My Teen Just Learned a Hard Lesson About ‘Past Due’ Balances

My 14 year old son, Xander came into my home-office last night and he looked like he’d seen a ghost.

His hands were shaking as he held his connection to the world as we know it–his iPhone.

“What’s wrong, honey?” I asked.

“Mom. I….um, well…look…” he said as he nervously put his glowing cell phone screen in front of my face.

And there is was. An outstanding balance notice.

fa8671ff e896 4efe 80b0 772c0ebcbc641 My Teen Just Learned a Hard Lesson About Past Due Balances

My son proceeded to tell me that he swore he cancelled the account and would I please pay the $6.41 so he can wipe the slate clean?

Granted, the balance wasn’t bad. But that’s not the point. The point is, he exceeded his gift card limit and/or he wasn’t paying attention.

Mind you, I have never been good with money. At 45-years-old I’m only now getting my financial act together. In so doing, I’m trying to help my sons not fall into some of the same traps my husband and I fell into when we were younger.

I wanted him to learn a lesson.

“You’re going to have to call Xbox customer service.” I calmly told him. “Tell them you cancelled your subscription. Ask them to remove the charge. Then make sure that account is indeed closed.”

And with that he gave me a lazy smile, walked out the room and called the Xbox 800-number.

A few minutes later, he came back in with the look of victory on his face.

“I take it you got things squared away?” I asked. “Yes! You were right, they removed the charge and officially canceled my account.”

“That’s great news! One last thing though, Xander…”

“Yes, mom?”

“You know that panicked feeling you had when you first walked in here? The one where you felt like you’d been kicked in the gut and you might barf?”


“Remember it. Because THAT’S what it feels like to have bill collectors call.”

(Cue happy hugs, successful parenting moment.)


More from Christine Lee

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