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Government Advertising The Almighty Buck United Kingdom Games

UK Gov To Investigate 'Aggressive' In-app Purchases 152

hypnosec writes "The UK Government will be examining whether free to download apps are putting unfair pressure on kids to pay up for additional content within the game through in-app purchases. Office of Fair Trading (OFT), UK, will be carrying out the investigation of games that include 'commercially aggressive' in-app purchases after a number of cases have been reported whereby parents have incurred huge bills after their kids have spent huge amounts on in-app purchases."
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UK Gov To Investigate 'Aggressive' In-app Purchases

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  • by jonbryce ( 703250 ) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @05:02AM (#43439325) Homepage

    Except it is not 50c every few minutes. In some cases it is £69.99 ($99.99 at Apple exchange rates) every few minutes.

  • by radio4fan ( 304271 ) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @06:51AM (#43439555)


    You can look on it as government interference if you want, but in the UK people like the OFT: we look on their work as consumer protection.

    The key word is 'Fair'. If a trade practice is 'unfair', the OFT are pretty effective at stopping it. If it really is just a case of your kid spending your money, then no, it's not the government's problem. But how will the OFT know if it's fair if they don't investigate?

    I don't have any children, so I've no axe to grind, but I still think it's a good idea that they at least investigate the fairness of in-app purchases.

    The OFT is one of the reasons that in the UK they have a variety of mobile phone providers with coverage everywhere, that they can move between with no penalty, and who will unlock our phones on demand. I don't think this is true of the US.

  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @06:53AM (#43439557)

    Nowadays, every device has a built in app-store or similar functionality and a credit card is required to even make the device function (why does Apple require a credit card to download free apps or update apps that you've already paid for?!).

    That's simply not true. [] []

    Plus, if you do have a credit card set up, then purchases require the password to be entered. You didn't give a password connected to your credit card to your kid did you?

    On top of that, there are parental controls (under a different password) on the iOS devices, including one that turns off in-app purchase,

    Further more, gift cards are available if you want to allocate a set amount for a child to spend.

    So exactly how difficult is it for a responsible parent to stop their child spending? Actually it's the opposite way around... the parent has to take steps to enable the kid to make purchases.

    For sure though there are a lot of parents that don't have the intelligence to not give a child a credit-card enabled phone. And low intelligence is not their fault. And I have no problem at all with governments clipping the wings of any companies peddling exploitative apps or premium phone lines.

Today is the first day of the rest of your lossage.