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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?

TheFallenNinja Sun 12-May-13 14:31:46

To be clear, did he take your debit card and enter the details in himself?

HellesBelles396 Sun 12-May-13 16:49:38

Yes, TheFallenNinja.

SofiaAmes Sun 12-May-13 16:55:20

When my dc's started asking for itunes accounts (age 7 or 8) I set up bank accounts with debit cards for them. They use their own debit cards for any itunes or game accounts rather than my credit card. Obviously there is no overdraft on their accounts. This way they are limited to the balance in their account. It's a safe way for them to understand debit/credit cards and their limitations with the worst consequence being that they spend their entire life savings of $40.

OkayHazel Sun 12-May-13 16:56:14

Santander have been great with me in the past with charges like this. I had a train company charge me for tickets 3 times. Keep trying op!

Bumply Sun 12-May-13 17:07:02

And dragonvale dragons don't die without gems, you can just progress faster with them. I've got to level 38 without spending a penny. Unfortunately children aren't renowned for their patience.

HellesBelles396 Sun 12-May-13 17:16:54

Little sod. He probably was impatient.

He has returned to granny's still without finishing the washing up. Shame they will get him to do theirs instead. Does he really think we don't talk to each other!

I suspect he will come home after school tomorrow.

IrritatingInfinity Sun 12-May-13 17:17:01

We only use iTunes gift cards to minimise the risk of fraudulent use. Apart from Amazon and M&S I don't have my credit or debit card details stored anywhere. I also only use gift cards with our Microsoft account (Xbox) just to minimise the risk of getting the account hacked or accidental purchases.

The other reason is that I buy my iTunes gift cards at HALF PRICE with my tesco points. They only come on offer once or twice a year but when the do I use all my points £££££££.

This is an expired Tesco Deal but it is the type of one I am talking about.

HellesBelles396 Sun 12-May-13 17:17:05

Little sod. He probably was impatient.

He has returned to granny's still without finishing the washing up. Shame they will get him to do theirs instead. Does he really think we don't talk to each other!

I suspect he will come home after school tomorrow.

IrritatingInfinity Sun 12-May-13 17:43:51

Does you son have 'form' for this type of thing. I would be very worried about it. sad It is not a case of an accidental in app purchase.

I think I would be tempted to get rid of his tablet, depending on his general behaviour. I would definitely cut off his access to wireless for a looooong time.

Secondme Sun 12-May-13 17:59:01

This is exactly why we don't have a tablet. grin I recommend getting rid of the tablet. That is an awful lot of money and in no way accidental. Luckily dd is very way of these things. Maybe this will be a good lesson for him. (Thinking positively)

queenofthepirates Sun 12-May-13 18:20:30

I did something similar when about the same age. My parents presented me with a list of chores and scale of charges which I was expected to do until the debt was paid off.

I milked goats for months, I kid you not.

It did teach me how to respect money though and I'm all the better for it.

Startail Sun 12-May-13 18:50:06

I'm glad Google were reasonable.

There ought to be a cap on inap. spending of £45. Ie what a decent Xbox game costs. When your spending reaches that point all levels should unlock or limitless gems be available.

HellesBelles396 Sun 12-May-13 20:30:59

I have his tablet. I do not (though wish I did) have goats.

SoupDragon Mon 13-May-13 07:14:12

I'm really glad you got all the money refunded.

However, really the fault is your son's for stealing your debit card. Does he know you've had the money refunded? I would be making him do "paid" chores until it is paid back.

On the Apple App store, each App has a section called "top in app purchases" which will let you know if there is any expenditure in the game. I think I have disabled in app purchases on the family iPad (and put other parental controls in place) Is this an option on his tablet? Mind you, I guess he'll not be getting it back any time soon!

SoupDragon Mon 13-May-13 07:15:43

DS2 is currently ironing his school shirts at £1 a shirt to pay back the £10 his replacement Oyster card cost me.

DS1 is never going to pay back the cost of 2 replacement braces for ones he lost/broke last summer. He is meant to be mowing the lawn at £5 a go but has broken his arm (grrrr).

Xenia Mon 13-May-13 07:46:03

Make him read books and get rid of the tablet.

Anyway good for the Google and Santander companies for refunding it all. So he took the card without permission but how did he know the PIN?

Xenia Mon 13-May-13 07:46:57

Also this is a very old issue in other areas - teenage children running up £800 phone bills whilst their parents are away 20 years ago was not uncommon and it has often been the case that the parent is liable.

SoupDragon Mon 13-May-13 08:01:23

Xenia, you don't need a PIN online. Or at least 99% of the time you don't.

HellesBelles396 Mon 13-May-13 13:04:16

Tablet has been confiscated.
In-app purchases were through google play.
He did not need a pin.
I do not really care if it has happened to other people before as it is new to me.
I have not and will not tell him the money has been refunded.
He is grounded and will be working for the amount if time it would take me to earn that amount of money.

tb Mon 13-May-13 13:25:54

Not relevant to the uk, but we're on the internet through Orange in France - but might happen in the UK, too - but unless you tick a box buried in their website, you can automatically 'buy' things on the internet.

The amount you pay is then debited automatically - no password, security code etc - from the bank account used to pay the direct debit.

Dd spent about €80 on the penguin game to furnish her appartment, and then some little bastard hacked into her account and stole all her stuff.

We found the box on our account access online, and un-ticked it.

TheFallenNinja Mon 13-May-13 15:38:56

Gotta say when I first read the post I just though ha, another person trying to weasel out of a bill but taking the debit card changes everything.

At least you have been able to take care of the financial impact of the problem but, the taking and using the card is an entirely different thing.

Clearly there has to be consequences and they have to be appropriate and not completely punitive, I used to pinch money off my dad when I was a lad, I was a bit of a tear away and generally felt pretty angry and unloved. My punishment when I got caught was physically excessive to the extreme and just made me less able to climb down from my teen angst.

I'm no softly softly parent and a big believer in discipline but believe that understanding plays a big part of this.

Good luck.

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