Black Friday is just a few days away and with that comes lots of online shopping. This can be done both the usual way and also through your gaming console. ARAG, a legal protection advisor, has issued a warning to parents: watch your kids with your credit card on Black Friday.
In particular, the two games they are advising caution about are Fortnite and FIFA due to their popular in-game purchases. Kids are attracted to V-Bucks in Fortnite to get things like character skins, weapons, and emotes.
“A lot of parents have been shocked to see how quickly a child can run up a large, unauthorised credit card bill, buying V-Bucks or another in-game currency,” said Hector Stamboulieh, In-House Counsel at ARAG. “Some are then doubly surprised to find that they can’t necessarily fall back on the usual protections that credit cards have to provide, by law. It’s especially important that parents are aware of this risk as we approach Black Friday and Christmas, which are among the busiest times for games console sales.”
Ultimately, if parents complain to Epic Games or other developers that their kids used their cards without permission, sometimes they will refund the charges. Most times, they won’t. It is really the parent’s responsibility to police their kids’ spending, not the game developers.
Online game stores like PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, and the Nintendo eShop are bound to have Black Friday sales, so it’s very tempting for kids to want to automatically spend without thinking of the consequences. You can try getting a refund by complaining but if they refuse, according to ARAG, you may have to seek legal advice.
What parents can do
Your best bet? Utilizing those oh-so-important Parental Controls on the console.
Don’t store your credit card number, and if you do, require a password before any purchases can be made. Also, monitor your credit card and where you keep it so your kid doesn’t do what many parents online are upset about and “steal it.” A good sit down with them about how credit cards aren’t free money would also be important or simply turning off the ability to purchase from online stores.
There are plenty of online resources available for parents to help them with teaching kids including some great Facebook groups like Fortnite-iParent 101: Parenting Tips & Support. Let us know what you plan on doing to keep your kids from racking up credit card bills this Black Friday!