Microsoft Refunds $8,000 Video Game Bill

John Lister's picture

Microsoft has refunded a man whose son used his credit card to spend more than $8,000 on a video game. It's a surprise move given the son is 17 years old.

Lance Perkins's son had used a credit card provided by his father to make "micro transaction" purchases for the FIFA soccer game on the Xbox video game console. The game includes an "Ultimate Team" mode in which players can create a fictional super team using players from around the world, rather than sticking to real world team lineups.

The son claims that although he knew Ultimate Team carried an extra cost, he thought it was a one-off access charge. In fact, every transaction costs points, which are funded by real currency. In the end the son spent a total of $8,206.43, made up of $7,625.88 on the FIFA game, plus a series of charges for previous games. (Source:

Father Told To Press Fraud Charges Against Son

Upon receiving his credit card bill - and recovering from the shock - Perkins asked his credit card company to refund the money. It refused to do so unless Perkins was willing to press charges against his son for fraud. Even had Perkins done so, it would have been a gray area, as he had provided the card to his son on the understanding it was for emergencies and for buying stock for a convenience store operated by the family. (Source:

He then asked Microsoft to refund the money. Originally Microsoft refused to do so, but after learning the son was under age, it made a full refund this week.

Apple Had Similar Controversy

The decision has come as a surprise to many observers given that the son was old enough to know better. There's also some question about his story, as normally every in-game purchase on Xbox creates an automated email receipt to the address associated with the account - so there should have been plenty of warning that charges were being accrued. It's also unclear how large the credit limit was on the "emergency" credit card, which was meant to be used for other purposes.

There has certainly been plenty of controversy over in-app purchases in games played by children, particularly younger ones that are not able to understand the consequences. Apple reached a court settlement over the issue on iPhones and iPads, though in that case, the problem was that it wasn't doing enough to stop cases where children were able to make in-app purchases without needing a PIN code.

What's Your Opinion?

Was Microsoft right to make the refund? Should parents bear more responsibility if they are prepared to give children the ability to spend on their card? Should video game companies be allowed to let any players rack up such huge bills?

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Dennis Faas's picture

There should be a hard limit on in-app purchases so this sort of thing doesn't happen - sort of like how credit card agencies can automatically detect potential fraud on a credit card when it's being used in a fashion that is not part of a normal spending pattern.

That said, $8000 for in-app purchases on a video game is completely ridiculous! Microsoft certainly saved face by refunding the amount. As for the man who lent his credit card to his son - he could have put a much lower limit on the card then to let a 17 year old handle that much credit.

Personally, I have my Android devices set up to require a password before any purchase can be made - and that password is so long an obscure that the only way to use it is to copy and paste the password from another, separate 'secure note' app, which uses another password. So, two passwords are needed for 1 purchase.

gmthomas44_4203's picture

Father should be assessed/fined $8000.00 for lack of common sense.
Did he think he was signing up for a free lunch?
These kind of folk shouldn't be allowed to vote.
And, He's teaching his son that someone else should pay for his

Syscob Support's picture

That “father” should be prosecuted. Criminal negligence arising from his lack of diligence in raising a child. And possibly child abuse arising from his demonstrated lack of proper care for a child. And, even at 17, the son's backside should be warmed as a deterrent to such future misbehaviour.

Doccus's picture

What kind of idiot vendor creates a game that charges 8 grand for in app purchases? If ANYBODY should be charged for fraud it is them. Look, bottom line, the kid should get a good strong caning for overextending a card that isn't even his, even if he was granted access. What he did wasn't fraud.. it was a family affair and he was an irresponsible kid who didn't value money.. after all it's very easy to spend somone else's money. If he didn't get severely punished at home he'll grow up into an adult doing the same thing., at the risk of jail time.
But 8 grand? Somebody else should also serve a little time for graft...