UK Clamps Down on In-App Purchases
Published on: 30th Jan 2014
By: Simon Davies
The UK's Office of Fair Trading has given mobile app developers two months to comply with new rules governing the use of in app payments.
The rules were originally proposed last September, but have now become part of the OFT's formal recommendations. They are still optional though, but breaches could see steeper fines applied to app developers if a court action against them under existing consumer protection law were ever taken.
The OFT principles state that consumers should be told upfront about costs associated with a game or about in-game advertising, and any important information such as whether their personal data is to be shared with other parties for marketing purposes. The principles also make clear that in-game payments are not automatically authorised, and should not be taken, unless the payment account holder, such as a parent, has given their express, informed consent.
The OFT said that significant improvements to its practices that have already been made by many firms since the OFT launched its investigation.
Clive Maxwell, OFT Chief Executive, said: 'The on-line and apps based games industry has already made significant improvements during our consultation process. But it still needs to do more to protect children and treat its customers fairly."
'Our principles make clear the type of practices that games makers and platform operators should avoid."