App creators to control in-app purchases or face heavy fines!
Two months is the time limit being given to creators of mobile apps to comply with rulings set out by the Office of Fair Trading in a bid to stop horror stories of children racking up huge bills without their parents’ consent.
This ruling comes after numerous complaints led to Apple refunding more than $30m to customers who complained they received unexpected bills from games and with PhonepayPlus – UK regulator for premium phone lines – estimating 90% of 7 to 15 year olds are playing mobile games regularly this is becoming a growing concern.
Many mobile games offer in-app purchases as a way of making their usually ‘free apps’ profitable. Although warnings are usually given to users, it is all too easy to ignore them and carry on what you were doing. Purchases via apps do not tend to typically stretch higher than £5, however if there are some, which have been known to reach pocket burning prices as high as £100.
As of 1st April 2014, app makers must oblige by a certain protocol, which includes:
- Providing costs associated with a game prior to download
- Gamers are not to be misled in believing they must make payments to continue if not the case.
- Prevention of language which might exploit or persuade children
- Complaint contact detail to be displayed clearly
- Payments only made payable with “informed consent” by account holder