Tuesday, May 29, 2012

In-App Purchase

We are an Apple family.

The children have their iPod Mini's, mom and dad iPhones. We've got cute neon-colored clip iPod Shuffles, Airport Extreme, big iMacs and smaller ones, Apple TV, and an iPad, which was a birthday gift for me but I rarely get to use it. So the gist is that we've drunken the cool-aid and will forever be Apple fans (but there are healthy limits established on use!)

Last fall, I was emailed two iTunes Store receipts with over $100 worth of charges I was unfamiliar with. The invoices had line after line listing:
Monster Pet Shop, 50 Monster Berries, Seller: Capcom Interactive, Inc. Beeline Interactive, Inc. In-App Purchase    $4.99

There was, of course, only one answer and when I conferred with the kids, they were completely unaware that it cost real money to buy the monster berries -  they assumed, reasonably, that they were purchasing them with points earned in the game. I believed them - they were too young to try to pull one over on mom. 

They had purchased monster berries from within the application "Monster Pet Shop" on the iPad.
When the heart palpitations subside, I scoured the Apple site for help. Within 3 hours I received a response and a clarification of what had happened, a link to an Apple article on in-app purchases, and the Monster Berry purchase was reversed - a one time exception. Andrew, the iTunes Store/Mac App Customer Support person who helped me, also spelled out how to prevent in-app purchases in the future:

Follow these steps:
1) Tap Settings on your device's home screen.
2) Tap General.
3) Tap Restrictions.
4) If necessary, tap Enable Restrictions and enter a passcode. This passcode will prevent restrictions from being disabled without your permission.
5) Scroll down to the Allowed Content section. Switch the In-App Purchases option to OFF. Enter your Restrictions passcode if prompted.

Needless to say, all our iOS devises are now set to block in-app purchases.

I wonder how many other parents have had this little adventure?

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