Lionel Messi. Photo via FIFPlay
A Pembroke, Ontario, gun shop owner is "mad as a hatter" over his son's $8,800 Xbox bill.
Lance Perkins, 51, told VICE he bought his 17-year-old boy an Xbox One a couple years ago and since then has had nothing to do with it. All was fine until his son decided to put his own credit card into the system in October to make in-game purchases.
Perkins said he gave both of his sons credit cards when they got their driver's licenses so that they could purchase items like gas. He then foots their bills.
In November, Perkins received a bill from Microsoft's Xbox for around $800 but said he was away when it arrived at his business and that one of his employees paid it using a blank check he left behind.
The $7,625 in fees he received on December 23, however, caught his attention, and he immediately called his credit card company and asked why the fuck no one had alerted him about the unusual charges.
"When there's 20-plus billings in one day, you'd think the company would notify you and ask you if something was wrong."
The company canceled his card and suggested Perkins have his son charged for youth fraud. Perkins, not keen on throwing his offspring under the bus, declined that option. His son claimed he thought he had paid one-time monthly fees (an Xbox gold membership costs $59.99 for a year) that gave him unlimited access to all purchases, so he ignored any pricing prompts he received. (Xbox users are directly warned the exact costs of all their purchases, while free purchases are clearly marked as "free.") Perkins said he didn't know the password for the system, nor was his email address linked to it, so he wasn't aware of any of the charges.
"He did not realize he was being charged every time he pushed a button," Perkins said. "When one of his chums explained how it really worked, he was quite shocked. He never dreamed the bill was that high."
Apparently, Perkins's son was making micro-transactions from EA's FIFA soccer series. You can buy "FIFA Points" packages, ranging from $129.99 to $1.49, with real hard currency for in-games purchases.
Microsoft told CBC transactions made with a parent's credit card are "legitimate" and that parents should use the safeguarding features available to prevent unapproved charges.
Perkins has since paid the bill, which he said amounted to $8,800 with interest, though he doesn't believe he's at fault. He's still waiting to hear back from Xbox.
He told VICE he spends more than $100,000 a week running his gun shop, but doesn't trust online banking and never uses the internet other than to check his emails. While bills don't normally bother him, he said this one stings.
"Usually when you go into a store to buy something, you have something," he said. With gaming, "you spend a whole lot of money on, not to be rude, fuck all. We have nothing for our money, all I have is headaches."
He said his other son either destroyed or gave away the Xbox.
"It's not in my home," he said. "I'll never have another game."
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