When Jeremy Hillman noticed a rogue £73 charge on his credit card he looked into it. And found more.
Jeremy discovered that his 13-year-old son had been buying FIFA Player Packs, using his father's credit card that had previously been registered to purchase the original game:
He tearfully told me that he’d tried to buy a player pack for $100 but it hadn't worked and so he tried a couple more times. Knowingly trying to spend $100 would have been bad enough but if he was telling the truth then this was a one-off aberration — and Microsoft would surely compensate us for the failed purchases.
Of course, it wasn't a once off thing which he discovered upon speaking to the credit card people:
The agent was helpful and said she’d log the incident and someone would get back to me, but as we were finishing the chat she dropped the bombshell. ‘What about the other charges?’ she asked.
With horror I started scrolling through pages of charges — $109, $109, $109 — sometimes two a day. More than $4,500 of charges for virtual FIFA players going back several months. I shouted for my wife, my son was inconsolable.
Microsoft's response was pretty final and effectively amounts to something along the lines of 'Hey, he's your kid'. The last line here might as well read 'it's not our fault you're a bad parent':
Our policy states that all purchases are final and non-refundable. A purchase confirmation email was sent to email: XXXX.XXXX@hotmail.com (his son) each time a purchase was made because that is the email that was designated as a contact email on the billing profile …….. you are responsible for any material that a user of your Services account accesses or is denied access to (including as a result of your use or non-use of Parental Controls). You acknowledge that use of our settings is not a substitute for your personal supervision of minors that use your Services account.
Obviously Jeremy's none-too-pleased with that and questions how Microsoft's system let his son spend so much of his money without telling him. That seems to be the end of it though, with talk that "we’ll have to tighten our belts and forego some luxuries but we will recover relatively quickly."
He's not adverse to maybe getting legal though, with this as a parting shot:
If there’s a lawyer out there that wants to start a class-action against Microsoft and force them into compensation and adopting a better policy I’ll happily sign up.