A child in Spain has received a bill of €100,000 from Google after confusing its AdWords and AdSense services.
José Javier, 12, had signed up for Google’s AdWords program in order to make money from advertisements placed alongside YouTube videos of his band, the Torrevieja llamada Los Salerosos –en inglés, the Torrevieja Fun Guys – named after the Alicante town in which he lives.
Unfortunately for the young musician, Google’s AdWords program is for those wishing to advertise at cost, rather than run advertisements for profit. According to a report Spanish daily El País, José and a friend planned to buy instruments, play music, get rich and buy a mansion by subscribing to the service.
According to El País, after the story hit the press Google’s Spanish offices sent out a statement regarding the billing, explaining that the megacorporation’s team has “analyzed the case”, and not only hasn’t received payment from the family but will proceed to cancel the outstanding balance on its Adwords service.
Google’s statement noted that AdWords has age restrictions in place and encouraged families to familiarise itself with its Safety Center, but the boy’s mother complained to El País that it was too easy for her son to make the purchases from Google, requiring him only to provide his savings account details, which he did in mid-August.
By early September the account was being billed by Google, receiving charges which reportedly rose quickly from an initial €15 to €19,700 at a time until the amount owed hit six figures.
The boy’s mother told the publication that his son did not understand what he did, but was enjoying the fame from the bills. Our dodgy translation tech quotes the father as saying: “I asked him if he knew the possible consequences of what he had done, but apparently [he] does not believe [anything bad would] happen. We are more realistic.”
The child’s parents have reportedly sought legal advice, although El País reckons Google’s swift decision to cancel the bills suggests that won’t be necessary