Kids do the darndest things don’t they?
Sometimes they can be so cute and thoughtful and you just want to squeeze them until they burst (figuratively).
And at other times they do things that drive you right up the wall and make you want to squeeze them until they burst (literally).
So the other night I came home from work and my wife and I were getting dinner started while the kids finished up their homework. When my daughter was all done she asked if she could play on the iPad for a little while and I said sure.
A few minutes later she came running into the kitchen to show us a bunch of in-app purchases that had been made. Apparently we now had a whole bunch of characters and coins in games like Tsum Tsum, Crossy Road, and Subway Surf.
Those are all free games that my daughters are allowed to play, but they are NOT allowed to make any in-app purchases. They know the rules and until now we haven’t had any problems.
My 5 year old son is allowed a very limited time on the iPad and only when he is supervised.
After looking at all the new characters and tokens I realized it must have cost a good deal of money to acquire them all. Since it was actually my wife’s credit card that is hooked up to the iTunes account I had her call and get some information.
After speaking with customer service we found out that $209.45 had been charged earlier that day and I wanted to scream!
At first I had a hard time believing my son would have been able to log on and buy apps and games on his own but the credit card company confirmed the time stamps on each of the purchases were made when my daughters were both at school, so there was only one suspect without an alibi.
It turns out he had been watching his sisters enter the iPad password so he was able to get past that line of defense. Once inside the apps he was able to make purchases because the settings were set to allow one-click purchases (I have to take responsibility for that one).
Since he can’t really read he didn’t even realize he was buying things. He just got stuck on a screen with a popup message and tapped a few times to make it disappear, unknowingly purchasing all sorts of digital crap.
We had a very serious talk with him, changed the password on the iPad, and deleted the credit card information so this couldn’t happen again. Then I emailed Apple customer support to explain what happened and ask them to remove the unintended purchases and give us a refund.
To be honest, I didn’t have high hopes. I assumed they’d say, “Too bad.”
But I was pleasantly surprised when they immediately agreed to refund the charges in full. they also offered some tips for changing the settings so this kind of thing wouldn’t happen again.
This was the first time I had to contact Apple customer service about an issue and I must say I was really impressed with them. I hope I won’t be needing them again any time soon but it’s good to know they’re there when you need them.
Have your kids ever done something like this? If so how did it work out?