Mom Calls for Gaming to Be Regulated After Son Loses Savings of $3,645

  • Susie Breare's disabled son spent his life savings on in-app purchases
  • She is now calling for gaming to be regulated, just like the gambling industry
  • Member of Parliament has written to the government to ask that they monitor such games

 

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Mother calls for in-app games to be regulated like the gambling sector after disabled son loses his savings.

Government asked to tackle issues

A UK mother is calling for games that allow in-app purchases to be regulated like the gambling sector. Susie Breare’s disabled son lost his life savings while playing a free game.

Her case has been picked up by Member of Parliament Bob Seely, who has written to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nicky Morgan, to ask the government to tackle such issues.

He is keen for the government to recognize the hardship faced by young people who either do not realize they are spending money to purchase gameplay-related items or cannot understand the severity.

Gaming monitoring and regulation encouraged

He went on to ask what steps are currently being taken by the government to address the issues that these groups of people face and to monitor just how often this type of event occurs.

His entire life savings of £3160.58 ($3645) were wiped out playing the game between February 18 and May 30, 2019.

Susie Breare told the BBC last month about her 22-year-old son Michael who has the mental age of a seven-year-old after suffering from cerebral palsy, complex epilepsy, autism, and learning difficulties.

On a family holiday to Turkey, he was often confined to his bedroom after suffering a seizure and so spent his time playing a game called Hidden Artifacts. As he played the game, he was encouraged to click on new pages to match objects to their description. He did not realize that this cost money.

His entire life savings of £3160.58 ($3645) were wiped out playing the game between February 18 and May 30, 2019.

Mrs Breare said: “It is extremely distressing that vulnerable people, such as my son, become victims of what is thought to be an educational game. I have tried tirelessly to recoup his life savings but constantly come up against a brick wall.”

Gaming company yet to respond

Users in Europe are allowed to request a refund within 14 days of a download. However, Hullabu, the company responsible for creating Hidden Artifacts, have not yet responded to Mrs Breare’s request.

Seely has now written to Hullabu on behalf of Michael to try and recoup a refund. He said: “It is important that action is taken, not only to obtain compensation for Susie and Michael, but also to try to prevent this sort of thing from happening again.”

Games given publicity after Fortnite win

However, Mrs Breare is concerned that publicity of gaming has been boosted by a teenager winning $3m during a recent Fortnite world championship. She said: “A free game should be a free game,

A game with ‘in-app’ purchases should have an initial purchase price attached to it.”

Mrs Breare also suggested that online gaming needs to be regulated.

Seely added: “I do not like the way some internet firms appear to take advantage of vulnerable people. It’s awful and I want the government to see what can be done to protect folks more.”