Thursday, 13 Jun 2024

Child spends more than £2k of mum’s money on video game without consent

Following the incident, the child’s mum, Georgina Munday, 44, from Denbighshire, has warned other parents to be vigilant.

Ms Munday said her daughter, who has autism, had been playing on her tablet for longer periods of time in recent weeks due to being off school and struggling with education.

When she saw the transactions to Roblox, she originally thought her bank account had been hacked, but it became clear soon after that her child had changed the password to allow payments.

While Roblox allows users to play their games, it also offers in-app purchases to upgrade the player’s avatars and some games are pay-to-play.

She told the BBC: “We’d just see hundreds of transactions, these payment confirmations, so then the panic set in – oh my gosh, who’s card is this on?”

Ms Munday’s bank, Tesco Bank, originally refused to refund the money but reconsidered and apologised after BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours highlighted the case.

Ms Munday, a nurse, said at first, both Tesco Bank and Apple refused to help her. She said: “It was a really stressful time. I am not working at the minute, I am looking after my daughter.

“The last few months have been quite stressful, so maybe we have had our eye off the ball. I just thought I would have to pay it off in instalments over the next few years.

“I rang up Tesco Bank and they said, because it was my daughter, they couldn’t do anything about it. So, I tried Apple again – they just read me their terms and conditions. So that’s when I contacted the BBC, You and Yours, consumer programme.”

Ms Munday said that within a day Tesco Bank had contacted her to say they would refund the full amount. She said: “I cried – it was just a relief, a weight off my shoulders.”

Apple said there are ways accounts can be set up to alert a parent before a child wants to make a purchase. They added that parents and guardians should not disclose passwords or enable FaceID or TouchID for their children.

They said Ask to Buy should be set up so that purchases need approval before going through.

In a statement, Tesco Bank said: “We’ve carried out a further review of this case and have now agreed with Ms Munday that we’ll refund her the full amount. We apologise to Ms Munday that this wasn’t arranged for her when she first contacted us, and we’ve therefore also organised an additional payment to her as a gesture of goodwill.”

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In a statement, Roblox said: “Roblox has a robust policy for processing refund requests where there may have been unauthorised payments from a person’s account.

“This process is detailed in our help centre here. Parents also have access to a suite of Parental Controls that can be used to determine how much their children can spend, and set spend notifications to increase visibility over their children’s spending on Roblox.”

After her experience, Ms Munday has warned parents to be vigilant and aware of what their children are playing.

She said: “Children are one step ahead of parents these days. We thought this Roblox game was quite innocent, it looks very basic. It’s a whole world out there on this Roblox that we knew nothing about.”

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