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World Bank exec discovers son spent $4500 on FIFA packs

"Where was Microsoft in this? What was their responsibility?"

World Bank director of corporate communications is the latest parent to discover their child had racked up a huge credit card bill while purchasing virtual game items.

Jeremy Hillman was shocked to discover his son had spent so much on FIFA.

Jeremy Hillman, who according to his Twitter bio is based in Washington DC, recently found his 13-year-old son had spent $4500 on FIFA purchases without his parents' knowledge.

Writing in a Medium.com blog post on the issue, Hillman admitted it had taken him several months to notice something was amiss.

"I initially thought it must be a glitch in the renewal of my Office 365 subscription," he explained. "A quick check showed it couldn't have been that.

"When I heard my son meekly call out for his mother from his bedroom after hearing me start to rant it there was clearly another explanation."

Hillman said he has since confiscated his son's Xbox and put a promised table-tennis table on hold.

But he has also questioned Microsoft's role in the saga, and asked whether the company could have done more to stop the charges occurring.

"Where was Microsoft in this? What was their responsibility? I should declare here that I feel conflicted about writing this. I have good friends at Microsoft, especially in the press and communications teams.

"We went back and forth a couple of times but to no effect, even though I pointed out my son's age was registered in their system and it was to his name they were sending a receipt for each purchase."

Hillman admitted he had entered his own credit card details into his son's account, but that was just to download the game itself, and he had no knowledge that more money could then be spent.

"In truth my wife and I probably should have paid a little more attention," Hillman admitted. "But new house, new jobs meant he was left to his own devices more than usual. He tearfully told me that he'd tried to buy a player pack for $100 but it hadn't worked and so he tried a couple more times.

"My wife and I accept our responsibility in this. We should have paid much closer attention to his video gaming, and my son accepts his responsibility and punishment. [But] how many users legitimately spend thousands of dollars on in-app purchases and just how much usage would it actually take for [Microsoft] to flag this as unusual behaviour and require confirmation that the purchase is legitimate? Banks and credit card companies regularly do this.

"If there's a lawyer out there that wants to start a class-action against Microsoft and force them into compensation and adopting a better policy I'll happily sign up."

After seeing the blog gain traction online, Hillman updated his post to state: "I have not initiated any legal action, and am not planning to, and have already paid the credit card bill. My main intention for the blog was to share my experience with other parents and help them learn from my mistakes."

Hillman is not the first parent to discover that their child has been spending time spending their money. Numerous UK parents have complained about unexpected charges on their bank statements, racked up by their kids via tablets, phones and games consoles tied to their parents' credit cards.

Microsoft offers a suite of parental controls on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One that restrict access to unauthorised purchases, as well as age-appropriate content and other settings.

Cover image for YouTube videoFIFA 14 - Official Gameplay Trailer Xbox 360, PS3, PC - Eurogamer