A teenage Twitch fan has racked up some serious charges on their parent’s debit card after an alleged $20,000 spree on donations and subscriptions, without the card holder’s knowledge.
Twitch is an entirely free-to-watch platform for the most part, requiring no subscription fees to sign-up and start watching any stream, from any broadcaster, at any time.
But, if you become a loyal fan who regularly tunes into a select few streamers, it’s common to support those broadcasters financially, either through a monthly subscription or other means of donating.
The price of a monthly sub ranges from $4.99 to $24.99, depending on the ‘tier’, which is split between the streamer and Amazon-owned Twitch itself. With countless streamers to choose from, if you’re not careful, you could end up with a heft monthly bill.
And this is before any donations are taken into account. You can choose to donate an unlimited amount of cash as a one-off gift to a streamer, and it appears that this teenage fan was doing just that, reaching over $20,000 in only just over two weeks.
According to their parent, who posted a worried plea on the official Twitch subreddit, their “minor” child “spent almost $20k using a debit card on subscriptions & donations, cleaning out my bank accounts without my knowledge or permission. Years of savings gone in 17 days.”
Unknowingly liberated from their savings, the parent explained that they had received no response from either customer service, nor Amazon’s legal team or CEO Emmett Shear.
Depending on how the money was spent, some of it may not even be reclaimable through Twitch. Many streamers use third-parties like StreamLabs to process one-off donations. Only channel subscriptions or ‘bits’ are handled by Twitch directly.
Some helpful responders suggested that the parent’s only recourse would be to contact their bank directly and report the transactions as fraudulent. The bank could then, hopefully, begin the process of chargebacks.
The parent said that she got the names of the streamers from their child, and they included an NBA and NFL player, and three other “super popular” streamers.
This will be very disappointing news to whatever streamers benefitted from the child’s reckless spending spree, but chargebacks are not uncommon. Streamers are often advised not to spend any money received from donations for at least a few months, as chargebacks are apparently surprisingly common.