A man who claims Microsoft improperly allowed his underage son to use his debit card to subscribe to the company's Xbox Live gaming service and automatically renewed the subscription without authorization is suing the software maker for consumer fraud.
In a class action suit, Georgia resident Francisco Garcia claims that in October 2005 his son, Silvario, used his debit card to buy a $49.99, one-year subscription to Xbox Live. The service lets Xbox owners play games like Halo 3 against each other over the Internet.
A year later, Garcia claims, Microsoft automatically billed him for an additional year of Xbox Live without his knowledge or consent. He contends that the charge sent his checking account into overdraft, and that his bank slapped him with a $35.00 penalty.
Garcia says Microsoft refunded the subscription fee but didn't cover the bank penalty.
By accepting a subscription from a minor and automatically renewing it without consent, Microsoft "fraudulently induced a contractual relationship for Xbox Live services," Garcia claims in his suit.
The action was originally filed in August in state court in Georgia. In September, Microsoft filed a motion to have the case moved to federal court.
Garcia claims Microsoft broke Georgia law when it allowed a minor to use a debit card to sign up for Xbox Live, and flouted consumer regulations when it renewed the service without written authorization.
Garcia is seeking unspecified damages and is asking the court to broaden the case to include all Xbox Live customers in Georgia hit with similar problems.
Microsoft has asked the federal court to dismiss the case, claiming it has paperwork that proves Silvario Garcia misrepresented his age when he subscribed to Xbox Live by falsely stating that he was at least 18 years old.
[This article was originally posted by Gamasutra sister publication Information Week.]