Apple Refunds 8-Year-Old’s $6,131 Bill For In-App Purchases

child-on-ipad

Apple has refunded Briton Lee Neale £4,000 ($6,131) after his 8-year-old daughter Lily spent the cash on virtual items in her favorite iPad game. Lily knew the password for her father’s iTunes account, but no one expected her to use it to rack up a huge bill on in-app purchases.

Lee, an aerospace engineer, knew nothing about Lily’s antics until the money was taken out of his back and he was unable to purchase anything. When he initially contacted Apple, the Cupertino company refused to refund him a single penny, so Lee turned to the newspapers instead.

“Lily is only eight and hasn’t grasped the concept of money. She probably wouldn’t know how much a bag of crisps costs,” he told British tabloid The Daily Mail“I was very surprised how dismissive Apple were. This was an eight-year-old girl. Basically iTunes have told me categorically that I won’t be getting my money back.”

“I am also disappointed that my bank didn’t alert me to what was going on.”

Of course, Apple isn’t obliged to pay the Neale family a penny. The company has previously stressed the importance of using parental controls on iOS devices to prevent this kind of thing, and it has even added a tutorial on setting them up to one of the featured sections inside the App Store.

But fortunately for Lee, Apple changed its mind on this occasion.

“Apple called me to say they will be refunding the money I have lost and apologized for closing my case so early. It really has saved my bacon,” he told The Sun.

“Lily had used the password she’d seen me enter to download the games. She is only eight years old. Even when I sat her down and explained that what she was doing had cost dad money, I still don’t think she really understood. These in-app purchases are terrible and people need to be aware.”

The Neales aren’t the first family to get stung by surprise App Store purchases made by the kids. Back in January, 5-year-old Danny Kitchen from the U.K. amassed a $2,550 iTunes bill in just 10 minutes buying additional content within an iPad game.

Two months later, a British policeman reported his 13-year-old son for fraud in an effort to recover the $5,620 iTunes bill that had amassed on more than 300 in-app purchases within iOS games.

Lee will surely be more careful when entering his iTunes password around Lily in the future.

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  • joewaylo

    These are the reasons why you should turn off the App Store in restrictions to begin with. Even as an adult, playing those games can cost you more money than your monthly budget.

    These games really trick you to spend hundreds of dollars a week. I even played that myself with games like Megapolis where you need real money to build the next level’s buildings. Even a $50 USD bridge.

  • Behinder

    iPad shouldn’t be given to children. Period.

  • Adrayven

    Is there a reason these cases are all UK cases? Seems … odd. The Apps in the US iOS App store just more obvious about it?

  • Shane Bryson

    He felt that Apple should refund him for his mistake? No, you screwed up my friend. I wish someone refunded me for everything I ever bought and screwed up. This is ridiculous that all he had to do was go to a new paper and whine about his own stupidity and Apple gave him his money back. This is the world we live in, where stupidity is rewarded.

  • KillianBell

    iPad shouldn’t be given to children. Period.

    I completely disagree. We have three children who all use the iPad, and they play games that teach them to spell, solve puzzles, and do math — much better than we could with pencils and paper. But we use the parental controls Apple has implemented to ensure this kind of thing doesn’t happen.

  • crateish

    I got drunk the other night and bought $6,131 worth of movies off of iTunes. Since drunkenness basically reduces your mental state to that of a toddler, gimme my money back!

  • bdkennedy

    Wow did he get lucky. This will continue to happen mostly by the parents that just want to shut the kid up.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a freelance writer based in the UK. He has an interest in all things tech, but most enjoys covering Apple, anything mobile, and gaming. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell, or through his website.

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