For their five-year-old boy left left them facing a £1,700 bill after downloading an iPad game.
Danny Kitchen asked his dad, Greg, for his passcode to get the free Zombies Vs Ninjas game. Greg, very sensibly, refused, but then keyed in the code himself as a one-off. But then Danny went on to download 19 extras costing £69.99 each - in just 10 minutes.
In the game, players throw 'darts' or 'bombs' at zombies that appear on the screen. Once a level is completed there is an option to continue playing or buy more darts and bombs, costing 69p for three of each - or £69.99 for 90,000 darts or 333 bombs.
Danny's mum, Sharon, only found out about the huge cost when she checked her emails and saw receipts from iTunes. And in a further twist of the knife, Apple has refused to reimburse them – despite agreeing to fork out £66million in compensation for Americans.
Sharon and Greg, from Bristol, have contacted Apple to try to recoup their money but are yet to hear any news.
Sharon told her local paper: "On Sunday afternoon Danny asked my husband for the passcode. We had lots of visitors in the house and were both a little preoccupied. "I recall my husband saying 'No - what is it for?' and Danny said 'It's OK, it's a free one, dad'. So my husband keyed in the pass code.
"The following day I noticed there were many emails from iTunes. I read a couple and thought it must be a mistake, as there were so many.
"But I checked my bank account online and there were no transactions so I just forgot about it.
"Later on in the day I received a phone call from the credit card people asking if 19 transactions of £69.99 each were normal. Much to my horror, my son had clocked up £1,329."
Two days later Sharon received yet another email from Apple saying that the bill had increased to £1,700 as pending purchases had gone through since the initial bill.
Sharon said: "When I realised I called my husband and asked him to sort this out.
"As of yet we are still waiting for iTunes to recognise that this was a big mistake.
"Danny has been in tears when we told him how much money he had spent.
"Loads of parents in the playground said similar things had happened to them but for a lot less money."
A spokesman for Apple said: "All iOS devices (iPad, iPhone and iPod touch) have built in parental controls that give parents and guardians the ability to restrict access to content, e.g internet access and age rated content such as music, games, apps, TV shows, movies etc.
"Parental controls also give parents and guardians the option to turn off functionality such as purchasing from iTunes and the ability to turn off in-app purchases.
"Our parents' guide to iTunes details the steps and measures parents and guardians can take to make sure younger players have access to the right content. The first thing we recommend is not to share your password."
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