European Commission Criticizes Apple Over In-App Purchase Policies

European Commission Criticizes Apple Over In-App Purchase Policies

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The European Commission has issued a statement criticizing Apple for taking 'no concrete and immediate solutions' to address concerns with in-app purchases, in particular inadvertent purchases by children.

A common position agreed by national authorities and communicated to Apple, Google and the Interactive Software Federation of Europe in December 2013 asked that:
● Games advertised as "free" should not mislead consumers about the true costs involved;
● Games should not contain direct exhortation to children to buy items in a game or to persuade an adult to buy items for them;
● Consumers should be adequately informed about the payment arrangements for purchases and should not be debited through default settings without consumers’ explicit consent;
● Traders should provide an email address so that consumers can contact them in case of queries or complaints.

Apple, Google and relevant trade associations were asked to provide concrete solutions across the EU to the concerns raised. The EU says Google made a number of changes but criticized Apple for making no changes to date.

Google has decided on a number of changes. Implementation is underway and will be completed by the end of September 2014. These include not using the word "free" at all when games contain in-app purchases, developing targeted guidelines for its app developers to prevent direct exhortation to children as defined under EU law and time-framed measures to help monitor apparent breaches of EU consumer laws. It has also adapted its default settings, so that payments are authorised prior to every in-app purchase, unless the consumer actively chooses to modify these settings.

Although, regrettably, no concrete and immediate solutions have been made by Apple to date to address the concerns linked in particular to payment authorisation, Apple has proposed to address those concerns. However, no firm commitment and no timing have been provided for the implementation of such possible future changes. CPC authorities will continue to engage with Apple to ensure that it provides specific details of changes required and put its practices into line with the common position.

Apple has responded to the statement with one of its own to the Guardian saying:

"Apple takes great pride in leading the industry in parental controls that are incredibly easy to use and help ensure a great experience for parents and children on the App Store. The parental controls in iOS are strong, intuitive and customizable. And over the last year we made sure any app which enables customers to make in-app purchases is clearly marked. We’ve also created a Kids Section on the App Store with even stronger protections to cover apps designed for children younger than 13."

The spokesperson adds that "these controls go far beyond the features of others in the industry."

European Commission Criticizes Apple Over In-App Purchase Policies

Bloobeary - July 18, 2014 at 5:45pm
In-app purchases have pretty much ruined the App Store. Here's one example: Wild West Pinball. Used to cost about 2$. But those of us who bought it, had our paid version replaced with a "free" version during what was laughably called an "update." The "free" version slaps full-screen advertising up, during game play. But hey, you can remove the ads by buying the "remove ads" in-app purchase. How convenient. Add to this, the new trend of putting what amounts to an empty boxes with all content hidden behind a paywall, in the free apps section, and my enthusiasm for poking around in there is pretty much gone. Can't trust paid apps to stay paid for. Can't trust "free" apps to be worth the time it takes to download them. Not exactly a winning business strategy, guys.
Pigstacho - July 18, 2014 at 3:44pm
The comments from Apple are exactly what you would expect from them: brag about the most miserable thing saying it is amazing, wonderful, best in class and so on, then repeat that enough times until people are brain washed, lastly say the others don't have it when in fact they do. Sad.
Mutha Fucka - July 18, 2014 at 2:38pm
God damn crapple! Only cares about taking your money and does not care if IAPs were accidental or not. Despicable money grubing faggots!!
Fukscrawn John - July 18, 2014 at 8:39pm
Goddamn F*ckers only listening to delusional shit to conclude from the worst.
odedo1 - July 18, 2014 at 1:56pm
This last year so many paid Apps went free with IAP which is so wrong, I guess developers found out that they make more money this way but it's still wrong I prefer paying $1-$2 for an iPhone App or $5-$7 for iPad with out IAP's like the old days, it's also not fair for people who don't have the $$ because people who do will always win the games in Game Center like if it's a car racing game the ones who have will have the better cars! For some of us it's no problem getting across those IAP's but most can't and in my opinion they should stop and go back to the old system ( paying for the Apps like it used to be ).
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