Mum's horror after 8-year-old daughter racks up Sh189,263 bill playing iPad game

Katie Phillips was horrified after discovering her daughter managed to spend Sh242,389 in just three days on her iPad.

The canny youngster managed to get round her mum's password and set the security to accept her fingerprint for payment instead.

The schoolgirl made an astonishing 255 purchases totalling Sh189,263  on game-making app Roblox alone.

Mum Katie, 35, only realised when she received an email from Barclaycard saying she had a credit card payment due - even though the balance should have been nil.

"I thought it must have been fraud at first. But then I saw the transactions were all from Apple and I just thought 'oh my god'," she said.

"[My daughter] was staying with my mum at the time so I rang my mum and asked to speak to her. I said 'have you bought anything on the iPad?' She said 'only a little bit of Roblox, but not much'."

Call centre advisor Katie said: "I felt sick and was in floods of tears. I was so shocked, disappointed and annoyed.

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"It was hard to be too angry with her because she didn't really know what she was doing and she didn't understand.

"We are really angry but she is innocent. She said she thought it was free.

"She does look sorry. She looked white when we spoke to her about it and she started crying.

"But she just doesn't realise how much money she spent and what that means."

The couple has tried to get money back from Barclaycard and Apple but because the card wasn't used for fraud, fear they are unlikely to succeed.

Katie and Matty, a factory worker, spoke out to warn other parents about how children can use gadgets in the wrong way without even realising.

She said: "We have been left with that figure and we are going to have to pay it by the looks of things.
"Other parents have got to be so careful.

"I thought I was being careful but obviously not careful enough. Children are clever and you have to be very vigilant.

"I think there needs to be more measures put in place to stop things like from happening.

"There are clearly flaws in the system. No one should be able to make that amount of transactions in one day.

"I was not contacted at all by the bank about the spending, which I feel was excessive and should have raised concerns."

A Barclaycard spokesperson said: "We are sorry that Ms Phillips has had cause to complain.

"Unfortunately, customers are liable for the transactions authorised using their Apple ID, and we are therefore unable to provide a refund.

"However, we empathise with Ms Phillips' situation, so we have made arrangements not to charge any interest on the transactions."

"Apple has a range of features to help parents control spending on their devices, such as the ability to switch off in-app purchases, and we would encourage all customers to make use of them."

Apple have also been contacted for a statement.

Katie bought her daughter the Sh39,152

seventh generation iPad for Christmas as the eight-year-old wanted to play Roblox with her friends.

The multiplayer online video game creation system lets users to design and play their own games with friends.

Katie had the iPad on lockdown and disabled 'in-game' chat functions, barred social media and set up a child-friendly account.

But she had also uploaded her card details to buy her daughter Sh1,305

worth of in-game purchases - protected with a password.

Katie, who also has a three-year-old son, said: "The iPad was her dream present. She had no idea what the password was."

But that didn't stop her daughter changing the settings from the password to her own fingerprint.

Katie and her husband Matty, have confiscated the iPad until at least April and banned their daughter from using iTunes games forever as punishment.

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