11 year old racks up 1000 on Xbox Live - bad parenting

The press seem to be on a roll with anti-Xbox Live stories as of late. A few weeks ago it was the kid caught cheating with a modified profile, and as a result had his gamerscore reset and his zone changed to "cheater". His mum complained and demanded his achievements back and the "cheater" removed from his gamer tile, after Microsoft refused she went to the press. In the end we found out the kid had cheated, despite his mum protesting his innocence. The kid cheated, end of story.

Well this week we've got something a bit different now the Daily Mail are featuring a story about an 11 year old boy spending 1000 on the Xbox Live Marketplace.

Right off the bat I would like to quote the Xbox Live Terms and Conditions:

The Service is not intended for use by children under 13, except together with a parent or other adult supervision

With that out of the way...

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.

Oh dear.

She entered her debit card details into the family Xbox to pay for Brendan's subscription to his favourite game. However, Brendan repeatedly clicked on additions and extensions - racking up a 1082.52 debt to her account over six months.

Oh so in other words, you let your kid spend the money. And now you want it back? Tough you got the stuff you paid for, as it clearly states "there are no refunds for this item". NO REFUNDS.

Microsoft make it perfectly clear what's going on, they'll show two or three screens when you're buying Microsoft Points, making it clear this will debit your account, it mentions the amount and the fact it'll take it from a credit card. Your 11 year old kid is taking you for a ride if you think he didn't know what was going on.

It is ridiculous to allow someone of his age to make payments without any checks being done.

You're quite right and the fact of the matter is Microsoft do check.

When you would have set up your son's account it would have asked for an age. Under 18 and he'd get a child account. With all the parental controls anybody would need, and by default would prevent any purchases from the Xbox Live Marketplace.

So either they lied about his age when setting up his account, or the mother enabled purchases on her son's account.

In addition to that it took six months before his mother realised he was spending all this money. Surely she would have noticed the dozens if not hundreds of MICROSOFT *XBOX LIVE transactions on her statement? Or you know check their e-mail where receipts would be sent? Apparently not.

Stop trying to blame others for your own bad parenting.

6 comments

Comment from: Dawn Matthews [Visitor]  
1 stars
Dawn Matthews

Your first comment is exactly my point! As a parent, you CANNOT constantly watch and supervise a child under 13 on their xbox!!! How many children are there on xboxlive unsupervised under the age of 13??? I have had many messages from the general public all week. Some just with support and some saying its happened to them too. The most ive heard of so far is £800. There should be no option to register your card unless it comes with a personal card reader that has to be used so the card user needs a different code for every purchase, even passwords arent good enough. Join P.A.P.A on facebook

02/14/11 @ 02:28
Comment from: Simon [Visitor]
4 stars
Simon

They should make the Game consoles more secure, Gaming is a thriving industry. They spend billions on chipset development but they don't really care how old the user is. They just use a simple input text that even a monkey can fill it with wrong date of birth.

02/16/11 @ 03:42
Comment from: paul [Member]
Paul Smith

But Simon how else do you propose they establish someone's date of birth? By having you fax a copy of your passport to them? Then wait 6 to 8 weeks as maybe and then pay the administrative fees?

02/16/11 @ 15:48
Comment from: AK [Visitor]  
5 stars
AK

Hey Paul,
I just thought about the your comment. Kids "normally" don't have money and do have parents/guardian.
So this means parents when buying the console can create their account first.
This act should activate Parental Approval System by (email/text) and any new profile (equal or above 15)should be approved by parents, or even developers can spend a few more line of code any Game with a particular nature can trigger the approval system for flashing images, swords,...
for example his mom can receive an email/txt from XBox live (New profile for Grand Theft Auto awaiting for your approval Now, this game is suitable for age 18 and above plus a thumbnail of the game cover and link to read more description about the game.)
I am a web developer and can implement such a system on the web in 2 days from the scratch subject the Database data to be provided. Now multi-billion corporate with 1000 of developers and RnD budget haven't thought about this!

02/28/11 @ 01:17
Comment from: paul [Member]
Paul Smith

@AK the current system pretty much works as you've described.

03/04/11 @ 14:09
Comment from: Jess [Visitor]
Jess

The parent probably lets the xbox babysit their child, that's why this happened. Better supervision and giving your child something more constructive to do would have prevented this.

03/27/11 @ 05:12