Policeman reports his 13-year-old son for fraud after Apple refuses to refund £3,700 bill kid ran up on his iPad

“A policeman has shopped his 13-year-old son for fraud after he ran up a £3,700 bill playing iPad games,” James Rush reports for The Daily Mail.

“PC Doug Crossan, 48, was horrified when his credit card company informed him that son Cameron had blown a small fortune in the App Store,” Rush reports. “He claims the teenager, who now faces the possibility of being arrested and questioned by his father’s colleagues, was unaware he was being charged for the in-game purchases and wants Apple to scrap the charge. But the technology company has refused and his only way of recouping the money is to report the purchases as being fraudulent.”

“Cameron racked up more than 300 purchases on games such as Plants vs Zombies, Hungry Shark, Gun Builder and Nova 3. Many of them are free to download but users can buy in-game extras – in one game Cameron had purchased a virtual chest of gold coins costing £77.98,” Rush reports. “When his father confronted him Cameron quickly confessed, claiming he did not know he was incurring charges as the games were initially free.”

Rush reports, “Apple has refused to cancel the charges, citing parental responsibility and pointing out that iPads contain password locks to prevent accidental or unwanted purchases.
But Mr Crossan, an officer with Avon and Somerset Police, believes the company has ‘duped’ his son into making purchases he was not aware of.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We just checked the UK iTunes Store pages for Plants vs Zombies, Hungry Shark, Gun Builder and Nova. Each of the app descriptions clearly state: “Offers In-App Purchases.” Furthermore, Plants vs. Zombies and Nova 3 are not even free, they each cost £0.69.

The way these app work is that every single time Cameron tapped on an In-App Purchase link, he was presented with a dialog box: “Do you want to purchase this?” to which he had to answer “Yes.”

Lastly, Apple routinely emails the Apple ID account holder, who we assume was either Doug or Cameron Crossan, receipts detailing the In-App Purchases made on the account. Therefore, the Crossan’s claim of horrified surprise over the charges is rather inexplicable.

62 Comments

  1. I wonder how many ‘criminals’ he takes in will plead ‘fraud’ of their activities? I can hear it now, “It’s not a crime. I’m not a criminal. This is a fraudulent arrest!!!”

    Pay the Piper, copper!

    1. I believe his father better read his credit card fine print He could possibly be tried for fraud because he knowingly allowed the use of his credit card by an unauthorized, underage persons.

      Guess what dad, personal responsibility for your children is something you probably bitch about everyday when you are arresting teens and wondering where their parents are.

      Pot/black…..ring a bell. Screw you and man up!

  2. Still, £3700 of in-app purchases? That’s obscene and should not be possible. Apple needs to do the right thing here, there’s legality and there’s ethics, and allowing these charges against children is just wrong.

    1. Obviously the kid had the password. Thats a failing on the parent’s part. Who would give their kid access to an account with their credit card attached? If the kid is really stupid enough to just agree when the screen asks if he wants to make this in-app purchase, then he’s not ready to have access to the account. Some one this irresponsible could just as easily buy £3,700 in music or movies. Either the kid is lying or the father is stupid.

    2. Apple isn’t allowing any charges against children. Its out of their control. What kind of A**hole father would have their kid arrested to get out of being responsible.

      If he left his billing info in there, and gave the kid access to the password, and didn’t require a password for every purchase the father is just an idiot.

      At 13 YO the kid knew danged well what he was doing. The best possible solution here is for the dad to kick the kids ass repeatedly, and make him work to pay off the bill, and again to pay back his dad. I’ll bet that would do far more to help the kid realize he needs to be responsible and honest than having him arrested.

    3. Foris Get real…. This kid is lying and his dad isn’t any better, he needs to take responsibility for his actions and the Facts are Apple and IOS has blocks in effect to warn and ask over and over ” DO YOU WANT TO PURCHSE THIS AT xxx.xx$ And to enter a password, it also tells you your credit card or debit card on file will be charged.

      So either get the facts correct or grow up, you sound like you haven’t lived to long to understand “Resposobility for ones Actions”, and this kid needs to pay the piper.

      And another thing, you don’t even need to have a credit card on file with an iTunes account, there is more to this then what is being reported.

      1. You can also use a low-limit credit card for your iTunes account that does not accept over-the-limit charges. That would, at least, limit your potential liability.

        As stated by others, Apple has taken steps to help prevent this kind of thing. But parents have to do their job, too. If you wouldn’t give your credit card to your kid to go on an unsupervised shopping trip, then don’t give them access to an unsecured iTunes account backed by that card. Apple is not responsible for your stupidity, or that of your children.

  3. The question one should ask oneself is: Are the British terminally stupid?

    This must be the third of fourth publicised case occurring in the last month or so, all following the same well ploughed pattern of not realising that the son/grandson was making in-app purchases in an attempt to reclaim money from Apple.

    Either it’s a scam that’s prevalent in the British Isles or parents in Britain really are that stupid.

    1. Yes, the British ARE terminally stupid, for the most part.
      Its an island and they have developed a weird way of living, (isolated from the world), which is becoming rampantly nuttier as the days go by.
      They are also incapable of taking responsibility for their actions. Read the British press (clue: Daily Mail) and see what I mean.

      1. I don’t know anything more about this case than what I’ve read here. But I don’t find it credible that a normal 13 year old child did not realise that they were making in app purchases.

        On the topic of the British being weird. I don’t think we are any weirder than anyone else. But if your making judgments based on what you read in the Daily Mail I can understand why you would come to that conclusion.

      2. Derek in Milan, “Yes, the British are terminally stupid” , interesting comment coming from a country that idolises the likes of Berlusconi. You do realise that your nation of residence has been voting for this convicted paedophile and that he’s been accused of links with the mob? Britain is far from perfect I cannot deny it, but you should look closer to home before taking the moral high ground. p.s The daily mail is a tabloid, not a newspaper in the true sense, if you want to read British news, then it’s best you read the Guardian or the Times, or perhaps the Independent, but then again you’d already know that wouldn’t you, being such an expert on Britain.

    2. BLN terminally Xenophobic, here’s a quote for you from George W Bush “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?”. That doesn’t make all Americans stupid now does it? BLN think before you speak, you’re in danger of giving your great country a bad name.

  4. Plants v Zombies was free app of the day a few weeks ago. The others probably too. Still pretty far out you can rack up that amount without NOBODY noticing. There must have been a flood of e-mails from the store. This cannot have been done in the unexpected ‘free’ 15 minutes slot after first purchase so 100% own responsibility.

  5. So…let me get this straight. This guy gave his kid unfettered access to an account linked to his credit card and he’s upset that a kid (a type of human often well known for not being responsible yet) used this access irresponsibly?!?
    How about he make his kid his own Apple ID with no credit card on it? He could have even given the kid a regular allowance on the account; something which is very easy to set up.

  6. Apple has a name (a big name) to protect and is in the wrong here. These games are designed to ripoff underage kids.

    Apple needs to fix this PR mess before these numerous incidence hurt their name.

    Here’s the solution.
    Put a cap on in-app purchases that require an email conformation before more money can be spent.
    Very large run ups should be followed up by a phone call, like ALL my credit card companies do.

    1. If this type of activity/complaint continues, you can be sure this type of limit/block will be put into place. It costs Apple money every time they need to deal with these types of situations.

      Questions – Do the developers still get paid, so refunds come entirely out of Apple’s pockets?

      1. Apple pays developers over a month after a purchase is made. If this child made these purchases in March, the developer would receive the income in May. Apple has plenty of time to refund the money without that money coming out of their pocket.

    2. Just to clarify, yes the kid and dad are responsible. Yes the dad handed his kid his credit card when he game him the password. But Apple needs to be more worried about their name than the paltry sum they make on these extra large purchases.

      Like it or not, this makes Apple look bad.
      It also makes the iPad look unsafe for kids.

      1. Just to clarify, yes the kid and dad are responsible. Yes, the dad handed his kid the keys to the car just before the 13YO drove it through the front of the store. BUT Ford need to be more worried about their name than the paltry sum they make selling these large cars.

        Like it or not, this makes Ford look bad.
        It also makes cars look unsafe for kids.

        Yep, thats how dumb you sound. There is no substitute for parental responsibility. Apple, or Ford, or McDonalds cannot control stupidity, nor should they be held responsible for the stupid actions of others.

      2. Why should Apple be responsible for every parent not paying attention to giving their kids unlimited access to their credit cards? There are ways to block the purchases, why would you give a kid the password, and why wouldn’t you read the riot act to the kid about how to use the iPad and the severe penalties that will happen if he gets caught buying anything he shouldn’t approved to buy. Our kid has been on the computer and gaming since he was 9 and has never bought something he shouldn’t.

    3. Bullshit! How about parents taking some bloody responsibility? Parental controls have been part of iOS for a long time. If parents are too lazy or ignorant about how the tech works, how the fsck is it Apple’s fault?

      I have no sympathy for wilfully stupid people!

      =:~)

    4. Credit card companies call when the come across a large purchase that is out of the ordinary. I very much doubt they will contact you for lots of relatively small purchases unless the occurred outside your home country.

      Now according to the local paper, these purchases occurred over a three month span;

      http://m.thisisbristol.co.uk/story.html?aid=18510728

      So in three months, policeman dad did not check his email or the statements from his credit card company.

      The in-app purchase block is a fair idea, but this kid would have read the email on the iPad and confirmed it using the password his dad had given the kid is thirteen; he knew precisely what he was doing.

      Sorry, but Apple should stick to its guns. This is parental stupidity, nothing more.

      1. Bravo and well said!! Thank you!!!

        Responsibility is the Key, as Apple has had and has made it clear that these protections are in place, a year ago the made them even more stronger to prevent this type of thing from happening.

        Looks like a few posting on this site that think Apple is at fault are either.
        1.) to young to realize the word responsibility is part of growing up .

        2.) have never been thought that word and the accompanying actions that go along with it as a productive member of society.

        3.) have never used any IOS device and as such have no clue what they are posting, since IOS has some of the more stricter In app purchasing requirements for a mobile OS.

        4.) or all the above and just plain hate Apple, we are aware allot of trolls frequent this site and they are very easy to determine due to the ludicrous postings of non factual information.

    5. You haven’t a clue at all, Apple has blocks in effect, Now when people work around those blocks it’s not Apple responsibility to Police Stupidity.

      Only a idiot would try to blame a company when all blocks are in place, Your sure your names not Dell, The other Steve.

      And by the way, I am certain you don’t own Any Apple IOS devices after reading your response, If you did, you would have not posted Anything as stupid as what you did.

      And by the way, Caps are in place, but you would have known that if you owned an Apple IOS device, Apple has been known to Stop purchases that trigger, but did it occur to you the kid purchased those items during a 3 week span and not at once.

      The other Steve you are just Clueless, or do you just Hate Apple maybe a bit of both.

      Move on, God forbid when you have Kids, looks like Personal responsibility doesn’t exist in your lifestyle.

  7. This is just shitty parenting. What else can these kids in the UK get away with that doesn’t costs their parents any money, but can damage in other ways? I’m guessing if their kids can do this, they can get in a lot more trouble talking to strangers online and looking at things that aren’t age appropriate.

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