Boy racks up £1,000 bill on mother's debit card.

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#1 Edited by mordukai (7133 posts) -

* Originally reported by the Daily Mail.


 A desperate mother has condemned Microsoft after her 11-year-old son racked up a £1,000 debt on her debit card - through his Xbox. Brendan Jordan racked up a bill of £1,082.52 on his Xbox without realising all the purchases were being charged to his mum Dawn Matthews' card. The schoolboy made the payments to buy accessories and new games on his console after it saved the details of a previously registered card.


Single mum-of-two Dawn, 37, from Strood, Kent, has now complained to Microsoft but claims the computer giant is ignoring her.

She said: 

 

"When I put my card details in 18 months ago I thought it was just for his membership to play online with his friends. I work two jobs just to look after my family and pay the bills so I cannot afford all these extortionate charges. A thousand pounds isn't that much to people like Bill Gates, but for a single mum it is a lot of money that I don't have. The bank and Microsoft are blaming each other and no one is helping me. It has taken me ages to permanently get rid of my card details from the website. It was only when I made a complaint that they took all my details off.”


Dawn, who works as a sales executive and part-time singer, lives with Brendan and her 13-year-old daughter Abigail.She entered her debit card details into the family Xbox to pay for Brendan's subscription to his favorite game. However, Brendan repeatedly clicked on additions and extensions - racking up a £1082.52 debt to her account over six months. Microsoft say they offer parental control accounts so parents like Dawn can monitor what their children are spending.


Microsoft claim that Dawn's bill could have been prevented if she'd have activated the Family Settings on the X-Box but Dawn wants her experience to be a lesson to other parents and blames Microsoft for making it 'too easy' for her son to spend the money.


She said: 

“Brendan is 11 and knows his times tables but it was only when I explained to him that he realized how much money he had spent. When I showed him he burst into tears. He unplugged the Xbox and said he didn't want it anymore. I haven't punished him because he feels bad enough and I know he won't do it again. It is ridiculous to allow someone of his age to make payments without any checks being done.

When he is in gaming mode he can't be thinking about the money. You can't put all that responsibility on a young boy. It is impossible to monitor everything your children do. These companies should take some responsibility. They take advantage of vulnerable people.”


A spokesman for Microsoft claimed that a parental control setting would have prevented Brendan from spending Dawn's money.

He said: 

“With over 30M Xbox LIVE members across the world customer complaints of this nature are extremely rare. Microsoft's goal is to provide parents and caregivers with tools and resources to manage their children's gaming and entertainment experiences so that they can play in ways that are safer, healthy and more balanced. To accomplish this, we've built-in parental controls in every Xbox 360, work closely with retailers and recently launched the Play Smart, Play Safe website as an online resource for families.

'It should also be noted that LIVE accounts registered for children's use have online activity automatically defaulted to off, these can be enabled by the parent should they wish in the Family Settings section.”


So I ask you GB community. Where does the blame falls? The mom for not taking the time and go through every inch of the xbox and learn about how to regulate her son’s gaming habits? 

The kid for not realizing that all his XBL shopping actually costs money and not realizing every time he adds MSP it will charge his mom’s debit card (after all it clearly lets you pick method of payment)?  

Does the blame falls on MS for not making it clear enough for parents who clearly have no idea how the system operates?

Are they [MS] to blame for automatically adding her debit card after she only used it once for buying her son a gold subscription? 


On one hand I completely understand the mom for having to pay a bill that high for the misunderstanding and having a son who clearly was not paying (the irony) enough attention every time he was adding MSP and doing all the shopping. On the other hand I understand MS as they technically not to blame for this situation as they do have manuals and vids on XBL who clearly let parents monitor their child online and offline gaming habits.

While MS can clearly take that loss I understand why they aren’t waving that fee as it can potentially open up law suits from people who will abuse that by raking up debts and then claiming to have made an innocent mistake due to not understanding the terms. 

personally I think the blame falls on all parties involved and while I completely identify with both view points I think MS should take that loss and do some good. She clearly is not trying to scheme her way out of something that was premeditated. All in all it should be a good PR for MS. 

#2 Posted by EpicSteve (6471 posts) -

It's the mom's fault. She should have been smart enough to lock down her card after the 1st purchase. The kid knew what he was doing. He had to buy the points to purchase the games. There's no "buy this game button", it's a two step process. Regardless, the mother should have been more careful. It isn't a companies fault when someone gets fucked by their product due to not knowing how everything really works. 

#3 Posted by SuperWristBands (2266 posts) -

Its hard for me to lay the blame. I'd like to say its the kids fault, but being 11 I can totally understand him not knowing the value of money. Or the mom for leaving the card on, but even then, who would think that so much money could be charged if they aren't familiar with it.
 
It just sucks for the family and Microsoft is not at fault. This is just a bad situation.

#4 Edited by ArchScabby (5809 posts) -

Stupid Microsoft!  This is totally their fault, not the parent!

#5 Posted by TheSeductiveMoose (3617 posts) -

I blame Steve Jobs.

#6 Posted by Akrid (1356 posts) -

Obviously the mothers fault, but if the kid was crying over the money spent it seems like she's a pretty good mom overall.
 
I wish MS would just let this one slide, but I know it's not going to happen. They're too big a company to show weakness.

#7 Posted by KarlPilkington (2684 posts) -

Mum's fault. 
It's got nothing to do with Microsoft taking advantage of people.

#8 Posted by canucks23 (1087 posts) -

I wouldn't let my kid play an xbox/ps3, with a credit/debit card attatched to it in the first place. I'd just use cards bought at the store like i do for myself.

#9 Posted by csl316 (8111 posts) -

My nephew liked to turn on the 360 controller when he was tiny, and almost bought $20 worth of microsoft points on two separate occasions with random button presses.  Now I have a password to prevent my next nephew from doing the same.
 
Moral of the story, never give kids anything.

#10 Posted by MikkaQ (10268 posts) -

I think the blame falls on the mother for leaving her son with a machine that can spend money at will. 
 
Also how couldn't that kid know what he was doing? You have to buy microsoft points to get anything, he was clearly clicking on things with actual price tags on them.  
 
I understand that some people don't have time to go through all the parental setting on a console, but christ, if you're unsure, you should monitor your child's playing instead of using the Xbox as a babysitter. 

#11 Posted by FritzDude (2253 posts) -

It's the stupid kid's fault.

#12 Posted by EpicSteve (6471 posts) -
@csl316 said:
" My nephew liked to turn on the 360 controller when he was tiny, and almost bought $20 worth of microsoft points on two separate occasions with random button presses.  Now I have a password to prevent my next nephew from doing the same.  Moral of the story, never give kids anything. "
That's a good code to live by. 
#13 Edited by melcene (3056 posts) -

Mom and the kid.   How is it the kid is 11 and doesn't understand money yet?  The concept of paying for a service?  Not to mention that Xbox ASKS "Do you want to use this card?" and you can either confirm the credit card it pulls up, or enter a different method of payment.
 
My kid (also 11) knows damn well that MS stuff costs money, and so she wants points?  She has to go buy a card herself. 
 
And how do you spend that much money in six months?!  

Thats $1745!  That's 139,600 MS points!

  WTF?!
#14 Edited by PenguinDust (12450 posts) -
@Chabbs0 said:

" Mum's fault. It's got nothing to do with Microsoft taking advantage of people. "

Exactly.  Unless credit cards work differently in the UK, I get a statement/bill every month. I read it to make sure there aren't any expenses on there I didn't buy myself.  She should have realized that there were other items on her bill the very next month.  If the kid racked up £1,000 in one billing month, I'd say it was his or even possibly MS for not being clearer, but she should have been paying attention to her bills.  When you don't have a lot of money, as she states, you are particularly aware of how much you're paying for stuff.  It's her fault for not inspecting her billing during the 6 months her son purchased all those items.   I'm pretty sure that there are parental spending options in place in XBL to deal with underage members, although I'm not certain since the subject isn't a concern in my household. 
#15 Posted by EuanDewar (4758 posts) -

"Part-Time Singer" 
 
Well you've got to chase your dreams.
#16 Posted by DeShawn2ks (1052 posts) -
@Mordukai:  I don't know man. I would really like to say that parents are stupid and need to pay more attention. But these companies don't do a good job with telling the parents about all these features and what they do. I have friends who play a lot of games and don't know about a lot of the features which I find weird. Maybe I am wrong because I am so dialed in to the industry but I think these companies need to do a better job of letting these parents know whats up. I don't know maybe when a parent sets up a xbox live account for their kid have a big flashing red screen saying "hey you hey parent you should put on the parental controls so your kid can't buy stuff on xbox live with your card because it is just a button press away." As easy as it is to buy stuff there should be warnings all over the place for parents. Good thing there wasn't stuff like this when I was a kid because every time I got a new system my mom handed it off to me and I went on my way and did everything myself.
#17 Posted by melcene (3056 posts) -
@PenguinDust said:
  I'm pretty sure that there are parental spending options in place in XBL to deal with underage members, although I'm not certain since the subject isn't a concern in my household.  "
There are.  You can completely block minors from making any marketplace purchases. 
 
Assuming, of course, that you signed them up as a minor.
#18 Posted by animateria (3252 posts) -

She should have just gotten a pre-paid card. Or erased her card information from the system.

#19 Edited by KarlPilkington (2684 posts) -

Typical woman from Kent.

#20 Posted by MattyFTM (14342 posts) -

She must be able to afford to lose that much money if she didn't notice for 6 months. Anyone who was really struggling to make ends meet would have noticed almost immediately that something was wrong with their bank account.

Moderator
#21 Posted by melcene (3056 posts) -
@animateria said:
" She should have just gotten a pre-paid card. Or erased her card information from the system. "
You can't.  Or at least not easily.  I still have old invalid credit/debit cards listed on my console, but haven't seen how to remove them. :(   Then again, I haven't checked since the more recent updates.
#22 Edited by DeShawn2ks (1052 posts) -

Oh yeah I also think the kid not understanding the value of money is BS. He was just crying because he got caught plain and simple we were all that age we ain't stupid. The mom got played from the kids side. When I was like 7 or 8 I knew damn well not to call those 1-900 numbers that came on USA up all night when Toxic Avenger was on. I understood the concept of so many dollars a minute for a phone call was bad. But man I want to talk to that hot blond so so bad.

#23 Posted by yinstarrunner (1182 posts) -

£ 1000?  That's like, what, 5 USD?  Hardly worth a news story.
 
PS. Don't respond I'm just trolling.

#24 Posted by ch3burashka (5009 posts) -

It's had to lay the blame at the mom's feet, especially since she probably doesn't understand how DLC and online game downloads work - she doesn't have enough knowledge or experience with downloadable things to keep track of his purchases. However, it is her fault for not teaching her son the value of money - what the fuck did he think he was using to buy things online? 1000 pounds must have been every full game, every XBLA game and then some - it's not like they were free, the MS points are right there in the corner telling you how much you're spending. Granted, I was pretty money-retarded at 11 as well, but I would have been much more savvy if I had known my mom was working two jobs just to support me. 
 
It would be very nice of Microsoft (and good for their PR) to excuse the charges, but it's still her goddamn fault. Buy him cards next time, and beat his ass as well. 
 
PS Excusing the charges would be nice, but it would open the floodgates for more people to try to pull the same shit, so I doubt they will.

#25 Posted by DarkTravesty (330 posts) -

mom's fault.

#26 Posted by JCTango (1358 posts) -
@Mordukai said:
"

* Originally reported by the Daily Mail.


 ...

“Brendan is 11 and knows his times tables but it was only when I explained to him that he realized how much money he had spent. When I showed him he burst into tears. He unplugged the Xbox and said he didn't want it anymore. I haven't punished him because he feels bad enough and I know he won't do it again. 
 
...


 
That part was kinda sad  :( heh.. Poor kid.
 
On the subject of blame... it's hard to say where it lies... =/
#27 Posted by mordukai (7133 posts) -
@EpicSteve said:
" It's the mom's fault. She should have been smart enough to lock down her card after the 1st purchase. The kid knew what he was doing. He had to buy the points to purchase the games. There's no "buy this game button", it's a two step process. Regardless, the mother should have been more careful. It isn't a companies fault when someone gets fucked by their product due to not knowing how everything really works.  "
That's what I thought. I wonder if the mom is aware that there's no way of not knowing you are charging your debit/credit card when adding MSP. Still I don't think MS should automatically add your card information when you use it.  But like you said, she should have taken the time and going over every inch of the system. 
#28 Posted by mordukai (7133 posts) -
@melcene said:
" Mom and the kid.   How is it the kid is 11 and doesn't understand money yet?  The concept of paying for a service?  Not to mention that Xbox ASKS "Do you want to use this card?" and you can either confirm the credit card it pulls up, or enter a different method of payment.
 
My kid (also 11) knows damn well that MS stuff costs money, and so she wants points?  She has to go buy a card herself. 
 
And how do you spend that much money in six months?!  

Thats $1745!  That's 139,600 MS points!

  WTF?! "
I know WTF, right. All in all he should have an ample supply of DLC and games to play. 
#29 Posted by Jimbo (9772 posts) -

It's just as much the father's fault, wherever the fuck he might be (unless he has a good excuse, like being dead).  
 
It never ceases to amaze me how people pleading poverty still manage to have a roof over their head, raise two kids (who don't exactly seem to be going hungry either), buy expensive consumer electronics & leather sofas etc.  Oh wait, it's because the state is paying for all of those things.  If she's so hard up, how was she so blasé about the ~£160 disappearing unaccounted for from her bank account every month?  

#30 Posted by ryanwho (12082 posts) -

There's real news in the world btw

#31 Posted by melcene (3056 posts) -
@JCTango said:
" @Mordukai said:
"

* Originally reported by the Daily Mail.


 ...

“Brendan is 11 and knows his times tables but it was only when I explained to him that he realized how much money he had spent. When I showed him he burst into tears. He unplugged the Xbox and said he didn't want it anymore. I haven't punished him because he feels bad enough and I know he won't do it again. 
 
...


 That part was kinda sad  :( heh.. Poor kid.  On the subject of blame... it's hard to say where it lies... =/ "
The only reason I found that sad is because if the kid is 11 and that's the furthest he's gotten in math... either (a) the education system there REALLY sucks, (b) the kid is really dumb, or (c) mom or the kid is full of it.  C'mon... times tables?
#32 Posted by Jimbo (9772 posts) -
@ryanwho said:
" There's real news in the world btw "
Like Top Gear being mean?
#33 Edited by Turtlemayor333 (510 posts) -

Ultimately you do have to blame the mother because kids have always pulled stuff with their parents' credit cards, but we all know Microsoft's funny money system is practically designed for something this to happen. I don't think it's that much of a leap in logic that someone new to gaming or just being online could confuse "Microsoft points" with "Achievement points." But I can't say for sure because I never dealt with DLC as a kid.
 
The dick inside you wants to say good on Microsoft for getting theirs and the mom is lazy but honestly this situation does kinda suck.

#34 Posted by ryanwho (12082 posts) -
@Jimbo said:
" @ryanwho said:
" There's real news in the world btw "
Like Top Gear being mean? "
And finally coming to Speed TV. Yeah, bigger news. This news, by contrast, is barely worth sharing as a personal story.
#35 Posted by JoeyRavn (4948 posts) -

Do debit cards work differently in the UK than in the USA or the rest of Europe? If I'm not mistaken, debit cards draw funds directly from your own account. You can't get more than you have. If that's the case, then the mother can't be in debt, because there's no one to be in debt with. She must have had the money in the first place. It's not that the bank is forcing her to pay anything. Besides, she must have noticed the drainage of money during six whole months. Those things show up in the account history, there's no way she could have seen them if she was so tight on money.
 
Yeah, I get it. It's hard being a single mother, she's in a desperate situation... But come on. She clearly didn't give a shit about what his son was doing on Xbox Live. You can't go around putting the blame on a faceless company.  There's no way for Microsoft to know who is really making those purchases. It was you who decided to put the Xbox in the hands of your 11-year-old without taking any kind of safety measure with it. The console has parental controls, you can block whatever you don't want your child to do. If you decided not to really know what you were giving your son, you're to blame for whatever he does with it. 
 
This seriously gets me on my nerves. I can't stand moms who think they are the ones that have been wrong and demand a compensation for the damages they caused.

#36 Posted by ryanwho (12082 posts) -
@ashriels said:
" @ryanwho said:
" There's real news in the world btw "
Coming from the guy with 8,000+ posts about video games.
 
*some picture meme*
"
Meme guy is defensive. Relax. You're allowed to care about stupid bullshit. But even among that pantheon, you're allowed to have standards.
#37 Posted by Brendan (7687 posts) -

I don't know if you can't blame the kid.  When I was 11, I definitely knew the worth of 72 bucks (2000 points or something).  On the other hand, it would be responsible of Microsoft to have a little pop up after the first purchase asking if the customer wants to keep the card info saved.  The mother could also have taken more time to learn these things herself, and she is obviously not financially intelligent if she allowed this to go on for 6 months.  You could argue that the mother's lack of financial sense could be part of the reason why the kid was out to lunch as well.  There's a little bit of everything for ya.  

#38 Posted by IBurningStar (2160 posts) -

So this all took place over six months? How did she not notice this? Am I getting something wrong, cause I find this whole aspect of it to just be odd? Also, how did the kid not know that things cost money? The kid is 11, not fucking 4. He should know better by now. I'm pretty sure it is fairly obvious whenever you buy something from the marketplace. It tells you how much you are spending when you purchase something. 
 
Bah, this whole thing is stupid.

#39 Posted by KarlPilkington (2684 posts) -
@JoeyRavn said:
" Do debit cards work differently in the UK than in the USA or the rest of Europe? If I'm not mistaken, debit cards draw funds directly from your own account. You can't get more than you have. If that's the case, then the mother can't be in debt, because there's no one to be in debt with. She must have had the money in the first place. 
You can spend more than you have. I have a £500 overdraft limit on my debit card.
#40 Posted by Caegn (69 posts) -

I'm not going to go so far as to say this is the fault of MS.  But the point system really didn't help here.  The kid's 11.  He barely understands the concepts of "real" money.  Then he jumps online and everything's cost is measured in points.  Points aren't money.  Points unlock things in the games he plays.  Sure he has to reload his points, but even one financial concept is tough for younger kids.  And I'm pretty certain Mom didn't walk him through things when she used her credit card previously.  And why would she?  You wouldn't think a device would store your credit information unprotected anymore.  (And to the MS apologists, an OPTION to secure it (for those who understand the dashboard well enough) really isn't cutting it.)  Kid sees the machine lets him refill his points automatically, he doesn't think about where it comes from.  As far as he can see it's part of the machine since it all auto-fills and comes up automatically.
 
Like I said, I'm not going to place all the blame here on MS.  But their "security" would be laughable (or it would be if only it weren't so unfunny.)  MS should do the right thing here and cancel all the licenses for the downloads and return the money.  And offer a refund for the accessories.  If they want Mom to pay the shipping on the returns, fine.  But at least cancel all the sales.  And the points system.  Maybe that's why I'm so willing to get on MS for this.  That stupid freakin' points system.

#41 Posted by RsistncE (4496 posts) -

I'm surprised there are so many people who are siding with Microsoft. Have any of you tried to remove a credit card from your Live account before? Nearly 2 fucking hours that shit took me. Microsoft makes it as hard as possible to remove cards, cancel Live subs etc. They can suck my dick as far as I'm concerned. 
 
In conclusion: the 11 year old was being an 11 year old (he did stupid shit), the mom was dumb for putting her card info into Live without understanding the process and MS are assholes for making it incredibly hard to remove card data. How hard? Harder than a priest at a playground. 
 
 
 
 
Dur hur.

#42 Edited by ryanwho (12082 posts) -
@ashriels said:

" @ryanwho said:

" @ashriels said:

" @ryanwho said:
" There's real news in the world btw "
Coming from the guy with 8,000+ posts about video games.
 
*some picture meme*
"
Meme guy is defensive. Relax. You're allowed to care about stupid bullshit. But even among that pantheon, you're allowed to have standards. "
 Checked out your profile, apparently bigger news to you involves Battlefield 3, Intelligent Design, UFOs, and the Super Bowl.    Standards bro.  You have them. "
You're being sarcastic and yet at the same time, all of those things are more interesting than someone losing a small sum of money through XBL and someone else writing essays on it. Listen man, its your time. Burn it how you like. Saving memes into a folder or whatever to unleash on jerks. Going through user history to nail people on the internet, all that stuff.
#43 Posted by KarlPilkington (2684 posts) -
@ryanwho: It's hardly a small sum of money.
#44 Posted by TheDukeofArgyll (102 posts) -

I can see a situation where the kid thought that buying money like this was pretend.  Calling it Microsoft Points does kind of have a pretend feel to it, you get points in games and you are playing on Microsoft Hardware.  Maybe he thought that he could just take as much as he wanted and didn't really pay attention to the money.  This is all very unlikely but he is 11.   
 
Personally I wouldn't let my 11 year old kid play games online, and I certainly wouldn't go six month without checking what charges are being made on my credit card.  If this happened in a single day, I can understand there being an obvious mistake and would expect Microsoft to return the money.  But these charges were spread out over half a year.  If this women doesn't think her son deserves to be punished, then I assume she doesn't think she did anything wrong either.  Take the kids video games away, sell them, use that money to help refund the cost.  While paying back the rest consider it a learning experience for both you and your kid.  The mother will pay closer attention to what her kids are doing and the kid learns to pay better attention to online service charges.  Companies exist to make money, and giving money back goes against that.

#45 Posted by the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG (4307 posts) -

 considering what people have been saying about how the payment plan works on XBL im gonna say its the kid and mom's fault.  well it's the kid's fault for buying all of that and the mom's for not paying attention to her BILLS

#46 Posted by UnrealDP (1221 posts) -

Well i think its the kids fault i mean could he really not have realized what he was doing i mean when i was 11 i knew all about how money works and if schools dont teach kids about the fundementals of cash before they learn there times tables thne thats kinda jacked up. Also the mom takes some flak for giving her credit card info to the console and not going through some parental management to lock  that thing down a bit more.    

#47 Posted by Aetheldod (3511 posts) -

Mom's fault nuff said.

#48 Posted by Vinny_Says (5686 posts) -
@ryanwho said:
" There's real news in the world btw "
what are you talking about?
#49 Posted by Marz (5642 posts) -

Lesson here, buy a points card from a retail store to give to the kid and not use a credit or debit card to buy them through the console.

#50 Posted by Faint (833 posts) -

She gave an 11 year old her card details. lol. It's her fault. No clue how he managed to get a 1,000 pound bill though. What on Earth could he have bought?

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