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Online spending by children

(46 Posts)
HellesBelles396 Sat 11-May-13 20:27:17

My 12yo has been buying upgrades for an online game - a few hundred pounds worth. I have cancelled my bank card to prevent any payments coning out of my account. I am now a couple of hundred pounds overdrawneven though I have moved my pitiful savings into that account and I will have about 500 pounds of charges next month because it has come off in multiple small payments.

Can the game company really be allowed to take money from my bank account on the authority of a 12yo? Do I have any option of redress? If so, how would I go about this in a way that doesn't cost me logged loads more money?

loismustdieatyahoodotcom Sat 11-May-13 22:32:09

I know a dew friends who have had this problem with their children in the I store and all have been refunded and shown how to turn on in app purchases. I would ring the relevant customer service and explain, they ball seem quite god in situations like this.

IrritatingInfinity Sun 12-May-13 00:01:09

What platform and what type of games?

... and what were you thinking! shock

Sorry blush honestly, you have my sympathies but havent you seen any of the publicity on this?

The online games with in app purchases are really sneaky and deceitful (but you can easily turn off in app purchases in your permissions setting on Apple products).

Did your son have access to your passwords? The good news is that If its Apple you are quite likely to get your money back.

At 12 your son should have known what he was doing.

There have been cases where little kids have spent thousands shock

Good luck, I hope it gets sorted. smile

HellesBelles396 Sun 12-May-13 08:08:35

It was on google play, I can't find a nuumber for them.

He was using my debit card without permission.

IrritatingInfinity Sun 12-May-13 10:02:36

That is a shame it is Google Play but there may still be something you can do. If you can afford to loose the money then that would be the easiest option as I don't think there are any guarentee switch getting it returned.

Firstly you can contact Google Play by email, do this as soon as possible. When were the purchases made? Hopefully, within the last 24 hours or so.

You can contact them here

Their refund policy is pretty poor REFUND policy but it looks like you may be able to get an extension to the 15 grace period. you may have 48 hours to claim a refund

Alternatively, you should contact the actual GAME DEVELOPER. Here are possible instructions on to how to request a refund
from the Game Developer. I have no idea if this would help but it may be worth a try.

Finally you could try contacting you bank and see if there is anything they can do. I suspect not but its also worth a try.

The only other thing I can think of is to post on MoneySavingExpert. They have more traffic for this type of thing.

It is an awful situation you are in but you are not the first!

I really hope you get it sorted.

AgentProvocateur Sun 12-May-13 10:08:09

I think you'd only get a goodwill refund if it was an in-app purchase - not if he'd used your debit card. I think you'll have to explain the situation to your bank, accept the debits, but beg them not to add charges.

Has the 12-year-old got any savings you could use? I hope he's contrite, and realises its theft.

TheFallenNinja Sun 12-May-13 10:11:36

How did he get your password?

CajaDeLaMemoria Sun 12-May-13 10:16:53

So do you mean that he found your debit card and put the number in?

If so, I believe the only way to get a refund would be to call the police, and get a crime reference number. As your son is 12, he may be arrested. This is happening more and more frequently.

You could appeal to Google play, but I believe they've tightened up their refund policy (the same as Apple) because this was happening so often, despite continuous warnings from them re not telling children passwords etc.

Could you ask the bank for an authorised overdraft to prevent further charges? Does your son have any savings you could use?

Startail Sun 12-May-13 10:17:37

Google accounts are awful, I can't work out how to password protect DDs phone so people can't buy things.

At present the card number is cancelled (unrelated fraud that MasterCard stopped instantly), but I don't want to sort it out.

DDs really good, she(15) and she knows the iTunes password and pays up no trouble. It's having the phone stolen at school that worries me.

HellesBelles396 Sun 12-May-13 10:19:25

I immediately stopped my bank card. It wss the card for my bills account or I would have noticed it more quickly. I have asked if thr charges can be spread over a number of months as they exceed my monthly income. I'll have to wait and see on that one.

I have emailed google play, they have said they will refund his purchases (£436). I have raised the matter of the £1095 of charges this spending spree will have incurred. I doubt they will compensate me for that.

I have also emailed the oft as they are investigating in-game selling to children. Apparently, his dragons would have died if he didn't buy gems.

Startail Sun 12-May-13 10:20:21

Yes, DD pass locks her whole phone, but that's really easy to copy over her shoulder. What I want to know is how do you set a password for the actual google account, so it asks every time you try and buy things like my iPhone and the kindle fire do.

IrritatingInfinity Sun 12-May-13 10:23:23

I agree that the best way to present your case to google or the developer is to appeal to their better nature. I would let them know just how much the money means to you. I would consider sending them a screenshot of your bank balance (with the sensitive bits of info blanked out). I would also let them know if there are other extenuating circumstances. It isn't their fault but they may still refund.

Which game is it?


HellesBelles396 Sun 12-May-13 10:31:32

Dragon Vale. He asked if he could download it, I looked at it and it seemed like a suitable children's game. No mention that purchases would be required to play the game. So I said he could.

I didn't say he could buy anything.

IrritatingInfinity Sun 12-May-13 10:38:24

Sorry xPosted

That is good to hear that GooglePlay will refund the in app purchases. I don't think they will make a contribution to the bank charges either. That is an awful lot of bank charges!

Are the bank being at all helpful?

I know it sounds silly but I have some (a little tiny tiny bit) of sympathy for you son. These games are designed to be extremely addictive. You should take a look at the Candy Crush threads where grown women (presumably become completely roped in )

IrritatingInfinity Sun 12-May-13 10:44:04

DragonVale 'looks' like a free kiddies game but you can makes individual purchases of a trunk of gems for £69. That is disgraceful isn't it angry

There are lots of other stories about the same thing happening with this game. sad

HellesBelles396 Sun 12-May-13 10:45:12

63 purchases mostly £1.25, £3.12 or £6.25. Some at £15.64, £31.29 and £62.58.

The first 22 payments used up the overflow I keep in my bills account. The next 41 incurred charges of £25 pounds each. Plus£10 a day unauthorised overdraft charges

These dragons have cost me £1530.85 and quite a few tears.

IrritatingInfinity Sun 12-May-13 11:31:50

If you don't mind me asking what bank is it?

HellesBelles396 Sun 12-May-13 11:47:15


LalyRawr Sun 12-May-13 11:52:48

You might have half a chance with Santander. I had a fuck up on my phone bill with T Mobile where they somehow decided to bill me for 6 months in one hit, which took me overdrawn.

Santander did refund the charges (and T Mobile the money!) but on,y after I got incredibly shirty with them. Though, this was only £70, so nowhere near the amount you're looking at...

CajaDeLaMemoria Sun 12-May-13 12:47:40

I don't think Google play will be able to refund the bank charges. To be honest, they've been really nice to refund all the payments!

I'd speak to Santander. I'd mention both thattthe charges are disproportionate, and that I'd expect them to notify me of such repeat and unusual spending. You may at least get them reduced?

HellesBelles396 Sun 12-May-13 13:06:36

I do not think google have been nice at all. They have absolutely failed in several key obligations. They have promoted a game containing aggressive advertising to be ajmed at children. They have not checked that he had permission to use a card in someone else's name. I imagine that they are more concerned with potential court cases and the resulting publicity.

My son has "moved out" to granny's house but did not told her why. I expect him home as soon as he has.

This is in protest against having his tablet confiscated and being grounded for the amount of time it would take me to earn the amount he spent plus the maximum possible bank charges.

HellesBelles396 Sun 12-May-13 13:23:01

Yup. The boy is home and much more amenable.

Santander have waived the charges after I phoned and asked for a payment plan to meet the costs involved. They have also added an arranged overdraft to reduce further charges.

Nothing further from google play so I will just have to wait and see whether they stick to their word.

ParkerTheThief Sun 12-May-13 13:23:37

Was the google account in your name or your son's name?

I'm not sure why you feel google should refund any more than they have.

IrritatingInfinity Sun 12-May-13 13:38:35

What a huge, huge relief for you. Time for a wine

Fair play to Santander for removing the charges.

(although I better not comment on them having such punitive and ridiculous overdrawn charges in the first place angry )

I hope your son will learn from this. It's a a really stupid thing for a 12 to do but I guess he knows that now smile.

HollaAtMeBaby Sun 12-May-13 13:49:44

Sell the tablet for a start - that should go some way to covering your charges.

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