• Sweden edition
 
Kids' iPad gaming binge costs parents thousands

Kids' iPad gaming binge costs parents thousands

Published: 07 Apr 2011 13:22 GMT+02:00
Updated: 07 Apr 2011 13:22 GMT+02:00

Before realising what had happened, the brothers had racked up more than 50,000 kronor ($7,800) in charges.

"I downloaded the Smurf game for each of them from the Appstore. It cost seven kronor. Maybe I didn't read the terms and conditions carefully enough, but I didn't think it would cost more than that," parent Maria Attvik told the TT news agency.

Attvik downloaded the Smurf Village game for her two sons before a family road trip from Stockholm to Gothenburg.

The game involves feeding and watering strawberries to make them grow. But what Attvik didn't know was that once they were playing the game, the kids could also make purchases without being asked for a password, Sveriges Radio (SR) reported.

Among items the kids were able to purchase as a part of the Smurfs' Village game were wheelbarrows containing virtual strawberries costing 749 kronor apiece.

As the kids busied themselves with their playing during the car ride, the Attvik's didn't notice anything out of the ordinary.

But after a time a flood of payment messages started to flow in from Apple's iTunes Store.

By the time the parents took a closer look, one son had managed to accumulate charges of 11,000 kronor, while the other's charges came to a whopping 40,000 kronor.

"It feels like they are just out to trick you," Attvik said of the game.

She has now contacted Apple in an effort to get her money back, but so far her requests have gone unanswered.

Smurfs' Village, which is sold by US-based Capcom, has also been criticised in the United States.

The game is ranked seventh among iStore apps which have generated the most income.

According to its description in Smurfs' Village is "free to play, but charges real money for additional in-app content".

It's also possible to lock out the purchasing function by adjusting the settings.

According to the description, users are also supposed to be required to enter a password every fifteen minutes to approve purchases.

TT/The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

15:19 April 7, 2011 by Rick Methven
"wheelbarrows containing virtual strawberries costing 749 kronor apiece"

For that price they could have got 12kg of real strawberries.

How on earth can the justify 749 for a game widget?
15:27 April 7, 2011 by HYBRED
To funny. Reminds me of the old '900' numbers. What a scam. Parents give the kids a toy to keep them out of their hair and dont pat attention to whats going on. And someone is ready to take advantage of it.
15:53 April 7, 2011 by Great Scott
This sort of thing disgusts me, once again fat pigs feeding from the poor.

And as for the comment "but so far her requests have gone unanswered", if they need something from you, they would tear your house apart to get it.

Apple, I don't have enough words for low life like you.
16:23 April 7, 2011 by Rick Methven
Apple are being investigated in the US

and have supposed to have made it so kids can not buy without a password

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/posttech/2011/03/apple_changes_purchases_policy.html
17:22 April 7, 2011 by eZee.se
@rick,

True, but expect that to go as slow as possible and even slower by the time the rest of the world gets it.

Cr-Appl have a history of screwing over the buyers of their products, don't expect it to change anytime soon.

I'm surprised the CrAppl apologists have not already come here making excuses.
17:30 April 7, 2011 by Rick Methven
@eZee.se

Byke is on his travels. Lucky for him he will have his iPad2 with him rather than leaving it at home for his kids to play with. If he had, he might have fallen out of love with Crapple
17:45 April 7, 2011 by BrittInSweden
It doesn't ask for your password on AppStore for 15 minutes after each login.

So if you bought Smurfs game, the kids have 15 minutes of free purchasing time without needing a password.

This game and the whole App Store purchasing has been in the news on Eurogamer.net and games sites after kids in other countries did the same thing.
18:25 April 7, 2011 by Staffs
Herbert Spencer would be laughing his t*ts off.
18:26 April 7, 2011 by Swedesmith
I always thought those little Smurfs looked dodgey.
18:39 April 7, 2011 by HYBRED
If you choke a smurf, what color does it turn?
18:40 April 7, 2011 by mkvgtired
Just dispute the credit card charges. They were made by people who did not own the cards and were not old enough to understand what they were doing.
19:05 April 7, 2011 by Swedesmith
@Hybred and what color does a Smurf turn when it gets cold?
20:05 April 7, 2011 by HYBRED
@Swedesmith

If you choke them, or they get cold they must turn white.
20:26 April 7, 2011 by eZee.se
This can easily be avoided, but with CrAppl making a nice 30% commission on each kid buying a 115USD virtual strawberry... "we'll get back to you" seems to be the standard answer.

Disgraceful.
20:39 April 7, 2011 by Arturio
What happened at those childrens brings me back to memory when the dangerous dialers infested my compuer requesting access to expensive fake services.
21:14 April 7, 2011 by dizzymoe33
This is really sad for the parents. I hope they can get some answer from Apple but I doubt they will. Another reason why I don't care for the Apple company.
22:31 April 7, 2011 by markusd
IMO, this game has one purpose only and that is to use your kid to steal your money. Why? Because not one person out of the six billion on this planet would freely and knowingly accept the deal proposed in this game. And it doesn't matter how much money someone has. If someone like Bill Gates had a kid that wanted to pay $115 for a bunch of fake smurfberries, he would probably sit him down and teach him a nice lesson about how stupid that would be.

The only way Capcom will get revenue from this game, beyond the initial $1/7kr cost, is to get kids buy things without understanding what they're really doing and for parents to make the assumption that the costs are reasonable. Capcom is just sleazy. Not a big fan of Apple either.
22:33 April 7, 2011 by Essjay
Child exploitation simple and pure .these pathetic scumbags worship money so much and would sell their mother,s organ,s to make a profit !
23:27 April 7, 2011 by Swedesmith
Never choked a Smurf before...don't ask about chickens.
09:35 April 8, 2011 by CM75
I've played this game for a while, it's quite relaxing and fun. I haven't spent any real money on it and my children are too young to play it.

When you read the game's description, there's even a warning message saying that you can spend real money on Smurfberries (not "strawberries", by the way) and that each iDevice keeps you logged into your AppStore account for 15 min.

When my children start to play those games one day, I'll make sure I either wait 15 min after a purchase or - better even - I'll disable In-App-Purchases in the settings. I think everyone should take a few minutes to learn the basic functions of a new phone, especially the ones that can be expensive (In-App-Purchases, roaming, 3G data transfer, to name a few).

Anyway, in this case there might be a chance to get the money back as it should be obvious what has happened.
03:33 April 10, 2011 by Thebinary1
What can I say .... welcome to Apple :D

Makes Microsoft look like an Angel doesn't it.
09:36 April 10, 2011 by mikewhite
There I was thinking Apple vetted games for disreputable content ...
10:54 April 10, 2011 by notpresto
Seems cheap to keep em quite!
11:43 April 10, 2011 by mikewhite
We just need some hackers to issue a "free smurfberries" download.
13:17 April 13, 2011 by Bones
Doesn't take much to bring out the apple-haters! Some pretty idiotic comments above...

As CM75 said, there are plenty of settings one can change to prevent this kind of thing. Simply put, it was the parent's fault for giving a toy to the kids and not paying attention to what goes on.

It was an expensive lesson that they should learn from. Still, better than a bunch of other things that could go wrong by not paying attention to what your kids are up to!
19:40 April 13, 2011 by Jools33
There have been several similar cases in the US and the makers of this game have been referred to the FTC:

http://games.slashdot.org/story/11/02/24/0617228/FTC-To-Examine-Microtransactions-In-Free-To-Play-Games-and-Apps

This could happen just as easily on Android as Apple's platform - its the App writer (Capcom Interactive) who should carry the blame here.
Today's headlines
Politics
Sweden slammed for racism report omissions

Sweden slammed for racism report omissions

The Swedish government has been criticized by a slew of organisations for omitting a series of notorious cases of discrimination and a general lack of self-criticism in its report to the UN Human Rights Council. READ  

Sport
Sweden's star striker Zlatan 'recovering well'
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is Sweden's top scorer in history. PHOTO: TT/Maja Suslin

Sweden's star striker Zlatan 'recovering well'

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is recovering well from the nagging heel problem that has stopped him playing for Sweden during its Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. READ  

International
Swedish sisters create viral Syria stir
A shot from the video on YouTube.

Swedish sisters create viral Syria stir

Two sisters from Södertälje near Stockholm are celebrating getting more than 1.3 million hits on YouTube, with a video calling for peace in war-torn Syria. READ  

Pirate Bay
Pirate Bay founder gets three years in prison
A 2013 image of Svartholm Warg. Photo: TT

Pirate Bay founder gets three years in prison

Swedish "hactivist" Gottfrid Svartholm Warg has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for hacking crimes. READ  

Royal family
Princess Madeleine to make Nobel comeback
Princess Madeleine at a previous Nobel banquet. Photo: TT

Princess Madeleine to make Nobel comeback

Sweden's Princess Madeleine is scheduled to appear at the Nobel Festival in Stockholm in December, after taking time out from her royal duties to focus on looking after her daughter. READ  

Politics
'We knew that Israel would be critical'
Foreign Minister Margot Wallström (left), with Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT

'We knew that Israel would be critical'

Sweden's Foreign Minister has told The Local she respects Israel's decision to recall its ambassador after Sweden officially recognized the State of Palestine, and laughed off comments about IKEA furniture made by her Israeli counterpart. READ  

Analysis
'Store up your sunlight hours before winter'
Doctors say we should make the most of the autumn sunshine. Photo: Shutterstock

'Store up your sunlight hours before winter'

Spending time outdoors this autumn will help you survive a cold, dark Swedish winter. Baba Pendse, Head of Psychiatry at Lund University shares his top tips for battling the seasonal blues with The Local. READ  

Sports
Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid
Skiers hit the slopes in Åre, western Sweden. Photo: TT

Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid

Norwegian sports officials have said they want to co-host the winter Olympics with Sweden in 2026. But there has so far been no official response from Sweden. READ  

National
Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court
Photo: TT

Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court

A teenage boy who painted anti-Israel slogans and symbols on the Concert Hall in Gothenburg has been convicted for the damages he caused, but he walked free from racial agitation charges. READ  

Entertainment
A closer look at Sweden's rising stars
Swedish actresses Sandra Huldt and Julia Ragnarsson. Julia (right) has been nominated for a Rising Star award. Photo: TT

A closer look at Sweden's rising stars

Like to be ahead of the game when it comes to the next big thing on the silver screen? We find out more about the Swedish nominees for the Rising Star award to be presented at Stockholm's International Film Festival next week. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween
Sport
Top ten quotes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
People-watching: October 30th
National
Sweden remains fourth best for gender equality
Blog updates

31 October

Editor’s Blog, October 31st (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Welcome to our latest 60-second round-up of the week’s news. First, Sweden made headlines around the..." READ »

 

29 October

Scariest day (Blogweiser) »

"This is what’s frightening me on Halloween. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OFZVCu8J0&list=UUJu5J7jG4uoYSjWbpFsJBuQ Follow my posts on FB. ..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sport
World Cup ski race on 'fake' Stockholm slope
Society
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Society
Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions
National
The Local meets Health Minister Gabriel Wikström
Gallery
Property of the week: Österåker
Society
Homeless turtles get Stockholm police ride
National
Construction worker has 'Sweden's best beard'
National
Italian musician jazzes up Sweden's Lapland
Gallery
Zlatan's career in pictures
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: October 25th and 26th
Lifestyle
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

935
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN