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article imageBoy, aged 11, racks up $7000 bill for mobile games

By Tim Sandle     Apr 5, 2017 in Technology
Chorley - An young boy, unknown to him at the time, spent around $7,000 playing online games after accessing his family's iTunes account.
The owner of the iTunes account and the boy's father, Roy Dobson, had connected the Apple account to his credit card. Allowing his son to play with his mobile devices, the boy Alfie was able to spend a small fortune on online games and apps, racking up the $7,500 credit card bill across just two weekends. Given that the boy was only allowed to play on the family's iPad at weekends had he been allowed access during the week the massive spend could well have been even greater. Mr. Dobson only noticed what was happening when he received his monthly credit card bill.
Speaking with the BBC, Mr. Dobson, who lives in the U.K. (the town of Chorley in Lancashire) said he hopes the incident will act as a warning to other parents about how easy it is to mount up large bills if a child is given free access to an account linked to a credit card.
Mr. Dobson explains how easy it was for his son to spend money: "The first time he spent £700 in less than five minutes, then £1,100 in half an hour and it just racked up and racked up, all on the same game." Most of the spend was not on the first buy of games and apps but on so-called micro-transactions. These are incentives to spend money within an app or a games itself, in order to access new features. Guy Cocker, a Games expert and technology journalist, told the news site Metro: ‘These games were initially released for £8.99 or £9.99 but the games companies found they were able to make more money from them by offering in-app purchases..’
The boy's mother, Jill, told The Daily Mirror: "It's scary. He said the game was that good he couldn't stop, but he only thought he pressed it a few times."
Good news for the Dobson family is that Apple has agreed to refund the family.
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