Family recovers most of $20,000 lost from son’s secret Twitch donations

“This was a tough time for our family, but hopefully we will grow from this and be a stronger family.”

Image via Twitch

A family was able to reclaim most of the $20,000 their teenage son secretly spent in Twitch donations, subscriptions, and bits.

The teen’s mother discovered $19,870.94 in charges to a debit card between June 14 and 30, claiming “years of savings” disappeared in 17 days. She said those donations went to popular Twitch streamers, like Tfue, Gorb, Ewokttv, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kurt Benkert, and Miami Heat’s Meyers Leonard.

The mother, who wanted to remain anonymous to protect her family, told Dot Esports that almost all the money has since been credited back to their account. She said she successfully received a refund by contacting Xsolla, a paying service company that’s partnered with Twitch. 

Image via Twitch

Using the company’s online chat feature, she got adjustment credits on most of the transactions with the condition that the account is “permanently blocked to prevent future unauthorized charges,” according to the Xsolla chat agent. She shared a screengrab of her bank statement with Dot Esports, showing numerous withdrawal adjustment credits from Xsolla amounting to thousands of dollars.

“I am so relieved to have the money restored to my account and let the nightmare end,” she said. “At this point, it’s within a few hundred dollars, and I am happy to have received what I did, and am not going to pursue the difference.”

She got the tip to contact Xsolla from another parent who saw her now-deleted Reddit post that garnered tons of traffic on the Twitch subreddit. The parent went through a similar experience and was able to receive credit adjustments from the paying service company.

A few others reached out after seeing the Reddit post, including “a couple of young people” who “destroyed” their relationships with their parents after taking money from their accounts.

“I heard and felt the pain from those kids, now adults, who shared their stories with me so I wouldn’t make the same mistake,” she said. “I listened to them. I realized that although what he had done was bad, losing the money was not worth losing my child.”

While she was finally able to get her funds back, it certainly wasn’t easy. She said “hitting a brick wall with Twitch” when trying to get her money back “was the most frustrating thing of all.”

“The fact that no one would respond, and there was no way to speak with anyone was horrible,” she said. “That was probably the worst.”

The mother said she filled out an online help form with Twitch but never heard back. And the Twitch account associated with all the donations was shut down, “causing all transaction information to be lost.” Sending registered mail to Twitch CEO Emmett Shear and Amazon’s legal team also yielded no response, she said.

Screengrab via TED

Other unsuccessful attempts at getting her money back included contacting the Consumer Protection Division, who told her to “be persistent” but couldn’t help, and going to the bank associated with the transactions. Unless she was willing to press charges on her son, she said, there was little the bank could do.

The son is “remorseful,” the mother said, and is going to counseling. He’s also now limited to one hour of monitored daily playtime “with the stipulation that he must do positive activities throughout the day, get exercise, and interact with the family in a positive manner.”

“This was a tough time for our family, but hopefully we will all grow from this and be a stronger family,” she said.