A father and son discover that nearly $8,000 has been charged to the father’s credit card, entirely consisting of microtransaction purchases in FIFA for Xbox.
With developers making billions off microtransactions and the in-game purchases appearing in games on consoles and mobile phones alike, it’s not a big surprise that kids find ways to illicitly charge their parents’ credit cards for them. However, one parent is utterly stunned, as his child somehow managed to spend $8,000 all on a game.
Lance Perkins got an unpleasant surprise when his latest credit card statement came in, discovering a whopping $7,625.88 in charges from Xbox Live. Shockingly, these charges were accumulated over a single month, all generated through microtransaction purchases in FIFA. Worse still, Perkins gave his son a credit card for emergency expenses, so he has no legal grounds to refuse the charges made in FIFA.
According to Perkins, his 17-year-old son claims that he had no idea that such a massive bill would be charged to the credit card. Apparently, his son thought that he was placing a one-time fee onto the card, and he was supposedly as shocked as his father. However, considering that most games either require you to verify your purchase, purchase marketplace currency, or both, the son’s allegations seem hard to believe.
In any case, it’s hardly the first incident where a child has wracked up massive fees to a parent’s account. Recently, a 7-year-old managed to charge $6,000 in Jurassic World microtransactions to his parent’s iTunes account in just over a week. However, while Microsoft has thus far been unwilling to refund the money, Apple agreed to – perhaps because of the child’s young age.
Problems like these have led some to feel that freemium games need more protections to prevent these kinds of massive charges to credit cards. While the Xbox does offer options to prevent microtransaction purchases of any kind, many parents are content to simply let their children loose on the console and are never aware of these options themselves. Perkins seems to be one of the unlucky ones, and he’s sworn that no video game consoles will be allowed into his household from this point forward as a result.
There are a lot of people who wish microtransactions would go away completely, with even Kanye West speaking out against microtransactions in games for kids. Admittedly, these charges are primarily the fault of the son, who used the credit card for something he knew he shouldn’t have. However, it’s amazing that game and console companies have no qualms over a single gamer purchasing thousands of dollars worth of microtransactions in a single week or month. In addition, while credit card companies will block purchases made a few towns over as being suspicious, apparently massive online purchases made to the iTunes store or Xbox don’t set off any alarms.
Perhaps in time, protections will be put in place to reverse or prevent these kinds of charges from being made. As it stands, though, any parent with a kid who enjoys video games should make sure to never let them have access to in-app or in-game purchases, or they might make headlines like these.
Source: CBC News Canada