The parents of a profoundly disabled young woman are “fuming with anger” that a online gaming giant has taken hundreds of pounds from her.
They are accusing the King.Com of “taking advantage of a vulnerable person and then putting up a wall of silence when you complain.”
Anna McNaughton, 27, is quadriplegic with cerebral palsy.
She is much loved in Bexhill where many have taken part in fundraisers to help buy a communication device for her - including teenager Josh Bishop who is currently training for an Iron Man event.
A new Liberator costs £9,000 and would help Anna communicate better with the outside world.
As she cannot get out much she spends time on Facebook and recently started playing Candy Crush Saga and Papa Bear Saga.
Dad John, from Little Common, said: “Towards the end of March Anna saw that she could make an in-app purchase of ‘gold bars’, which apparently allow you to progress to the next level of the game without actually playing it. She asked her carer to get her debit card out of her handbag so that Anna could type the details into her Facebook account. It must have taken her at least 30 minutes to do this as she could only use her nose and chin to enter the card details, using a trackball mouse.
She then spent the next month buying these gold bars, oblivious of the fact that it was taking £30.79 out of her account every time. We only found out when Sue opened her monthly bank statement and discovered that £422 has been removed.
Anna only earns £22 a week in benefits to pay for food, clothing, hairdressing and entertainment, so this was a massive amount. Amazingly she saves a small amount of that £22 most weeks to pay for extras like birthday presents and holidays. That’s what disappeared.”
John and Anna’s mum Sue were quick to cancel the debit card from Facebook and made Anna aware of what had happened.
He said: “She was extremely upset and genuinely shocked, so much so that she didn’t want to come home the following weekend because she felt so ashamed. We placated her and she did come home, but she still feels dreadful about it because it’s such a huge amount of money for her, and it will take years to recover that amount from her benefits. Due to her severe physical disability she is unable to work to help recover that loss.”
He has emailed the company and “politely” asked for Anna’s money to be refunded. He had a stock refusal but repeated requests have got nowhere.
John admitted: “Legally we haven’t got a leg to stand on. Anna entered her card details and then pressed the Buy button herself. What she was unaware of was the cost of the transaction.
“People do need to be aware of these corporations who are only too happy to fleece your bank account and then absolve themselves on any compassionate or conscientious feelings towards the vulnerable people who are actually keeping their company afloat financially. I am continuing my fight with them, because it is so unfair to treat someone in Anna’s position in this way. £422 is nothing to this company, yet it represents years of hard sacrifice and saving for Anna. She makes the best out of a tough life and should not be subjected to severe anxiety like this.”
A spokesperson from King said: “King takes customer protection very seriously. Our games, which are made for an adult audience, are genuinely free to play and all levels of our games can be completed without any payment to King. In fact, the majority of players who have reached the highest levels of our games have not paid.
We are transparent about pricing and make it clear when costs will be incurred. We will look into this particular case and talk directly to our customer about it.”