Apple Agrees to Pay Back Millions to Parents Whose Kids Racked Up Charges

Have you ever handed your iPhone to your kid to occupy them for a bit while you got some work done, did the dishes, or hid in the bathroom with a chocolate bar and a gossip magazine? And then been horrified that your little munchkin somehow got into the app store and charged an arm and a leg that you were then responsible for?

You may be off the hook. Apple has agreed to pay back $32.5 million in unauthorized purchases to the app store. You know, like the ones made to “Dragon Story” and “Tiny Zoo Friends.”

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Apple tried to fix the purchasing problem a while ago by disallowing purchases to the app store unless parents entered a password first. What they apparently failed to do, however, was warn parents that once the password was entered, there was a 15-minute window during which more purchases could be made.

So a parent might agree to a 99-cent purchase for their child, enter the password, and then hand the phone over to their youngster who then continues to make purchases unbeknownst to mom or dad.

According to the FTC, one customer reported that her daughter had spent $2,600 in “Tap Pet Hotel.” Other kids have racked up $500 or more in various purchases.

In other words, kids can spend a lot of money in 15 minutes.

Good on Apple for paying back these unsuspecting parents, who I’m sure had a heart attack when they saw the charges to their accounts. A little peace and quiet while your kid is occupied by technology shouldn’t be so expensive.

And let that be a lesson to all of us to teach our kids that they may not download anything without specific permission to do so. Our wallets may depend on it.

Have your kids ever racked up any charges without you knowing about it until after the fact?


Image via Brad Flickinger/Flickr

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