back to article Boy, 4, presses dad's iPhone, wins £500 eBay auction

A four year-old boy bid £500 for - and won - a bookplate signed by JK Rowling - while playing with his dad's iPhone. His father, James Hinton, 30, had been browsing eBay for signed books, when a call of nature intervened. He put his phone down on the sofa, and went to the toilet. Thirty seconds later, he returned to find his …


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  1. Jeremy Chappell


    The rug-rat could have just chucked the phone and broke it - more than £500 down. Lesson: "Don't let your rug-rats play with your iPhone". Seems pretty simple!

  2. The Dark Lord

    Aye, that's iPhones for you

    My wife's iPhone holds a magnetic attraction to the children. Especially the youngest. Collectively, the children have managed to tweet, update Facebook status, "Like" items on Facebook, and make calls. Tthe eldest is 5. The youngest likes to carry it around. In her mouth.

    And this is wifey's second iPhone. The first died of water ingestion.

    I'm all in favour of computing for the masses, but the problem with devices like iPhones (*) is that by obfuscating the technology they remove a user's investment in the sensitivity of the device. They remove the user's feeling of "duty of care". And so, such "accidents" happen.

    I'm sick to the back teeth of telling the wife to look after her phone. To always hit the standby button on the top of it, which will at least protect it until the kids figure out the unlock code. She doesn't listen, and yet to replace it would cost £500. Think of how a £500 ornament would be protected! And yet iPhone is left lying around.

    (*) not just iPhones, society in general, I guess.

    1. chr0m4t1c

      Not limited to iPhones

      My wife has always treated her mobiles like that.

      She went to the trouble of getting a protective case for the last two, but then spoilt it by forever taking the phones out of the case to use them and "forgetting" to put them back in.

      I have a number of friends who kill phones in various ways on a regular basis. One chap said to me that he never puts his phone in his pocket, but holds it in his hand all of the time and lost it less than 24 hours later when he left it on the roof of his car.

      These people are the ones I never lend things like DVDs or books to because they're generally careless with most stuff that passes through their mitts.

      On the other hand I have other friends who are careful with anything and have even offered to purchase replacements if there is an accident (e.g. spilt drink on a book).

  3. Darren Coleman
    Thumb Up

    That old chestnut

    The old "my small child pressed a button on my PC/iPhone, it's definitely not me having second thoughts and/or seeing the same item listed elsewhere for cheaper" excuse. A classic.

    1. Lionel Baden

      actually happns

      Happened to me literally yesterday

      But not on a Iphone my boy (3) likes to go on the computer and he has figured out how to buy stuff on ebay (not search just buy thank god )

      the missus left a page open went to the kitchen to get a drink and he had bought a £35 ugly brown bean bag :/

      emailed seller and they were nice enough to let me off

      i also gett pee'ed off with teh amount of desktop shortcuts !

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    Surely the point of a mobile phone is you can just put it in your pocket and take it with you, not leave it laying about?

    Oh, hang on, this is an iPhone, I guess it was plugged into the charger as usual.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Jobs Horns


      You must be thinking of some other kind of phone. iPhone's don't fit in your pocket.

  5. Squirrel
    Thumb Up

    cool name for a dog

    cool name for a dog ... oh wait :(

  6. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    "Boy, 4, presses dad's iPhone, wins £500 eBay auction"


    "Man, drunk, wins ebay auction, sobers up and blames it on child"

    You decide...

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Paul Hates Handles


    ...don't you have to type your password in when you buy it now or bid? :)

  9. Wize

    Its not rocket science

    Keep phones away from children. There have been many cases of kids dialling 999 while playing about, and you can even do that with most locked phones.

    Now the dilemma. Cough up the cash or get bad feedback...

    1. armyknife

      Better a meritocracy than titles

      "Now the dilemma. Cough up the cash or get bad feedback..."

      buyer can't no longer received negative feedback.

    2. MattyB

      No Bad Feedback

      Sellers haven't been able to leave negative feedback for buyers for over a year now.... and any "negative" comments left under a positive feedback are removed be eBay also.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Grrrr.... i hate fleabay

        I hate the fact you cant give negative feedback to buyers... they are all angels arn't they... not !!!

        I began selling a few items on ebay i could get my hands on very cheap. (and legitimately too!!!). One buyer, over several days (probably about 2 weeks in total) bid on and won several of the items listed. They then decided to rate me 1 star on each of the purchases for P&P...

        Later that month (December 2009), i get a message from ebay, placing restrictions on my account. I can only sell 2 items a week and cant list anything for over £20... I was not happy.

        my overall rating for p&p is 4.2 out of 5 over 27 ratings. but as they only allow a maximum of 4% of ratings to be 1 or 2 stars over the previous 12 months, the restrictions will be in place until my DSR is above this minimum.

        now, because of the limits, it is going to take me until at least November of this year to get above the minimum requirements, but more likely will be December when the rogue ratings are over 12 months old.

        I contacted eBay over this matter and they are not interested. They just don’t care. Even when I checked out the the buyer and found that they are selling the same items i was selling

        I contacted eBay again, telling them that this buyer just pulled a fast one, as they sell the same items and just eliminated competition, broke down the cost of my p&p (actual postal costs, padded envelopes, travel to post office) to prove the p&p was not excessive and a true and accurate charge for p&p. Ebay were still not interested in dealing with it.

        When i looked at how many items the buyer was selling and how much ebay were probably making from this "power seller" i am not surprised they didn’t want to know.

        If there was another online auction site that had the customer base that fleabay has I would dump them. Sadly, they have the monopoly !!!

  10. James Hughes 1

    Happened to me....

    Let sprog play games on my phone. Two months later got a bill for £10 that I didn't recognise at all. He must have pressed some Buy the whole game button. O2 were bloody useless when I tried to get the money back (didn't even receive the unlock codes as far as I can tell, so £10 for sod all). They were even unable to provide me with details on what the bill was for, and accused my son of deliberately subscribing to some football text message scheme.

    In the end, I had no come back, no way of identifying who had charged me, and O2 hung up on me (well, I did accuse the call centre woman of being less intelligent than my 7 year old son). Boy, was I angry. Still annoys me now. And it was only £10!!

  11. m3ckon

    Simple Solution

    Surely he can just not pay them?

    I know that goes against the ebay principle, but what are they going to do, give him a bad rating, better than losing $500

  12. Shane 8

    Another excuse...

    Well it seems better than the cat on the keyboard excuse.

  13. John Dougald McCallum

    eBay purchases/bidding

    @PaulHatesHandles yes you do have to be logged in to bid or buy on eBay.If you want to see whats on eBay just load the website and browse usualy a load of crap that escaped the Sunday car boot sale.

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