Four year old racks up £100 bill on “free” app

Mum feeling blue after her child accidentally buys expensive extras on iPad Smurfs app


A game-loving 4-year-old has innocently cost his parents £100 by downloading pre-paid extras for his ‘free’ iPad game.


Oliver Allen, who was playing The Smurfs’ Village game on his mum’s iPad, kept hitting the keys that download pricey add-ons.

Despite the game being free to play, little Oliver bought two lots of ‘Smurfberries’, costing £69.99 and £17.49 each.

Mum Sam, 37, from Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, is puzzled by these ‘free’ apps. 

“I cannot understand why the app, which it says is aimed for 4-plus, has the paid-for extras,” she said.

“It is absolutely ridiculous. We have been saving for Christmas and this has put a big dent in the money we shall be able to spend.”

Oliver was able to spend money because Sam had downloaded another free game for him and entered her password to access the iTunes store. The password stays live for 15 minutes after it’s inserted.

“Parents can use our parental controls to restrict downloading and turn off in-app purchasing,” said an Apple spokesman.

Here’s how to make sure your little one doesn’t make in-app purchases and access other specific features on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch:

  • Tap Settings > General> Restrictions
  • Tap Enable Restrictions and enter a passcode so that you can make changes to these settings.
  • Scroll down to Allowed Content
  • For In-App Purchases, choose OFF.
  • You can also restrict access to other apps and features by changing the setting to OFF.

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