The UK’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has published a report into in-app purchases and drawn up eight proposed principles for governing them, which will now be put up for further consultation.
The principles include that the industry should not apply pressure to a minor to upgrade or buy in-game/app content. For example, it found that some games suggest that the player might be letting other characters down by not making an in-game purchase. It also proposes that apps make clear that they contain chargeable content or advertising up-front before being downloaded and that they should also make it clear when personal data will be shared with third parties.
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Naturally, also on the list of recommendations is that purchases should not be authorised, or deducted from an account, until the account holder has given their consent.
The OFT makes it clear that some of the apps and games it looked at are in breach of its proposals and will likely have to change the way in which they operate in order to avoid sanctions of consumer protection law once the proposals have been finalized.
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