A Canadian teenager has racked up a bill of almost $8,000 on his parent’s credit card after accidentally making a series of in-game purchases in FIFA.
According to Ottawa’s CBC News, Lance Perkins received a credit card bill on December 23rd for $7,625.88. His son had reportedly used the card to make in-game purchases from one of EA’s FIFA soccer games.
“It floored me. Literally floored me, when I’d seen what I was being charged,” Perkins told CBC News. Perkins said his son was given the credit card for emergencies or to make purchases for the family’s convenience store.
“He thought it was a one-time fee for the game,” Perkins said, adding that his son was also shocked by how much he had spent. “He’s just as sick as I am, [because] he never believed he was being charged for every transaction, or every time he went onto the game.”
So far it’s not a happy ending for the father-son. Perkins contacted his credit card company, and was told there was nothing it could do unless he wanted to have his son charged with fraud. Perkins also contacted Xbox and the company said the bill would stand; however, after explaining the situation and that his son was a minor, Xbox said they would look into the charge. The family hasn’t heard anything yet.
“Until I actually hear from them, it’s actually very discouraging,” he said.
Microsoft issued a statement in response to the situation, making note of the Xbox’s parental settings which are designed to prevent minors from making purchases without their parents’ permission.
“Purchases made using a parent’s payment account are legitimate transactions under the Microsoft Services Agreement, and we encourage parents to use the many platform and service features we make available to prevent unapproved charges,” the statement said.
Unlike the United States’ Federal Trade Commission, which is mandated to project consumers from uncompetitive or deceptive business practices, the CBC News report notes a warning from John Lawford, executive director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) in Ottawa: “Few laws exist in Canada to protect consumers here, so parents should make themselves aware of what games their children are playing and learn what sort of in-game purchases they’re able to make, he urged.”
While there may not be a way for Perkins to rectify the current problem, he has a solution to prevent it from further happening. “There will never be another Xbox system — or any gaming system — in my home.”
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.