A 13-year-old in the U.K. is in hot water today after using his iPad to wrack up a bill of more than £3,700 pounds, which amounts to over five thousand dollars. Doug Crossan, a policeman in the U.K., claims that he was “horrified” when his credit card company informed him that his son Cameron had spent thousands of dollars in Apple’s App Store.
Supposedly the pre-teen was unaware that he was being charged for the in-game purchases, so Crossan asked Apple to refund the charges. Apple has (rightly) said no to the request, which has led Crossan to file fraud charges against his son in an attempt to get the charges reversed.
While it’s easy to understand that a five-year-old might not be aware that an in-app purchase costs real money, it is not quite as easy to believe that a 13-year-old doesn’t understand the concept. Apple has to draw the line at some point, because what’s next? A 30-year-old man claiming he just didn’t get it?
Cameron allegedly spent money on a slew of different games, like Plants vs. Zombies, Hungry Shark, Gun Builder, and N.O.V.A. 3. His dad, who apparently doesn’t check his credit card charges, says that he originally linked his card to the iPad when he used it to download an album.
Crossan has reported Cameron to the Action Fraud helpline, which means it is now up to the police to decide if a crime has been committed. Cameron could face charges. “Really I just want to embarrass Apple as much as possible,” said Crossan. “Morally, I just don’t understand where Apple gets off charging for a child’s game.”
Crossan’s son claims that he did not know he was incurring charges as the games were initially free, but that is simply not true if the games listed in the article are accurate. N.O.V.A. 3, for example, has never been offered as a free 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,” is another statement from Crossan, which is blatantly untrue.
Apps with in-app purchases feature a very prominent pop-up and require the password to be reentered. Cameron supposedly made more than 300 purchases, which means the kid would have had to read the in-app purchase notification at least that many times.
Apple has said that it will not reimburse Crossan, as there are password blocks to prevent accidental purchases. Is Apple right? Should the purchases be refunded?