in-app-purchaseApple and Google are meeting with the European Commission to discuss concerns over in-app purchases. The two technology leaders will be asked to provide solutions that protect customers, particularly children, from errant and costly in-app purchases.

Commissioner Neven Mimica, responsible for Consumer Policy said: "Consumers and in particular children need better protection against unexpected costs from in-app purchases. National enforcement authorities and the European Commission are discussing with industry how to address this issue which not only causes financial harm to consumers but can also put at stake the credibility of this very promising market. Coming up with concrete solutions as soon as possible will be a win-win for all."

The EU commission and other European enforcement authorities will focus on four main issues involving the false advertising of freemium games as "free", the targeting of children by in-app purchases, the need for explicit consent when processing orders for in-app items and the provision of an email for consumers to contact companies about inadvertent charges.

Apple recently settled with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and agreed to provide full refunds to parents whose children purchased unauthorized in-app items. Apple also settled a 2011 class-action lawsuit filed by parents whose children racked up hundreds of dollars in in-app charges while playing games like Tap Fish.

Apple introduced in-app purchases in iOS 3.0 and started requiring passwords for these transactions in iOS 4.3 after concerns about over-spending on unauthorized purchases surfaced. iOS owners can disable in-app purchasing completely using the Restrictions feature of iOS.

Top Rated Comments

Pagemakers Avatar
100 months ago
Have 3 types of apps

FREE
IN-APP PURCHASES
PAID

The latter 2 can be turned off in settings so kids can only play truly free apps.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
garylapointe Avatar
100 months ago
I have no problem with free programs having in app purchases.

I have a problem with pay programs having in app purchases and not being clear what I'm paying for with the initial purchase price.

I have similar problems with programs with multiple in app purchases and I'm not sure exactly what that includes and what I'm missing (I've now spent money, how many more purchases will I have to make for a complete product? or how crippled will it still be?).

Gary
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BvizioN Avatar
100 months ago
iOS owners can disable in-app purchasing completely using the restriction feature of iOS.
There is the solution, what's to discus?
Enable the feature when you want to do in-app purchase, disable it when you give it to your kids.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ArtOfWarfare Avatar
100 months ago
I can easily imagine customers get extremely confused, both thinking they're using real currency when they're not and thinking they're using pretend currency when they're not.

I myself was confused in Tetris when I "purchased" some extra content in the game. I thought it was using in-game currency, but after I tapped the unlock button it had a iOS alert window pop up asking if I really wanted to "purchase" the content. The repeated use of the word "purchase" and how many buttons it was making me press made me think it was going to really charge my credit card hooked up to the App Store. I pressed "Yes" and my in-game currency went down and my credit card wasn't charged (I checked with my bank just to be sure.)

The fact that they choose to treat their in game currency like it has real value like this no doubt makes it so others come to expect so many dialogs when making a fake transaction, so they won't notice a difference when making a real one until a charge shows up on their credit card.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
H2SO4 Avatar
100 months ago
Fools.
Don't give or let your kids play with expensive toys without doing your homework.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
osx11 Avatar
100 months ago
Time for the nanny state to solve all the problems for incompetent people.

It's called consumer protection. Something Americans unfortunately don't have.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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