North Carolina Department of Justice

North Carolina Department of Justice

North Carolina Department of Justice
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Some “Free” Apps Can Cost a Pretty Penny

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Many consumers are buying smartphones or other electronic devices because of the large variety of applications (apps) that are available for downloading. Apps are useful or entertaining software programs, and many are free or available for just a dollar or so. However, some free apps can actually end up costing you a lot of money.
 
Here’s an example: after you sign into your iTunes account to download a free app, your account (which is linked to a credit card) remains open for purchases for the next 15 minutes. Some free apps, like the popular game Smurf’s Village, include items that can be bought online to enhance or advance the player’s position in the game. In the case of Smurf’s Village, these items can cost from $60 to $100 each—meaning that if your child starts using the app immediately after it’s purchased, hefty unwanted costs can pile up quickly.
 
Mobile devices are helpful, handy, and entertaining. But any device that is linked to a credit card can lead to unexpected costs, especially if it isn’t secured to prevent purchases when children use it.
 
If you feel that charges have been unfairly or inappropriately added to your bill, contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s office at 1-877-NO-SCAM.