Apple Refuses To Refund £3,700 Worth Of In-App Purchases Made By Thirteen-Year Old

25 March 2013

Daily Mail:

When his father confronted him Cameron quickly confessed, claiming he did not know he was incurring charges as the games were initially free.

This article doesn’t make any sense.

Cameron got his iPad in December, which is many months after the App Store policies relating to passwords and In-App Purchase were changed. This means he would have been asked for the iTunes password to authorise the purchases. At thirteen, I think you have reasonable understanding to realise typing your App Store password into a box asking to confirm a payment means that a real-world payment is happening.

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.

Apple’s tiered pricing system doesn’t let you buy something for £77.98. That is the simple truth — whether by mistake or malice, this part of the story has to be untruthful1. The prices of any App Store content (app or In-App Purchase) all end with 9 pennies. The closest prices to £77.98 that Apple currently allows content on the UK App Store to be sold for is £69.99 and £74.99.

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 the game.

The iOS SDK forces apps to show full-screen modal alerts that clearly state what is being bought and for how much. This process cannot be circumvented. It is impossible for there to be “no indication in the game that he was being charged”.

1 The only explanation I can think of for this oddity is that the quoted £77.98 figure is a total, not the result of one purchase.