They may look cute and adorable, but the Smurfs could cost you big bucks. Just weeks after the release of Smurfs’ Village for the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad, parents are crying foul because of how in-app purchases work.
The game is available for free in the App Store. However, there are a boatload of in-app purchases available too. Users can buy a number of items, including a $59.99 “wheelbarrow.” Some parents are only finding out about these once they receive their iTunes bill.
One upset mom told the Associated Press:
“My biggest concern was them scratching the screen. Never in my wildest dreams did I think they would be charging things on it.”
The game’s creators, Capcom Interactive, Inc. have posted the following two messages on their app page:
“PLEASE NOTE: Smurf Village is free to play, but charges real money for additional in-app content. You may lock out the ability to purchase in-app content by adjusting your device’s settings.”
“iOS will keep you logged on for 15 minutes after you download the app. Additional purchases won’t require a re-entry of the password during this 15 minute interval. This is a function of the iOS software and not within our control.”
Since the game caters to kids and adults alike, the company isn’t doing anything wrong. Nor is there a quick fix available from within the game itself, besides eliminating in-app purchases altogether.
The only way to ensure purchases are not made is to log off from your App Store account after the game is downloaded. Visiting your App Store settings page does this. If an in-app purchase is attempted, the app will ask for the iTunes account and password information. If your kids know this information, you are out of luck.
Have you experienced a surprise in-app purchase? Please tell us about it in the comments below.