Mother-of-two, 40, blasts Apple for trying to refuse her a refund when her son, 7, splurged £1,200 on online games – including £792 he spent on virtual CAT FOOD
- Abi Smith’s son, 7, made more than 60 in-app purchases totalling some £1,218
- Spent £792 on The Battle Cats, with more purchases on Minecraft and Among Us
- Harry bought eight lots of virtual cat food costing £99 each on The Battle Cats
A mother-of-two has accused Apple of ‘enabling’ children to spend money online after her seven-year-old son racked up a four figure bill on games.
Abi Smith received a string of emails confirming her son Harry had made more than 60 in-app purchases totalling £1,218 without her permission.
She had installed a password on Harry’s iPad but the schoolboy had managed to swap it with his thumbprint, before spending some £792 on virtual cat food among other purchases.
The 40-year-old, from Bishop’s Stortford in Hertfordshire, was forced to borrow money to pay off the bills and has now hit out at Apple for initially refusing to give her a refund.
Abi Smith received a string of emails confirming her son Harry had made more than 60 in-app purchases totalling £1,218 without her permission
The 40-year-old, from Bishop’s Stortford in Hertfordshire, was forced to borrow money to pay off the bills and has now hit out at Apple for initially refusing to give her a refund
Abi Smith had installed a password on her seven-year-old son Harry’s iPad but the ‘clever’ little boy swapped it with his thumbprint in a cheeky attempt to keep his younger brother, Reggie, four, (pictured together) off his games
Harry bought eight lots of virtual cat food costing £99 each on The Battle Cats game, as well as making several purchases on Minecraft for £48.99 each, six on the popular game Among Us and smaller purchases of £1.99.
Furloughed PA Ms Smith, who has since been refunded, is now urging Apple to add an extra layer of security.
She said: ‘These games are addictive and constantly encouraging children to spend more money. Apple are enabling that platform for children to do that.
‘Harry did something really innocent as a child would do. He didn’t want his little brother going on his iPad so he put a thumbprint on so he couldn’t get in.
‘Normally he’d come to me and say ‘mummy, can I download this’ and I would say yes or no.
‘I’m not the first person this has happened to and I won’t be the last. The security features are there but for me, it’s not enough. To add something simple like a CVC is an extra measure.
‘I’m furloughed. I’ve already had a reduction in my monthly payment, to then have it literally wiped. I had to borrow money to sort my bills out.
‘My son’s got additional needs and I’m struggling. To have this on top is not fair.’
She branded the games ‘dangerous’ for encouraging continuous in-app purchases, after Harry went from spending 99p to racking up a four-figure bill.
Harry offered to pay his mother back with his own pocket money
She added: ‘The only purchase I’d ever made on that account was for 99p and I was absolutely unaware until they told me that your card details automatically save.
‘There should be a choice and if there had been, I’d say no. That completely avoids this happening with kids. This is what I’m trying to get to with Apple.
‘I had [security settings] in place and unfortunately I’ve got a very clever boy who managed to put his thumbprint on there.’
Ms Smith claims her bank refused to stop the payments because they were classed as authorised.
She then applied to individually refund each purchase online but claims Apple twice refused to refund her money.
When she confronted Harry, the youngster was ‘in tears’ and offered to pay her back with his own pocket money.
Apple declined to comment but pointed to its ‘Ask to Buy’ feature which sends a request to a family member whenever a child tries to make a purchase.
The parent, or account holder, can then approve or decline the request to prevent problems such as Ms Smith’s occurring.
Apple has since confirmed it would refund Ms Smith the money.
PONOS, the developers of The Battle Cats, Microsoft, who own Minecraft, and Inner Sloth, who developed Among Us, were all contacted for comment.
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