Too bad, so sad for a father in Pembroke, Ontario (Canada, y’all) whose son managed to buy almost $8,000 of in-game content in a FIFA game on his Xbox recently.
Lance Perkins’ 17 year old son dropped $7,625.88 CAD (about $5364.86 in USD) on EA’s FIFA game store content, which, assuming he’s playing FIFA 16, consists of “FIFA Points” – an in-game currency that allows you to buy “FUT Packs and Draft Entries” – basically, stuff to beef up your soccer/football/fútbol club. That’s a lot of draft entries; EA sells packs in increments ranging from 100 points — for $0.99 — all the way up to 12,000 points, which will set you back $99.99. Even if Perkins the Younger bought the 12,000 point packs alone, it’d still take him over 50 transactions to hit his total.
That’s dedication to the game, people.
Perkins the Elder isn’t so stoked; he contacted his credit card company and they let him know that unless he wanted to charge his own son with fraud, there’s nothing that can be done. Lance’s son maintains that he didn’t know he was being charged for every transaction “…or every time he went onto the game.” Which, for the record, doesn’t happen. Any 8BitDad readers who are also FIFA 16 players want to chime in on how easy or hard it is to make an in-game purchase?
Lance contacted Microsoft’s Xbox Customer Service, and they too said there was nothing they could do. Lance had willingly given his son his credit card. Xbox said they’d get back to Lance, and he totally shouldn’t hold his breath.
This sort of thing happens more often than we poke fun at it; back in 2012, a 12 year old kid in the UK powered through £1,150 on his dad’s credit card – also in FIFA, also on his Xbox. COINCIDENCE? Yeah, probably.
Parents! Lock your accounts down. Learn about your kids’ video game systems and use parental controls. Don’t just give your kid a credit card and trust that they know what to do with it. Most systems allow for purchases to be gated with a password – use it.
Lance told the CBC that “there will never be another Xbox system — or any gaming system — in my home.” This is a stupid solution. It’s much smarter to learn about the system you bought your kid. Every parent makes mistakes as they get older and more out-of-touch with the new ways video game companies have found to charge people for content. But you’ve got to be smart and figure out a baseline protection before your kid drafts away $8,000. Isn’t that worth spending an evening reading the manual?