My 12-year-old daughter was at a friend’s house recently and, while playing on the pal’s phone, they downloaded the game genshin impact genesis crystals to primogems Impact through the Apple Family Sharing facility.
Although the parents had permission settings switched on, the girls managed to spend about £950 on game extras in a couple of hours, without understanding what they were doing.
The friend’s father reported it right away and has escalated the complaint many times, but Apple won’t sanction a full refund. Both girls are autistic, which could be relevant.Please can you help? Anon
Looted: Two 12-year-old girls were somehow able to spend £950 on an iPhone game they had just downloaded in only two hours
Sally Hamilton replies: You told me you found it extraordinary that the girls were able to spend so much money in such a short space of time on a computer game, but you felt the fact they are on the autism spectrum may have influenced their impulsive decision-making.
I asked Apple to investigate what had happened, as the friend’s father was certain that controls had been applied to prevent unwanted spending.
The company examined the sequence of events.It turns out the girls were buying the fantasy adventure game’s ‘loot boxes’, which contain a virtual currency called Genesis Crystals.
This allows players to purchase additional items such as characters or other content designed to make the game more fun to play.
The pair spent between £12.99 and £89.99 on each box.
Apple found that its ‘Ask to Buy’ feature, which requests approval from the person who pays for such purchases, had indeed been set up last August.However, it had somehow been switched off a month later.
There was no activity shown on the account until the recent play date, when the purchases were made without the cardholder being tipped off beforehand.
Apparently, a password is also required for the transactions to go ahead.