A man in Ontario says he’s never allowing another video game console in his home after his son ran up a massive credit card bill making in-game purchases while playing his Xbox, according to a story from CBC News. You can hardly blame him: The 17-year-old racked up $7,625.88 (CAD) in credit card debt on his dad’s account (more than $5,300 in the U.S.) while playing a FIFA game.
“It floored me. Literally floored me, when I’d seen what I was being charged,” Lance Perkins told CBC News. Perkins said his son admitted to using the credit card when he shouldn’t have — his parents gave him the card to use in case of an emergency — but didn’t realize how much he had spent.
Perkins’s credit card company told him there’s nothing they could do about it, unless he wanted to charge his son with fraud (a common obstacle people face when dealing with unauthorized spending within the family), CBC News reports. Xbox commented to the news site saying there’s a setting that prevents minors from making purchases with a parent’s card, but otherwise, transactions made on a parent’s account by a child are legitimate.
That leaves Perkins with a massive credit card bill (and his son without a gaming console, apparently). For someone in the U.S. dealing with something like this, that expensive bill could damage your credit score (getting close to your credit limit can hurt your credit), not to mention the cost of interest if you can’t pay it off right away. You can see how your credit card use affects your credit scores for free on Credit.com.
In-app and in-game purchases have generated a lot of controversy because of experiences like Perkins’s, and barring any change in regulating them, it’s something people will continue to contend with. To avoid getting stuck with massive credit card debt for the sake of fielding a FIFA dream team (or something along those lines), consider activating parental controls on in-game purchases when they’re available. If you’re the one playing, make sure you’re aware of actions you take that cost real money.
Additionally, setting up transaction alerts on your credit cards could help you prevent a situation like the one Perkins encountered. Your issuer may allow you set up an alert so you know whenever the card is used. You can call them to inquire about that service (and similar alerts) that may help you readily monitor your accounts and prevent over-spending.
More on Managing Debt:
- How to Pay Off Credit Card Debt
- 5 Tips for Consolidating Credit Card Debt
- The Best Way to Loan Money to Friends & Family
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