A policeman has shopped his 13-year-old son for fraud after he ran up a £3,700 bill – playing iPad games.
PC Doug Crossan, 48, was horrified when his credit card company informed him that son Cameron had blown a small fortune in the App Store.
He claims the teenager was unaware he was being charged for the in-game purchases and wants Apple to scrap the charge.
But the technology company has refused and his only way of recouping the money is to report the purchases as being fraudulent.
So Mr Crossan, of Clevedon, North Somerset, has shopped Cameron to the Action Fraud helpline – meaning his son could face arrest and questioning by the police.
He said: “I am sure Cameron had no intention to do it, but I had to have a crime reference number if there was any chance of getting any credit card payments refunded.
“In theory the local police station would contact me and ask for Cameron to come in to be interviewed.
“I could make it difficult of course and refuse to bringing him in and they would have to come and arrest him.
“Really I just want to embarrass Apple as much as possible. Morally, I just don’t understand where Apple gets off charging for a child’s game.”
Cameron has only owned the Apple tablet computer since December after he and other pupils at Clevedon School were bought them to aid them in class.
Mr Crossan logged the details of his MBNA Virgin credit card with Apple when he used the device to download a music album.
Cameron then racked up more than 300 purchases on games such as Plants vs Zombies, Hungry Shark, Gun Builder, Nova 3.
Many of them are free to download but users can buy in-game extras – in one game Cameron had purchased a virtual chest of gold coins costing £77.98.
When his father confronted him Cameron quickly confessed, claiming he did not know he was incurring charges as the games were initially free.
Mr Crossan said: “None of us had any knowledge of what was happening as there was no indication in the game that he was being charged for any of the clicks made within it.
“He innocently thought that, because it was advertised as a free game, the clicks would not cost anything.”
Apple has refused to cancel the charges, citing parental responsibility and pointing out that iPads contain password locks to prevent accidental or unwanted purchases.
But Mr Crossan, an officer with Avon and Somerset Police, believes the company has “duped” his son into making purchases he was not aware of.
He said: “I am a father of a studious, polite and sensible 13-year-old who has been duped after uploading free children’s games on his iPod and iPad.
“None of us had any knowledge of what was happening as there was no indication in the game that he was being charged for any of the clicks made within the game.
“Cameron innocently thought that because it was an advertised as a free game, the clicks would not cost.
“Our son is mortified to think that this has happened.
“I wonder how many others there are in the UK that have suffered at the hands of these apps?”
Mr Crossan only found out about Cameron’s spending when he cancelled the direct debit for the credit card, believing it was clear, and MBNA Virgin contacted him to reveal more than £3,000 was still outstanding.
He has now reported the purchases to Action Fraud, the national fraud reporting centre run by the National Fraud Authority, a Government agency.
Victims are issued with a police crime reference number and details are then passed to the police, who may pursue the case further.
Avon and Somerset Police refused to comment on the case.
Mr Crossan is among an increasing number of parents who have been caught out by their children’s spending on iTunes.
Earlier this year, five-year-old Danny Kitchen spent £1,700 buying weapons and ammunition in the iPad game Zombies v Ninja.
His parents Greg and Sharon were delighted to learn Apple would refund the money, because they were a series of innocent purchases made over a very short space of time.
With more than half a billion active accounts, the App Store is the most popular online marketplace in the world.
The store currently offers more than 775,000 apps to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users.