India, July 1 (IndiaToday) – An iPhone game cost a doctor about £1,300 after his son made numerous in-game purchases. The doctor was forced to sell the family car to pay the bill.
The incident took place in North Wales, UK, as seven-year-old Ashaz played Dragons: Rise of Berk, an iPhone game, for an hour. To maintain his progress in the game, Ashaz made several in-app purchases ranging from £1.99 to £99.99. The purchases ultimately amounted to a total of £1,289.70 (approximately Rs 1.33 lakh).
It wasn’t until later that his father, Muhammad Mutaza found out about this. The 41-year-old consultant endocrinologist was shocked to find that the free version of the game allowed unlimited purchases to players aged so young.
In an interaction with Daily Mail, he pointed out how the game allowed any number of transactions of up to £99.99 to players. Considering the game is meant for four years, and above, he argued that the amount of purchasing power is simply too much for kids aged that young.
Muhammad first thought that he had been scammed. It was only when he read his emails that he found the multiple transactions amounting to the enormous total. Muhammad complained of this to Apple, post which the company refunded him £207 (approximately Rs 21,000).
Of course, the remainder of the bill is still huge and to cover the cost, Muhammad had to sell his Toyota Aygo car. He now plans to contest the charges in court.
He mentioned that the unwitting purchases by his son that “almost maxed out” his credit card is nothing but the company tricking his child into gaining money. His argument is that a free game especially meant for children, should never allow unlimited transactions of such a high amount. The free to play nature of the game led him to believe that this was not possible at all.
Although such transactions are password protected through iTunes, Muhammad said that his son might have seen his password once before and remembered it. In a statement to Daily Mail, Apple further states that there are other features to help prevent such accidental purchases.
So how Ashaz managed to get past those or whether the checks were in place or not is yet unclear. However, a strong case can be made as to how a seven-year-old was able to make countless purchases on a kids game, leading to a suspiciously high bill for anyone to see.