the thousands of parents who have paid the $90 like us, and I'm sure Apple just knows a lot of people eat $$$ in unwanted in-app purchases and it's part of the model. They don't *want* more controls.

    I'd like to see Apple eliminate in-app purchases completely. Developers should price their apps up front, release multiple versions if they want multiple price points. Shitty apps and especially games that do nothing without a ton of in-app purchases should die. I don't even bother with games at all anymore because they're all rigged to be mostly unplayable without upgrades, and I tend to avoid apps of any kind that flog upgrades via in-app purchases. It's a crappy racket.

  • My eldest son recently got a paid xbox live account, and his son racked up about a thousand bucks of charges in one day before my son even had a chance to set up the parental locks on the device.

    He got a refund after telling them what had happened... it was still was a bit an eye-opener for him though. Really, I think that the biggest reason that things like this happen is because while it is obvious to the parent that it costs real money, it might not as obvious to the child, and it also may not be obvious that permission was even needed unless this is explicitly clarified ahead of time.

  • "Why didn't they email me to check I knew these payments were being made? I got nothing from them."

    Why exactly is it any company's problem that they check up on whether you are an idiot or not ? You agreed to bought the device, agreed to terms and conditions , and gave them your credit card. Now they much check if you weren't being a drooling imbecile when you did all that ?

  • by The Cisco Kid ( 31490 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @03:58PM (#51231523)

    You can buy "prepaid" cards to load finds for purchases made via their respective "stores".

    I cannot imagine any situation where you would register a real world credit card to allow direct charges with either of them.

    It's sad that people blindly accept that giving a service provider direct access to their credit card or bank account number is a suitable way to pay anything, and its what leads to situations just like this one.

    My son has an iPhone. It has a preloaded balance. It CANNOT spend anymore than that. If he runs low he can ask me for a another iTunes card.

    I have an Android phone. Same setup - preloaded balance that it CANNOT exceed. It does not have the ability to use anymore than the balance that I have loaded, which I (and ONLY *I*) can replenish as needed

    For any service that will not bill any way OTHER than to a credit card, or for any online purchase, I use this:

    https://www.bankofamerica.com/... [bankofamerica.com]

Between infinite and short there is a big difference. -- G.H. Gonnet

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