Dad Who Spent £5 On Roblox Game Horrified By £5,000 Bill
A dad who believed he’d made a one-time payment of £4.99 for his daughter to use a gaming app has been left shocked and horrified after discovering it had charged him thousands of pounds, sending him into his overdraft.
Steve Cumming, 72, allowed his 11-year-old daughter to use his debit card to make what he had believed to be a one-off payment to popular gaming company Roblox.
However, after checking his balance a month later, Steve realised he’d been charged thousands of pounds for the app, taking him into his overdraft. Thankfully, Roblox have said that they will refund him for this staggering amount.
Being by his own admission not particularly ‘tech savvy’, Steve signed up for online banking during lockdown as he was unable to get to the bank, and didn’t want to have to use ATM machines.
After realising he had lost about £3,500, Steve telephoned HSBC to get his debit card cancelled. However, despite doing so, an additional £1,000 or so was removed from his account and paid to Roblox through Google Play.
During an interview on The Jeremy Vine Show, Steve explained:
My daughter told me all her friends were playing this game and she wanted to spend £4.99. She made that purchase using my debit card on 16 April and I thought nothing more of it.
My daughter was really upset when we told her about the financial consequences. She thought she was playing with monopoly money – it didn’t seem real to her. How can these companies be allowed to trap minors in these games? To trap people who are vulnerable?
Steve admitted that he hadn’t read through the terms and conditions before allowing his young daughter to purchase the app.
However, he has expressed his shock that a game supposedly designed for children would even allow a player to spend thousands of pounds over a period of just a few short weeks.
Going forward, Steve wants the government to step in and change the law around such apps, stating:
I get by on my pension. But this is a lot of money to me. I had earmarked it for a holiday when this pandemic is all over. I wanted to pay for my daughter to have a break. We can’t now and I’m in my overdraft.
Roblox has since made the following statement to BBC News:
We encourage parents to review their payment settings on third-party services, such as Google Play, as they typically have an option to require a password for each purchase made and/or to prevent any information from being saved in browser settings that could allow them to be reused.
HSBC told BBC News:
We sympathise with Mr Cumming and appreciate these payments have come as a surprise to him. We have received a claim for a dispute for these payments and we will be taking a closer look at the circumstances surrounding this matter in accordance with Visa dispute regulations.
According to a report from CNBC back in April, Roblox saw usage escalate by 40% in March, with many children looking for ways to keep entertained indoors during lockdown.
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