Stories about kids who gain access to their parents’ iTunes passwords and run up huge bills on apps and in-app purchases are becoming all too common. The latest, concerning 13-year-old Cameron Crossan from the U.K., has an interesting twist.
When Cameron ran up a £3,700 ($5,620) iTunes bill playing iPad games, his father, policeman Doug Crossan, called Apple to get a refund. Apple refused to give the Crossans their money back, so Doug went down a different route. He reported his son for fraud.
Doug claims Cameron was unaware that he was being charged for the in-app purchases, but at 13, he’s much older than the kids who usually go on App Store spending binges courtesy of their parents’ credit cards. When Doug explained the situation to Apple, the Cupertino company wasn’t interested, and it refused to give a penny back.
So Doug called the Action Fraud helpline and reported Cameron for credit card fraud, knowing his son could be arrested and taken for questioning — by his Doug’s colleagues.
“I am sure Cameron had no intention to do it, but I had to have a crime reference number if there was any chance of getting any credit card payments refunded,” Doug told The Daily Mail. “In theory the local police station would contact me and ask for Cameron to come in to be interviewed.”
“I could make it difficult of course and refuse to bring him in and they would have to come and arrest him,” Doug added. “Really I just want to embarrass Apple as much as possible. Morally, I just don’t understand where Apple gets off charging for a child’s game.”
But of course, it’s not Apple’s fault. First, it’s the developer that decides to charge for additional in-game content, and then it’s up to parents to ensure that their kids can’t spend money “accidentally” when using iOS devices.
You could also argue that at 13, Cameron’s old enough to read the notifications iOS gives you prior to making App Store purchases. After all, he did make more than 300 purchases. It’s easy to dismiss a notification once, maybe even twice, and not really take any notice of what it said. But 300 times?
Cameron told his father that he didn’t know he was spending money because the games were initially free to download.
“None of us had any knowledge of what was happening as there was no indication in the game that he was being charged for any of the clicks made within it,” Doug said. “He innocently thought that, because it was advertised as a free game, the clicks would not cost anything.”
Doug now believes Apple has “duped” Cameron into making purchases he wasn’t aware of. He didn’t find out about the hefty iTunes bill until he cancelled the direct debit for his credit card, thinking he had finished paying off his balance. Virgin then contacting him to say he had more than £3,000 still outstanding.
Earlier this year, 5-year-old Danny Kitchen from the U.K. amassed a $2,550 iTunes bill in just 10 minutes after buying additional content within an iPad game. In this case, Apple agreed to refund the fees.
Source: The Daily Mail