Apple refunds 8-year-old girl’s $6,000 bill for in-app purchases

“A dad has won back £4,000 from Apple after his eight-year-old daughter ran up the bill on ‘free’ iPad games,” Alex West reports for The Sun.

“Lee Neale, 43, faced selling his car and two motorbikes when Lily blew cash on App Store favourites Campus Life, My Horse, Hay Day and Smurfs’ Village,” West reports. “Aerospace designer Lee only found out when his bank froze his account. He had been working away and missed emails alerting him to the buys.”

West reports, “Apple refused to pay Lee at first, saying ‘all purchases made on the iTunes Store are final.’ But the firm later relented and agreed to a refund. Lee, of Peasedown St John, Somerset, said: ‘Apple called me to say they will be refunding the money I have lost and apologised for closing my case so early.'”

Read more in the full article here.

61 Comments

  1. Pisses me off that they refunded it. If he’s stupid enough to let his 8 year old play games on his $500 (or so) phone/iPod touch, with his credit card tied to it, then he needs to deal with the consequences.

      1. It smells a little funny though, don’t you think?
        Happend over a period of several months, he didn’t knotice the bank (credit card) OR the apple store notices? Mmmmm

        He didn’t have to pay his credit card within that period?

        He is an aerospace designer, but might have to sell his car and 2 motorbikes to settle a £4,000 note? Ive heard of living on the edge, but come on.
        Very odd story, somethings just not right.
        Fun or not I might have to agree with Craig.

        1. Probably thought it was his porn bill and was OK with it. When he realized it was for kid games, he got pissed. There is ALWAYS another side to stories like this.

      1. Not particularly strict, but I was held accounts he for my actions…something that doesn’t seem to happen much with today’s society.

        Sorry…if your kid runs up thousands of charges per month over several months, it’s your problem.

        1. Sometimes things go out of control. Our granddaughter got my wife to buy her $5 worth of FRE REALM enhancements via credit card and suddenly we found out we had a $7,000 credit card bill from Sony when our granddaughter gave out the passwords for her account to others and they guessed the Security Card number (on the back of the card). We were supposed to get card warnings every $300 or so (should be every $50) and were totally blindsided. (Sometimes kids can anticipate these warnings and delete those e-mails too.)

          Sony at first was somewhat unresponsive willing to reimburse only $2,000 but eventually they reimbursed it all. It isn’t as though these are physical goods and they have suffered any real harm by unintended or fraudulent purchases. Our granddaughter, who we have adopted, had learning disabilities but learned her lesson, as we did we about trust. I’d cut anyone a break the first time but you’re on your own after that.

    1. I tend to agree with you, Craig. What surprises me is that botvinnik appears to disagree with your support of the concept of personal responsibility.

      Apple needs to provide clear information to consumers regarding their responsibilities and a reasonable and simple set of tools to control their accounts. For instance, you should be able to establish a daily, weekly, or monthly limit that would require a parental override to exceed. Another option would be auxiliary accounts for kids. These would be tied to the master account, but only have access to funds as defined by the parent, or as added via gift cards.

      In the end, however, parents are responsible for their own actions and those of their children. If you provide unlimited access to a retail account tied to your credit card, then you should be held accountable for the consequences.

      1. I agree with the concept of personal responsibility but that Apple should build controls to manage your spending is going too far in the other direction. Apple has every right to stand by its original position and may use discretion on a case by caseros deviate if it so chooses (I’m not saying that this instance was worthy of policy deviation). However, if Apple took on some of the individual responsibility it would certainly be opening itself to liability. Currently iTunes requires, by default, the account password to make purchases. Apparently the user in this case bypassed that safeguard for his own convenince (as those like him would probably do for the safeguards you propose above).

    2. No, don’t teach your children any responsibility by show responsibility yourself. Children should be free of responsibility for their actions and parents should never have to model that responsibility. Let’s all join the American way and have total ‘freedom’ without any responsibility.

      1. Wow it’s bizarro world today.. Here’s you advocating personal responsibility and here’s botvinnik arguing against it.

        Excuse me while I go look for evil Captain Kirk!

      2. Let’s hear how much you feel that way when your own kid runs you into financial ruin unintentionally. These virtual credit card abuses have never been possible before and while yes we are responsible for keeping things from getting out of control companies can’t use the system to disingenuously take advantage and rip off people by not providing some checks for the consumer. Obviously when the amounts get so egregious they have to know SOMETHING is wrong. It’s not fair to anyone to be so punitively and financially abused and not have knowledge it is going on. The onus is on consumer and business alike to keep these abuses from happening.

        1. It is not fair to make me pay for their ‘mistakes’ (lack of parenting) by having to pay higher prices for my purchases to cover the costs Apple has to cover for those irresponsible parents. I pay for my mistakes and my children’s mistakes.

      3. What about the responsibility of the App Developers and Apple? Is it the world you want, where you’re always in danger to lose all your money for immaterial insane expensive online crap?

  2. An aerospace designer can’t afford $6000? I’d like to know if the 8 yr old spent that all in one billing cycle. If it was more than one month, you’d have to wonder why the guy was not checking emails or bank statements, etc. no matter how busy.

  3. I have to say this really seems like the case of an absentee parent. According to the article this didn’t happen in a short span like people who go on vacation and get a massive roaming charge on their next bill, this happened between March and July. So not only is this guy not paying attention to his kid but he is also not paying attention to his bank account.

    1. Apple only did this because the negative publicity of playing hard-ball with this guy would cost them more in the long run. This is a payoff, plain and simple. It had nothing to do with being nice.

    1. I can’t figure out of you are saying these deplorable things just to troll or if you really are a horrible human.

      I’ll go with horrible human. Even trolling and making light of child murder puts you in a category reserved for the worst of the worst. If you don’t want any kids, come on by and I’ll punt you in the sack so hard it will never be a worry.

        1. I am certain no rational human being on this planet is jealous of you and “your lifestyle” either. The good news is: nature, in it’s magical way, has deleted you two fucktards from the gene pool

        2. botvinnik, you statement on nature’s “magical way” has to be one of the funniest and wittiest comebacks that you have ever posted. In this case, I have to acknowledge that you are still potentially a redeemable human being. Your children may have some hope, after all.

        3. Hey Witless Kim? Where do you live? I wanna send my brood over to play with you. You sound like a ton of fun.

          Hope that lifestyle works out for you when you’re sucking down Ensure and shitting yourself while watching Matlock all alone in an assisted living home. Friggin Scrooge!

      1. I’m a slang/idioms fanatic. For your learning pleasure, from the Urban Dictionary:

        sprogged
        to have recently given birth; to pop one out
        ‘She looks amazing for a bird who’s just sprogged!’

        In the UK, the above applies. In Aus, this extends to the consummate male behavior that leads inevitably to sproggage.

    1. Funny, botvinnik, but that exact thought has often crossed my mind after reading one of your posts. Why the sudden upwelling of compassion for a guy who failed to properly handle his financial responsibilities and obligations? I expected one of your typical diatribes against liberal, socialist parasites.

  4. Even though I have little sympathy for people that let their kids have access to their iTunes account I think Apple needs to take the lead and stop this now as these stories are hurting Apples reputation.
    It’s simple to do, first put on the App Store that In App Purchases will be billed to your iTunes account.
    Second your password should be needed for ALL purchases.
    Thirdly, when making a purchase after accepting it an ‘Are You Sure’ pop-up should be displayed explaining you are spending real money.

    Also Apple should make it clear at the top of their T&C’s that Apple will not refund purchases made if you give your password to someone else to use.

  5. If it was over more than one billing cycle, the man is a lucky Moron, if he was a American college student he would want all his student loans forgiven on the taxpayer.

  6. Thanks to being a Brit, I’m actually familiar with the facts, unlike most of the dimwits making unpleasant comments about the father’s parenting skills.
    The girl had watched her dad accessing the App Store, and memorised his password details. When her dad went abroad for three months or so with his job as an aerospace engineer,
    He was also out of regular contact with his work email account, which, for some peculiar reason, he’d used for his iTunes account, and hadn’t seen the warning emails.
    Now, certain aspects of this don’t really add up, but the fact remains that he’d allowed his daughter to gain access to an account with his credit card details attached, and didn’t have oversight, then blamed Apple for his failure.
    Ultimately it’s his error, not Apple’s, that’s bitten him in the ass, so frankly he should suck it up.

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