Mom Gets Smurfed by Kids’s iTunes Bill

A few months ago we reported on a tech-savvy Australian who racked up quite a bill buying iPad apps in the App Store and now we’ve found a similar report about a 4-year-old in California.  According to the Associated Press, this little boy is just smurfy over the iPad Smurfs’ Village app and made in-app purchases to the tune of $66.88 to make his village grow at a faster pace.  Needless to say, Kelly Rummelhart was less than pleased when she discovered her son’s bill and has now put a stop to future purchases.

When the Smurfs’ Village app was released for Free in November, it quickly became one of the highest grossing apps in the App Store.  You might now be asking yourself how a free app could also be one of the highest grossing?  It’s easy, in-app purchases!  Kids and adults can easily spend hundreds of dollars purchasing Smurfberries to speed up the growth of their crops and villages.

Before you get too upset with this addictive little app, the iTunes page for Smurfs’ Village does provide users with the following warning about those pesky in-app purchases:

PLEASE NOTE: Smurf Village is free to play, but charges real money for additional in-app content. You may lock out the ability to purchase in-app content by adjusting your device’s settings.

Users are normally prompted for their iTunes password before making in-app purchases, at which point kids would be unable to buy items unless they also know your password.  If, however, you have made purchases within the past 15 minutes or so, you won’t be prompted for a password.  Word to the wise, don’t hand your iPad off to your kid within that 15 minute period or you too might discover some nice iTunes charges on your credit card.

There is one way to avoid this problem all together.  Simply turn off in-app purchases in your Settings.  Tap Settings and then select General from the list on the left.  Tap Restrictions and then turn In-App Purchases OFF.

So, if you like Papa Smurf, Baby Smurf, Smurfette and the rest of the little blue gang, you can download the Smurfs’ Village from the App Store for free and enjoy building a new village for the Smurfs to inhabit.  Have a smurfy good time and keep a watchful eye on Gargamel and !

About Cristi: Contact me via Twitter: @PadGadgetCristi

  • Sheik

    My five year ole did the same thing, only for 20 euros. That is more Smurfberries than the average Smurf will make in a year!
    I now have in-app purchases disabled.

    Imo the security code should always be required in games designed for kids.

  • Kim Dubuisson

    $66.88 is nothing!

    On his mom’s iPhone, my son managed to buy for $120 worth of smurfberries without her even realizing it until she got billed by Apple.

    I told her that it was her duty to read about games she install for him on her iPhone. On our iPad, the Smurfs village is building and without any additional purchases.