Eight-year-old racks up $1,400 bill for Smurfberries 8 years ago

Eight-year-old racks up $1,400 bill for Smurfberries

Have you ever wondered why you should be careful with your phone around your kids? They could break it? Delete contacts? Ring people they’re not supposed to? Well, here is a new reason.

An eight-year-old girl racked up a huge $1,400 phone bill for her parents while playing Smurfs’ Village (a game similar to Facebook application ‘Farmville’) published by Capcom.

How did she manage to build up such a bill? By buying bucket loads of tasty smurfberries. That's how.

According to the girl’s mother, Stephanie Kay from Rockville, Maryland, young Madison had been playing the game for a long time and never realised that the smurfberries cost actual money, and kept purchasing the pretty berries not knowing that she was accumulating a massive iTunes bill for her parents.

After receiving the bill, the outraged parents appealed to Apple and managed to secure a one-time full refund all the purchases made in the game.

Madison’s mother has referred to the app as a “mouse trap” designed to trick children into racking up huge bills for their parents without them knowing any better.

The game has a recommended age use of 4 and over, yet kids have the ability to make expensive purchases on “Virtual berries”.

Amazingly, the smurfberries bought by the Madison can cost up to $90 per purchase.

The game has a immediate disclaimer stating: "PLEASE NOTE: Smurf Village is free to play, but charges real money for additional in-app content. You may lock out the ability to purchase in-app content by adjusting your device’s settings." Although some claim that this disclaimer has only been added since this controversy took place.

If you want to avoid huge bills without being aware of it, check out this link that shows you how to change your iPhone/iTouch parental controls:

http://www.pocketgamer.co.uk/r/iPhone/Smurf's+Village/news.asp?c=25171