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Ok, not sure what my legal rights here, but regardless, any help in getting out of being responsible for this would be most appreciated.

Before we went away on our last vacation, I bought a used iPod touch off of eBay. My son had previously played a few of the free games I had downloaded for my iPhone. So we figured it would be good for the long car ride. I downloaded a bunch of free games, put all his music on there, and a few movies. It turned out to be great for the car ride.

I had previously signed up to get daily emails with Free Apps, and we would occasionally go through this together and download some of them. Everytime we downloaded one, I had to enter my password, and I never gave this password to him. What I didn't realize was that he could buy credits in game after I had entered in my password. Silly me, my credit card was on file at iTunes, because previously, only my wife and I ever used it, so it never dawned on my when I signed up for iTunes 4 years ago that putting in my credit card would be an issue.

But there is a link in the game he was playing 'Buy 6000 Fish bucks for $149.99'. Well, he did this a bunch of times and spent over $1300. I didn't know about it until he showed me today, 'Dad, look, I can buy Fish Bucks without spending money.'

I sent an email to iTunes, because i could not find a number to call, and haven't heard back. My credit card company, a little firm called Citibank, said (and I spoke with 2 different CSRs) that since I signed him in, I am responsible for any activity on the account. I'm not sure how a 6 year old could be authorized to spend money on the credit card, but they see it different. I am currently awaiting a call back from the supervisor.

But anyway, any one know the best way to handle this?

Member Summary
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Read the QS! Everyone just wants to get on the bandwagon!

DesiVibe (Aug. 02, 2010 @ 11:22a) |

I have had a similar problem where $ 149 has been debited to my account. I have complained to apple but am receiving no ... (more)

Gaushi (Aug. 07, 2010 @ 8:49a) |

Was just thinking about how "technology can improve our lives" (or so we are told) just imagine the day when they give e... (more)

oxymora (Aug. 08, 2010 @ 1:27a) |

Quick Summary is created and edited by users like you... Add FAQ's, Links and other Relevant Information by clicking the edit button in the lower right hand corner of this message.

UPDATE JUL 13 2010.

on Saturday, when I discovered the problem, I first called Citibank, who said, essentially, too bad so sad. I couldn't find a number for Apple, so I emailed them. On Monday, I found a # for Apple, but of course, it was the wrong dept, and there wasn't a right dept. They could only direct me to a different email address to email them at. So i did that.

Also on Monday, I spoke with a Supervisor at Citibank, who actually DID have a number for iTunes, because apparently they have had quite a few of these cases. She stayed on the line until I was introduced at iTunes. I explained the problem to a couple different people, and then was told someone would call us back. Due to the amount of money invovled, the people I spoke with couldn't authorize that much.

This morning, I got an email response back to my first email from Saturday:

"I am sorry to hear that your son has made purchases through an application without knowing it. I have refunded the charges for you, and the fund swill go back to your credit card within three to five business days. Please note that these types of purchases are part of the games or applications, and the option to be able to make an In App purchases can be turned off through the preferences of the iPod touch itself. If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to ask. Thank you and have a great day."


I have yet to see any activity in my iTunes or Citibank account, but I'm hopeful!
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Pay bill, learn lesson, move on.

Ouch! This isn't the first time such a thing has happened: 11 year old downloads Bar Exam app ($999)

Here's an article that might actually help: Digital Inspiraton: Getting Refunds for your iTunes Store Purchases

Good luck, OP! Please update us when you hear back!

Treefarn said: that since I signed him in, I am responsible for any activity on the account. I'm not sure how a 6 year old could be authorized to spend money on the credit card, but they see it different.


They just gave you the answer. You authorized the purchase by being signed in.

If your kid throws a baseball through a neighbor's car window, authorized or not , you will need to pay for it.

Not to sure why you think you should be getting a refund. Not sure why Citibank wouldn't push the charges through. Not sure why Apple would refund your money, and I'm very doubtful that who ever created fish bucks will refund it.

i used to run up phone bills calling long distance bbs's. chalk it up


To me this doesn't seem like an app purchase, as much as a virtual goods purchase.

If you used up the "fish bucks",
There's not much you can do.
Its like giving a credit card to a kid without telling him its real money and being surprised when they rack up huge debt.
I would bite the bullet and take the loss in this case, consider it a lesson learned.

Assuming you haven't used all of the "fish bucks".
You may be able to recoup some losses by contacting the merchant/developer themselves and not itunes.
Merchants may be willing to cut a deal out with you to avoid bad publicity, assuming your willing to take some loss.
The issue here is that they didn't do anything wrong, so they have no obligation.
If they value $1300 more than some bad publicity, your not going to be getting your money back.

Finally you might be able to sell the virtual goods.
I'm not familiar with the game itself, but MMORPG style games that allow trades, eventually get people selling premium goods on eBay or other sites.
This is usually not allowed except in a few games, but is extremely difficult to track.
There are also substantial risks involved from scams that involve virtual goods (chargebacks), but if the points are worthless to you, this might be an option.
Unfortunately I've searched "fish bucks" on eBay and it seems there's either no market or no trading mechanism.

Here's an interesting post in the BAR exam thread:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=10050645&postcount=39


It didn't take my 10 year old son long to figure out that he could continue to download apps after asking me to download one for him. Now, if he wants a free app, I wait for it to finish downloading and then i log out of my account before i hand his touch back to him!

To answer at least one question asked, we still have about 98% of the fish bucks. I liked the broken window idea, but I liken this more to my 6 year old stole my neighbors lawn furniture. If he returns it, case closed.

Keep bitching to credit company, apple, the website. Having purchases completed made via a cached password, while technically legal, is weak ethical tea without a return policy. The company should grant you a refund. You did nothing wrong by letting your child play a child's game. File a BBB complaint, contact your State's attorney general. Hell, write your congressman and call the evening news too. The companies involved likely make plenty of profits from similar instances, and would probably be willing to settle your claim to shut you up. Just because you are liable doesn't mean you shouldn't try your best to excersise all your appeal options.

As well, in the future... the only thing you need to tell your credit card company is "I don't know what these charges are and did not authorize them". Cute stories about your adorable spawn don't help your case.

And if what VerbalK says doesnt work, then take it out of your son's college savings.

too bad it was not an unauthorized purchase - something you could have told your CC CSR, where you would not be liable for and dispute charges.

What the hell are fish bucks? Whatever happened to the good days of playing with monopoly money?


I don't own any i-products here. Are Fish Bucks like Fish Sticks? If so, you can prolly get a box at Costco for like four fiddy or so.

FYI in situations like this ignorance is the best defense.

If you see a charge for $1400 from itunes (or fishbucks) that you did not authorize call your bank and tell them that.

germanpope said: http://www.nowpublic.com/tech-biz/tap-fish-7-year-old-racks-1-200-itunes-2621825.htmlFrom the comments section on the above page:My 7 year old racked up charges of $106.99 and $177.55 while playing the game for a bit last night!! Of course she was devastated when I told her I was removing the app from my phone. I have been on the phone with my credit card company and emailing BayViewLabs and Apple to try and dispute the charges. I got an email from BayViewLabs saying they don't get paid by Apple for 60 days and they don't get the credit card information so you can't dispute the charges with them. But they did give me some good advice on how to block these charges on your iPhone. Go to Settings > General > Restrictions > In-App Purchases > OFF . This will turn off the ability for the app store to charge you for in-application charges.

Pay up and move on or hire a lawyer and pay more for the same reason, a rip off.

I have to say if you are an apple user you don't really think things thru in the first place. If you are one of the privliged who enjoy overpaying for your tech now is not the time to start trying to justify the waste. Your iphone cost for the contract time is well over $2400 for 1 phone. Pissing away another $1300 is a couple of songs to you. No one did anything wrong expect you. And no one here has mentioned the fact of a 6 year with an itouch. I would be too embarrased to have posted such a obvious series of poor judgements coupled with poor parenting. How about you play ispy or license plate games and actually interact with your kids????

Wow, you've got some issues. I would agree that Apple products overpriced, but hey, even I'll admit that they are nicely designed products with great innovations in usability. If people value that, and have the money, why you gotta hate?

For what it's worth, about a year ago my 8 year old son was playing with my phone and downloaded some games from the internet, costing about $10-15 overall.

I called the phone company (att) and told them exactly what had happened, asked them nicely to refund the charges and to turn off any internet/download capability on my phone (I'm a rare breed who likes to use the phone exclusively for phone calls). The CSR obliged me on both counts.

This has been a HUGE problem recently. People are seeing charges from anywhere from $150 to... well, $1300. I think in the few articles I've read (some posted in this thread), Apple has been pretty good about refunding some or all of the purchases, since the problem is largely due to their in-app purchase model.

So a company sells a widely popular digital gadget. They implement a system where you can buy cheap songs and stupid games for said gadget quickly and easily. Another company comes along and creates a free childish game which piggie backs on that commericial ability to run up 1000's of dollars of charges when the game is played by the intended audience.

This is a con, a con enabled by under-regulated commerical practices where people feel guilted in to paying for things that the don't/didn't/ never will want. And then the "personal responsbility" crowd will try to add to that guilt because they think it fits some sort of personal responsibility dogma that never existed prior to the invention of devices designed to take your money.

You got conned, others got conned, it's not your fault, you did nothing wrong. Continue to fight, continue to call, write letters, ignore ignorant anonymous ranters who get their jollies by trying to equate your situation to the break down of capitalism in favor of social justice.

pauldb said: I have to say if you are an apple user you don't really think things thru in the first place. If you are one of the privliged who enjoy overpaying for your tech now is not the time to start trying to justify the waste. Your iphone cost for the contract time is well over $2400 for 1 phone. Pissing away another $1300 is a couple of songs to you. No one did anything wrong expect you. And no one here has mentioned the fact of a 6 year with an itouch. I would be too embarrased to have posted such a obvious series of poor judgements coupled with poor parenting. How about you play ispy or license plate games and actually interact with your kids????

You sir are misinformed. The iPhone need not cost $2400 for 2 years. Mine does not. I paid $73.21/month w/ unlimited 3G tethering to my laptop, thank you very much.

Now with a the new iPhone data plans and a Family Talk plan and the AFL-CIO discount I pay $121 per month for TWO iPhones, one which has unlimited data.

Tchaikovsky said: This has been a HUGE problem recently. People are seeing charges from anywhere from $150 to... well, $1300. I think in the few articles I've read (some posted in this thread), Apple has been pretty good about refunding some or all of the purchases, since the problem is largely due to their in-app purchase model.

Agreed.

First, the OP should demand a refund in a non-apologetic manner from Apple.

Second, the OP should call his credit card company and tell them the minor made unauthroized purchases and dispute the charges.

For the "responsibility" crowd (or trolls) the OP cleary did NOT authorize the $1300 fish purchase.

Are you saying that in app purchase does not need to enter iTune password? I let me 4 years old play my iPhone since he was 2. About 80% of the games installed on it were free games for him to play while he is in the car. I did found out that after you enter your password to buy an app, there is a grace period that you can buy anything on iTune or App Store without entering the password again. He bought a song on iTune just after I hand over the phone to him after installing a game for him. Since then he has not done it again But if in app purchase doesn't require any password, this could be dangerous. He certainly click on the ads all the time which normally just took him to Safari and asked to buy something to upgrade to the full version. There should be a setting that every paid purchase requires a password.

sloth911 said:
You sir are misinformed. The iPhone need not cost $2400 for 2 years. Mine does not. I paid $73.21/month w/ unlimited 3G tethering to my laptop, thank you very much.

Now with a the new iPhone data plans and a Family Talk plan and the AFL-CIO discount I pay $121 per month for TWO iPhones, one which has unlimited data.


ooh, you burned him. so you only paid 73*24+200= $1952 for 1 phone or $3304 for 2 phones... oh wait, that's still a lot of money to someone like me who uses a cheap prepaid phone.

I am glad that at least one sensible person like sloth911 is in this forum
Man this finance crowd is way bullish and perfectionists. These are the type of people responsible for government bureaucracy.

What ever the crappy web site that allow purchases without the three digit secure code on the back of a credit card is responsible for the mishap.
iTunes should be held responsible if they are keeping all the credit card information in their database including the 3 digit code so that anyone can use it. Ask them to prove that you purchased it because they can't. Anyone who can hack in to your PC or use your login ID can do that. You made the mistake by pointing out who id it. Because they cant prove it in the first place.

sloth911 said:

Agreed.

First, the OP should demand a refund in a non-apologetic manner from Apple.

Second, the OP should call his credit card company and tell them the minor made unauthroized purchases and dispute the charges.

For the "responsibility" crowd (or trolls) the OP cleary did NOT authorize the $1300 fish purchase.

sloth911 said: For the "responsibility" crowd (or trolls) the OP cleary did NOT authorize the $1300 fish purchase.Personally if I had authorized $1300 worth of purchase of anything, I would have remembered it. So agreed that it was not authorized purchase.

thepenguin99 said: Pay bill, learn lesson, move on.

Woosh over my head right?

VerbalK said: So a company sells a widely popular digital gadget. They implement a system where you can buy cheap songs and stupid games for said gadget quickly and easily. Another company comes along and creates a free childish game which piggie backs on that commericial ability to run up 1000's of dollars of charges when the game is played by the intended audience.

This is a con, a con enabled by under-regulated commerical practices where people feel guilted in to paying for things that the don't/didn't/ never will want. And then the "personal responsbility" crowd will try to add to that guilt because they think it fits some sort of personal responsibility dogma that never existed prior to the invention of devices designed to take your money.

You got conned, others got conned, it's not your fault, you did nothing wrong. Continue to fight, continue to call, write letters, ignore ignorant anonymous ranters who get their jollies by trying to equate your situation to the break down of capitalism in favor of social justice.
Or thank the company for the great idea and start your own fish game for fun and profit?

Igonrance is the key in this case. Being honest with Apple or your CC will not get you far. Not sure how it would look since you already informed everyone. Stick to the I didn't authorize the purchase ask to close your CC and issue you a new one. However if you do not get a confirmation in writing from CC that allis OK or if your money doesn't get refunded within like 30 days, pay the CC bill and learn a leason. If you don't it will mess up your credit score. It is not wise to be ignorant with unpaid CC bills.

Pay your bill, DEADBEAT

thepenguin99 said: Pay bill, learn lesson, move on.

simply not true. the website is legally required to verify users' age by the law in order to protect minors.

In my book this is just a scam run by the company that provided this application and they should get kicked off the app store and the OP should get his money refunded. This is a game for toddlers. Which toddler would buy anything not to mention a 149$ per purchase for virtual goods.
If they want to sell some cute add ons and parents would be willing to buy them then for sure they won't cost 149$. Looking at a lot more people that were sucked in the app provider obviously knows about the problem and does nothing about it.

Some of these replies just made me laugh. For those of you who were civil, whether you agreed or disagreed with me, thank you. I appreciate hearing both sides of the issue. I've been at Fatwallet for a long long time, and I always appreciate the intellect of some of posters. Its a shame that so many in the Finance board like sniping and cynicism. So be it.

Just to clear a few things up. I don't pay for my iPhone - my company does. My son was using an iPod Touch that I bought as part of a lot. I sold everything else, made $14 and ended up with that iPod for free. Not that any of that really matters.

The iTunes Terms of Service says that you are responsible for all usage on your account. But it also says the following:

"Age requirements for use of the Service. This Service is available for individuals aged 13 years or older. If you are 13 or older but under the age of 18, you should review these terms and conditions with your parent or guardian to make sure that you and your parent or guardian understand these terms and conditions. "

Unless I'm reading that wrong, it says that children under 13 are not authorized under any circumstances to use the service.

When you download a free game, it doesn't says 'Log into your account' (I think I posted earlier it did. I was wrong). It just has a pop up that says your User ID and asks 'iTunes Password'. It says nothing about logging in. My assumption was that anytime you tried to purchase something, you would be asked for the password. Apparently that is not true.

I sent an email to the developers of the game, though I am not expecting much help from them. I emailed Apple, because I can't seem to find a phone # for purchases through the iTunes store. And I called Citibank and they told me to go scratch.

I will keep you guys posted.

I wouldn't sweat it. I bet they dismiss the error.
It was an honest mistake, and IMO they should make it a little more difficult so this can't happen with a child...period.
And also what the hell has this world come to where someone would actually buy fishbucks for $149 for a freakin game on a phone ?! Get a life and a job people.

Thankfully, the next "what do I do with 100k?" thread can be closed with Fish Bucks.

Skipping 138 Messages...
Was just thinking about how "technology can improve our lives" (or so we are told) just imagine the day when they give everyone an RFID chip in the hand instead of a credit card, your son or daughter comes up and gives you a hug, tell you they love, before you know it you are being billed from some virtual crap because they swiped their 5G cell phone by your hand (the hug just being a ploy to get what they wanted); then you try to explain what happened and try to get charges reversed and you hear quite a few people chime in how you are a bad parent.

I know if this thread wasn't beaten to death, there would probably at least a few to chime in that there is no comparison, but to me there is. Of course, hypothetical and simplistic but interesting to think about, any reasonable person wouldn't sale a handgun locked, loaded and safety off. Seeing as people like to use the handgun analogy. Who benefits the most by leaving the system they sell open? I am sure it really helps their bottom line and at least gives a shred of deniable culpability for the seller, and also remember it is all for YOUR convenience!



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