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Five-year-old boy runs up £1,700 iPad bill in ten minutes

A five-year-old boy has run up a £1,700 bill on his parents’ iPad in under 10 minutes, after his father entered his password to download a free game.

Danny Kitchen, just 5 years old from Bristol, originally asked his father to enter his password to download the free Zombies v Ninja game from the Apple App Store. But, within ten minutes, Danny had managed to enter the game’s in-app store and had downloaded multiple upgrades and add-ons totalling up to a costly £1,710.43.

The first his mother, Sharon Kitchen, knew of Danny’s little spending spree was the invoice email from Apple the next day, detailing the sum of her iTunes purchases. Due to the intense period of high card activity, Sharon was also contacted by her credit card company, which helped her to understand what had happened.

“Danny was pestering us to let him have a go on the iPad. He kept saying it was a free game so my husband put in the passcode and handed it to him.”

“It worried me when he asked for the password but I had a look at the game it said it was free so I didn’t think there would be a problem.”

Preoccupied by guests at their home, Greg and Sharon Kitchen didn’t realise Danny would be able to access any paid-for content, so were astonished when the bill came through.

“I thought it must be a mistake, so I checked my bank balance online and nothing had been taken out,” explained Sharon. “I thought nothing of it until my credit card advisor phone and told me they had authorised the transaction.”

Despite the game being free to download, the Zombies v Ninja in-app store offers freemium content, like the majority of free apps. This freemuim content might offer tempting additional levels, the ability to speed up in-game actions, or special characters or abilities, but all for a price.

After a password has been entered in the App Store or Google Play store the player will not have to enter it again for the next 15 minutes allowing quick and easy password-free purchases, unless the owner goes into the device’s security settings and changes it.

With in-app purchases often costing as much as £70 a go, it’s easy to see how Danny managed to tap his way through a small fortune.

Some of Danny’s purchases included 12 sets of ‘333 keys’ at £69.99 each,  seven lots of ‘333 ecstasy bombs’ again costing £69.99 each, and five bundles of ‘9000 darts’ each costing £69.99.

Apple has confirmed it will be refunding the Kitchen family’s money, but a spokesperson urged that such incidents must be reported as quickly as possible.

“I was livid – not amused at all,” said Greg. “But Danny was very sorry so I couldn’t stay mad at him for long. I’m relieved that they have said they are going to give us back our money. We had to give them so much information and it’s taken three days, but I’m relieved.”  

Danny is one of five Kitchen children and has definitely learnt his lesson when it comes to iPad games.

“It was a good game, but I will never do anything like this again. I’m banned from the iPad now, but I am still going to play games when I can, but I will be careful now,” he said.

Have you encountered similar freemium content mistaken purchases? Do you think it is too easy to spend money on smart devices? Give us your thoughts on the matter via the Trusted Reviews Facebook and Twitter feeds or use the comments section below.

The Mirror

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