British Mum Seeks More Regulation Of Mobile Games On Phones After Son Incurs £7,000 Phone Bill

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By Vittorio Hernandez | September 1, 2014 7:48 AM EST

British mum Theresa Cox blames the mobile phone game Clash of Clans for almost emptying her bank account of £7,000 which was automatically debited from her funds.

The "highway robbery" the mum from Breaston suffered prompted her to push for more regulation of mobile games on phones as a result of her 12-year-old son James purchasing the Clash of Clans, followed by add-ons which cost £240 daily.

REUTERS
Shoppers browse for video games near a poster advertising a FIFA soccer video game played on Sony Corp's PlayStation 4 console, at an electronics retail store in Tokyo June 10, 2014. Sony joined other sponsors on Sunday to call on soccer's rulers to deal thoroughly with allegations of bribery to secure the 2022 World Cup for Qatar, an issue overshadowing this week's kickoff in Brazil. With its four yearly showpiece event only four days away, soccer's governing body FIFA is on the defensive, conducting an internal investigation into the decisions to hold the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 Cup in Qatar. Both countries have denied any wrongdoing.

James thought he bought only two add ones that had a price tag of £2.99 each.

The infuriated cash-stricken mother went to the store where she purchased the mobile phone of James on an £8.99 a month contract to ask how could James incurred such an astronomical phone bill, she got no answer despite waiting for three hours.

According to Google Play, the seller of the game, it has a default that would require the user to write the password every time a purchase it made, although the user could turn off the default feature or pick a long period before the prompt shows up again.

YouTube/PlayClashOfClans

Supercell, the game creator, said it has a guide with information about billing, while T-Mobile said it has no control over settings of the games and approval of cost since it only facilitates payment of game purchases and apps. But T-Mobile has suspended the account of Cox while there is an ongoing probe.

Besides causing phone bill shock among parents who pay for the phone bills of their kids, online games played on mobile phones, tablets and PCs likewise add to the continuous growth in data demand.

To meet that demand, telcos and tech firms are investing in infrastructure upgrade and launching new offerings such as Verizon's VoLTE, IBM will open two data centres in Australia in 2014 and Optus will launch in September with its own satellite.

Cox plans to sell her car to pay the phone bill, although she admitted she needs it to go to work.

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(Photo: REUTERS / Issei Kato)
Shoppers browse for video games near a poster advertising a FIFA soccer video game played on Sony Corp's PlayStation 4 console, at an electronics retail store in Tokyo June 10, 2014. Sony joined other sponsors on Sunday to call on soccer's rulers to deal thoroughly with allegations of bribery to secure the 2022 World Cup for Qatar, an issue overshadowing this week's kickoff in Brazil. With its four yearly showpiece event only four days away, soccer's governing body FIFA is on the defensive, conducting an internal investigation into the decisions to hold the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 Cup in Qatar. Both countries have denied any wrongdoing.
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