Tiffany Haddish may need to do a spin-off of her series Kids Say the Darndest Things, because it seems like these kids are also liable to run up your credit card bill if you let them. There is a rising trend of children getting trigger-happy in the app marketplace and making some hilariously expensive purchases while playing on their parent’s phones. It has gotten so bad that some parents have even attempted to sue Apple for how easy they’ve made it to make in-app purchases. Let’s take a look at some of the recent news stories surrounding kids and their buys.
The latest instance of this is a 2-year-old in Texas named Barrett. The son of Kelsey Burkhalter Golden, little Barrett got a hold of mom’s phone to play some games yesterday and take pictures of himself. Unbeknownst to mom, Barrett made his way over to the Door Dash app and ordered 31 cheeseburgers from Mcdonald’s. he spent over 90 bucks on the order and even included a $16 tip for the driver.
Kelsey took to Facebook to share the hilarious story with a snap of Barrett happily eating his burger on a table next to the 30 other ones. “I have 31 free cheeseburgers from McDonald’s if anyone is interested. Apparently, my 2 yr old knows how to order doordash,” she said in the caption.
Barrett joins a growing list of kids who made the news for similar reasons. In December of 2020, a 6-year-old racked up over $16k from in-app purchases on an iPad game. George, from Wilton, Connecticut, was playing a game called Sonic Forces for months and purchased add-ons for the game. In one day alone, he spent over $2500 on different bundles, from $1.99 to $99.99. His mother, Jessica Johnson, could not figure out the source of the purchases and, for a while, just assumed them to be fraud. After realizing it was her son, she contacted Apple to try and get the money refunded. The company refused, stating that she had not reported the purchases within the 60 days allotted for refunds. It got so bad she missed a mortgage payment.
This was followed by a four-year-old in 2021 who went mad ordering popsicles on Amazon. Jennifer Bryant’s son, Noah, managed to order 51 cases of SpongeBob SquarePants popsicles and have them shipped to his aunt’s house. That is 918 popsicles in total and cost his mother $2618.85. Amazon was not able to take them back due to them being food items that had possibly melted. The mother was horrified as she is a full-time student and was not sure how she’d make up for her son’s mistake. Luckily her friend group on Facebook managed to help her raise over $7000, with her donating a portion of the money to other kids on the autism spectrum like her son.
Two-year-old New Jersey native Ayaansh Kumar ordered over $1700 worth of furniture from Wal-Mart on his parent’s phone. His family posted a picture of the little one sitting on top of all the boxes he ordered. The family said they had no idea he was capable of something like this and had been receiving packages for over a week from the superstore.
Parents have been trying to find out ways to make it harder for their kids to do these types of things. Many companies have fired back, stating that they have systems in place to protect against such purchases, but parents are not reading the disclosures when downloading apps. In 2014, Apple offered to refund at least $32.5 million to settle Federal Trade Commission complaints from parents whose kids managed to make unauthorized in-app purchases. At the time, it was reported that apps gave phone users a 15-minute window from when they entered their password where a purchase could be made without having to reenter it. Parents also complained that the pop-up screens for these purchases would only ask for their password and not show them what they were entering it for, resulting in many unknown buys.
For Barrett in Texas, this was not so much the issue since his burgers were not a product of an in-app purchase but just a hungry kid and an unlocked phone. Mother Kelsey says he only ate half of one burger, and now she is trying to figure out who wants the rest of them. “Drop them off at the food bank,” said one of her friends on Facebook.