In-app purchases are a popular way for developers to generate revenue off games and apps in the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store but now, a governmental department in the U.K. is looking into whether developers are misleading children into making these payments. The investigation has come into play after several reported cases of children making large amounts of in-app payments without realizing what they were doing.
According to BBC News, the U.K.’s Office of Fair Trading is launching an investigation into the practices underpinning in-app purchases in games targeting children. The office is requesting input from parents that have seen games aggressively pushing in-game purchases and putting “pressure” on children. Senior Director for Goods and Consumer at OFT, Cavendish Elithorn, said the following:
We are concerned that children and their parents could be subject to unfair pressure to purchase, when they are playing games they thought were free.
The issue has gotten so out of hand that even Apple was hit with a class action law suit by plaintiffs alleging that the Cupertino California company doesn’t do enough to ensure that children can’t rack up large in-app bills. In an effort to resolve the issue, Apple recently extended a settlement offer, including refunds for excessive charges. In an effort to close in on the issue, Apple has added a warning to the pages of apps that feature in-app purchase capabilities.
Source: BBC News