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The Almighty Buck Apple

Apple Moves To Stop Kids Racking Up iTunes Bills 232

Xacid writes "Apple Inc. has changed how purchases inside iPhone and iPad games are authorized after customers complained that their kids were racking up hundreds of dollars worth of charges. The issue was that after a user entered his or her iTunes password on a device, the device didn't prompt for the password again for 15 minutes. Any purchases, whether in the iTunes store or inside kid-friendly games such as 'The Smurf's Village,' went through without a new password prompt. This meant that parents who handed over their iPhones or iPads to their kids were sometimes shocked by large purchases of 'Smurfberries' and other virtual bling."
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Apple Moves To Stop Kids Racking Up iTunes Bills

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  • It's about time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jeffmeden ( 135043 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @04:54PM (#35508484) Homepage Journal

    Thank god they wised up and put in a new password prompt for in-game purchases. Now all they have to do is sit back and wait for the complaints to come in that "my kids said 'hey what's the password?' and then I got hundreds of dollars of racked up charges." Never mind the fact that they have a KID'S GAME that includes paying for virtual nothingness. I guess Steve's new motto is "get them addicted early."

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @04:59PM (#35508542)
    I really don't see how this is much of a parenting issue. Many kids have an iPod touch just like they might have a GameBoy or DS. The problem is that in-game purchases are too integrated into the game and it is feasible that a kid playing a game might not fully realize that this is going to be charged real money. Ideally what Apple would do would be when you set up your device in iTunes, you can create a "gift card only" account on it that would only bill gift cards and wouldn't buy something without enough store credit. So kids could still download free apps and spend their gift cards on apps/DLC but without the fear of it charging their parent's credit card.
  • Accountability (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @05:09PM (#35508672)

    What ever happened to parents holding their children, and themselves for that matter, accountable for their actions. In any child of mine purchased anything online without my permission I would make them work to pay the charges. Maybe it will teach the children the value of money. Maybe it will also teach parents to log out of iTunes before handing the phone over to someone else. In my mind this is no different than logging into one's bank account and the letting a child play on the computer without logging out.

  • Re:Sounds like... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by IorDMUX ( 870522 ) <> on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @05:14PM (#35508746) Homepage

    That's modern parenting for you... plop your kid in front of the TV (in their bed room, of course), or Wii, or iPad, or whatever other gadget, and get them out of your hair for a couple hours after work until they pass out, exhausted, from extensive video screen stimulation.

    Really? You think that's how this stuff happens?

    I will hand my young son my phone with the Talking Tomcat "ca-caty!" application when I have to wait in a long checkout/service/wahtever line, lest I be holding a screaming toddler who -- like any 2.5-year-old -- prefers to run around the store rather than stand still for 10 minutes.

    However, there is a link in the app to download extra features and animals, and even at his age, he can access it quite easily. I can't imagine what kind of charges I would have racked up in the thirty seconds I spend paying for groceries or arguing with Customer Service if my Android phone didn't require extra authorization before making purchases.

  • Re:It's about time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @05:41PM (#35509030)

    No, they don't. They need the transaction id, nothing more.

    I know, we do CC transactions all the time and never have a CC number longer than the time it takes for a web page to pass it off to We can still easily refund the transaction or adjust the value down if need be.

    There are also methods for recurring billing that do basically the same thing, we get a reference ID, at the end of the billing period we send a 'bill these reference IDs for the price determined when the reference was setup' and they return a list of successful and unsuccessful transactions.

    Authorize.NET handles all the work for us, allowing us to not be bound by all the rules of PCI and not having to worry so much about what happens if your DB gets hacked, we have no CC numbers for anyone to steal.

"It takes all sorts of in & out-door schooling to get adapted to my kind of fooling" - R. Frost