Daughter running up huge 'App Bills'


Hello ARRSErs,

Apologies if this has already been brought to light, but as I'm on Dii and it's already taken half an hour just to get to this page, it will be dark by the time I have searched a few forums.

Anyway - my ex called this morning to tell me that our wonderful daughter has been innocently playing games on her iPhone, and without realising has managed to run up a bill in the region of £200. I imagine this is along the lines of what I've already heard about in the press - the games start out as free, but every so often you get little prompts like "Door locked - buy a key for $10 (Y/N)?" and naturally the kid will click on "Y". To cut a long story short, she now wants to clear out her pocket money account I credit each month in order to pay for it.

My question to fellow ARRSErs with any similar experience is this: Is there any way Customer Relations can let this one go by some kind of process or by way of a grovelling apology of naiveity? Part of me thinks it is a parenting issue - the other part of me thinks this is a devious plan to market 'kiddy games' that only 'kiddies' will play, knowing full well that they will click on "Y" to purchase extras (especially when they appear as "$" instead of "£") - particularly as the game was essentially a 'free app' to start off with and there was no reason to suspect otherwise.

Any help would be appreciated - cheers.
Normally an iPhone app purchase is atttributed to an "Apple account" and you're billed by Apple, not the phone provider.

Which means someone has set her up with an Apple account, and associated a credit/debit card with that account.

Poor parenting, also did your daughter not think "where is this $10 bill going to?"

Unless this isn't the case, and she's been billed by some other means via the phone provider?

Get her a pay and go phone so you can control the spends.


My guess is that if the gamer is intelligent enough to know how to use the Iphone apps, the app owner will assume they'll be intelligent enough to know that they're going to get billed. So you won't get very far appealing to their better nature.

So, get her to cough up so she can learn some of the responsibilities that come with life, then have her fingers mangled so she can't do it again.


Hmm, sorry I should have elaborated a little - my daughter has been running up the bill on her Mum's iPhone, with her Mum assuming it was a 'free app' as marketed.

Ordinarily, I'd be laughing my socks off by now - but this is set to come out of money that I had solely been paying into my daughter's account. If I'd have known this would happen, I'd have spent it myself.

On beer and crisps, no less.
Hmm, sorry I should have elaborated a little - my daughter has been running up the bill on her Mum's iPhone, with her Mum assuming it was a 'free app' as marketed.
They should split the bill 50/50. The daughter for being stupid enough to think it was ok to click "yes" each time, and the Mother for not being more switched on.

I'll contribute £1 to the bill for each naked photo you post of the mother. Glad to help.
I had something similar happen with my son and X-Box.

The service providers know exactly what kids are likely to do in making unauthorized purchases on a debit card account. The normal safeguards (number on back of card, Verify by Visa password, etc., ) are there to prevent unauthorized purchases and, in my case, had never previously let an unauthorized purchase go through. The vendors have managed to somehow by-pass these safeguards with the intention preying on unsupervised juveniles. The systems are set up intentionally by predatory sales droids to operate in this manner.

They will not willingly refund the money. If you contact them, they will state they are going to start a FRAUD investigation. The emphasised mention of FRAUD will scare many off, since they will be worried that their little angel will get a criminal record or ASBO. If you want the money back, you will have to issue a summons in the county court and win the case. There is no chance of their pursuing a criminal complaint; they know what happens, they encourage it and they profit from it happening.

The vendors have to comply with the requirements of the Distance Selling Regulations (2007). These require, amongst other things, a written record of the transactions to be sent to the purchaser. An e-mail is a valid means of doing this, but may have been sent to your daughter's e-mail address (or maybe the Ex's, if it was her phone).

In my case, e-mails were sent to my son's e-mail address, but omitted to mention the cost of the purchase, which is an obligatory item that should be included. I am currently working through the County Court route.
I think there's good reason to kick up a fuss, it's a game so how are you supposed to know what's real and what's part of the game play?

It also brings up the issue of responsibility, it's not unreasonable to assume parents will use their credit/debit facilities to fund phones used by their children. What has the service provider done to establish if the user is should have access to these credit services?

Snotty email and offcom time I reckon, they'll probably back down rather than risk having their little scam blown out of the water, it's to be hoped you have the balls to do the right thing and push it as far as you can for the benefit of others.

Now stop piddling about on Arrse 'n get those Murdicks transported back to Botany Bay.

Where did the game come from, could you also have a go at Apple?

..and another thought, how was the payment taken - if it's a direct debit you can just get your bank to use charge back.
DC, whilst I hate to contradict some of the earlier robust advice that your OP seems to have attracted, the situation is by no means beyond recovery.

My son inadvertently did the same thing on a game which he, his mother and I thought was free. The interface made no mention of actual cost (the game is very similar to SimCity which revolves around spending virtual money) and was cunningly designed so as to exploit a loophole — purchases completed within a certain time of providing the account password don't need the password re-entering, they just go through without so much as a pop-up notification. I found out a day later when the real life bill arrived.

I immediately wrote to both Apple (iTunesStoreSupport@apple.com) and the software developers telling them in unambiguous language exactly what I thought of their business model and the app screening process.

The system isn't what I'd call straightforward but I had a refund within days so Mister Polite-but-Angry seems to work.

Hope this helps.

Edited because whilst Trigger here was typing, some more positive posters turned up.
I've been stung by the Xbox a few times. I eventually got them to send me an email everytime one of my little cherubs tries to purchase anything!

I'll admit to believing my 14yr old when he tells me "it's free" I also set up parental controls but the wee shite got around them by unplugging the hard drive!
Xbox aren't interested they just want money, don't we all?
Three stages to fix this.

Smash your wife's phone

Punch your wife.

Kick your daughter ***********.

All three of you will be better people for this episode. Lessons learned.
Sod that,

Rip them a new arrse hole, they'll be happy to chuck a few quid back and carry on stinging the next mug. Man up & do your best to call time on their sordid scam. Shouldn't be hard if it's off Itunes - would be providers of "safe" technology to self-confessed techno mongs.
What was the game she was playing? £10 to buy a pretend key to open a pretend door. My little shites lose their front door keys for fun, a high security lock, they keys have a number on, and the locksmith cant replicate them, we have to send off for replacements, cost about £8 for a real key for a real door.

I will never complain about MW2 extra maps again.
If I try to download an app on mine, even if it's free, I have to put my itunes password in. Who's itunes account has been used?

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