Apple refunds 8-year-old's £4,000 bill for in-app purchases

Apple has agreed to refund one father from Somerset, after his daughter racked up a huge bill through in-app purchases.

Joe Svetlik Reporter
Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.
Joe Svetlik
2 min read

Another day, another story about a child who's racked up a bill of thousands of pounds of in-app purchases.

This time it's eight-year-old Lily Neale, from Peasedown St John, Somerset. And dad Lee had to foot the bill. But despite initially refusing to reimburse Lee, Apple eventually decided to refund him the full amount, The Sun reports. All's well that ends well.

Lily racked up the bill playing Campus Life, My Horse, Hay Day, and Smurfs' Village on Lee's iPad. She spent the £4,000 between March and earlier this month, but managed to blow £2,000 in just six days. Lee only found out when his bank account was frozen.

Lee, 43, said his daughter didn't realise she was spending real money. He 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 just think these in-app purchases are terrible and people need to be aware."

It wasn't until he "grilled her" that she revealed she'd been using his password, after seeing him enter it.

Apple emailed Lee telling him of each purchase, but the notifications went to his work address, which he couldn't access as he'd been seconded to another company.

In order to pay the bill, Lee was having to borrow money from his father, and to sell his car and his and his son's motorbikes. But now Apple has agreed to cover the cost.

"Apple called me to say they will be refunding the money I have lost and apologised for closing my case so early," Lee said. "It really has saved my bacon."

It's not the first time Apple has covered someone's bill for in-app purchases. It refunded one family £1,700 in March. It also added a warning note to all apps offering extra purchases.

Are in-app purchases a ripoff? Should Apple do more, or is it up to the parents to turn on the parental controls and know what their kids get up to? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.