Free apps costing parents a fortune – Hope 103.2

Free apps costing parents a fortune

Children are spending more time than ever on smart phones and tablets and sometimes it’s costing their parents a bomb.

By Katrina RoeTuesday 10 Sep 2013Hope MorningsParentingReading Time: 2 minutes

Children are spending more time than ever on smart phones and tablets and sometimes it’s costing their parents a bomb.

The ACCC Commission has received multiple complaints from parents who have discovered their children have run up a big credit card debt using apps that are promoted as being free.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has joined an international push against smart phone and tablet apps that mislead children into spending their parent’s money.

The ACCC Commission has received multiple complaints from parents who have discovered their children have run up a big credit card debt using apps that are promoted as being free.  What parents often don’t realise is that these ‘free’ apps contain hidden ‘in-app’ purchases.  Once a child starts playing a game, they need to make a purchase to go to the next level, or to speed up the game.  That’s when children can rack up bills of hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars.

Delia Rickard is the Deputy Chair of the ACCC and she has some tips to help parents avoid “bill shock”.

1) Disable in-app purchases on your tablet or smart phone

2) Don’t connect your app store to your credit card.  If you have children, let them use their own i-tunes or google cards that they receive for their birthday or Christmas so they are only using up their own credit.

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3) Change your settings so you need a password for each purchase, rather than allowing multiple purchases for a specific time period once a password has been entered.  

The ACCC website has step-by-step screenshots to help technologically challenged parents to change their settings. Visit the ACCC website for more information.

Audio – Hear the ACCC’s Delia Rickard explain how you can get smarter with your smart phone.