A 12-year-old Spanish boy, who wanted to make his brass band famous, accidentally racked up a bill of €100,000 (£88,000, $112,000) in advertising fees with Google. It all started in August 2016 when the boy named Jose Javier, from the city of Torrevieja created an account with AdWords – an online advertising service by Google where advertisers can create ads online to reach out to consumers.
Jose thought he would earn his band money if people clicked on the link to his website, but the service works the other way around. The boy had provided his banking details while opening the account for the service and was being charged every time someone clicked on the link of his site, according to the BBC.
The service can be used to promote businesses, help sell products as well as increase traffic to websites. An advertiser can choose where their ad appears and can set a budget accordingly for it to be displayed on the search engine.
Nonetheless, when Google realised that the boy had made a mistake it decided to waive the bill. A spokeswoman for the company said on 5 October, "it was all a mistake and that he did it without thinking. A 12-year-old boy doesn't want to start spending 100,000 euros."
Inma Quesada, Jose's mother told El Pais that her son "wanted to buy instruments for the band [Los Salerosos]", where he is a trumpeter. Jose's parents learnt about the incident only after the bank called them up and informed them about the charges.