Many video games offer in-game purchases that directly affect game play. Those purchases can add up. Some parents, especially those who don’t know their way around video games, can often be blindsided by how quickly these charges can amount to real money. That’s the case here, where one boy spent more than his mother could afford. Much more.
“Cleo Duckett, from Bridgend in south Wales, has been left with an overdraft bill and ‘no money’ to pay for food or electricity after her son Jayden-Lee spent £1,193.25 on the online video game,” Daily Mail writes.
That’s more than $1,500.
Fortnite has been a huge hit game and allows players to make in-game purchases. Players can buy weapons and outfits. Many of these purchases don’t change game play, but simply alter players’ on-screen characters’ appearances.
Duckett, though, is on a fixed income. She is now struggling to determine how she will pay for electricity.
Duckett, a “mother-of-two, who suffers from polio and is in a wheelchair, was completely unaware of the amounting video game bill until she checked her bank account on Friday night.”
She receives £700 a month in benefits. “I only found out about it all when I went to use the cash machine and there was only £8 left in my account,” she told reporters.
“My son started crying and admitted everything that he had done,” she said.
“He had used my bank card behind my back, typed my details into his Xbox and bought lots of games on Fortnite.”
“He spent £1,193.25, leaving me around £245 into my overdraft.”
“There was £50 here and £50 there, £60 here and £66 there and that’s without the VAT.
“I think he must have been paying for different parts of the game.”
Who is responsible for this? The boy’s deception, purposeful as it was, is clear.
“The bank is refusing to help me because they said my boy is my responsibility and I am responsible for his actions,” Cleo said.
Some see this as a simple case of bad parenting. Others see the criminal culpability of the boy. Is is the mother’s fault that he spent the money without her knowledge?
“I’m not a criminal. I haven’t stolen the money or spent it on games for myself. I’ve been with the bank for more than 20 years and they’re just not helping me at all,” Duckett said.
She has reached out to the makers of Fortnite, too, but has yet to get a response. “I’ll probably never see that money again.
“My boy didn’t understand what he was doing – he’s only 10. He didn’t understand that it was real money. He thought he was only getting credits.”
That explanation, though strikes many as thin. The boy new enough to use his mother’s card to make the purchases.
So exactly who bears responsibility? Officially, as of the writing of this, it is the mother.