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In-game charges, should they be banned?

We read about the horror stories of ‘in game’ charges on a fairly regular basis and the latest hit the web this weekend – a 43 year old father was facing a £4,000 charge after his daughter racked up a series of fees.

His eight year old daughter purchased from ‘free’ games from the Apple App Store including Campus Life, My Horse, Hay Day and Smurf’s Village. According to the Sun newspaper she charged up to £2,000 in six days over 74 transactions. She didn’t realise she was using her fathers real money to buy the in game extras.

Lee Neale, 43 an Aerospace engineer only found out when the bank froze his account. He was working away from home and missed a series of emails which alerted him to his daughter buying in game items. Lily spent more than £4,000 between March and July.
angry parents

Apple initially refused to help Lee saying ‘all purchases made on the iTunes Store are final’. Later on the firm changed their mind and Lee got his money back.

Lee said Apple ‘really saved his bacon.’ He chatted to The Sun about his daughter ‘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.’

It raises a good point however, are these in game purchases not made clear enough to parents and young children? Should young children even have access to a parents account to buy items? We know that the Apple iPad will request a password for purchases, so the child would need to already know the password to do this.

Kitguru says: Let us know what you think, is is about time that Apple, Samsung and other companies stepped in to put a halt to these ‘free’ game in app charges?

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