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11 year old runs up £3k F2P bill, refused refund and told to "think happy thoughts"

playXray

Member
It happens.

Sure, there's a chance that most of these transactions were duplicate due to technical issues with the apps in question. However, I think there's a much higher chance that this is just an 11 year-old kid who got himself in trouble and has made some stuff up to get out of it.

And don't forget, this is a story in the mainstream UK print media - there's almost certainly been bullshit added just to make it more newsworthy.
 

kswiston

Member
"Like thousands of other parents"...?

I'm sure thousands of parents hand over their debit card details to their 11 year olds. Yeah, right.

There are. Even if it's like 1 in 20 parents who are doing that, there are millions of 11 year olds in North America and Europe.

Personally, when my daughter gets to the age that she wants to buy stuff in mobile games, I will be using those pre-paid cards so that she has a monthly limit of $20 (or something equivalent a decade from now).
 

Aureon

Please do not let me serve on a jury. I am actually a crazy person.
Read the OP?

I think many people would press a button repeatedly when nothing happens the first time. It is not the child or the mother's fault at all, and they should be refunded.

No-confirmation purchases should be straight up illegal.
 

billyxci

Permabanned.
I don't have sympathy for these people who allow this to happen. You're an irresponsible parent/guardian. Stop trying to put the blame on Google/Apple. They have restrictions in place to stop this but some people are just too stupid to enforce them. If you go into debt it's your own fault.

"I'll contact The Google and get a refund!" Nope.
 

Junahu

Member
This thread is terrifying on so many levels. It's scary that the child wasn't properly supervised. It's scary that the transactions were being processed but the digital goods weren't being delivered. It's scary that f2p models facilitate this level of unhealthy spending.

But the scariest thing is how many people feel vindicated by this, as if being naive with credit details is a crime that deserves to be punished. It's definitely irresponsible, but the solution isn't to kick them in the face with a £3,000 bill and laugh at them. That kind of debt is ruinous to a family.
 

kswiston

Member
Read the OP?

No-confirmation purchases should be straight up illegal.

Google Play gives you a confirmation of purchase through Android. Having been an 11 year old boy, and having purchased stuff myself in F2P titles (if not Clash of Clans specifically), I think it is more likely that he got sucked into making small purchases and lost track of how much was actually being spent.

Someone can confirm for Clash, but most games kick you out of the purchase menu when you have successfully paid, or if the payment doesn't go through for whatever reason.
 

ArtHands

Thinks buying more servers can fix a bad patch
This thread is terrifying on so many levels. It's scary that the child wasn't properly supervised. It's scary that the transactions were being processed but the digital goods weren't being delivered. It's scary that f2p models facilitate this level of unhealthy spending.

But the scariest thing is how many people feel vindicated by this, as if being naive with credit details is a crime that deserves to be punished. It's definitely irresponsible, but the solution isn't to kick them in the face with a £3,000 bill and laugh at them. That kind of debt is ruinous to a family.

They are still investigating the case. Digital goods not being delivered is just that family's assumption at the moment.
 
Why don't people use a password on Google play?
Also sadly this happens too much with freemium games. But normally the kid is younger like all the 5 year olds that do this.

I know google stopped labeling them F2P but cant someone put a daily limit on the games. Or shouldn't credit card companies pick up on over excessive spending on things like google or apple, or is that wishful thinking?
 

Molemitts

Member
But the scariest thing is how many people feel vindicated by this, as if being naive with credit details is a crime that deserves to be punished. It's definitely irresponsible, but the solution isn't to kick them in the face with a £3,000 bill and laugh at them. That kind of debt is ruinous to a family.

Thank you! I think many people in this thread should really take in that point.
 

ChrisD

Member
I sometimes wonder if I would have had the same responsible mindset I had as a kid if I was growing up in today's micro transaction age. Shoot, at eleven I knew my Mom and Dad's PayPal credentials, Bank credentials, and my Dad's eBay login info. I was also making listings on eBay, packing the items up safely, and writing the adressesses nicely enough that they always made it where they were supposed to go.

But this was also when a micro transaction was a bar of candy at the store. It's hard for current day me to be as responsible as eleven-year-old me at times with everything at fingertips.
 

kswiston

Member
Why don't people use a password on Google play?
Also sadly this happens too much with freemium games. But normally the kid is younger like all the 5 year olds that do this.

I know google stopped labeling them F2P but cant someone put a daily limit on the games. Or shouldn't credit card companies pick up on over excessive spending on things like google or apple, or is that wishful thinking?

The problem is that you shouldn't limit adults who want to waste hundreds of dollars in a day on F2P stuff. If it's legal to gamble away thousands during a night at a casino, this isn't any different, even if it is typically irresponsible.

I suppose Google Play could set a default $100 limit that one could opt out of by re-entering their password. It wouldn't stop kids who know your password from racking up charges, but it would make it harder to do so for those that don't.
 

Iokis

Member
The amount of vicious comments in this thread is fairly disheartening.

I'm inclined to believe the kid's story. It was mentioned in the article that earlier payments were agreed upon between the mother and the child, making it more likely that the kid has a relatively good understanding of the consequences of making in-app purchases.

Does that make it necessarily wise to give the kid full access to the card? Arguably not, but even so the child's version of events seems very plausible to me.

Also, this is easily a mistake an adult can make. I'm willing to bet many, many people here have had experiences with adult computer users who, for example, click "Print" or their Internet Explorer icon multiple times when it doesn't initially print or open up, just to have 40 copies print or 40 instances of IE all open at once at them.

But by all means judge her credibility as a parent based on this one snapshot into her life and laugh at her potentially devastating financial loss (I know I'd be pretty fucked if I lost €3k out of my bank account in short order).
 

Fbh

Member
Well you shouldn't NEVER give your kid your credit card info or give him a device that's tied to your CD without at least setting up a password for purchases.

With that being said, shouldn't they be be forced to give them a refund if the kid never got the in game credit? The article makes it sound as if he paid for something he never recieved
 

Stuart444

Member
All I'm going to say is...

IF the story is true and there was an error, Google would be able to look at transaction history, see if said credits were given and then spent by the user and if so, show that to the parents as proof that the child was lying. (This should be easy to do on Googles side)

If however Google (who would be able to contact the app developer assuming only they have access to records of what the credits were spent on) can't show these records then I'd say the story could be true and thus a refund would be deserved.

Sounds like this could be solved in a few days - a week.
 
My 2 opinionz here:

1) handing your child your phone without a credit card lock/password is plain stupid even if you know your child is buying stuff on the store

2) if infact there was nothing showing up even after the purchace then they should have the right to be refunded

Google should pretty much crack down on this matter since this is getting out of hand, make it compulsory for a purchase to ask for a password
 

Madness

Member
"I can’t believe that Google don’t have processes in place to stop this happening,” Penny says.

They do. Google now has ten minute refund windows on purchases. If you buy something and then even quickly uninstall your money gets refunded. Plus they have parental controls, and password protected authorization for purchases. Don't blame Google because of your lapse in judgment giving your 11 year old your credit card. This just means you were ignorant of the technology yourself if you consider your 11 year old tech savvy.

I hate the excuse culture parents instill today. It's your fault and your son's fault. Not Google's. Own upto it. Sure these f2p and mobile apps purposely are made to make money, but that's life. Are you going to blame the telephone companies next if you accidentally call or text one of those programs which automatically starts a subscription to deduct money too?
 

Nipo

Member
Why don't they just make it so all accounts are limited to $100 a month of in-app purchases but you can opt-out of that if you log in and consent to covering all charges.
 

Arkaerial

Unconfirmed Member
Ugh, well maybe she won't be so trustworthy with her credit card.

If they didn't receive what they purchased why not request a charge back. Sure the account goes bye bye, but you get your stuff back. I'd almost do that just to spite the asshole customer support agents "think happy thoughts" statement.

Slightly off topic why don't parents get a card that they have to add money to. Give it to the kid and put some money on it. If they waste it, they don't get anymore until maybe once a month. Now you protect your account and teach your kids fiscal responsibility.
 

ArtHands

Thinks buying more servers can fix a bad patch
My 2 opinionz here:

1) handing your child your phone without a credit card lock/password is plain stupid even if you know your child is buying stuff on the store

2) if infact there was nothing showing up even after the purchace then they should have the right to be refunded

Google should pretty much crack down on this matter since this is getting out of hand, make it compulsory for a purchase to ask for a password

Its a tradeoff where it will cause inconvenience to the people who are frequently buying apps or iap.

Google already have bunch of other optional security measures in place.
 

zogged

Member
You'd think with all the times things like these have happened they would have implemented some kind of failsafe system by now.
 

Haunted

Member
Why is it scary that those are the most common passwords? The unique passwords that are well made are not going to show up for that very reason, so of course these are the most common.
It's goddamn scary that anyone would be stupid enough to use these passwords in 2014. They've already made jokes about the stupidity of these passwords 30 fucking years ago! :lol

That said, the percentage of people using these passwords is going down overall, so there's a silver lining.
 
Penny Wrinch handed over her debit card details to allow her “highly trustworthy and technically savvy” son Nick to buy games for the family Google Nexus tablet. But she has since been left regretting the move after her bank account was emptied in just a short space of time.

Too fucking bad, it's one thing if the child were to run up a bill without the parent knowing they'd taken the card, but she pretty much just handed him the keys. You give a kid access to something like that, then there's a good chance they're going to spend like crazy, or fuck up the purchase and accidently spend more, doesn't help that most kids have next to no concept of the value of money at that age either. Never hand a kid your card and leave it to them to use it, do it yourself and monitor the usage of the card. At least if the purchase fucks up when YOU do it you have more of a legit complaint as the card user.
 

Gamezone

Gold Member
Slot machines became illegal in Norway many years ago, mainly because people got addicted, and kids wasted their money playing them. Yet F2P is totally legal.
 

rpmurphy

Member
You'd think with all the times things like these have happened they would have implemented some kind of failsafe system by now.
Some sort of configurable limit on how much you can spend on the Play Store per month would be a pretty nice user feature. Once you reach the limit, additional purchases would be password locked.
 
it shouldn't even be possible to spend 3k on a single game in the first place (or 2-3 games). the whole idea is mad.

so whoever allows that is to blame, imo.
 

Vamphuntr

Member
You'd think with all the times things like these have happened they would have implemented some kind of failsafe system by now.

They don't want to because if the cases don't make it to newspaper then they get to keep the money.

I mean it's bad if he really experienced a glitch but to build a tab of 3000 pounds you really need to press that confirmation button a lot.
 
Mother's fault, but google will have to refund the money. Minors can void contracts for non-necessary items at their discretion.
 

Fox Mulder

Member
I think there need to be default limits, like if you're spending a couple hundred dollars in a short amount of time they need to enforce a cooldown or require some sort of additional check to override it because that's usually indicative of fraudulent behavior.

the entire economy of f2p is built around idiots and whales, i don't see that stopping. At best, there should be a daily limit option built into the OS so you can set it for your kids and keep stuff like this down.
 
i don't believe the kid for a second. however, some of these games are designed for exactly this, bleeding out unsuspecting players who are unable or unwilling to track their spending on IAPs, a pretty shady business model that seems to be pretty profitable as well. glad the mom eventually got a refund on the charges and i hope the bank will also drop the bank fees that she accrued.

some people are mentioning the ability to set a limit... yeah, it already exists, it's called prepaid cards.
 
"It’s every parent’s nightmare. An 11-year-old from Stockport has run up a £3,000 bill"

I'm a parent and I must say, I've never had a nightmare about an 11-year-old from Stockport running up a £3,000 Internet bill.

Where do they get these stories from nowadays?
 
As a parent of two(7 and almost 5), I would just like to make the following statements. The kid is an ass, and the parent is stupid.

I have every device my kids use locked down with a password in the digital stores so that they can't do this. No matter how many times you tell a kid something, they will always still try to sneak by and do it anyway without your knowledge. As of such, I make it impossible for this to happen in this case. This parent just giving her kid her card to use because he's "responsible and tech savy" is an idiot.
 
You'd think with all the times things like these have happened they would have implemented some kind of failsafe system by now.

What exactly is the failsafe against parental stupidity? Purchases are already password protected but she happily handed that over to the kid along with the stored credit card. And then proceeded to not check usage on the card for the next two months.

Does personal responsibility come in to the picture at all or is all the blame reserved for the evil developers and Google?
 
In my old job had to deal with a kid who took $12000 from their mom's credit card for F2P gaming. The conferance call between me and finance, paypal, the kid and her mom was an experience that leads to many many facepalms.

Never trust kids with a credit card, they think it's unlimited money.
 

BigDes

Member
Well lets just hope this leads to a chain of events that ruins the family credit and leaves the mother in prison

That would be just punishment for her terrible crime of trusting her son.
 
The lack of empathy in this thread makes me sick.

What are we supposed to be empathetic for? Because I see nothing that requires empathy. This isn't some kind of tragedy. An irresponsible parent and a kid that needs to learn about money. Empathy. Give me a break.

It's definitely irresponsible, but the solution isn't to kick them in the face with a £3,000 bill and laugh at them. That kind of debt is ruinous to a family.

They wouldn't have been charged anything if they didn't agree to buy anything. This isn't some evil entity extorting money from the family. The family purchased goods, now they have to pay for them.

As a parent of two(7 and almost 5), I would just like to make the following statements. The kid is an ass, and the parent is stupid.

I have every device my kids use locked down with a password in the digital stores so that they can't do this. No matter how many times you tell a kid something, they will always still try to sneak by and do it anyway without your knowledge. As of such, I make it impossible for this to happen in this case.

Thank you for being a responsible parent.
 

PFD

Member
The credit didn't show up on his account after payment? I think it's more likely that the kid just wanted to buy more credits
 
So the credits didn't even appear in the game which prompted him to keep trying? They deserve a refund here of that is true.


I love how everyone in this thread just knows that the kid is lying. Yeah, sure, no refund necessary, it's definitely the little shit's fault. /s


Seriously?

On 2 March alone, 21 payments of £3.99 and a further nine of £1.49 disappeared from Penny’s account. The next day Nick tried again to buy the credits and the same thing happened – with 18 payments being made to Google. A week later 27 payments of between £2.99 and £6.99 were all debited.

Oh this button doesn't seem to work so I am going to press it over 76 times in a period of a week just to make sure.

I understand trying to give the benefit of the doubt but after dealing with people and children for a long time, no one would do that or have that patience if it didn't work.
 
The kid is lying. There's no way he could purchase that much and not have them go through.

If there were those errors, they'd gladly get a refund. It sounds like Clash of Clans which has millions of users and a sophisticated support system. And they often give refunds at the drop of a hat.

There's something she's not telling us.

I've written these games. These purchases don't magically not go through. They send the credit to their server. There's no way to lose money. Your device syncs with a server.
 

Tal

Member
Okay, so, I understand the kid thinking that the purchase didn't go through and clicking it again. But clicking it dozens of times day after day?
 

TheSeks

Blinded by the luminous glory that is David Bowie's physical manifestation.
The guy I quoted wasn't talking about hackers.

That does not matter because:

This is incorrect. They would have the last 4 digets at most. And if you mean they could use the stored info for purchases within that account it would still not be that big of a deal as this would be an unauthorized payment and the cc company would have to refund (that is unless it's totally your fault and you posted you account pw only or something).

No, it's totally correct. Google Play, Playstation Network, X-box Live, Humble Bundle, Steam, et. al that SAVE your credit card information... let me repeat that SAVE ALL YOUR CREDIT CARD INFORMATION. ALL OF IT. Your full number. XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX and the 3 digit pin YYY. Along with the name/information for the card you entered.

This is bad for security at the sake of "not having to enter your credit card information for each purchase" convenience.

The silver lining is: You can remove this information but it's a hassle unless Google/et. al. are like Wizards of the Coast where they DON'T save your credit card information (the XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX YYY numbers/pin) but save your billing info for Magic: Online purchases. Problem is, a lot of companies don't go this route.
 
It's so easy to buy a google pre-paid card these days, this really shouldn't happen.

Personally i am not a big fan of F2P (especially some of the values they are assigning to each purchase) but I understand why it's happening.
 
Well lets just hope this leads to a chain of events that ruins the family credit and leaves the mother in prison

That would be just punishment for her terrible crime of trusting her son.

No the crime is being irresponsible. When the child does something that you are directly responsible for, blaming others is not the proper recourse. Take it as a lesson learned. Teach the kid about money management and credit cards. Stop giving credit cards to minors thinking everything will be ok.

The lack of empathy in this thread makes me sick.

hmmm


Empathy


em·pa·thy
ˈempəTHē/
noun
noun: empathy

the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Nope I cannot do it. It is because of common sense. I have 7 younger siblings between the ages of 3 and 18. Despite the different maturity levels, I would not hand my card to any of them, especially the ones under the age of 16. By doing that act you have to hold some sort of responsibility for your actions and if it is not the younger ones fault then it certainly would be the adult in the scenario. I honestly do not understand therefore I cannot exactly "empathize" when someone decides to hand a minor their credit card and is surprised when the minor does something like this.
 
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