A 10-year-old spent over $3000 on the popular gaming app Roblox without her mom realizing it until it was too late.
Georgina Munday, from Denbighshire in Wales, United Kingdom, saw hundreds of small transactions on her banking app after her daughter changed the password on her iPad.
Munday has warned parents to “be vigilant” of children using in-app purchases after seeing the transactions rack up to £2500 ($3100). Her daughter, who has autism, had been off school for a prolonged time and was using Roblox to pass the time.
Munday told the BBC she initially thought her account had been hacked. “We’d just seen hundreds of transactions, these payment confirmations, so then the panic set in – oh my gosh, whose card is this on?,”
After seeing the huge bill, Munday tried to contact Apple and her bank, but both refused a refund. She then took her story to BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours show which focuses on helping consumers under challenging situations.
“It was a really stressful time. I am not working at the minute, I am looking after my daughter. The last few months have been quite stressful, so maybe we have had our eye off the ball. I just thought I would have to pay it off in installments over the next few years.
“I rang up Tesco Bank and they said they couldn’t do anything about it because it was my daughter. So I tried Apple again – they just read me their terms and conditions. So that’s when I contacted the BBC, You and Yours, consumer program.”
Tesco Bank finally agreed to refund the full amount.
Be wary of in-app purchases
Unauthorized payments are a real concern for parents of young children, with apps on the App Store and games becoming more and more driven by in-app purchases.
Apple is clear that parents and guardians should use Family Sharing to always require authorization of purchases and not disclose passwords to their children. But sometimes, it’s not always possible.
Roblox told the BBC, “Roblox has a robust policy for processing refund requests where there may have been unauthorized payments from a person’s account.
“This process is detailed in our help center here.”
“Parents also have access to a suite of Parental Controls that can be used to determine how much their children can spend, and set spend notifications to increase visibility over their children’s spending on Roblox.”
So remember, keep your passwords away from your children, and as Georgina Munday learned the hard way, be vigilant.