A Connecticut mom learned the hard way that leaving your young kid alone with an iPad can be an expensive mistake.
Jessica Johnson’s 6-year-old son, George, played Sonic Forces throughout the summer while she worked from home. But, like many apps, the game allows players to purchase booster packs to help them out, linking those purchases to the credit card already on file with Apple for convenience.
And George managed to buy over $16,000 worth of boosters over the course of July.
Jessica told the New York Post that when she saw the charges on her bill, she didn’t understand what they were for.
“The way the charges get bundled made it almost impossible [to figure out that] they were from a game,” she said, referring to how Apple tends to lump purchases in a certain time period into a single sum.
So she reported the charges as fraudulent to her credit card company — something that turned out to be a costly mistake.
Chase spent months investigating the charges, eventually determining that they were legitimate. By that time, Apple said it was too late for Jessica to request they be reversed.
“[Apple] said, ‘Tough.’ They told me that, because I didn’t call within 60 days of the charges, that they can’t do anything,” she said.
A lot of people felt for Jessica and her family over the whole thing — $16,000 is a lot of money to lose, especially during a pandemic.
Others blamed the parents for not knowing how to set up the iPad to where little George couldn’t have purchased things on his own.
It’s a bad situation, no matter how you wrap your head around it, and a very, very expensive lesson on setting up security protocols on devices your kids may have access to.
But Jessica doesn’t blame George for what happened.
“My son didn’t understand that the money was real,” she said. “How could he? He’s playing a cartoon game in a world that he knows is not real. Why would the money be real to him? That would require a big cognitive leap.”
It’s only too bad Apple doesn’t follow that same logic.