Fortnite on Android (Image: Shivali Best)
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It’s been one of the most popular games this year, with an estimated 125 million players around the world.
But while Fortnite costs just £34.99 to download, the game reels in big-bucks – thanks to a range of in-app purchase options.
Many parents have been shocked to receive huge bills after their children went behind their backs and bought products within the game.
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If you’re one of these despairing parents, the good news is that help is at hand.
Here’s how you can get your money back, and what’s being done to make sure children can’t rack up huge bills in the future.
Video games like Fortnite that allow in-game purchases will display a WARNING icon to stop children spending behind their parents' backs
How can you get your money back?
If you discover that your child has been making in-game purchases without your permission, you may be able to claim the money back.
There are various ways to do this:
1) In-game refunds
Fortnite offers easy in-game refunds, which take just a few clicks to process – however, there’s a catch.
You can only use this method three times in total.
Here’s how to request refunds within Fortnite:
1. In Fortnite, open the menu in the top-right corner, and click Settings
2. Go to the Account and Content section
3. Under ‘Unintentional Puchases’, click ‘Submit a Request’
4. Select the item you want to refund, and choose a reason
5. Submit your request
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(Image: Copyright Unknown)
2) Refunds through Epic Games
You can also request a refund through Epic Games – the developer behind Fortnite.
Visit the Support Centre here, and click the link to email Epic Games.
List out the items you need a refund for, and why. The developer is usually quite good at refunding accidental purchases, or those made without permission.
3) Refunds through the console provider
Depending on which platform your child plays Fortnite on, you can request a refund through the console provider.
If your child plays Fortnite on Xbox, the refund will be considered on a ‘case-by-case basis’, according to a Microsoft spokesperson.
Speaking to Mirror Online, the Microsoft spokesperson said: “We have family settings and tools available to give parents the power to block their children from making online purchases.
“While we don’t comment on specific cases, we can confirm that we review all reports, and in cases where we our investigation confirms that purchases were made by a minor without parental permission, we may decide that a one-time refund is appropriate.”
However, requested a refund in this way could come with repercussions.
The Microsoft spokesperson added: “Unauthorised purchases are also a violation of our Code of Conduct, and the offending account may be subject to enforcement action.”
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If your child has made a purchase through the PlayStation version of Fortnite, you may be able to get a refund to your PSN wallet.
On PlayStation’s Help page, it says: “After purchasing this type of content through PlayStation Store, you have 14 days from purchase to request a refund to your PSN wallet.”
However, if the in-game purchase has been downloaded, it won’t be eligible for a refund unless the content is faulty.
You can request refunds through Apple’s support page here.
However, this is not guaranteed, and you may be refused a refund.
Unfortunately, Nintendo Switch does not offer refunds or exchanges for mistaken purchases.
We would recommend trying to get a refund in-game or through Epic Games instead.
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Fortnite on the Nintendo Switch
(Image: Epic Games)
How can you restrict your child’s spending?
If you’re worried that your child is spending too much on Fortnite, the good news is that you can set up parental controls to stop this.
To change the default setting for your child:
1. Press the Xbox button to open the guide
2. Select All Settings
3. Under Account, select Family, select the account for the family member whose settings you want to change, and then select Access to content
4. Change the Buy and download setting
Once you have configured your account for Family Management and created a child account for each of your young players, you’re ready to set parental controls such as age restrictions, spending limits and online chat permissions.
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Apple has a feature called Ask to Buy, that allows you to control your child’s spending for items on iTunes, iBooks, App Store or in-app purchases.
On iPhone, you can turn this on within the iCloud tab in Settings.
And on Mac, you can turn this on within the iCloud tab in System Preferences.
Nintendo has a dedicated Nintendo Switch Parental Controls mobile app, that lets you control in-game purchases.
You can download the app for free from the App Store or Google Play Store.
What’s being done to warn parents about in-app purchases?
In the hopes of preventing children from racking up huge bills on games, video games that allow in-game purchases will soon display a warning icon on the box.
Pan European Game Information (PEGI) announced that the icon, which depicts a hand holding a credit card, will be added to the packaging of these games.
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The new warning icon
Simon Little, Managing Director of PEGI, said: “Making parents aware of the existence of optional in-game purchases upfront is an important first step.
“PEGI will now make this information available at the point of purchase, so that a parent can decide whether and how they want to monitor and/or limit a child’s spending.”
The new icon will appear on games with in-game purchases towards the end of the year.