Local family who lost $12,000 on TikTok in April will receive full refund

Full refund for TikTok family

A Kelowna family who lost $12,000 in TikTok purchases made by their 12-year-old daughter will receive an early Christmas present in the form of a full refund.

The family, who wishes to remain anonymous out of concern for the privacy of their now 13-year-old, had a traumatic experience earlier this year when their credit card bill skyrocketed with Apple purchases.

It was late March when their daughter started to increase her TikTok usage and purchases, buying up the app's virtual coins, which are then exchanged for follows and likes from the most popular TikTok users.

The couple believed they had put a lock on her phone disallowing any purchases using the mother's credit card after it was entered for a one-time app authorization purchase, but received quite the shock when the monthly MasterCard bill turned up.

"The bill arrived and it was for almost $14,000. I started to make some phone calls and in the meantime, we could hear our daughter sobbing in the background.”

More than six months later, the family had not received any promise of a refund from MasterCard, Apple or TikTok, despite numerous requests and conversations with customer service employees. Exasperated and wanting to warn other parents about the situation, they reached out to Castanet.

On Friday, TikTok told Castanet they would "see that these charges are removed," but said refunds are not administered by TikTok - all refunds must be processed through the Apple App Store. 

Prior to the publishing of Castanet's story, Apple had not said whether a refund would be given in these circumstances, and the family had not heard from either company. 

However, on Monday morning Apple said customer service team members will work with the family and that a full refund will be issued. 

The family is overjoyed to know a refund will be heading their way, and say it's the most encouragement they've received since the $14,000 bill arrived in their mailbox in late April.  

"We are so grateful ... I did not even imagine this, this is amazing. This is the best news we've had in months, in regards to this." 

On Apple's website, it states customers should allow up to 48 hours after requesting a refund to receive an update, and up to 30 days for processing. 

To learn more about preventing and/or controlling in-app purchases on an Apple device, visit the Apple Support Centre

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