A child asked to download a free game on his mum and dad’s iPad and ran up a bill of more than £1,700 – in just ten minutes.
Mischievous five year-old Danny Kitchen told his dad he needed his passcode to get the Zombie v Ninja app from the Apple store.
Parents Greg and Sharon eventually gave in and left Danny alone on the tablet computer as they entertained friends at their home.
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But after downloading the free app Danny found his way into the game’s online store and innocently ordered dozens of costly add-ons – totalling £1,710.43.
Mum Sharon knew nothing about his spending spree until she saw a batch of emails from iTunes the following day listing what he had bought.
Her credit card company then phoned to query the payments – and horrified Sharon realised what had happened.
Sharon, of Warmley, nr Bristol, said: “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.
“We had lots of visitors in the house and were both a little preoccupied. I woke up Monday morning and looked at my emails and had loads from iTunes.
“I thought it must be a mistake, so I checked my bank balance online and nothing had been taken out.
“I thought nothing of it until I my credit card advisor phoned and told me they had authorised the transaction.”
Danny had bought tons of in-game weapons and keys on the iPad 3 including 12 purchases of ’333 keys’ at £69.99 a time and seven ’333 ecstasy bombs’ at £69.99.
He also bought five lots of “9000 darts” each costing £69.99, five lots of ’4200 darts’ at £5.49 each and additional ecstasy bombs totalling £3.22.
Mother-of-five Sharon, 44, added: “I realised what happened and told Danny he’d better get ready for bed and run and hide before daddy got home.
“He was crying, as the rest of the children were telling him we could have bought a house with the amount he had spent.
“He started to run and through his tears he turned back and said ‘But where can I hide?’ Bless him – that stopped me being angry but of course it’s a lot of money.
“Loads of parents in the playground said similar things had happened to them but for a lot less money. I can’t believe he was able to spend so much money.
“It was far too easy a thing for him to do and more should be done to limit stuff like this from happening.
“That game is very annoying – and who would spend more than £1,700 on a game?
“It’s the first time any of our kids have done anything like this – and it will be the last.”
Young Danny said: “I said to dad can you put the passcode for the game he said no and then I said it was free so he said yes.
“The next day it costed lots of money. I was worried and I felt sad. I was crying. I’m not sure how I did it, I thought it was free.”
“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.”
Greg and Sharon run their own kids’ entertainment company and have four older children – Rosie, six, Riley, eight, Conor, 11, and Shannon, 15.
After three days of correspondence Apple have now told the family they will refund the money.
Greg, 44, said: “I was livid – not amused at all. 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.”
An Apple spokesman said such incidents had to be reported as quickly as possible.
He said it was vital people kept their pass code, designed to stop unauthorised electronic purchases on its products, safe and said software was available to prevent children from using the iTunes store even if they have the password.
A spokesman said: “All iOS devices (iPad, iPhone and iPod touch) have built in parental controls that give parents and guardians the ability to restrict access to content, eg internet access and age rated content such as music, games, apps, TV shows, movies etc.
“Parental controls also give parents and guardians the option to turn off functionality such as purchasing from iTunes and the ability to turn off in-app purchases.
“Our parents’ guide to iTunes details the steps and measures parents and guardians can take to make sure younger players have access to the right content. The first thing we recommend is not to share your password.”
The spokesman said the company’s website had instructions on restricting child access, at the page: http://support.apple.com/kb/
He said customers can also call 0800 048 0408 to report a problem.