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

Darksol

Member
I thought Google had an automatic "flood" system in place to verify payments and issue refunds based on payment errors? A similar thing happen to me a while back. My niece wanted a new game that had just been released and (with me supervising her) she tried to purchase it off the Google Play Store. She did the same thing this kid did with the purchase failing and her repeatedly clicking trying to buy it over and over. She stopped quite quickly because I obviously intervened.

Checked my account that night and about four payments (each of the game's cost) left my account. The following day Google had refunded me three of them and just charged me for the one successful purchase of the actual game. So ever since then I assumed Google had an automatic failed payment "flood" control.

So does this system not apply to in-app purchases or something?

...The kid was lying.
 
My kid has a iPad and she has a password set for everything. Even if she wants to install free apps she needs to have me help her with it.

The reason for this is exactly the issue that happened here. She wanted to start buying all kinds of things for apps, and if I had not limited her, she would have spent who knows how much.

When she had access to my wife's phone, she ended up buying an app, and my wife was shocked when I asked her about it. My wife has no idea how to deal with tech, and if she was in charge, my kid would cost us an arm and a leg.

Good man! Nice to see parents who know how to curate and manage a kids playing experience properly.
 

FistOfSyn

Banned
i'm sorry, but with the amount of money google makes out of this they don't feel like refunding someone who spent 3000$ on accident ? and is overdrawn?

even if this is bad parenting, it should not be THAT easy for anyone to buy 3000$ of products on f2p games just by tapping a button... seriously...
 

Angry Fork

Member
I am well acquainted with having no money and needing plenty. But yes, I'm fine with berating a stupid move on her part. I'm defending a corporation in this instance because the corporation is in the right. How stupid do you have to be to give your credit card info to a child and then ignore checking your statement for months? Who's fault is this if not the parent? It isn't a business' job to prevent you from buying their stuff.

The mother has absolutely no right to a refund.

You act like the kid bought a car. He bought virtual things which are of no real value except what "the market" determines. Google loses nothing if they refund vs. mother loses her savings over a mistake. Nobody is saying she has a "right" to a refund, it's an act of kindness for someone in a shitty situation.

It's clear to me which side I'm on but you can go on with your anti-humanity stuff I guess.
 

Ponn

Banned
So many people want vengeance against a parent who made a mistake. I'm not even a parent and feel terrible for them. Do none of you know the feeling of having nothing in your bank account but still needing money for various responsibilities?

Yea she shouldn't have given her card to an 11 year old, but does that justify laughing/"no sympathy"/GOT WHAT THEY DESERVED type responses? And in defense of a corporation no less. What the hell is wrong with some of you?

Vengeance? Hyperbole much. When did taking responsibility for your actions and not being entitled to a refund for what your kid bought now equals "VENGEANCE"??
 
Mother's fault, but google will have to refund the money. Minors can void contracts for non-necessary items at their discretion.
If you read the full article (and not the half the shitty OP copypasted in) you would find Google did refund them (once the Guardian got in touch) but...

Edit.
Google should at the very least investigate the glitch claim by contacting the game's support/devs. If it is true then I think they should refund it otherwise I don't think they should. Not that it matters what I think because Google refunded it while still investigating.
...Google are investigating what happened and also their not refunding any overdraft fees incurred due to this (as that would be refunding more money than was taken).

...The kid was lying.
Tell me, how do you know this?
 

jroc74

Phone reception is more important to me than human rights
All I know is...

We recently got cable again. We have 5 kids from 15 to 3 months. A few weeks went by and one of my sons said the 4 y.o. girl ordered some movies. I said naw....ya know underestimating her. Turns out she did. 2.

I immediately went and put purchase pincodes on all the TV's.


.........Ta da.....

Lesson learned. She was the only one of our kids that did that.

And I have never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever...given my 11 y.o. my credit card for anything. And the only time I gave it to my 15 y.o. I was with her and we went to McDonalds. That was the only time.

Even when they come to me needing an email address to register at some site I always ask whats it for, go check the site myself, etc. The only reason the younger ones even have an email address now is because of PSN. (15 y.o. has one for school projects and applying for her summer job. Other than that she rarely uses it.)

Not saying I'm the best parent, but this situation could've been avoided at a couple of junctures. If it really was a glitch.....thats terrible. But still....if it was me...as an adult....after the first time I didnt notice it going thru I woulda been like ???. I wouldnt have kept ordering. But thats my adult mind...and why I would never give my credit card to my kids. Instances where my 11 y.o. son deletes saves and formats my PS3 when I'm not home (because he sees some message pop up and instead of waiting for me he thinks he can interpret it without my help) ....I damn sure wouldn't trust them with my credit card.
 
Not quite how it works in this case. The purchases being legitimate is the default scenario. The money was exchanged for goods/services rendered, that's business as usual. Burden of proof is on the parents to demonstrate that it wasn't usual, that the kid spent all of that money unknowingly. They can do this by looking at transaction history. Did the kid actually spend 3k worth of credits on in game items? If so, yes, he damn well knew what he was doing, or at least knew what was happening and chose not to tell his parents.

It's impressive how sure you sound about this, and maybe that alone is enough to convince some people that you know what you're talking about. Unfortunately, unless you can cite otherwise, it's based almost solely in fantasy rather than law.

Imagine a "real world" alternative. You buy a game from amazon and it doesn't arrive. You ask for a refund. Is it your responsibility to prove it didn't arrive, or is it amazon's responsibility to prove it was delivered? The latter, of course. Same concept applies here, if Google can't prove that they provided what they claim the kid bought, then they need to refund it. There's no burden of proof on the parents.

I absolutely would not, this is dumb as fuck.

If I'm buying something online and the transaction glitches or whatever, I check and double check before reclicking.

Nah man, of course you would. What are you gonna do, wait three days to make sure a quid hasn't gone out of your account and then go back to buy your IAP?

To be fair, you probably wouldn't ring up three grand, but I'm sure anyone would click a bunch of times if they kept getting errors, especially depending on what the error says.
 

Jobbs

Banned
rofl

"here you go my 11 year old son, remember to be fiscally responsible with this device that gives ample money on demand!"

A lot of you don't seem to actually be reading the story before replying. The kid didn't try to spend $3,000. He kept clicking purchase because the credits he was trying to purchase never showed up -- So he thought the transaction wasn't working.
 

Darksol

Member
Tell me, how do you know this?

"Nick’s grandfather Tom contacted Google, only to be told the payments were correct and nothing could be done."

+ Occam's razor: what's more likely - a FTP micro transaction riddled game whose entire purpose is to weed out money somehow fails dozens and dozens of times to accept a transaction over multiple days, forcing the kid to repeatedly hit buy to no avail, only to suddenly be hit with every charge at a later date OR a stupid parent admittedly dumb enough to give their child their card tries to save face and financial responsibility by crying foul?

+ kids being just as prone to lying as adults, especially if they sense punishment could be at hand
 

jroc74

Phone reception is more important to me than human rights
A lot of you don't seem to actually be reading the story before replying. The kid didn't try to spend $3,000. He kept clicking purchase because the credits he was trying to purchase never showed up -- So he thought the transaction wasn't working.

As was posted:

rofl

"here you go my 11 year old son, remember to be fiscally responsible with this device that gives ample money on demand!"

As I and some have stated...I wouldnt have kept clicking if I notice it wasnt working.....ya know...being fiscally responsible.... Or trying to be at least.

So anyone here whenever at a store and your card gets rung up twice and it doesnt work, knowing you have money on it, if it keeps failing would you have them keep ringing it up until it works? I think a cashier must be trained to not keep doing it after 2 times unless directed by the customer. Not really sure.

Unless these transactions were $1500 each...I dont see how someone could unknowingly ring up $3000 in IAP in 2 months....unless they are......fiscally irresponsible....
 

PKrockin

Member
"Nick’s grandfather Tom contacted Google, only to be told the payments were correct and nothing could be done."

+ Occam's razor: what's more likely - a FTP micro transaction riddled game whose entire purpose is to weed out money somehow fails dozens and dozens of times to accept a transaction over multiple days, forcing the kid to repeatedly hit buy to no avail, only to suddenly be hit with every charge at a later date OR a stupid parent admittedly dumb enough to give their child their card tries to save face and financial responsibility by crying fowl?

+ kids being just as prone to lying as adults, especially if they sense punishment could be at hand
Add to that the kid never told anyone that his purchases weren't working over the two-month period.
 
I was taught the value of money at a young age before I had a bank account made. Hell I was scared of anything that was involved with credit/debit cards thinking it would screw me over. If I needed anything I would ask for my mother for help with a credit card.....

You dont just hand you bank account to your kid without teaching him whats okay and whats not okay! Especially now with how F2P games get addicting and easy access paywalls....but I cant blame the mother for that since F2P games on the surface look harmless to those not in the know about video games.

Hope she keeps a close eye on what her kid plays now (if anything at all after this fiasco).
 
"Nick’s grandfather Tom contacted Google, only to be told the payments were correct and nothing could be done."

+ Occam's razor: what's more likely - a FTP micro transaction riddled game whose entire purpose is to weed out money somehow fails dozens and dozens of times to accept a transaction over multiple days, forcing the kid to repeatedly hit buy to no avail, only to suddenly be hit with every charge at a later date OR a stupid parent admittedly dumb enough to give their child their card tries to save face and financial responsibility by crying fowl?

+ kids being just as prone to lying as adults, especially if they sense punishment could be at hand
If the payments were correct why now is Google "still trying to work out what exactly happened" (I suppose you would take that to mean kid did it but Google is being polite to the Guardian).

As for the rest of your post that may be enough to assume the Kid is lying but you didn't state that you were assuming but just came out with an absolute statement.
 

Xenus

Member
You actually believe this shit?


He was repeatedly clicking away at these two games for two months despite him never getting the credits? You believe that?

Not once did he mention this to his mum? Not once did he ask her to check her account had money in because he hadn't got his credits?

Bollocks. Just another kid given access to their parents bank account.

Pretty much. Even little kids will eventually ask for help or give up if something they keep tring doesn't work. That's where I have the biggest problem with this story. You expect me to believe he clicked 20 times a day for 2 months and got nothing yet A. kept doing and B. Didn't talk to his parents about it not working? Let alone C. If you agreed to let your kid make a purchase. Don't you think you'd check you account details in the next day or 2 to D. Make sure they spent only what you agreed upon and E. Make sure they charged you the correct amount/it went through.
 

NolbertoS

Member
I have no sympathy for the mom. Who in there right mind would hand over a credit card with unlimited funds to an immature, non-thinking child and expect that they'll be responsible at that age with money. At the same time, Google and the games itself should state that the transaction didn't go through and they won't be charged. Thank god, I have no interest in F2P gaming. Have no idea how those games cab be addictie to want to spend more money. Kids todays need more barriers to online gaming.
 

Orca

Member
"Nick’s grandfather Tom contacted Google, only to be told the payments were correct and nothing could be done."

+ Occam's razor: what's more likely - a FTP micro transaction riddled game whose entire purpose is to weed out money somehow fails dozens and dozens of times to accept a transaction over multiple days, forcing the kid to repeatedly hit buy to no avail, only to suddenly be hit with every charge at a later date OR a stupid parent admittedly dumb enough to give their child their card tries to save face and financial responsibility by crying foul?

+ kids being just as prone to lying as adults, especially if they sense punishment could be at hand

The charges were 3.99 max...and totaled 3,000 or more. That's a bit more than "dozens and dozens" of times lol

There's no way the kid clicked that many times trying to buy something that wasn't working so I think it's fairly safe to assume he got the credits, spent them, and got more. Wouldn't take long at all to blow through that kind of money in Clash of Clans.
 
The charges were 3.99 max...and totaled 3,000 or more. That's a bit more than "dozens and dozens" of times lol

There's no way the kid clicked that many times trying to buy something that wasn't working so I think it's fairly safe to assume he got the credits, spent them, and got more. Wouldn't take long at all to blow through that kind of money in Clash of Clans.

kid went Hokuto Hyakuretsuken on that button
 

ArtHands

Thinks buying more servers can fix a bad patch
i'm sorry, but with the amount of money google makes out of this they don't feel like refunding someone who spent 3000$ on accident ? and is overdrawn?

even if this is bad parenting, it should not be THAT easy for anyone to buy 3000$ of products on f2p games just by tapping a button... seriously...

Thats what make their story unconvincing. It will take at least 300 to probably 500 tries to rack up a £3000 spending there.

Google refunding them can set a dangerous precedent and open the floodgate of people exploiting google with this method. Its not only the amount of money they consider here.
 

Alucrid

Banned
If the payments were correct why now is Google "still trying to work out what exactly happened" (I suppose you would take that to mean kid did it but Google is being polite to the Guardian).

As for the rest of your post that may be enough to assume the Kid is lying but you didn't state that you were assuming but just came out with an absolute statement.

Because a google PR person isn't going to call the family liars.

Thats what make their story unconvincing. It will take at least 300 to probably 500 tries to rack up a £3000 spending there.

Google refunding them can set a dangerous precedent and open the floodgate of people exploiting google with this method. Its not only the amount of money they consider here.

I doubt it. We've had dozens of threads about kids purchasing thousands on these apps for a while now.

Also, while I've never played the games in question, the few games I've bought shit in always have a few clicks to complete the purchase. It's not just pressing the same button repeatedly.
 

Maximo

Member
I mean yeah mobile games can be shitty but don't have much sympathy for giving a 11 year old unlimited credit card access...
 

tokkun

Member
I get an email every time I buy something on Google Play. As far as I can tell, it doesn't seem to be possible to disable this, and the email address is tied to your Play account, so the email notifications should have been popping up on the same device that was being used to make the purchases.
 
I get an email every time I buy something on Google Play. As far as I can tell, it doesn't seem to be possible to disable this, and the email address is tied to your Play account, so the email notifications should have been popping up on the same device that was being used to make the purchases.

Not to mention your bank sends you an email and/or an SMS whenever there's a transaction. And they send you a bill at the end of the month. How can someone just forget everything about their credit card and then expect to be taken seriously when they complain that they didn't know it was happening?
 
This is why you should give a kid a gift card instead.
Not going to argue if the kid was truthful or lying, it just this thing happens all the time.
 

Tunavi

Banned
I hate when people defend the company in these situations. You got your $60 worth from the kid, just refund the rest to the idiot and move on.
 

Orca

Member
I hate when people defend the company in these situations. You got your $60 worth from the kid, just refund the rest to the idiot and move on.

It might be different if there was any evidence at all that the company was at fault.

Personally, I hate when people defend shitty parenting.
 

Xenus

Member
It might be different if there was any evidence at all that the company was at fault.

Personally, I hate when people defend shitty parenting.

Pretty much. Much like the parents who buy the kids COD or GTA and then complain about the violence/morals in it. There is some level of personal responsibility in this. And as has been shown any number of simple actions could have prevented this long before it became 3000 worth of problems. Hell even looking at you bank statement as little as once a week would have significantly cut down on the amount owed. Let alone checking on it after the child made the purchase to make sure everything looked right. But the biggest lesson here is don't give a Child access to a credit card and expect them to make the same decisions with money that you would. It's asking for trouble no matter how responsible you think your kid is.
 
My iPads are all password locked with IAPs shut off, plus if anything a purchased I get a email sent to my phone. Don't give an 11 year old a credit card.
 
There are plenty of confirmations when you buy things on both App Store and Google Play.

Actually not at least not in the appstore. If you connect your CC to the appstore, almost everything you might buy happens automatically. You get one confirmation "buy" and you get the email with your receipt.
I think its pretty easy for a child to overlook these things.

I would never give my child CC information though.

Do none of you know the feeling of having nothing in your bank account but still needing money for various responsibilities?

If you are in such a situation, maybe having a CC is not a good idea. Besides that I am not sure how it is in the UK, but actually in Europe from my experiences most people do not even own one.
 
Lol. Trustworthy.

why didn't she put a password on every Google Play purchase

Maybe don't hand your card details to your 11-yo child?

I'm not saying that Google shouldn't take initiative to resolve incidents like this one but I think there should still remain some amount of common sense.

11 year old with access to crédit card seems like a good idea.

Perhaps she should try parenting.

rofl

"here you go my 11 year old son, remember to be fiscally responsible with this device that gives ample money on demand!"

I'm sorry, is there supposed to be sympathy here somewhere?
I see a dumb ass parent who needs a lesson taught and this seems like a start.
The kid can not magically input bank information without an adult giving it to them or helping them, so it aways comes back to the adult being a dumb ass and not reading or taking the time to look into what their child is doing.

NO, google should not refund them.
That is asinine.

If Google refunds it, it just keeps happening because someone can always keep pointing to these instances.
Take ownership of your idiocy, and be responsible for your own screw ups unlike most of society these days who always try and find an out or someone else to blame.

Yet another parent falls a victim of giving their child an access to CC.
Kid should start looking for job.
/jk

Could use that 11k for proper parenting seminars. Hell I'll even gave her a free advice of not letting his son use her debit card.
Why bother reading the article when a headline will do?
 

Cipherr

Member
How did they miss the emails? Google Play annoyingly sends you an email for every individual purchase you make no matter if its $0.99 cents or a 500$ tablet


at 3.99 that's nearly 300 clicks, meaning nearly 300 emails that will create a notification on every Android device you own connected to the internet (that will need to be dismissed) and a full inbox over the course of 2 months.

I get an email every time I buy something on Google Play. As far as I can tell, it doesn't seem to be possible to disable this, and the email address is tied to your Play account, so the email notifications should have been popping up on the same device that was being used to make the purchases.

Well there you go. I didnt see your post before mine, but yeah. I have often wanted a way to disable those damn emails too but there doesn't seem to be a way.

In any case, they got a refund anyway; and the rest of the world gets proof that no matter how many hoops of fire you place in line to prevent situations like this, someone somewhere will still find a way.
 

Parfait

Member
£7.99 is hardly a small payment, and surely these games have some kind of system in place to stop tapping over and over to take out payment after payment?

Stories like this seem to pop up more and more now, the people running these stores need better systems in place, £3,000 is insane, that is the kind of money I spend on games over a decade

 

RootCause

Member
Parents, stop giving your smart devices (with credit cards) to your kids. Just buy them a cheap tablet, and make an account for them, which you can add money through iTunes/Google play cards.
 

DiscoJer

Member
Yeah, the kid shouldn't have had a debit card, but at the same time, F2P games deliberately prey on children and those with addictive personalities. It's scummy, little better than drug dealers deliberately getting addicts hooked. Sure there are no physical effects, like with drugs, but it's the same tactics.
 

Yagharek

Member
"Nick’s grandfather Tom contacted Google, only to be told the payments were correct and nothing could be done."

+ Occam's razor: what's more likely - a FTP micro transaction riddled game whose entire purpose is to weed out money somehow fails dozens and dozens of times to accept a transaction over multiple days, forcing the kid to repeatedly hit buy to no avail, only to suddenly be hit with every charge at a later date OR a stupid parent admittedly dumb enough to give their child their card tries to save face and financial responsibility by crying foul?

+ kids being just as prone to lying as adults, especially if they sense punishment could be at hand

Buggy software is more likely according to occam than lying.
 
Oh god oh god, please go to court, please go to court, please go to court!
I need to see some old dude judge hear a kid somehow spent 3000 playing a fucking video game.

It's about time elderly prejudice against video games finally paid off, maybe we can start to get rid of this child aimed gambling.
 

Mario

Sidhe / PikPok
It's about time elderly prejudice against video games finally paid off, maybe we can start to get rid of this child aimed gambling.

Child aimed gambling? Let's not get carried away here. There are controls in place that allow parents the ability to limit/restrict spending, pretty much "no questions asked" refunds policies which exist on both Google Play and iTunes.

Even if it was the case that a particular F2P developer was being maliciously exploitative, they wouldn't be targeting children as they typically have no money or unrestricted access to credit cards.

Would you say Hearthstone, Team Fortress 2, and Path of Exile were "child aimed gambling" if the kid had spent that much money on those titles? Because he could have just as easily.
 

Stuggernaut

Grandma's Chippy
I don't understand why parents risk money like that. Kids make mistakes, or take advantage when they can. It's just the way it is.

That's why you should make sub-accounts (well technically they are 2nd accounts) for your kids, and just gift them money or load money on their account like an allowance. That way it has limits and they have to be responsible and/or accountable for what they do.

Would suck to learn a $3k lesson the hard way.
 

pompidu

Member
It's scummy, little better than drug dealers deliberately getting addicts hooked. Sure there are no physical effects, like with drugs, but it's the same tactics.

This is the only reason these in app purchases like this exist.

Mobile games is a shit stain on this industry, and while there is a handful of games that do it right, most of it is pure garbage. I've boughten like maybe 5 games from the play store that were worth it. Mobile games are fucking terrible.
 

Xenus

Member
I don't understand why parents risk money like that. Kids make mistakes, or take advantage when they can. It's just the way it is.

That's why you should make sub-accounts (well technically they are 2nd accounts) for your kids, and just gift them money or load money on their account like an allowance. That way it has limits and they have to be responsible and/or accountable for what they do.

Would suck to learn a $3k lesson the hard way.

Yeah but unforntunately I think part of the issue is societal. Aka the main issue at hand is convience. The parent thinking why should I have to do all those steps instead of just apprving the purchase. Just handing little timmy 10 bucks doesn't help with digital purchases. But parents can see doing all the needed steps as a hassle especially if they aren't tech savy. (See storing credit card info in online databases.) Honestly a reloadable gift card would probably work best for these situations
 
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