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In-app purchase in spotlight again as boy racks up ?1,000 iPad bill

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 
Eight-year-old Theo Rowland-Fry's parents thought nothing of letting him play a "Simpsons" game on the family iPad ? until a recent bank statement showed charges of almost ?1,000, that is.

in-app


The Belfast Telegraph carried news on Wednesday that in-app purchasing power on Apple's iPad had led to yet another child racking up a sizable bill playing with the popular tablet, this time to the tune of ?980. Theo's parents say that he has no idea of the impact of his Simpsons shopping spree.

"Theo is only just eight," said Nick Rowland-Fry, Theo's father, "and has no real concept of the monetary value attached. As far as he was concerned he was just buying doughnuts."

The Rowland-Frys were refunded the ?980, but they expressed concern that the same could happen to other people.

Theo's digital doughnut splurge comes just weeks after a five-year-old in Britain charged ?1,700 to his parents, all in the course of playing the game Zombie. That boy's parents were also refunded.

Not all in-app shopping sprees have ended as happily. In 2011, a Phoenixville, PA, man filed suit against Apple on behalf of himself and others who had incurred unauthorized charges for game-related content. The suit alleged that Apple had been allowed to "pocket millions of dollars" on unauthorized transactions and that the company's password policy was insufficient to block such transactions. Apple moved to settle the case in late February, offering the claimants $5 iTunes credits and full refunds for claims over $30.
post #2 of 81
Is it a contest now to see who can rack up the most?
post #3 of 81

This is what happens when you think your iPad is the babysitter. What happened to parenting?! My son is 7 years old and in 1st grade. His iPad is locked with a password, which he knows, but he never use it without permission. Restrictions are on (again he knows the password) but when he wants to buy from the App Store or IAP he knows that I need to do these things not him. WTF wrong with these people!

post #4 of 81
This kid and family are from Bristol, England. Belfast kids are a lot smarter and have the In-App purchases setting to 'off'
post #5 of 81

Android has a "Kids Mode" App that locks the device so there are no in-app purchase possible.  I think Apple should implement something similar:  A kid mode that the user cannot change settings and a pre-set limit on how much the kid can spend a week or a month.

post #6 of 81

Apple, give us configurable, multiple user logins!!!

 

1wink.gif

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post #7 of 81

How about a AppleID for that unit without a CC on it.  Plenty of free email host's out there.  This will prevent "kid buy" syndrome by not even letting them buy anything.  

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post #8 of 81
Cool. So all I need to do is racking up a high enough bill and then complain and I get my money back. Nice one.
Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, my opinion, man.
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Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, my opinion, man.
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post #9 of 81
You can already disable IAP, among other parental controls, but you probably don't even need to.... just don't give your kid a password that can take money from your credit card account!

You need a password for IAP currently. Even if you've entered your password already for a download, I believe you need it again--immediately, no delay--for IAP. Correct me if I have the current state of affairs wrong.

But there are hundreds if not thousands of iOS users, so stupid mistakes will be made. Guaranteed. Unless you ban ALL ADULTS from buying things on their phone, some adults will let kids do so too.
post #10 of 81
Did I miss something, doesn't the parent have to set up the iPad for the kid to do purchases including a password? If the parents neglected to set limitations or even better set it up then gave the kid unsupervised access it is hard to see how Apple is to blame. Oh well my cats don't play games so I am not the best person to comment.
post #11 of 81
This would only happen in the United Kingdom...

Obviously, I am referring to the bill being in pounds sterling. 1wink.gif
Edited by GTR - 3/15/13 at 1:09pm
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post #12 of 81
This wouldn't have happened if Steve Jobs were alive¡

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post #13 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by winstein2010 View Post

Android has a "Kids Mode" App that locks the device so there are no in-app purchase possible.  I think Apple should implement something similar:  A kid mode that the user cannot change settings and a pre-set limit on how much the kid can spend a week or a month.

Apple already has such stuff. But it is up to the owners to use it and not give their kid access o their credit card payment info through iTMS.
post #14 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

This is what happens when you think your iPad is the babysitter. What happened to parenting?! My son is 7 years old and in 1st grade. His iPad is locked with a password, which he knows, but he never use it without permission. Restrictions are on (again he knows the password) but when he wants to buy from the App Store or IAP he knows that I need to do these things not him. WTF wrong with these people!

 

 

Agreed! Babysitter the iPad is not.  Maybe the parents should not be coddled by Apple, that's what they have government, but rather have the parents pay the bill and the story would be... Parents, You Can Pay Attention or Pay Your BIll!

 

Just be thankful it was only money being racked up and that Apple initiates a app submission that must meet Apple standards.  Your kid, instead of racking up a bill, could be redirected to adult sites, or talking to sexual predators, or someone trying to find out personal information...  who knows what a kid could spill out?!

 

At least stay with the kid and watch him play a couple of levels of the game to see if this in-app purchasing draw is in there and poses a situation.  If you are going to forfeit your responsibilities as a parent, then maybe you should forfeit your child as well!

/

/

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post #15 of 81

I think developers need to take a bit of responsibility here. Who decided that it would be a good idea to put a $99.99 IAP into a kids game? It's only going to cause trouble.

post #16 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by HawkBlade View Post

How about a AppleID for that unit without a CC on it.  Plenty of free email host's out there.  This will prevent "kid buy" syndrome by not even letting them buy anything.  

 

An iPad only with default apps is no fun for your kids and you need valid Apple ID's for services like iMessage, Game Center, iCloud backup… You will need to switch Apple ID's to install apps, Apple prevent iOS devices from changing Apple ID's multiple times (at least for automatic downloads), you get locked to that account for 90 days after one ID change.

You will also need to keep the free email accounts active otherwise any purchases will become invalid on your next device. Overall it's a crappy situation.

 

It would be easier if Apple gave iOS multiple logins, that way all the browser cookies, app settings & logins can be hidden from the kids whilst still allowing adults to use the device capabilities unhindered.

 

iOS just isn't designed for sharing. It seems like Apple want you to just buy a device to dedicate it to the kids, either they can't figure out how to make iOS multiuser, or they have other reasons for not doing so. Hopefully the competition will push them to making it work soon.

post #17 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Droid View Post

An iPad only with default apps is no fun for your kids and you need valid Apple ID's for services like iMessage, Game Center, iCloud backup… You will need to switch Apple ID's to install apps, Apple prevent iOS devices from changing Apple ID's multiple times (at least for automatic downloads), you get locked to that account for 90 days after one ID change.
You will also need to keep the free email accounts active otherwise any purchases will become invalid on your next device. Overall it's a crappy situation.

That's not completely accurate. You can have separate Apple ID for services (icloud, facetime, .. etc) and another for App Store purchases on the same device. I have an Apple ID for purchases only and I use it for all my ios devices (used by me, my wife, and my son) and each device use its users Apple ID for services like FaceTime, iMessages, iCloud, etc.
post #18 of 81
" Even if you've entered your password already for a download, I believe you need it again--immediately, no delay--for IAP. Correct me if I have the current state of affairs wrong"

That's not true, I think. By default, the "IAP" is on and "require password" is 15 minutes.

I know this because I thought it was just like you said, but one day i had some guests over, and they recommended a (free) app. I downloaded it immediately and put the iPad back on the table. Now one of their kids grabbed the iPad and started playing a (different) game. Later that day I received an email from apple with a receipt for 10 euros in app purchases.

So I also contacted Apple Support, and they refunded the in app purchases. However I remember that I was quite pissed when I saw the initial receipt and I think it would be better to set Require Password to "Direct" by default. (Maybe put a hint in the password screen that you can easily remember the password for 15 minutes if you want that, by setting it in the "Restrictions" menu )

[BTW it didn't happen in the UK 1smile.gif But in the Netherlands]
post #19 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

This is what happens when you think your iPad is the babysitter. What happened to parenting?! My son is 7 years old and in 1st grade. His iPad is locked with a password, which he knows, but he never use it without permission. Restrictions are on (again he knows the password) but when he wants to buy from the App Store or IAP he knows that I need to do these things not him. WTF wrong with these people!

I agree with your general sentiment but most people simply aren't that tech savvy and I can see how someone who has to put in their password every time buy an app might not realize that it says in there for a certain time frame. They might not even know there is something called in-app purchases that would need to be considered.

That said, I do think so of the blame falls on them for not knowing what they are giving their children access to when they hand them their devices but I do think Apple needs to alter the way in-app purchases work. Make it so each time a password is required, regardless of when it was last put in, but offer a toggle in Settings with a warning of what this will allow. This not only saves these kinds of stories from happening with ignorant parents but also allows Apple to protect themselves and their brand by making it happen less.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #20 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

You can already disable IAP, among other parental controls, but you probably don't even need to.... just don't give your kid a password that can take money from your credit card account!

You need a password for IAP currently. Even if you've entered your password already for a download, I believe you need it again--immediately, no delay--for IAP. Correct me if I have the current state of affairs wrong.

But there are hundreds if not thousands of iOS users, so stupid mistakes will be made. Guaranteed. Unless you ban ALL ADULTS from buying things on their phone, some adults will let kids do so too.

 

iOS is on millions of devices, so these kinds of PR debacles will come up. If Apple wanted to lessen the rate of occurrence, they could have the in app purchase feature disabled by default or allow allow some kind of purchasing limit to be set at an account level. Otherwise you're likely to continue reading similar stories. The use of "freemium" business models didn't seem that widespread a couple years ago.

post #21 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

That's not completely accurate. You can have separate Apple ID for services (icloud, facetime, .. etc) and another for App Store purchases on the same device. I have an Apple ID for purchases only and I use it for all my ios devices (used by me, my wife, and my son) and each device use its users Apple ID for services like FaceTime, iMessages, iCloud, etc.

I'd love to see a guest account in iOS where you can designate which apps can be used but I have a feeling Apple would rather just have you buy additional devices.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #22 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by gprovida View Post

Did I miss something, doesn't the parent have to set up the iPad for the kid to do purchases including a password? If the parents neglected to set limitations or even better set it up then gave the kid unsupervised access it is hard to see how Apple is to blame.

That was back in the day when people took responsibility for their own actions. Those days are long gone. Now it's always everyone else's fault and how much $$$ can I get out of them.

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post #23 of 81

Frankly, I've had enough of the childless losers lecturing parents on how easy it is to monitor every second of a kids life. You don't have a clue about this.

Its not 'nanny' to put the simple work into store design to allow a simple, obvious cut-off for in-app purchases.

The problem is that in-app is a cash-cow and neither developers nor Apple really want to make it easy to disable.

 

Stop pontificating on things you don't understand.

post #24 of 81

I agree that parents that use an iPad as a babysitter are just using ignorance to cover their own stupidity.  There are controls and procedures that can be used to prevent kids from doing this.

Apple could (and should) implement something that makes it pretty much a "bonehead" on/off switch like a kids-mode.  Case closed.  If parent's are STUPID enough to give their kids the password, all bets are off.  If Apple were to get a 2nd phone call a month or two later from this same family, I hope Apple tells them to consider just paying for a babysitter instead and accept responsibility.
 

Now, that being said.... I think the developer should get some flak for making it even possible to let something as stupid as a Simpson's game, clearly intended for kids, to rack up those kind of charges.  That's downright robbery.  It's a slippery slope if Apple were to force developers on revenue limits in an app, but I think the developer is obviously hoping that Apple refunding the 1% of screwups and moving on is surely better since the other 99% are okay or no one will dispute it.

post #25 of 81
The nice thing Android does is you can set up a 4 digit pin for any purchases, so you can give your kids any password you want, as long as he doesn't know the pin he won't buy anything.
post #26 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1984 View Post

That was back in the day when people took responsibility for their own actions. Those days are long gone. Now it's always everyone else's fault and how much $$$ can I get out of them.


Back in the day? There is a long history of humanity attributing events and placing blame erroneously.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #27 of 81

Maybe Apple could enforce a $1 or $2 daily in-app purchase limit per app?

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post #28 of 81

Back in the day it was nice when we bought games on a disk and this kind of thing didn't happen.


Edited by mwhiteco - 3/13/13 at 2:14pm
post #29 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

You can already disable IAP, among other parental controls, but you probably don't even need to.... just don't give your kid a password that can take money from your credit card account!

You need a password for IAP currently. Even if you've entered your password already for a download, I believe you need it again--immediately, no delay--for IAP. Correct me if I have the current state of affairs wrong.

But there are hundreds if not thousands of iOS users, so stupid mistakes will be made. Guaranteed. Unless you ban ALL ADULTS from buying things on their phone, some adults will let kids do so too.

That is not correct. At least on some versions of iOS, if you enter the password to download a game, the password remains active for 15 minutes - without requiring that it be re-entered.

I believe Apple has changed that in the latest version, but it should have been 'no delay' from the start.
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post #30 of 81
I haven't ever used in app purchases. Is the default setting "require authorisation on every in app purchase". Seems to me it should be, and then if you want to you can turn that setting off for each app (and of course you need to authorise changing the setting). But out of the box, every in app purchase should need authorisation.

Another simple idea. Give apps a rating, G for small kids, and don't allow in app purchases for G rated apps.

Another simple idea is that a user should be allowed to set global limits on in app purchases, a daily, weekly and monthly rate. When you hit the limit, you have to authorise a new limit for that day, week or month.

Same could be done for non wifi downloads. Let me tell iOS how much is a safe non wifi download (by day week and month) and it alerts me when I get there.

Don't know if any of that is feasible. But it would help the 90% of customers who don't know much about this stuff.
post #31 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstw23 View Post

BTW it didn't happen in the UK 1smile.gif But in the Netherlands

 

Bristol is in the Netherlands now?

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post #32 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by mwhiteco View Post

Back in the day it was nice when we bought games on a disk and this kind of thing didn't happen.

Back in the day it was nice when we (kids) played outside and got some fresh air.

post #33 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


Back in the day? There is a long history of humanity attributing events and placing blame erroneously.

 

Yeah, but as little as twenty years ago, a parent trying to blame Apple for something like this would be "outrageous" and they would get no sympathy at all from the press.  

 

Today it's the front page of all the British newspapers and the opinion of the media outlets and most of the opinion of the readers falls on the side of the parents.  That's a big change.  People really *are* much more selfish and self-centred and they really *do* have a greatly increased sense of entitlement than at any time for at least the last 100 years or so.  

post #34 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrrodriguez View Post

The nice thing Android does is you can set up a 4 digit pin for any purchases, so you can give your kids any password you want, as long as he doesn't know the pin he won't buy anything.

And you get the email receipt immediately not the next day which could've prevented the bill from getting so high. All of you that blame the parents are idiots, do you stand over your child's (if you have any) shoulder, and monitor there usage at ALL times? No of course not. It doesn't take long to rack up a pretty big bill with these IAPs. Last week while getting my hair cut I let my son use a iPod to play games instead of sitting there bored. I had my eye on him the whole time but he could've very easily made some IAPs right under my nose. Good thing I always look him in the eye and tell him "DO NOT buy anything".
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post #35 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

Maybe Apple could enforce a $1 or $2 daily in-app purchase limit per app?

And miss out on their 30% cut? Yeah ok.
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post #36 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

Frankly, I've had enough of the childless losers lecturing parents on how easy it is to monitor every second of a kids life. You don't have a clue about this.

Its not 'nanny' to put the simple work into store design to allow a simple, obvious cut-off for in-app purchases.

The problem is that in-app is a cash-cow and neither developers nor Apple really want to make it easy to disable.

 

Stop pontificating on things you don't understand.

 

Settings > General > Restrictions > Enable, and choose what you want or don't want your kid to do. Looks like Apple already put in the simple work. Now it looks like parents need to put in the simple work to understand what they are giving their kids. iPhones and mobile phones in general are not marketed as devices to share. iPads are debatable, but are still set up as single-user devices.

 

That said, I understand your plight. Parenting is hard, and for those who choose to do it, I applaud them. Though trying to win 'childless losers' over to your argument might be hard when insulting them at the same time. You vilify just as much as the side your fighting against and expect better treatment?

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post #37 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Yeah, but as little as twenty years ago, a parent trying to blame Apple for something like this would be "outrageous" and they would get no sympathy at all from the press.  

Today it's the front page of all the British newspapers and the opinion of the media outlets and most of the opinion of the readers falls on the side of the parents.  That's a big change.  People really *are* much more selfish and self-centred and they really *do* have a greatly increased sense of entitlement than at any time for at least the last 100 years or so.  

Because they trust Apple and the 'Walled Garden' but unbeknownst to them there be snakes in the garden.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #38 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

That's not completely accurate. You can have separate Apple ID for services (icloud, facetime, .. etc) and another for App Store purchases on the same device. I have an Apple ID for purchases only and I use it for all my ios devices (used by me, my wife, and my son) and each device use its users Apple ID for services like FaceTime, iMessages, iCloud, etc.

Apologies, I misread the iTunes T&C. It's just auto downloads & iTunes match that can't be changed often on iOS & OS X.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nicwalmsley View Post


Another simple idea. Give apps a rating, G for small kids, and don't allow in app purchases for G rated apps.

Another simple idea is that a user should be allowed to set global limits on in app purchases, a daily, weekly and monthly rate. When you hit the limit, you have to authorise a new limit for that day, week or month.

Same could be done for non wifi downloads. Let me tell iOS how much is a safe non wifi download (by day week and month) and it alerts me when I get there.

Don't know if any of that is feasible. But it would help the 90% of customers who don't know much about this stuff.
 

 

See how many of the top free apps are games for kids with in IAP. In App Purchasing is how Apple encouraged developers to make money, I suspect demo's of paid apps could help the situation, but many parents don't want to buy apps, in the belief they can entertain the kids for free. 

 

More settings for limits are a reasonable idea, but these users are already failing to setup restrictions or disable the the store login timeout. 

post #39 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

This is what happens when you think your iPad is the babysitter. What happened to parenting?! My son is 7 years old and in 1st grade. His iPad is locked with a password, which he knows, but he never use it without permission. Restrictions are on (again he knows the password) but when he wants to buy from the App Store or IAP he knows that I need to do these things not him. WTF wrong with these people!

That's like people with prodigy children asking you "what do you mean your son can't compose a Symphony?"
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #40 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I agree with your general sentiment but most people simply aren't that tech savvy and I can see how someone who has to put in their password every time buy an app might not realize that it says in there for a certain time frame. They might not even know there is something called in-app purchases that would need to be considered.

That said, I do think so of the blame falls on them for not knowing what they are giving their children access to when they hand them their devices but I do think Apple needs to alter the way in-app purchases work. Make it so each time a password is required, regardless of when it was last put in, but offer a toggle in Settings with a warning of what this will allow. This not only saves these kinds of stories from happening with ignorant parents but also allows Apple to protect themselves and their brand by making it happen less.

One solution to IAP is to ask permission when you first run the app (like location services) and have the ability to turn IAP for each app individually. However, I am already tired of all these popups. Why do 99% of users suffer just because some people are lazy!
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