Doug Crossan, a police officer in the UK, reported his own son for credit card fraud after Apple refused to refund his money for in-app purchases. The idea, he says, is that this is the only chance of him getting those payments refunded by the credit card company.
His son, a 13-year-old, spent £3,700 on in-app purchases. That’s about $5,591 here in the US. That’s a lot of purchases of virtual goods. Apple refused to refund the amount, so he reported the charges as fraudulent.
The real problem, and there may be more to it than what we see on the surface, is that this kid is 13. It’s hard to believe that this is an accident. That is of course based on what we can see in the news report. I used to babysit a 7-year-old. She downloaded all kinds of free games and apps on my iPad. She always said ‘No’ to the in-app purchases. At that age, kids have less of an idea of the value of money, but she still knew that buying things with real money in-app was a no-no. If things were locked out, she simply played until she became bored then looked for another free game, deleting the old junk as she went along. I never once found odd charges on my account.
Still, Apple is trying to prevent this from happening, at least on the legal side. It has implemented App Store warnings for anything with in-app purchases.