A dad faces having to sell his car and other prized possessions after his eight-year-old daughter ran up a £4,000 bill – playing games on his iPad.
Lee Neale, 43, was horrified when his bank froze his account and alerted him to the fact daughter Lily had blown a small fortune on the ‘free’ games from the App Store.
Lily ran up a bill of more than £2,000 in just six days topping up rewards and enhancements in 74 transactions.
Outraged Lee claims the schoolgirl was unaware she was being charged “real money” for the in-game purchases and asked to Apple to scrap the charge.
But the technology company has refused and Lee now faces selling off his car and two prized off-road motorbikes to recoup the money.
Lee said: “Lily is only eight and hasn’t grasped the concept of money. She probably wouldn’t know how much a bag of crisps costs.
“I was very surprised how dismissive Apple were. This was an eight-year-old girl. Basically iTunes have told me categorically that I won’t be getting my money back.
“I am also disappointed that my bank didn’t alert me to what was going on.
“Now my dad is having to lend me money in the short term and I’m in the process of selling my car, my son’s off road motorbike and probably my bike too.
“I just think these in-app purchases are terrible and people need to be aware.”
Lee, from Peasedown St John, Somerset, allowed Lily to use his iPad so she could play numerous games including Campus Life, My Horse, Hay Day and Smurf’s Village.
Although the games are initially free to download there are numerous in-game extras that can be bought in the form of jewels, coins or upgrades.
And, between March and July, the youngster spent more than £4,000.
Lee, an aerospace designer, said he was only alerted to the huge bill when he was prevented from withdrawing money from his bank.
He added that messages alerting him to iTunes purchases were going to his work email account – which he was unable to access as he was on deployment to another company.
The dad contacted Apple to explain the mistake but was told “all purchases made on the iTunes Store are final”.
He said: “There are numerous games where Lily had been inadvertently making in-app purchases, but the major culprits were Campus Life, My Horse and Injustice, a super hero game.
“Almost as bad are Hay Day, Gymnastics Events and Smurfs’ Village. She just thought it was all free.
“It was not until I grilled her that she said she had been using a password that she had seen me put in when I had downloaded free games for her.
“She is only eight years old. Even when I sat her down and explained that what she was doing had cost dad money, I still don’t think she really understood.”