An Ontario dad was stunned after he received a bill for nearly $8,000 in Xbox charges just two days before Christmas.
According to CBC, Lance Perkins of Pembroke, Ont., was charged $7,625.88 after his 17-year-old son used his credit card for in-game purchases in one of the Xbox FIFA games.
“It floored me. Literally floored me, when I'd seen what I was being charged,” Perkins told the news site.
The father claims the teen “thought it was a one-time fee for the game,” and “never believed he was being charged for every transaction, or every time he went onto the game.”
After contacting his credit card company, Perkins was informed that nothing could be done unless he wanted to charge his son with fraud. The father then contacted Xbox, arguing that his son is a minor.
Xbox is now looking into the issue, but told Perkins that the bill will stand for now.
“Until I actually hear from them, it's actually very discouraging,” the dad said.
According to VideoGamer.com, FIFA games allow users to buy additional players for their team by using FIFA Points. These points are an in-game currency that can be bought using real money.
However, to monitor this and other in-game purchases made by kids, Xbox offers built-in parental controls. In regards to Perkins’ bill, Microsoft, Xbox's parent company, emphasized in a statement that these features are meant to prevent incidents like this from happening.
“Purchases made using a parent's payment account are legitimate transactions under the Microsoft Services Agreement,” the company said. “We encourage parents to use the many platform and service features we make available to prevent unapproved charges.”
Since Perkins’ story was reported, it has made its way on to Reddit, where users have been calling out the teen’s ridiculous excuses for not knowing any better.
“Lol, he thought it was a one-time charge? Oh, even though you have to fund your wallet amount and it asks you to confirm multiple times,” one wrote. “Flat out lying hoping Microsoft will feel bad and refund them. I wouldn't, the kid is 17. Old enough to understand the consequences.”
Despite this, others sympathized with the boy and shared stories from their own experience. “I did this when I was 13 but it wasn't on FIFA,” one said. “I just kept buying random shit from the marketplace and eventually after spending 2,400 quid of films, trailers, music videos and dlc my dad finally notices and calls up his bank to cancel it ahahahaha was so lucky to get away with it.”
It’s true that this isn’t the first time a child has racked up a huge bill for in-game purchases. Just last week, a story broke about a seven-year-old UK boy who charged more than $8,000 to his dad’s credit card while playing an iTunes game.
In another instance from 2013, seven-year-old Canadian twin boys were charged $3,000 for their in-app purchases while playing on their mother’s iPad.
Incidents like these are more common than people think, which is why parents must be wary.
According to John Lawford, executive director of Ottawa’s Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), there are not many laws that protect Canadian consumers so parents must be aware of what games their kids are playing and what kinds of purchases can be made in them.
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