Minors can only make ordinary, small purchases without the guardian’s consent. This also applies to purchases made on the Internet, for example using a mobile phone or a gaming console. Children may not be enticed to make purchases on websites intended for children, or in games that interest them.
In case of a problem, contact the company that charged for the purchases
Operators, creditors and companies offering games and other services share the responsibility for resolving problem situations. Purchases that a child cannot make independently and to which you have not given your consent are not binding and may not be charged for.
The binding nature of the purchases depends on whether the purchases a child has made can be regarded as ordinary and small, considering the child’s age. If many small purchases add up to a whole, which is typical for purchases made in a game, their total value should be examined.
When you buy a mobile game, your credit card information is usually stored on the device and may be accessible to your child for purchases made as part of the game. Under the contract concluded with the provider, the parent is responsible for the costs of using the mobile device or credit card. You may not receive full compensation if your carelessness was partly to blame.
Follow these steps if you have been charged without authorisation
- Contact the company that made the charges and file a written complaint to facilitate the investigation of possible disputes.
- Tell the company that you did not authorise the purchases or know about them, and that the bill was run up by a minor.
- If necessary, visit the FCCA website for instructions on filing complaints and use the Complaint Assistant.
You can also complain to
- the credit card company if your credit card was charged.
- the operator, if the payment was charged in connection with your subscription invoice.
If you need advice, contact
- the Consumer Advisory Services for information about your rights and assistance in resolving disputes.
- the European Consumer Centre, which assists consumers in cross-border trade issues when a product was purchased or ordered from another EU country, Norway, Iceland or the United Kingdom.
Prevent unauthorised mobile game purchases
To prevent unauthorised mobile game purchases, put in place some ground rules with your child:
- Familiarise yourself with the contract terms and features of the game you purchased for your child. Check what happens if you try to make in-game purchases.
- Explain to your child about the fee-based features of games and agree on rules for your family.
- Also remind the child about what personal data are and how they can be protected online.
You can also use various settings and services to avoid unwanted purchases:
- You can use card and device specific settings to prevent access to a credit card or subscription, such as requiring a password to authorise purchases or using service blocking features provided by the operator.
- A variety of prepaid cards and subscriptions are also available that only allow your child to make game purchases up to a pre-set amount.