Parents, we know it’s frustrating when your kid goes behind your back and spends your hard-earned cash on in-app purchases and the like. As a parent, your job is to teach your child right from wrong; it’s not up to Apple or TikTok to teach your child the right thing to do, especially if the child is on the spectrum (meaning he or she has some degree of learning disability due to autism).
Still, the father of a 10-year-old autistic girl is angry with Apple for not blocking what could only be seen as suspicious payments totaling $2,500 to a TikTok maker.
10-Year-Old Girl Spends Nearly $2,500 Of Her Dad’s Money To Make TikTok Purchases Behind Her Dad’s Back
According to a letter written to the British Telegraph publication
, a reader with the initials “AH” gave his autistic 10-year-old daughter an iPhone last Christmas. Some may consider that a healthy purchase for an autistic child, while others worry it would lead to sensory overload. Four days later, the kid bought $2,486 worth of coins for TikTok in 23 separate transactions. The parent discovered the purchases after an invoice was sent directly from Apple to his inbox.
Father buys a new iPhone for his autistic daughter last Christmas
The parent asked Apple for a refund for each of the 23 purchases his daughter made, but each was denied. Attempts to contact Apple’s headquarters, including that in Ireland, were unsuccessful. In the end, the father was given a link to Apple’s legal proceedings that “give very little information at all,” he noted. “AH” came to the sad conclusion: “This is so much money to lose like this in a few minutes.”
The child’s father wrote: “I think Apple has let me down by not identifying the unusual activity on my account and not protecting me by blocking the suspicious payments. I also feel that customer service does not exist .” Nor was there any protection that the father should have taken. If he had thought about the situation a bit, he could have activated the child lock that had blocked his child from using her iPhone to make purchases, while also limiting what the child could do with her device.
Apple eventually refunded the money to the parent
Ironically, the father had activated childproofing on his child’s previous iPhone model, just not on the new one. The creator of TikTok to whom the child made the payments has over four million followers and has been verified by TikTok. Initially, TikTok said the member, codenamed “Ohidur247”, had not broken any rules, but did not explain what the payments were for.
TikTok was pressured to investigate further and found that the member had violated its guidelines regarding fraud and scams. The member took payments in exchange for followers, which violates TikTok rules. After hearing the new information, Apple decided to refund the parent in full and also remind them that parental controls are available.
The Telegraph The report noted that Apple’s payment system “should have flagged up suspicious activity and blocked payments,” similar to the anti-fraud measures that trigger red flags after certain purchases are made using a bank’s purchasing platform.
As for “Ohidur247”, he apparently remains a TikTok member in good standing, although he is no longer allowed to stream live. His account is still active and verified.
Stories about a minor buying from the App Store after accessing money from his/her parents behind their backs has become all too familiar. And unfortunately everyone gets hurt. Apple usually collapses and returns the money, the parents have to fight to get well, and the child is often verbally abused for reasons he/she doesn’t fully understand.