Apple should do more to tackle in-app purchases problem: EU

Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:20am EDT
 
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By Julia Fioretti

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Apple has provided no concrete and immediate solutions to tackle the problem of adults and children racking up credit card bills by making "in-app" purchases on tablets and mobile phones, the European Commission said on Friday.

Following concerns raised by consumer groups in a number of European countries, the EU executive called in industry members, policymakers and consumer protection authorities to discuss clearer guidelines in February.

Since then, Google, which owns the Android operating system for smartphones, has proposed a number of measures that are being implemented. These include banning the word "free" when games contain in-app purchases and changing the default settings so that payments have to be actively authorized before every purchase.

But the Commission regretted that Apple, maker of iPhone, had not made any firm commitments on tackling the issue of payment approvals.

"No concrete and immediate solutions have been made by Apple to date to address the concerns linked in particular to payment authorization," the Commission, the EU executive, said in a statement.

Many of those playing the games are children or teenagers, who can often make the in-app purchases without parental approval. It is then up to the parents to foot the bill.

Industry members, including Apple, could face legal action from national authorities if they are deemed to be breaking EU consumer protection law.

Apple said it would address the concerns brought up by the Commission, although it gave no time frame for when it might make the changes, the EU executive said.   Continued...

 
A woman poses for a photo illustration with an iPhone as she plays Candy Crush in New York February 18, 2014.   REUTERS/Carlo Allegri