8 yr old amasses $1400 debt via Game App


Beware of hidden-fee apps: Blackberry, Android, and Iphone alike.
I was just watching my local news channel a second ago (in between commercials for Judge Judy, of course) & heard words that didn’t make any reasonable sense: “8 year old” “iphone app” “charges $1400 on her parents credit card” “building a mushroom house”–
First and foremost, 8 year old and iphone shouldn’t be in the same sentence together. What are parents thinking these days? To be honest, I can’t even use an iphone (all the touch screening and turning), and an 8 year old is building a magic mushroom house in her smurf village?

Let me break it down for you guys:

Smurf Village for iphone/ipod/ipad/ieverything/thankgodthereisn’tablackberryversion is kind of like the Farmville of the iphone world, ok. The point is to rebuild a smurf village, because I don’t know.. some flood or other tragedy forced the smurfs to relocate.  The app is marketed as “FREE” but apparently, there is a rush to build the mushroom houses and you need smurfberries to do it.  Smurf Village constantly pitches you various smurfberry packages, & I’m not quite sure how many dingleberries it costs to start growing the magic berry patch (I’m making up all these terms) but I peeped some of the options and you can buy “6WAGON OF SMURFBERRIES” (verbatim) for $100.

Now back to this kid.  Her shiitake mushroom house must have had a 10 car garage and a helicopter landing pad to have spent $1400. (Spoiler alert: her parents got refunded the money).  The company now has a disclaimer stating that REAL money, no matter how fake it sounds (ie smurfberry) is used in the game.

Remember back in the day when we had Giga Pets and Nano Pets?

Hell yes! Oh we would waste hours on these things.. because you HAD to give them attention otherwise they died. Or ran away. Maybe they ran away because dying seems a little dramatic for a 9 year old.  Anyway, this is the kind of toy kids should be playing with nowadays. You had to feed the dog, clean up the dog’s poop, it slept and it was a big deal.
Then Furbies came out! And Nano Pets were totally forgotten about (ps apparently Nano and Giga Pets still exist, they’re just virtual pets now).

I had 3 Furbies. God these things were creepy. They made weird noises, and blinked and moved their mouths and ears. But they were cool, and cheap. And you could pick out different colors. And when you got tired of them, you could just take out the batteries and be done with it.

This is besides the point. The real lesson to be learned here is – you have to be aware of what apps you’re downloading.  It’s mostly the game apps that have weird hidden fees associated with them, but others apps can also cost you $, such as apps that use GPS locators. If you don’t have an unlimited data plan you will quickly find yourself paying a pretty penny per data usage.
I have T-Mobile, and my unlimited web plan only costs me $30 a month. Check your service provider today and make sure you’re covered so you don’t get any surprising charges on your bill.

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Filed under Games, S, Tell Me More

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