Downloading 'free' games could cost you big bucks - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports


Downloading 'free' games could cost you big bucks

Many games are free to download on your phone, but once you get into the game they sell "game currency" – and it costs you real money.

The "Smurfs Village" is a perfect example, and it's the reason a judge in California has agreed to let a class-action lawsuit against Apple proceed.

Rod Neal with Lincoln College of Technology explains why kids are getting into trouble.

"They're in there and they see different upgrades. I can add a level here or I need to purchase ‘Smurfberries' or animals for my zoo," he says.

The problem lies in the password. You may have used your password to download the game, but then it remains unlocked for 15 minutes.

If your child has started playing, they may have found they can buy things like Smurfberries, in this case, for as much as $99 -- all charged through your iTunes account.

One of the most famous cases of runaway kid spending is out of Britain: While playing on his parents' iPad, a boy ran up a bill of $2,000 buying animals for his virtual zoo.

"The only real solution is for you to go onto the device settings, and I'm pretty sure there is a setting to prompt you every time for in-app purchases," Neal says.

The class-action lawsuit claims the games are made purposely addictive, and make it too easy for kids to purchase the extras without parents knowing.

Apple has since made some changes, but it is still possible to spend away after the parent has put in the password once. 

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