A ten-year-old schoolboy racked up a £600 bill in THREE HOURS on a FREE iPhone game, his horrified mum revealed today.
Lee Walters downloaded the ‘Hay Day’ app on his mum’s old iPhone – and paid £19 a time to buy VIRTUAL diamonds and gold coins.
He innocently clicked on the ‘buy now’ option which appeared more than 12 times an hour – landing mum Katharyne, 42, with a whopping £613 bill.
Katharyne, who runs a fire place business, was in control of her son’s Apple password but believes he was able to splash the cash because the phone kept it saved for 15 minutes.
Yesterday she warned parents to monitor their children’s usage of iPhone apps to ensure they are not unwittingly racking up monster bills.
Katharyne from Streetly, West Mids., fumed: “I’m not a stupid person but this has made me feel really stupid. I’m devastated.
“I’ve been in a terrible state. I knew straight away what was happening.
“It’s a child’s game that attracts children. It could happen to so many people.
“These people are designing these but I wouldn’t allow children to have anything like that if they can spend money on it.
“It happened last Saturday when we were away on business and he was staying with my sister.
“As soon as I saw the emails coming through on the Sunday I cancelled my card and got in touch with Apple.
“What they don’t tell you is if you download a free app, your phone holds the password for 15 minutes.
“We looked at the app and it’s all bright colours and has GBP and the amount of money rather than a pound sign.
“He didn’t realise he was spending money but if there would have been a pound sign then he would have done.”
The game ‘Hay Day’ is a new farming experience app where children are encouraged to harvest crops, build bakeries and rear animals.
It is free to play but the iTunes store warns that some game items can be purchased for real money.
Katharyne, who lives with her partner Paul Lammond, 49, son Lee and two daughters, aged 16 and 18, added: “Lee had only had the phone for six months and has never done anything like that before.
“He plays other games and he always knew to ask and I drilled it into him that he could only have free apps.
“In his innocent little head he was playing a game that wasn’t costing anything. He didn’t
“I just want to warn other parents how easily something like this can happen.”
Apple have now refunded Katharyne the money and reminded parents to use the restrictions on the game to stop unwanted purchases.
A spokesman for Apple said: “All iOS devices (iPad, iPhone and iPod touch) have built in parental controls that give parents and guardians the ability to restrict access to content.
“Our parents’ guide to iTunes details the steps and measures parents and guardians can take to make sure younger players have access to the right content.
“The first thing we recommend is not to share your password.”