7-year-old boy spends £ 1,200 on online games through Apple


Mother-of-two, 40, slams Apple for trying to deny her a refund when her son, 7, splurged £ 1,200 on online games – including £ 792 he spent for virtual cat food

  • Abi Smith’s son, 7, has made over 60 in-app purchases for a total of £ 1,218
  • Spent £ 792 on The Battle Cats, with more purchases on Minecraft and Among Us
  • Harry bought eight sets of virtual cat food for £ 99 each from The Battle Cats










A mother of two accused Apple of “allowing” children to spend money online after her seven-year-old son racked up a four-figure bill for games.

Abi Smith received a series of emails confirming that her son Harry had made more than 60 in-app purchases totaling £ 1,218 without her permission.

She had installed a password on Harry’s iPad, but the schoolboy had managed to exchange it with his fingerprint, before spending some £ 792 on virtual cat food, among other purchases.

The 40-year-old, from Bishop’s Stortford in Hertfordshire, was forced to borrow money to pay the bills and has now denounced Apple for initially refusing to pay him back.

Abi Smith received a series of emails confirming that her son Harry had made more than 60 in-app purchases totaling £ 1,218 without her permission.

The 40-year-old, from Bishop's Stortford in Hertfordshire, has been forced to borrow money to pay the bills and has now denounced Apple for initially refusing to pay him back

The 40-year-old, from Bishop’s Stortford in Hertfordshire, has been forced to borrow money to pay the bills and has now denounced Apple for initially refusing to pay him back

Abi Smith had installed a password on her seven-year-old son Harry's iPad, but the 'smart' little boy traded it with his thumbprint in a cheeky attempt to keep his younger brother, Reggie, four years old (pictured together) out of play

Abi Smith had installed a password on her seven-year-old son Harry’s iPad, but the ‘smart’ little boy traded it with his thumbprint in a cheeky attempt to keep his younger brother, Reggie, four years old (pictured together) out of play

Harry bought eight sets of virtual cat food for £ 99 each on The Battle Cats game, as well as several Minecraft purchases for £ 48.99 each, six on the popular Among Us game, and smaller purchases of $ 1 , £ 99.

Apple has since confirmed that it will refund the money to Ms Smith.

But the PA on leave, Ms Smith, is now urging Apple to add an extra layer of security.

She said, “These games are addictive and constantly encourage children to spend more money. Apple allows this platform for children to do so.

‘Harry did something really innocent like a child would. He didn’t want his little brother to use his iPad, so he put a thumbprint so he couldn’t get in.

“Normally he would come to me and say ‘mom, can I download this’ and I would say yes or no.

“I’m not the first person this has happened to and I won’t be the last. The security functions are there but for me it is not enough. Adding something simple like an HVAC is an extra step.

‘I’m on leave. I already had a reduction in my monthly payment, only to literally wipe it off. I had to borrow money to pay my bills.

“My son has additional needs and I’m struggling. It’s not fair to have that in mind.

She called the games “dangerous” for encouraging continued in-app purchases, after Harry went from 99 pence to a four-figure bill.

Harry offered to reimburse his mother with his own pocket money

Harry offered to reimburse his mother with his own pocket money

Harry offered to reimburse his mother with his own pocket money

She added: “The only purchase I have ever made on this account was 99 pence and I had no idea until they told me your card details are automatically saved.

“There should be a choice and if there had been I would say no. This completely prevents this from happening with children. This is what I am trying to do with Apple.

‘I’ve had [security settings] up and unfortunately I have a very smart boy who managed to put his thumbprint on it.

Ms Smith says her bank refused to stop the payments because they were classified as authorized. She then asked to reimburse each online purchase individually, but claims that Apple has twice refused to refund her money.

When she confronted Harry, the youngster was “in tears” and offered to pay her back with his own pocket money.

Apple declined to comment but pointed to its “Ask to Buy” feature which sends a request to a family member every time a child tries to make a purchase.

The parent, or account holder, can then approve or deny the request to prevent issues like Ms. Smith’s from arising.

PONOS, the developers of The Battle Cats, Microsoft, who owns Minecraft, and Inner Sloth, who developed Among Us, have all been contacted for comment.


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