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No way to complain, Nintendo Shame

(125 Posts)
Kayela Sat 16-Jan-21 13:05:56

My 10-year-old son spent over £1500 between July 2020 and Dec 2020 on in-game purchases for Fortnite, with my card, without my knowledge.

I didn't notice it, as the card is for a savings account I use every year to save for Xmas (presents, food, treats). I don't look at the account, just put money into it. I know how stupid that sounds now, but it's worked fine for years. When I found out I was devastated and so was my son as he didn't understand the scale of what he'd done or the consequences on the rest of the family.

I contacted my bank who initially said they would be able to help, but after further investigation said they couldn't dispute the charges as it was a 'civil matter', because it was my son that had been using my card, it wasn't fraud.

I contacted Nintendo who confirmed that the quantity and pattern of spend on the account was very irregular and that they would refund the last 90 days. They refunded £500 really quickly (which was helpful during the Xmas period). However, that was 57 days, not 90 days.

I have continued to contact them to try to further the case. I cannot speak or email the same person twice. I cannot speak to a supervisor or manager. They have no complaints process! I am £1000 out of pocket with no way to even complain to a multi-billion dollar company!!

My son will not touch his Switch. He hasn't done so since the evening I found out. We are in a new 'lockdown' and that was the way he socialised with his friends. He has been affected terribly by this, as have I.

Does anyone know of a similar situation, or have any advice for me to further this. I feel strongly that I want to do something to protect others from going through this gut-wrenching situation. More importantly to stop children from being made to feel so awful, depressed, and guilty through Nintendo's utter exploitation and refusal to rectify the situation.

OP’s posts: |
Fatherbrownsbicycle Sat 16-Jan-21 13:15:46

You need to set parental controls.

How to restrict Nintendo eShop purchases on the Nintendo Switch system using the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app
This will block spending and auto-renewals on both the Nintendo eShop and on
Open the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app.
Tap on Console Settings in the lower right corner.
Towards the bottom of the screen below where it says ATTENTION, click on the link to Parental Controls in Nintendo Account.
Select your child’s Nintendo account.
Select Spending/Purchases on Nintendo Switch eShop and
Check the box to disable purchases.
Confirm and save your changes.

NavyFlask Sat 16-Jan-21 13:17:41

How on earth did he have access to your payment details?

YouBoughtMeAWall Sat 16-Jan-21 13:21:07

Tweet Nintendo.

Imiss2019 Sat 16-Jan-21 13:22:12

You have to take some responsibility yourself here too. At 10 YOU should have been drumming it into him about how in app purchasing works and using parental controls.
It’s no good saying you were stupid but then expecting Nintendo to rectify it all. I feel sad for your son but maybe you should sit him down and let him know that you got it wrong too and it’s also partly your fault for not monitoring the situation and making him understand.

CatFaceCats Sat 16-Jan-21 13:23:38

I’m sorry but it is up to you to have parental controls on, or check payment details before handing these things over to a child.
If you were putting payment details into something, why not use your regular debit card or PayPal so you would see the transactions?
My son is 8 and plays robux/fortnight and understands in-game purchases.

CatherineCawood Sat 16-Jan-21 13:24:42

We had a v similar situation. DS spent circa £500 over 6 month period from an account that we also don't regularly check. He took the card from DH's wallet. Also fortnite. We got a 50% or so refund from Nintendo and the switch went on ebay to recoup the other costs.

We thought that we had set up parental controls and didn't have a card saved on the system. But DS found a work around by stealing DH's card.

Fortnite is very addictive by all accounts. It is now banned in our house.

Partly our fault, we should have been more on it. However we did think that we had set up the controls ok. Also DS had to, and still does, hand in devices overnight but he was sneaking back into our room in the middle of the night and taking them back to play on. DS has ADHD so can be impulsive. At the time we hadn't put him on medication and thought we were doing OK, clearly not!

Sorry to hear that you have also gone through it. It's crap.

NavyFlask Sat 16-Jan-21 13:24:45

Is there not some sort of email alert when a purchase is made? My DH has a switch, and I'm pretty sure he gets an email when he's made an online purchase (Nintendo estore)

Imiss2019 Sat 16-Jan-21 13:28:12

Yes we get emails from Microsoft for any purchases

Itsokthanks Sat 16-Jan-21 13:29:17

I'm sorry but this is down to you for not putting parenteral controls on and also talking to him about not making purchases without asking you. He's old enough to understand but you're the one at fault really. It's not like this is a new thing that parents aren't aware of.

babblingbumblingbandofbaboons Sat 16-Jan-21 13:31:27

It’s good that Nintendo have refunded £500, though as they’ve said they’ll refund 90 days and that money only covers 57 I would perhaps see if you can tweet them / find details of their UK senior leadership via Twitter or LinkedIn etc and get in touch that way, as a search of their site or a more general google doesn’t seem to bring up a defined escalation route for complaints . You’ve obviously had poor customer service and that’s frustrating.

However, it’s not Nintendo’s (or any other platforms) responsibility to prevent your son making in game purchases. They haven’t exploited anyone. It’s your responsibility to understand and implement parental controls on purchases on any devices and also to teach your son that it’s not in game money he’s spending, it’s real cash and he should not purchase anything (or be able to!) without checking with you.

NavyFlask Sat 16-Jan-21 13:31:41

Presumably DS is using your profile on the switch? As Fortnite is rated 12, his account wouldn't allow him access because he's 10?
If you've allowed him on your profile unrestricted then I am supposing he can use whatever payment details you have stores with them. Isn't there a passcode to type in when a purchase is made? Or did you not set that up?

sunnysidegold Sat 16-Jan-21 13:32:13

I think there are a few issues here.

One is how the money got spent - I think that for him to have your payment details linked to his account is your responsibility. The way to do this is outlined above and should save any further incidents happening. I don't think this is Nintendo's fault. Doesn't make the situation any easier for you, and I'd have bee. Gutted to discover that so close to Christmas.

The second issue is the customer service. I think they have been good to offer the 90 day refund, but have been a bit crap at following through. Are you certain payments were made between days 57-90? I would take names of everyone you speak to and then try to escalate as best you can.

The third is what you call Nintendo causing children to be depressed and exploited. I don't know if this is what they have done. I think by now it is common enough knowledge that you need parental controls on devices. I think that you should have done that. You don't say how your son got your card details - perhaps he needs more education into how bank cards and credit cards work, how in app purchases cost real money. I know some banks offer school money programmes to help children learn how to budget and stuff, maybe that is an avenue you could pursue. Or perhaps speak to school to see if there is something they can do to warn more children or parents about this.

Sounds like a rotten situation op, I hope you get a response soon.

sunnysidegold Sat 16-Jan-21 13:33:37

@babblingbumblingbandofbaboons you put that much more succinctly than I did.

Bunnybigears Sat 16-Jan-21 13:33:50

I would thank your lucky stars you got anything back. How did he get the card details? If you just use it for savings I doubt you entered them into the switch, so did he steal them from you?

MarmiteWine Sat 16-Jan-21 13:42:38

I think Nintendo have acted fairly here. The purchases were over a prolonged period of time and, to their knowledge, could well have been authorised by you. I'd say this is a different situation to a single one-off purchase that was noticed fairly quickly.

As other posters have said, you need to accept some of the responsibility too. You didn't set the appropriate parental controls and you don't appear to have adequately monitored your young DSs use of the Switch over that period.

I'm also concerned that you don't monitor your card transactions either. You say you don't look at the account, what if the card details had been used by fraudsters over the same period of time?

Your family has learned an expensive lesson. It can't be easy knowing that the money has gone in this way but I hope you can take some reassurance that it was at least excess funds in a savings account rather than money required for day to day living.

OliviaKeeling Sat 16-Jan-21 13:44:03

You let your child play a game he's not old enough, nor mature enough to play. A child that didn't realise that in-game extras cost real money.

Nintendo have generously offered you some money back. Yes, do your sums by all means and work out how much they “owe” you for the 90 days and chase them for the balance over the £500 they've gifted you but you should be looking far closer to home for whose fault it is.

lughnasadh Sat 16-Jan-21 13:45:44

Was he on your user?

Child accounts don't save card details.

OrangePlumGrape Sat 16-Jan-21 13:46:54

Anything involving Nintendo is an absolute nightmare. My dh doesn’t have a switch but set an account up so that my son could register a child’s account off it and my son tried to spend some of his birthday money on the estore. The credit has registered to my husband’s account so my son can’t spend it and we have been going back and forth since December trying to get it resolved. Weeks between emails. They are awful to deal with.

Honeybobbin Sat 16-Jan-21 13:52:10

This might be unpopular on here but you say you want to stop your DS feeling 'awful, depressed and guilty'... he's stolen a grand and a half!!!!!! How exactly do you think he should be feeling? He's 10, not 4. He knew exactly what he was doing and it is despicable behaviour. In the long run you are doing him no favours by blaming Nintendo. Who will you blame next time he steals?

namechange202086 Sat 16-Jan-21 13:55:47

This is not Nintendo’s fault. They’ve been fair and refunded some of the money. Put on parental controls and monitor his gaming.

ScottishStottie Sat 16-Jan-21 14:00:46

At 10 years old he should definitely be aware that money is real and not an infinite resource. So i think he should be feeling guilty about spending £1500 on a stupud game. Harsh way to learn the lesson, but it needed taught. Does he know how much your weekly shop is? How much bills are? Perhaps this is a conversation you need to have with him.

SlippersForFlippers Sat 16-Jan-21 14:03:00

I'd be grateful they gave any money back at all.

Whiskysoda Sat 16-Jan-21 14:08:36

This is not Nintendo’s fault. They’ve been fair and refunded some of the money. Put on parental controls and monitor his gaming

This in bucket loads!

BumbleBiscuit Sat 16-Jan-21 14:10:26

You dropped the ball on this one OP.

First thing you do is set parental controls with any device to not only prevent this kind of thing happening but to keep your child safe. Expensive parenting lesson for you.

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