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Old 12-17-2011, 08:24 AM   #1
kartu
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Angry I've just been scammed by "Sheeps & Clouds" thanks to google wallet

Hi there,

In hope that others will find this information helpful: when you buy anything on android market, "google wallet" will remember your credit card. This, in turn, could lead to "you've just payed 7.99€ for useless 5000 stars in 'Sheeps & Clouds' games, by letting your kid, uhm, continue to play games after you were silly enough to set up your google wallet".

Note, this thing is on by default. Note it looks like it can't be switched off, other than by removing credit card reference. (I hope at least removing it helps)

Also note, that "in-game purchases" are non-refundable.
Oh, and there is no answer from the "developer" who could, according to google, be so kind to return money he just legally scammed, pardon my French...

Not sure if it fits "news" forums, but I wish I had read such news earlier.
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Old 12-17-2011, 08:28 AM   #2
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This is indeed annoying, but don't you think you're perhaps being a little unreasonable in claiming that you've been "scammed"? That implies some wrongdoing on the part of the vendor. In this case, from what you're said, the purchase really was made from your device, and, with the greatest respect, you are responsible for the actions of your children if you let them play with your Android device.

Perhaps, though, it might be better if the Android marketplace made you enter your password every time that you make a purchase, as the Apple AppStore does?

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Old 12-17-2011, 08:43 AM   #3
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This is indeed annoying, but don't you think you're perhaps being a little unreasonable in claiming that you've been "scammed"? That implies some wrongdoing on the part of the vendor. In this case, from what you're said, the purchase really was made from your device, and, with the greatest respect, you are responsible for the actions of your children if you let them play with your Android device.
Price is not even remotely reasonable for what it is. It's a typical "grab money while you can". It's different from "scam" though, this one is legalized scam.

It really depends on where you live. In Germany customer is not "responsible" for unexpected behavior by the company regardless of EULA. (and this law, in fact, does work) I didn't expect that apps on my tablet can start making non-refundable purchases, only because I've bought something using my credit card from google market. (using damn PC, not tablet)

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Perhaps, though, it might be better if the Android marketplace made you enter your password every time that you make a purchase, as the Apple AppStore does?
That's the only reasonable (default) way in my books.
And, by the way, are you sure that appstore does it any different when accessed from device?
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Old 12-17-2011, 08:47 AM   #4
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And, by the way, are you sure that appstore does it any different when accessed from device?
The Apple one? Yes, it makes you enter your password even for free stuff. That's on both the iPhone and the iPad.
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Old 12-17-2011, 08:54 AM   #5
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What does this app actually do when you purchase stuff, by the way. If it pops up a big warning and says "This will cost €7.99. Are you sure that you want to buy it?" and makes you explicitly confirm your purchase, can you say that the expenditure is unexpected?
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Old 12-17-2011, 09:32 AM   #6
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A friend of mine with an iPad 1 just responded that he also had that problem with kids buying stuff, that's why I asked.

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What does this app actually do when you purchase stuff, by the way. If it pops up a big warning and says "This will cost €7.99. Are you sure that you want to buy it?" and makes you explicitly confirm your purchase, can you say that the expenditure is unexpected?
I have no idea since my 4 year old kid did that (and she doesn't just randomly click on stuff, she can adjust brightness, start games, switch between them). It keeps popping up annoying adds and there is no wonder that they get clicked.

And it is indeed still unexpected that you can buy something by just clicking, without entering password. That's why amazon explicitly asks you to enable their patented "1-click" thing.
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Old 12-17-2011, 09:41 AM   #7
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A friend of mine with an iPad 1 just responded that he also had that problem with kids buying stuff, that's why I asked.
Let me check with iBooks - that's the only app I have which has in-app purchasing...

Yes - when you click the "Buy" button in the iBookStore the Apple AppStore pops up its standard login dialog. You even get it for free downloads, bizarrely enough.

Please let us know the outcome of this. I rather suspect, though, that the response from Google will be that what's done on your device is your responsibility.
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Old 12-17-2011, 10:39 AM   #8
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I have mixed feelings here on one side I agree with Harry on another I agree with you.

I've had 'ring tone charges' applied to my phone bill which will not be removed by the carrier. The carriers claim is my child purchased ring tones via sms services, of course my children have no recollection of this purchase. The only thing I can do is pay the bill and lockdown the phone services.

Here it is a similar case except the purchase was made from an app you installed. The app is free but they make their money via ads and in app purchases.
I'm sure you would not have made those accidental purchases, but your daughter was not wiser to those charge. In the end the system does not know who the operator is.

Apple has lost a class action law suit earlier this year because it did allow minor to charge an unreasonable amount of fees.

The lesson is there is no perfect system all business are out to make money some less forthright than others as adults we have to be vigilant all the time. And also share this kind of knowledge like you are doing so.
Good luck and please keep us posted.

Also another recourse is to leave this feedback on the apps review page
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Old 12-17-2011, 02:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
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A friend of mine with an iPad 1 just responded that he also had that problem with kids buying stuff, that's why I asked.
When Apple first introduced in-app purchasing, you could make an in-app purchase without having to reenter your password if you had entered it in the last 15 minutes. Meaning that if you bought a 99c game for your kid and gave it to them to play with, they could buy any in app purchase for 15 minutes without having to reenter a password.

They changed it to always require a password for in app purchases for exactly the reasons you stated - kids inadvertently racking up unexpected charges.
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Old 12-18-2011, 03:52 AM   #10
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I am a bit annoyed (to say the least) at the original post. Since when have Android device, ipad, pc, you name it, become a replacement for parenting? My kids are allowed to use all those devices under my supervision. The older one knows well enough that some apps or programs are only aimed at making money, so he is super careful with what he does and I know that because I keep my eye on him. The little one is sitting next to me, literally, when she uses them, and I watch what she does the whole time.

At 4, none of them were allowed to get near those devices. They had computing at school, and we did one hour of educational computer games at home a week, but I'd rather have them draw and play with playmobil or lego at that age, if the weather did not allow playing outside. I am not a dragon, they have DS and Wii, but we have clear rules about when and how to use them.

You have not been scammed kartu. You have just been caught red handed not monitoring a 4 years old. You are lucky she did not land on a porn site!
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Old 12-18-2011, 05:00 AM   #11
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Apple has lost a class action law suit earlier this year because it did allow minor to charge an unreasonable amount of fees.
Note the HUGE difference between our cases. Apple's problem was caused by 15 minutes period of "remembering password". With google this thing is permanent.

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The lesson is there is no perfect system all business are out to make money some less forthright than others as adults we have to be vigilant all the time.
So asking dear google to always ask password before authorizing purchases, as pretty much anyone else does (unless you explicitly enable "shopaholic" mode), and not allowing third parties decide on their own, when to charge you, is too much to ask?

It seems I was "lucky" not to pay more: Android in-app purchases let unwitting 6-year-old spend £90 on food game

The "once you reveal your credit card to google, any app can charge you at will" thing is not only unexpected, to me it's not even remotely reasonable: having seen your major competitor have legal troubles for remembering password for 15 minutes, you decide to "remember" them forever?

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Originally Posted by aceflor
...
What kind of monitoring would prevent kid playing sheep game from clicking a basket icon, considering the same "purchasing" thing with the same icon is part of normal gameplay?
Porn site, oh dear, use your wicked imagination too much?
Flame away...
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Old 12-18-2011, 05:06 AM   #12
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kartu,

Not a flame from me, but I think that all you can do from this is make sure that, in the future, you find out whether an app has in-app purchasing before letting your 4-year-old play it. Presumably this app was free? That's a pretty good indication that the developer will want to extract money from you by some other means - and that generally means in-app purchasing, especially when it's a game.

I totally agree that the AppStore should make you enter a password before permitting purchases, but you can't blame the developer for that. I really think that you are being unreasonable in claiming that you've been "scammed" by the developer, here.
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Old 12-18-2011, 08:18 AM   #13
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Have to say I agree that this sounds like a parenting issue and most certainly isn't a scam. I haven't used Google Wallet or this app, but the same could happen with content at the Sony store on my T-1 and at Amazon if the correct settings are enabled.

Really, 7.99€ ? I would be thankful I learned this lesson for so little.

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Old 12-18-2011, 08:25 AM   #14
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Quote:
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What kind of monitoring would prevent kid playing sheep game from clicking a basket icon, considering the same "purchasing" thing with the same icon is part of normal gameplay?
Porn site, oh dear, use your wicked imagination too much?
Flame away...
no flaming, or if so perceived, then I apologize. But I still think you should not let your 4 year old play unsupervised with your phone. And porn adds do appear in some innocent games, you'd be surprised.
The monitoring consists in being next to her and watching the screen with her while she plays, so yep, it means you'll have to invest time being with your kid and not have a phone babysit her. You will end up having much more fun together too, for me the best side effect of it. This is the way I did it with my son, to teach him how to be careful and use the devices with caution, and this is the way I am still doing it with my daughter. I am a parent, so I am doing my job, which is parenting.
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Old 12-18-2011, 01:25 PM   #15
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I haven't used Google Wallet or this app, but the same could happen with content at the Sony store on my T-1 and at Amazon if the correct settings are enabled.
That's the thing. There are no settings available to disable this behavior. Only thing you can do to prevent accidental charges is to delete associated credit cards from Google Wallet. This isn't really a fault of the developer - of course they're trying to make money. It's Google that needs to implement fail safes. On the PC, even when you're logged in to your Google account, you're still required to enter your password again when you try to pay for something using Google Checkout (now Google Wallet). Why is a similar restriction not in place for the Android Marketplace?

Personally don't have credit cards associated with iTunes or the Playstation Store. I use gift cards exclusively for those.
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