Imagine my horror to find my bank account drained of almost $500 from, of all things, an app on my son's new iTouch! The game Gun Bros offers coin packs to players that they buy for real money. The downside is that they don't make it obvious you are using real money to buy these packs. After all, who would imagine paying $200 for some tokens to use on an app? Seems inconceivable, doesn't it? You could easily spend hundreds playing a stupid little game designed to kill time.
If you discover your kid did what mine did, spent hundreds of real money thinking it was fake money, let my harrowing tale assure you that there's no need to worry. It turned out to be easy to fix. I only had to spend a few minutes in panic until I found and executed the solution. The money was back to me within 24 hours.
Apple has a method in place to handle issues like this through the iTunes store. All you have to do is look at your order history and report a problem. To do this, open iTunes. Go to "purchased" section of the iTunes store. If the purchases were relatively recent, you'll be able to click "Report a Problem" from here. If it's older, you'll have to make a phone call and get a customer service rep on the line. The wait wasn't long at all for me.
To get the customer service people on the line, you need to start at Apple Support Express Lane. You'll choose the iTunes store, the "Purchases, Billing & Redemption." Then click "Continue." Select "iTunes Store account billing, and then choose your device from the drop down list. If you don't know the operating system, just pick the first listed. Enter the item title and the order number from your iTunes store purchase history if you know them. You'll sign in with your apple ID before you get the option to chat live or talk to a person.
Once you get a human on the phone, explain the trouble. They will quickly review your account and verify the problem. They will refund all purchases you did not authorize and offer advice on preventing the problem in the future. The option I liked best was removing all automatic billing from my iTunes account and giving my son a preloaded iTunes card for making purchases. That way he can make his own choices about how to spend the money and I don't have to worry about a stupid mistake like this one occurring again!
The process for Android is nearly the same. You'll go to the Google Play store to report a problem. I can't attest to their customer service, having learned my lessons with iTunes, but it seems it should be easy enough. To change your billing information in Google Play, you need to access your Google Wallet. Remove any credit cards you have in there so you don't have problems with automatic billing. Google makes a prepaid card as well that does the same thing; it's just not as widely available as iTunes cards. You can't find one at CVS or the grocery store. You'll have to buy one online.
Jessica Bosari is a freelance writer and blogger for various publications and her own blog. You can read more of Jessica's work here. If you have any comments or questions about SavingTools.com or about saving money, leave your comments in the form below or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!