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Mobile games are creative and convenient and especially work when you’re cuddled in your snuggie and don’t want to move. But maybe one of the most annoying things about a lot of mobile games is their in-app purchases. Even worse is what happens when someone else gets ahold of your phone and haphazardly purchases in-app items without you knowing. For 32-year-old father, Mohamed Shugaa, he learned really fast that he shouldn’t let his younger kids play around with his tablet.
Seven-year-old Faisall managed to get ahold of his father’s tablet and spent nearly £4,000 on in-game purchases for the Jurassic World: The Game app. Initially, his son had spent £1,500 in one hour, which Mohamed Shugaa later found out when he went to use his bank card, only to find it had been declined and overdrawn. Shugaa had no idea his son, Faisall, even knew the password to his iPad. After having his card declined, he checked his account to find £3,911 was taken out due to payments to iTunes between December 13 and December 18. According to Crawley News, Mohamed Shugaa contacted Apple about the situation and said:
I was so mad. I'm 32-years-old, why would Apple think I would be spending thousands of pounds on buying dinosaurs and upgrading a game? Why didn't they email me to check I knew these payments were being made? I got nothing from them. How much longer would it have gone on for? Faisall is only seven, he doesn't understand the real value of money and what the payments in the game involved.
Apple refunded Mohamed Shugaa’s money after hearing his complaint. But on Apple’s website, they clearly state that parents have total control in locking their children out of certain apps and app actions, like purchasing in-game content.
You can check out the trailer below to get an idea of what kind of mobile game Jurassic World: The Game is.
It’s so easy for someone to spend countless amounts of money building your own world in the iOS app, Jurassic World: The Game. In-app purchases for the Jurassic Park-themed game range from things as small as starter packs costing $1.99 to major purchases like the Super Rare Card Pack for $24.99. The game involves running a new-age Jurassic Park, hatching new dinosaurs and leveling them up and building new parts of the park, etc. Without having played the game, you can probably assume based on other similar mobile games that in-app purchases might also apply to speeding up the hatching and evolution process, buying more money and buying more properties for the park. Regardless, Jurassic World: The Game is riddled with opportunities to spend money on in-app purchases. One Twitter user explains the effects of in-app purchases.
Some mobile games won’t let you continue on with the game until you’ve purchased something, like the Mean Girls story game, Mean Girls: Senior Year. Unfortunately for 7-year-old Faisall, he didn’t realize his in-app purchases were real money.
In the case of the 7-year-old, Apple did refund the money, but the moral of the story here is don’t let your kids play with your devices and if they do, make sure there are parental controls enabled, because Apple won’t always be there to refund your money.