$3,000 iTunes bill caused by in-app purchases

by Andrew Roach on July 24, 2013

In app purchases are becoming an increasingly common feature in many modern day apps as developers look for new ways to profit from their creations.

The idea has been beneficial enough for the mobile industry so far but the practice hasn’t always sat well with consumers especially with one Canadian who ended up with a $3,000 iTunes bill after a vacation to the UK.

Paula Marner’s bill rose dramatically after letting her children play Clash of the Clans on her iPhone during the trip where her children were able to make the purchases once they were prompted.

As one of the best-selling apps on The App Store, the game has numerous premium add-ons that can be purchased by users despite the base game being available for free.

With Mrs Marner’s children having access to her password, they were simply able to access and make purchases at will ranging anywhere from $9 to $99 for just one transaction.

Marner was quite surprised about how easy it was for her children to make the purchases without any additional security measures. In an interview with CBC, she said that “it kept coming up consistently and they kept tapping it, because it’s just tap purchase, tap purchase, tap purchase.”

Mrs Marner’s case isn’t the first time that large mobile bills have been racked up through apps but there has been some concern about how developers are now including more and more in app purchases on software aimed towards children.

A host of top kids titles now involve in game purchases including games such as Sonic Dash, Despicable Me 2 and Clash of the Clans.

The prospect of unlocking more levels or favourite characters is something that will entice children to try and make purchases to keep playing the top apps putting parents at risk of hefty monthly bills at any moment.

Apple themselves have come under increasing scrutiny from consumers about the lack of security involving in app purchases on smartphones and rising bills on iTunes.

The problem has come to the point where the company is currently fighting a $100m lawsuit over the very matter in America.

With growing anger rising over in-app purchases, app developers and distributors are going to have to think of a way round the problem to stop consumers such as Mrs Marner from suffering extraordinary high bills again in the future.

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Written by: Andrew Roach www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube

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