Apple refuses to refund mother whose six-year-old boy spent $16,000 on Sonic Forces

Todd Sauve

Posts: 38   +50
While I do feel sorry for the family, I don't think the blame lies with Apple. Also, I don't know why she didn't contact Apple right away and not wait months. I would have contacted both the bank and Apple if it was me. Then again, I don't have kids and would not have been in this position in the first place.

There are steps you can go through that will prevent this type of thing. This is on the parents to make sure security is tightened. You have the option to always require password or require after 15 minutes in the settings.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204030

No, it is on Apple to refund these sorts of charges when it is clear it was done by a 6 year old. But what can one expect from the Apples of this world? They are financial predators and should be broken up by the government, just like Facebook is now being broken up by the FCC.
 

nismo91

Posts: 1,129   +167
Moral of the story: always give your kid a separate phone / tablet device. one that doesn't have your card info let alone all your contacts, emails, etc

apple is a trillion dollar company. they don't get where they are giving refunds so easily. apple will happily let these 'scam' apps continue to exist as long as they get paid.
 

ssjben

Posts: 6   +5
Yet another one of those "ignorance is not an excuse" kind of news. News flash for this parent, "I don't know" and "if I have known" is not a legitimate form of answer. All you're saying is you're too stupid or lazy to get on with the times. No body waits for you drama queen.
 

ssjben

Posts: 6   +5
Moral of the story: always give your kid a separate phone / tablet device. one that doesn't have your card info let alone all your contacts, emails, etc

apple is a trillion dollar company. they don't get where they are giving refunds so easily. apple will happily let these 'scam' apps continue to exist as long as they get paid.

No.

Moral of the story is to TEACH your kid what to buy and what not to buy. TEACH them the difference between real money and fake money. If they don't understand, don't let them play until they do. It is really that simple.
 

Thanthan

Posts: 57   +103
People Who exploit 6 yearolds for Cash Are sick... Imagine if this was done irl lol.the person Who did it would be put in at a jail. 'you press this button to pull a lever and then you get to look at our really BIG Teddy bear'. Oh yea your parents Are now 2500usd poorer, but they cant see what was actually charge for, so they wont figure it out till im out of here.
 

mattsie

Posts: 63   +37
They have to ban these in-app purchases, they are basically used for opening "loot boxes", which is gambling imo.

I feel like you go on a boat tour and to drink water you have to purchase it through them. No other way you can drink water, like the one you brought with you is not even possible.

The parent is at fault since they did not inform themselves enough about the tech their kid and mostly the fact it took them more than 2 months to notice 16k was missing.

I think I would be on alert the next day since I wouldn't be able to buy myself coffee, so not sure how they were paying the mortage in those two months tho.

Also using this practices are not really great for the wellbeing of the online community if they can amount to the value of a car, no game is worth that much, and especially no in-game purchases. If someone spends more than 1k$ within 1 hour of the first purchase, something should be fishy.
 

Burty117

Posts: 4,138   +2,120
Not everyone is as tech savy as you think they should be.(in my experience most people aren't).
They own an iPad, not a cheap device and Apple make it extremely easy to disable these kinds of things. My parents are a great example of people who would do something like this and they would deserve the reprocussions, if you don't read what's on screen and you're dumb enough to give your kid credit card access, all sympathy is lost.
Furthemore these types of games prey on the ignorant, or kids to young to understand what what their doing. Should be regulations on in app purchases.
Regulations can't subsidize actual parenting. Kid can play that crappy game as much as he wants, just don't put your credit card in front of him, don't ignore your emails and definitely turn off in-app purchases, all the signs were there, they were just ignored.

To show how bad this situation is, she got a 16k bill, went to her bank who also reminded her it was for Apple, didn't even check her kids iPad, didn't check her email, just went straight to Apple. She didn't even try to figure out what it could have been.
 

amghwk

Posts: 1,055   +969
For all the looting by Apple, the final ultimate responsibility to avoid such incidents relies completely on the parents. Unless the kid steals mommy's or papa's phone to make purchase.

Again, the parent should make sure to protect the purchasing steps. Disable all auto-authorize to purchase. Make passwords to authorize any purchase.

Don't register any credit card information on the kids' phones or tabs, if they are given their own devices.
 

JamesBlond

Posts: 101   +60
They have to ban these in-app purchases, they are basically used for opening "loot boxes", which is gambling imo.

I feel like you go on a boat tour and to drink water you have to purchase it through them. No other way you can drink water, like the one you brought with you is not even possible.

The parent is at fault since they did not inform themselves enough about the tech their kid and mostly the fact it took them more than 2 months to notice 16k was missing.

I think I would be on alert the next day since I wouldn't be able to buy myself coffee, so not sure how they were paying the mortage in those two months tho.

Also using this practices are not really great for the wellbeing of the online community if they can amount to the value of a car, no game is worth that much, and especially no in-game purchases. If someone spends more than 1k$ within 1 hour of the first purchase, something should be fishy.
not totally wrong.. parents need to use debit cards with spending limit and txt msg on thier phones for each spend
 

nismo91

Posts: 1,129   +167
No.

Moral of the story is to TEACH your kid what to buy and what not to buy. TEACH them the difference between real money and fake money. If they don't understand, don't let them play until they do. It is really that simple.

easier said than done when dealing with tiny 6-year-olds!
 

No Longer Human

Posts: 48   +64
Seems we or at least I need more info;
1 how does a 6 year old get purchasing rights on a CC? Sadly I know from experience if I give my CC or bank card info out I break bank agreement and I pay
2 On my CC if there is a erratic burst of purchases (out of character with my spending habits), the bank or CC will cancel the card and get in touch with me.
Perhaps these practices are only for Canada and my bank?
edit: you would think that there would be a chance for lot of goodwill generated here for Apple if they'd talk to the family rather than a blunt 'no'.
 

Hollow

Posts: 39   +20
How did he pay?
Everytime I pay I must login again or use fingerprint to pay...
Also, is there no payment limit on her payment method? My bank doesn't allow me to pay more that 4k $ per month by credit card if I don't unlock the limit for the month on their website.
 

Cubi Dorf

Posts: 343   +224
You can accuse parent of mistake, fine, but to letting child use your phone should not be a $16.000 mistake. This kind of billing for child game is unreasonable. Apple should be embarrassing of this.
 

Burty117

Posts: 4,138   +2,120
You can accuse parent of mistake, fine, but to letting child use your phone should not be a $16.000 mistake. This kind of billing for child game is unreasonable. Apple should be embarrassing of this.
Apple should be embarrassed but the parent who ignored all security, alerts, warnings and basic logic shouldn't be punished?
 

pmshah

Posts: 167   +31
What kind of effed up card system do you have? If I spend even $0.50 on my card I get an SMS within seconds. I get the beneficiary detail and debited amount.

BTW POS transaction require punching in PIN code because ALL cards by law are chip & pin variety. Even here you get SMS with transaction details within seconds.

For absolutely any kind on online transaction requires card holder's name, card number, CVV to be typed in & then a 6 or 8 digit OTP (One Time Password) sent to the holder's registered phone that must be typed in within 3 minutes as second level authentication. No kid can go on such a shopping spree. In fact it would fail at the very first one.

And you are going to tech us about cyber security.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 371   +302
Is probably already been mentioned - I had to buy my son an IPad for school . I set it on an apple email a/c I never look at - obviously he might . TBF I would never , never give apple my c/card . So yeah Sms are best . What amazed me about games on Apple that I quickly glanced at - were how really expensive = I can't remember if it was Cut the Rope, Wheres my water, PVZ, Angry birds or what ever - Anyway a game I paid outright for my son on Android - for say $3 was now a $20 a month subscription - whoa are their that many suckers in the Apple system.
Only shame was we used to reward him with premium plants on android for school work - and can't link the 2 accounts
Oh and I tried one free game on it - the amount of adverts was ridiculous - never seen that about on Android - then again I haven't game on a mobile for a long time
 

Markoni35

Posts: 1,129   +456
Next, a 6-month old spends $12000 on call girls.

Or at least that's the story that his daddy is sticking to.
 

brucek

Posts: 812   +1,130
TechSpot Elite
When a trillion dollar company makes hundreds of millions of dollars a year, or more, by marketing and selling app store games to children, it is reasonable and proper to put 100% of the weight for making this situation impossible on that company. It is Apple that has the resources, the expertise, and the ability to fix this situation, not the individual parent or child. The US legal framework, and I believe others, incorporates this type of analysis in disputes. The fact it happened at all is proof enough that Apple's existing systems are not adequate and/or are too complicated.

There is zero social good in allowing a family to lose their house to what is essentially a scam. Also, there is very little social good in allowing the scam company and the large company that is enabling them to rip people off. Our legal framework also incorporates this type of question.

Also relevant is the antitrust issues playing out with the app store. In my mind, it is relevant that parents can not choose to use an app store that is more safe for families, because Apple will not allow it. This would also work against Apple in this dispute in my opinion.

In my book Apple's only shot at not being the in the wrong here is demonstrating that the purchases were most likely made by an adult for benefit of that adult. Otherwise there's no refuge in a "the family fell for our trap and now they should lose their house" defense, at least not in the long run once enough cases pile up.
 
W

WhatTheZuck420

Seems we or at least I need more info;
1 how does a 6 year old get purchasing rights on a CC? Sadly I know from experience if I give my CC or bank card info out I break bank agreement and I pay
2 On my CC if there is a erratic burst of purchases (out of character with my spending habits), the bank or CC will cancel the card and get in touch with me.
Perhaps these practices are only for Canada and my bank?
edit: you would think that there would be a chance for lot of goodwill generated here for Apple if they'd talk to the family rather than a blunt 'no'.
Credit card company:
We noticed that 12th installment on your auto insurance seemed bogus last month so we cancelled it.
Also, that $6,549.00 charge for Bolivian Skin Cream? Golden!

 

Bullwinkle M

Posts: 519   +421
Hehehe... yeah... BestBuy are staffed by a bunch of mor0ns... but clearly they were at fault - not Microsoft... I'd be going back in there telling them they owed you money - but it would probably take hours... not worth it for $45....
Hours?

That was 15 years ago and they have never fixed the problems they created

Oh well, At least I got a Volume licensed copy from Michael AuYeung

BEST BUY EVER!

Microsoft says it's Non-Genuine, but what the hell do they know?