Developer Vs. Parent
Of course I hold my hands up as being partially responsible for the purchase my daughter made, and an expensive lesson has been learned. I'm comparatively lucky next to the poor parent left with a $1400 bill for smurfberries, however, I'm still not happy with this practice. I'm aware developers need to make money, but providing the option of making such a large purchase within a kid's game is nothing but greedy, and highly unethical. What person in their right mind would ever want to make an in-app purchase of over a hundred dollars? Actually, if the developers were a little less greedy and I'd been taken for 5 or 10 dollars then I would have been annoyed, made sure it didn't happen again, but Apple and the developer would have kept my money.
So the practice is widespread, but this doesn't make it right, and actually I'm pretty appalled that such a practice is OK'd by Apple. We are constantly being told about the rigorous procedure developers have to go through to get their apps in the App Store compared to the relatively open way this happens in Android Market, so how are these unethical practices getting through?
Actually, it is probably costing the developers and Apple more than the money it is making them. Of course I complained (very politely) to Apple customer services and after going back and forth with four different personnel I eventually got my money refunded -- how much time is taken by the customer services department dealing with similar complaints? I should say that all personnel were friendly and after investigating my case decided a refund was acceptable -- this is against their policy though, so I'd advise taking the above precautions rather than testing the customer service.
Let us know if you've had a similar experience with an iPhone in-app purchase, or any other smartphone for that matter. Are the parents the ones responsible for not keeping a better eye on their children? Or is it really about time that the big guns like Google and Apple got their act together and stop these cash cows from making it into their stores in the first place -- or at least provide some genuine parental controls? Tell us what you think by leaving a comment below.