My 7yo made a $99 in-app purchase and Apple is refusing a refund!

With COVID-19, both the kids have been spending a lot of time on iPads. I let my 7 year old son use my iPad and we added his fingerprint so he could log in easier and I could still keep using a long device password. This setup was working great until I got a receipt from Apple for a $99 in-app purchase.

I didn’t think this would be a big deal, my son is 7 and tapped on something without realizing he was spending real money. To be clear, this was a $99 in-app purchase, mistakenly made by a minor for a game he never plays. This should be exactly what the refund process is for!

As soon as I saw the receipt I clicked on “Report a Problem” and went through Apple’s automated process. For the reason, I put “Purchased by a Minor”, everything seemed pretty straightforward. A couple days later, I got a reply… “Refund Declined”! Worse yet, there was no explanation given or additional steps provided. This made no sense to me, so I wrote to itunesstoresupport@apple.com and explained what had happened and that I was wondering why the refund request was denied. The support person didn’t provide any rational but instead resubmitted a request back into the system for a refund. A few days later I got a response back through the automated process, with the same answer “Refund Declined” and no explanation!

Since I still wasn’t getting an explanation, I gave Apple Support a call. After a bit of a wait I was able to talk with a courteous support rep. I went through what had happened, the steps I had taken and that I was looking for a refund and an explanation. The rep let me know that he was unable to do anything else, since it had already gone through the system and an appeal. He was unable to provide any reason why the refund would have been denied. He did mention it is more difficult with in-app purchases because it goes through developers systems. Left without any other avenues, I mentioned I was going to dispute the charge with my credit card since I was being denied a refund. The support rep cautioned against it because Apple would view it as fraud and lock my entire account. Seems like Mob tactics to me.

I tried contacting the developer to see if they could initiate a refund from their side. They said they were happy to offer a refund but it has to be done through Apple’s system… and Apple is not allowing me to make any more refund requests.

At this point, I don’t think there is anything else I can do. Given Apple’s previous settlement around in-app purchase’s by minors, I am pretty shocked: https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2014/03/ftc-approves-final-order-case-about-apple-inc-charging-kids-app

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