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Microsoft says no refund for autistic boy who spent £844 on Xbox

Nic McBride

Nic McBride
Jan 29, 2018


Microsoft have been accused of profiting from children after it refused a refund for an autistic boy who accidentally spent £844 on Xbox Live.

Theo is 14-years-old and has autism and ADHD, as well as dyscalculia and dyspraxia - conditions that mean he struggles with numbers and co-ordination.

But he still managed to rack up £844.17 on Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty on Xbox Live without his step-mum Marian James realising.

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Marian, from Anglesey in North Wales, says the purchases date back to October, but she only realised earlier this month.

"I would never freely allow a child to purchase £844 of add-ons. I did not know anything about it."

She went to Microsoft to explain the transactions had been a mistake and to try get a refund.

But the multi-million-dollar company refused.

"Microsoft say we should have put child security on it – in hindsight yes – but you don't think about this."

Marian, a hairdresser, said she would now have to sell the Xbox to pay off the massive bill.

"We have to watch every penny – this is going to have a huge impact."

Marian said her income varies.

"We'll just have to pull through," she told A Spokesman Said.

READ MORE: Microsoft refuses grieving mum refund for £2300 spent on FIFA 16 points

Marian said Microsoft were profiting from children.

“How can Microsoft verify that they're dealing with an adult? How do they verify purchases?

"Microsoft make it so easy, it's a temptation, one purchase was for £84. How can they justify such astronomical charges?

Theo would not have even known what he was doing, Marian said.

"He does not understand money – over summer he did not even know what a pound was.

"I asked Microsoft to be reasonable. There was no previous history of spending."

 

Never alerted to transactions

Microsoft xbox live spending

Marian said the purchases were made between October to January - yet she received no notice.

She didn't notice the transactions on her bank account because they initially appeared as Pay Pal transactions.

It wasn't until they started being billed to Microsoft that she realised.

Microsoft told her that there had been signs of changes made to the purchasing setup so they deem that Marian was aware of what was going on.

But Marian maintains she had no idea what was happening.

She questioned how she was supposed to know all the ins and outs of how an Xbox works.

"There was a sudden spike on the account in large 'add-ons'.

"The previous history shows that this was not normal activity, which again shows there was suspicious activity going on."

Yet she was never alerted of this.

A Spokesman Said went to Microsoft and asked if it a few hard questions about their purchasing policies.

We also asked them to do the right thing here and give Marian a refund.

We'll let you know what they say.

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Too easy for children to spend

Both Xbox – and their gaming rivals Playstation – are notorious for being easy for children to spend mountains of cash on games.

Vanessa Byrne’s 10-year-old son spent £2,300 on FIFA 2016 on Xbox while she was away in hospital with her dying husband.

Microsoft at first refused to budge – until Vanessa came to A Spokesman Said.

Meanwhile, 14-year-old Joe Dexter and his friends accidentally spent £80 on FIFA on Playstation. When Joe's dad asked Sony to transfer the money – not even refund it – Sony refused.

So, A Spokesman Said stepped in and sorted it out.

Brad McDermott, 7, was able to use a credit card to buy nearly £80-worth of FIFA points with no security checks.

His dad was told they weren't entitled to a refund - until A Spokesman Said came in to bat for them.

If you have had a problem with Microsoft or Playstation, tell us what happened.

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