Apple iTunes: UK Boy Racks Up $2,500 Bill

Dennis Faas's picture

Many of us spend hours playing free video games online, whether it's by downloading them through the Apple iTunes Store, Google Play Store, or some other site / service. But the ability to enhance that gaming experience with "premium" upgrades can make "free" games very expensive.

The Kitchen family of Bristol, England, recently discovered just how pricy "free" games can be. Mom Sharon was recently stunned to receive an Apple iTunes Store bill for 1,700 pounds, or roughly $2,500. (Source:

Premium Purchases Rack Up Fast

Sharon racked her brain for hours trying to figure out how Apple could make such a huge mistake. Eventually it became clear that her five-year-old son, Danny, had purchased a virtual treasure trove of premium items for his "free" game, Zombies vs. Ninja.

Here's the problem: Sharon allowed Danny to use her iTunes Store account -- which includes a credit card number -- to access the application. And even though it's free to play the basic version of the game, when Danny was presented with the opportunity to enhance his Zombies vs. Ninja's experience by purchasing "ecstasy bombs," he couldn't resist.

What five-year-old could?

Danny found himself in lots of trouble after his Mom figured out what had happened. "I'm banned from the iPad now," he said. (Source:

Danny Not All to Blame for Big Bill

Still, Sharon doesn't think Danny should shoulder all of the blame. She believes that it was simply too easy for her son to make the purchases and rack up a monumental bill.

And she's not alone. A recent settlement in California, which is awaiting approval, will see iTunes customers reimbursed for in-app purchases made by minors like Danny.

The settlement, if approved, will result in Apple doling out $5 to any iTunes user who says purchases were made by a minor without a parent's knowledge or approval. The payout will apply to certain apps that made it oh-so-easy to purchase premium content.

In some cases, customers will have the option of getting a cash refund if they meet a list of requirements. (Source:

UPDATE: The Kitchen family has since been given a full refund for Danny's spending spree, with Sharon telling the BBC that Apple was "fantastic" in dealing with the problem. (Source:

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