Nowadays, mobile devices and game consoles are also used for making payments, and many games purchased for children, and which are popular among them, include additional features subject to a charge. A good example of this is the popular Pokémon Go -mobile game in which it is possible to buy expansions in addition to free gaming.
Most game vendors and telephone operators also have sites providing guidelines for parents, so please familiarise yourself with these.
If unwanted purchases have been made, you can take the following steps:
- Check which company is charging you from the credit card or mobile phone bill. In most cases, the child will be able to tell you what games he or she has played.
- Contact the firm that is billing you to achieve a possible settlement. State that the bill was run up by a minor who did not understand the fee-based nature of gaming and that you neither authorised nor were aware of the purchases.
- If contacting the company proves unsuccessful, consumers are also entitled to present their claims to the credit card company or the operator, who has a joint responsibility with the service provider to clarify problem situations.
- If the payment has been charged to a credit card, you can also complain to the credit card company that made the payment.
- If the payment has been charged in connection with a subscription bill, you can also complain to the operator that charged the payment.
- Be aware that you will not be reimbursed in full if what happened was due, at least in part, to your own carelessness. In our experience, some companies can be fairly sympathetic in such situations.
Avoid unpleasant financial surprises by means of the following methods:
- Bear in mind that even free games often include additional features subject to a charge.
- Be aware that, in most cases, your credit card details are stored when you purchase a game and may be available to your child.
- Prevent the use of your credit card with the device settings and in the manner indicated by the game vendor. For example, set a password in the game account to authorise purchases. Mobilepayment from child's telephone subscription can be blocked with a blocker service.
- Familiarise yourself with the terms of the contract and features of the game, and check to see what will happen if you try to make in-game purchases.
- Inform your child about fee-based features of the game and agree on rules, including that the child must always ask permission from a parent to make purchases.
- You can also use a variety of prepaid cards and prepaid telephone subscriptions, which you can buy from outlets such as kiosks and gaming stores. These place an advance limit on the amount that may be spent on game purchases
If you make no headway with the case, you can consult
- The Consumer Advisory Service, which provides information on consumer rights, and mediation assistance in disputes between consumers and businesses.
- The European Consumer Centre in Finland, which assists with consumer problems related to cross-border trade.
Children as consumers
Liability for defects in the case of defective services
Problems with invoicing subscriptions
European Consumer Centre Finland: Online shopping