Tip of the week: What can be done if a child has made unwanted purchases on mobile and console games?

24.7.2017

Without the consent of a guardian, minors may only make ordinary, minor purchases considered typical for children. The online and mobile worlds do not form an exception to this principle.

Although under the terms of the subscription contract the parent is responsible for expenses associated with the child's use of the mobile phone, operators or companies that offer services through mobile phones cannot shirk their responsibilities by invoking the parents' role as the responsible party.

Prevent the use of your credit card or mobile subscription by adjusting the settings of your device or your subscription and by following the instructions provided by the game seller. For example, you can set a password in the game account to authorise purchases, or use the barring functions provided by operators in your child’s mobile phone subscription. Most game vendors and telephone operators also have sites providing guidelines for parents, so please familiarise yourself with these.

Children should always be guided and instructed on the use of devices and various media. Guide your child in using the Internet and mobile phones. Discuss the risks and threats related to using services and games that include extra charges. 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 before making purchases.

If unwanted purchases have been made, you can take the following steps:

  • Demand that the operator or company offering such services through mobile phones cancel the transaction, or try to negotiate with them over the matter. You always have the right to present claims to the operator when a fee is charged on your mobile subscription invoice. The operator has joint responsibility with the service provider for clarifying problematic situations.
  • State that you have not authorised or been aware of the purchases and that the charges were incurred by a minor.
  • To make it easier to resolve possible disputes, we recommend that all complaints be filed in writing. In addition to the instructions on our website, you can use our Complaint Assistant (available in Finnish).

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 Finland, which assists consumers with problems related to cross-border trade in cases where a product has been purchased or ordered from outside Finland and from another EU Member State, Norway or Iceland.

Read  more:
Children as users of mobile services and the Internet


Updated 24.7.2017 Print