Feb 25, 2011

FTC looking into Apple's in-app purchasing policy

I think it's about time!   I previously posted the story about a kid who racked up a huge bill buying fish on his dad's iPhone using the TapFish app...and my nephews all know how to use iPads/iPhones and we have had to disable in-app purchasing and lock the devices to keep them from doing the same to us.   I also have experienced a lot of pressure when I'm in apps to buy- and a lot of the time in order to use an app that will advertise it is free when you download it, you end up having to buy things once you have it in order to make it work right.  
iPad and iPhone apps aimed at kids are now the subject of a review by the FT
iPad and iPhone apps aimed at kids are now the subject of a review by the FTC.
(Credit: James Martin/CNET)
The Federal Trade Commission will review how Apple markets games with in-app purchases, but not for the reason you may think.
Apple introduced a controversial policy for developers last week when it said that it would take a 30 percent cut of revenue generated from subscription publishing apps that included in-app purchases. Apple also said it would only accept apps whose subscription offers through its iOS app are consistent with the lowest price offered by the publisher elsewhere. The U.S. Department of Justice said last week it would take a look at Apple's policy, but stopped short of launching any kind of formal inquiry.
Today FTC Chairman John Leibowitz wrote a letter to Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) saying he would review the way Apple is marketing in-app purchases, in particular apps aimed at children, according to The Washington Post.   Last week the Post reported on parents having to pay massive bills generated by their children making purchases within apps. Children are able to buy items within games that cost real money without fully understanding what they're doing, the report asserts.
In portions of the letter published by the Post, Leibowitz wrote to Markey, "We fully share your concern that consumers, particularly children, are unlikely to understand the ramifications of these types of purchases...Let me assure you we will look closely at the current industry practice with respect to the marketing and delivery of these types of applications."
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

CNET (@cnet)
2/22/11 7:16 PM
FTC looking into Apple's in-app purchasing policy, in particular apps aimed at children: http://t.co/KmWgRmp

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