$8,800 Xbox bill 'disheartening,' gamer's dad says

A father in Pembroke, Ont., is holding up his latest credit card bill as a warning for parents whose children have Xboxes.

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Lance Perkins says he was shocked to learn he was on the hook for the money, after his 17-year-old son racked up thousands of dollars in online gaming charges.

The costs first appeared on an earlier credit card bill, but Perkins says he didn't originally notice them.

By the time the next bill arrived, the total amount owing had grown to $8,800 with interest, Perkins told CTV Ottawa.

Xbox charges annual fees so that gamers can access multiplayer games online. There are also separate fees to purchase games, additions and extensions.

But Perkins says the business scheme is misleading, especially for a young person without a credit card of their own.

"When you have someone telling you that you can play for free, and then all of the sudden they just want you credit card number, a little kid or a youth would not realize what a credit card number is, other than that (it will let them) play more of the game," he said.

Perkins contacted his credit card company about the bill and says they've agreed to reduce the amount.

But he says the whole experience has been "disheartening."

Xbox does offer tips for parents to avoid "unauthorized purchases by children."

The console recommends creating separate Xbox accounts for each user, and making a password for signing in and making purchases.

And if children want to buy games on their own, the gaming system recommends parents purchase a gift card for their child, rather than providing access to their credit card-linked accounts.

With files from CTV Ottawa


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