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Mum Threatened With Bailiffs After Son Racks Up £1,000 Phone Bill Playing Online Game

14/08/2014 17:04 | Updated 20 May 2015

Kay Flanders'

A phone company has threatened a mum with bailiffs after her son racked up a £1,000 bill in just two weeks playing online games.

Kay Flanders' son Liam, 11, clocked up the huge amount after he became a member of online game Small Worlds - where users create their own virtual universes - until 2020.

His phone bill was normally around £10 a month but it rocketed to £850 because he bought optional extras such as credits to buy special items and VIP membership which grants exclusive access to other parts of the game.

The debt has now increased to nearly £1,000 with added admin costs. Phone provider T-Mobile is threatening to send in bailiffs to recover the money.

Kay, from Minster-on-Sea in Kent, said: "It was like he was playing with toy money, not real money. He just pressed the button to keep buying these things. He hasn't received anything. It's just bits to this game on Facebook. It's just on screen.

"It's a complete madness. How can they do this on a kid's game? No sane adult would be playing this."

She added: "Liam has been so upset. He's offered to sell his Xbox, his TV, everything to pay for it."

Small Worlds allows players to create their own characters in a virtual world and develop the game by moving through missions and levels.

Liam played the game on a laptop but all of the purchases were made and confirmed through his mobile, which is registered in his mother's name.

Kay, a beauty therapist, has written to the company and the game's developers hoping to get a refund on some of the money but neither have responded to her.

T-Mobile said all charges are set by the game provider but it is currently looking into the issue. Small Worlds has yet to comment on the issue.

A spokesman for PhonepayPlus, which regulates phone-paid services in the UK and has powers to ensure consumers receive refunds, said it would look into the circumstances.

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