Parents: Preventing In-App Purchases
It was much to my surprise Wednesday evening when I reviewed my monthly credit card statement and found several charges from iTunes. While it's not irregular to see the occasional song purchase by myself or one of my kids on the account, I was seeing purchases in the $20 range. And not just one, duplicates on consecutive days. And upon further research, there were more than a dozen of these charges.
After logging on to iTunes and not being able to match the charges with the statement, I woke up Thursday morning to hear John and Susan on WBEN reporting a multi-million dollar settlement Apple was involved in as a result of so-called "in-app" purchases. A light went off! Were my kids unsuspectingly clicking something and making charges against the account with an innocent click within some popular games?
I made a call to the Apple and iTunes folks and tried to get some answers. I have to say, their customer support is tremendous and they followed through via email and on the phone. During the process it was uncovered that these charges, perhaps not as severe, had been piling up for months. The Apple Rep not only arranged for a refund of the in-app charges in question, she was very helpful in pointing out some features on the iPhone that can help prevent this type of thing from happening.
So, I'm asking you to do two things! Talk to your kids about clicking on anything to enhance their performance in games that may be tied to purchases! And better yet, take the following steps on ANY iPhone to restrict in-App purchaes on the devices. Hopefully this will help avoid the same problems I encountered. By the way, the Apple phone number that got me on the right track is: 800-275-2273
Go to SETTINGS
Click on GENERAL
Scroll to RESTRICTIONS and click
Enter or set up a RESTRICTIONS PASSCODE
(if you have one it would date to when you first got the phone)
Scroll to IN-AP PURCHASES and ENABLE