5-year-old Bristol boy runs up £1,300 iTunes bill
A FIVE-year-old boy racked up a bill of more than £1,300 after a spending spree on iTunes.
Little Danny Kitchen asked his dad for a pass code so he could download a free game on the family iPad tablet computer. Initially told 'no', his parents Greg and Sharon relented so they could concentrate on visitors at their home in Warmley.
But the following day Mrs Kitchen, 44, was horrified when she received no fewer than 19 e-mails from iTunes, the download selling arm of computer giant Apple, for purchases of £69.99 for apps – extra software – to help play the game Zombie.
Mr and Mrs Kitchen, who work as child minders and entertainers, have contacted Apple to sort out the problem and recoup their money but are yet to hear any news.
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A spokesman for Apple told The Post that such incidents need to reported as soon as possible and were then looked at on a case-by-case basis. He said it was vital people kept their pass code, designed to stop unauthorised electronic purchases on its products, safe and said software was available to prevent children from using the iTunes store even if they have the password.
Mrs Kitchen said: "On Sunday afternoon Danny asked my husband for the pass code. We had lots of visitors in the house and were both a little preoccupied.
"I recall my husband saying 'No – what is it for?' Danny said 'It's OK, it's a free one, Dad'. So my husband keyed in the pass code.
"The following day I noticed there were many e-mails from iTunes. I read a couple and thought it must be a mistake, as there were so many. I checked my bank account online and there were no transactions so I just forgot about it.
"Later on in the day I received a phone call from the credit card people asking if 19 transactions of £69.99 each were normal. Much to my horror, my son had clocked up £1,329.
"When I realised I called my husband and asked him to sort this out. As of yet we are still waiting for iTunes to recognise that this was a big mistake.
"I told Danny he'd better get ready for bed and run and hide before daddy gets home. He was crying, as the rest of the family were telling him we could have bought a house with the amount he had spent. He started to run and through his tears he turned back and said 'But where can I hide?' Bless him – that stopped me being angry but of course it's a lot of money.
"Loads of parents in the playground said similar things had happened to them but for a lot less money.
"They said our situation had to be some sort of record, so I should let the papers know to warn other parents."
A spokesman for Apple said: "All iOS devices (iPad, iPhone and iPod touch) have built in parental controls that give parents and guardians the ability to restrict access to content, eg internet access and age rated content such as music, games, apps, TV shows, movies etc.
"Parental controls also give parents and guardians the option to turn off functionality such as purchasing from iTunes and the ability to turn off in-app purchases.
"Our parents' guide to iTunes details the steps and measures parents and guardians can take to make sure younger players have access to the right content. The first thing we recommend is not to share your password."
The spokesman said the company's website had instructions on restricting child access, at the page: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4213
He said people can also call 0800 048 0408 to report a problem.