by Keyan Milanian
A mum-of-two is furious after her 11-year-old son racked up a £1,000 bill on his games console in just six months.
Dawn Matthews got the unpleasant surprise after one of her bank cards was turned down when she tried to pay a phone bill.
Miss Matthews, 37, from Strood, had entered her bank card details into the Xbox when her son, Brendan, first got it to allow him to play against friends online.
However, she was unaware Brendan had continued to use it - and buy extra games, weapons and costumes for his virtual characters - totting up a bill of £1,087 since July.
She said: "I tried to pay my mobile phone bill on February 1, the day after I was paid, and they kept declining my card so I rang the bank and they said it had all been spent on Xbox Live and reeled off 25 payments in the last two months."
The payments ranged from £4.50 up to £40 and had started in July, when Miss Matthews was dealing with the news her father had cancer. In one month, Brendan had managed to spend £350.
She added: "People will say 'how did you not notice?', but my laptop, which I use for online banking, has been broken since July and I was mostly dealing with all the letters about direct debits bouncing to check my statements.
"I had just put it all down to the recession and rising costs of petrol and food.
"I'd like to increase awareness to all parents in Kent and nationally if possible about the dangers of adding credit/debit card details to any kind of electrical or digital device associated with their children."
Miss Matthews, a multi-media executive with the KM Group, is planning to contact a solicitor about the payments.
She said Barclays and Microsoft have denied any liability over the bill, which has been paid. The Xbox Live account has now been closed.
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