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Video game warning: Kid racks up $4,500 bill!

I've written here previously about how easy it is for children (or others!) to rack up huge bills with so called "in-app purchases" when playing video games. These are "opportunities" for players to purchase extra lives, weapons or higher levels of play, often on mom or dad's credit card number that's been saved on the gadget at some point.

This has been such a serious problem that The Federal Trade Commission sued Amazon, Apple and Google for making it too easy for kids to make unauthorized purchases. So far, Apple agreed to refund $32.5 million and Google is handing back $19 million.

But there's one big tech name that is missing from that list, so far: Microsoft. You may know that Microsoft makes the wildly popular Xbox game console. But one Maryland dad, Jeremy Hillman, did not know that his son's Xbox saved the family credit card number long after they bought their 13-year old son the FIFA Soccer game through the gadget.

That rude awakening came in the form of a $4,500 credit card bill, racked up through the game. They now know that their son was buying extra "game packs" to get new characters. Just two problems here, each game pack cost $109 and Microsoft automatically billed dozens of these purchases to the family credit card.

Now time out for just a moment. Can you imagine how you would react to finding nearly $5,000 charged to your credit card? For many families that could be a devastating financial hit! Jeremy writes that he went through a combination of shock, anger and horror. As you might expect, after things calmed down a bit, he reached out to Microsoft to dispute the charges. But then...

Next page: Microsoft's surprise response!
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