Parents sue Apple over kids’ microtransaction gaming bills

Wednesday, 18th April 2012 02:36 GMT By Brenna Hillier

A group of US iDevice owners has filed suit against Apple over bills resulting from in-game microtransactions made by children without “authorisation of their parents”.

Although recent updates to iOS have added in extra authorisation steps to counter the problem, the BBC reports US District Judge Edward Davila has denied Apple’s motion to dismiss.

The suit takes exception not just to the now-redundant ease with which children can run up credit card bills through apps, but also with the nature of the games themselves.

The group claim certain games have been developed “strategically to induce purchases of Game Currency”. Smurfs’ Village and Tap Pet Hotel were highlighted as examples.

Parents have also complained that it is difficult to contact and challenge charges made through in-app purchasing.

Thanks, Eurogamer.



  1. ejams

    No shit, if it’s seriously that big of an issue, don’t get iPhone for your 10-year-old. And if it’s your phone, just turn off Wifi/3G while allowing them to use it. That way, they can’t get stuff anyways.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. FeaturePreacher

    Certainly hope this puts a chilling effect on b.s. pricing structures out there and push forward the idea of paying the full price for the full game.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Christopher Jack

    Should have to enter the security code every time you use your credit card.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Phoenixblight


    That will never happen, microtransactions are here to stay.

    Just like Ejams has said you can easily block these things from happening if the parrent actually looked into what is going on with their kids. There still needs to be more control between the item being bought and then paid for as @3 suggested maybe putting in the CC security code every time a transaction is made.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Kabby

    The Common People need their hand holding at every turn. They buy expensive technology but are too stupid to know what it does or how it works.

    In this case it’s 100% the parents fault.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Yoshi

    Ohhh fuck off you stupid parents, maybe you idiots shouldn’t be paying for your 10 year olds monthly contract in the first place. And if it’s your phone, then make sure you know wtf your dumbass kid is doing XD

    The problem today is that children seem to be more and more spoon fed products. Lets go venture back 5 or so years when I was 15ish, I never got given a full console. I had to save my birthday money etc XD
    And then not to mention the fact these parents buy full consoles without the kid needing to lift and finger, but then the parent doesn’t even understand the console.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. endgame

    Exactly. Said parents don’t know how to raise their children so they blame society for it. And now they also want to get paid for being dumb. Aaand that judge is playing their game now. Only in the USA.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Christopher Jack

    Perhaps when letting children play with your phone, you should put it in flight mode, but I frankly don’t expect most iPhone users to be capable of knowing how to put it in flight mode so Apple should perhaps make it more idiot proof.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. viralshag

    Once upon a time you may have felt bad for the unwitting parents that didn’t realise the difference of giving their kid an iPhone to play with compared to, say, an old Nokia with Snake.

    But considering how many times we have seen this kind of story and how long this tech – as well as parental control – has been around, there really is just no excuse.

    It’s your own stupidity. Plain and simple. If you’re willing to hand over something that your kid probably knows more about than you, which stores your credit card info, then really there’s no one else to blame.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. ManuOtaku

    And some gamers complain/criticize nintendo for not approving the binding Isaac game on their shop, imagine the outcry of parent organizations when they find their kids did downloaded the game, as a gamer i did want that game on the 3ds, but i do understand the business side decision behind it, this is a good example for this.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. OlderGamer

    I am always amazed at the thinking most gamers express in forums. Baffeling. Lets round up the drug addicts, while protecting the rights of drug dealers. In this case it fits. Its exactly whats going on.

    First of all, why shouldn’t a 10yr old use a smart phone? Clearly there are games aimed at 10yr olds.

    Shouldn’t the parent be watching what their kids are doing? Really? Every moment of everyday? All of the time? Really?

    The only thing I read up abouve that made any sense at all was CJ, when he said all transactions should require a security code. That way in order to buy something kids need a code. To get a code they need mom and dads input/aprovel.

    Look much of what people are complaining about is the way the games are structured. And their is a physcological component to “needing/wanting/being compelled to” in game currency. thats why its there. And it is why the games are structured the way they are. Its by design.

    Thats the drug dealer mentality. Its preditory by design.

    IMO, thats clearly wrong.

    Let me ask you thins question:

    Do you drink Soda?

    Yet Soda is made with Caffine and Suger-cane/corn fructose. Both very addictive substances.

    Yet we see TV spots, Video game tie ins, sports tie ins, web spot, etc promoting “Do the Dew”. Aimed at kids/youth. Drinking MNT dew and other softdrinks is worked into the fabric of our society. Esp for younger demographics.

    And that is why Pepsi/Coke/etc do what they do in the way they do it. They want future drinkers. So they hook em young. Cigerettes companies used to do the same thing(Cool Joe Camel, ring a bell?). Its preditory.

    And yet, as a whole it the chosen course of action by many to condem people for obesity. Or to condom them for developing throat cancer(caused by soda, as well as mentioned cigs).

    Its the drug dealer vs the drug user mentality.

    Same with these games. Its a preditory pricing structure designed to induce childern to push bottuns for in game sales.

    Thats clearly wrong in my book.

    We are a human animal. Simple as. And companies are experts at manipulating our wants and creating a sense of need. Its one of the ways they continue to sell us stupid shit we don’t need/is bad for us/that we don’t want.

    If we are talking about adults, thats one thing. Adults can be held resposible for their actions, even if they got hooked on suger/caffine/nicotine when they were in their teens. But when you design a game, aim it 10 yr old, and manipulate them for your own profit…then I say enough.

    Thats what these parents are doing too.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. viralshag

    @OG, That’s a fairly misunderstood way of looking at it in my opinion. No one is saying don’t let them use the smartphone, most people are saying if you are then allow them to do so with the correct safety in place.

    You are excusing a lot and the old “how are they supposed to watch them 24/7″ excuse really does not apply to this because of the fact there are barriers in place to protect your wallet so you don’t *need* to watch them 24/7 while they’re on your phone.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. OrbitMonkey

    Why is everyone attacking these parents for giving their kids iPhones? Envy? The article clearly stated idevices… Y’know like a iPod touch? Which is cheaper than a 3ds in most places

    #13 3 years ago
  14. LOLshock92

    ^ There is no way your parents will get you an iPhone if you’re not respectful and display good behavior in the first place. So, I agree. Where’s the problem?

    #14 3 years ago
  15. absolutezero

    Damn wheres my collage of bratty kids complaining on Facebook when they never got an iphone for Xmas when I need it.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. viralshag

    @13, Who is attacking them for giving them idevices or letting them use their own? Again, most people are simply stating that if youre going to hand a device to a kid loaded with your credit card details, maybe you should take precautions to stop them from either knowingly or accidentally buying a load of crap.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. endgame

    @13 I see. So you’re one of those parents.. Good job mate! We’re proud that people like you exist on Earth.

    #17 3 years ago

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