New rules for apps and games that offer in-app purchases

By the end of September, Google will stop advertising apps and games that offer in-app purchases as free. This is coming at the request of the European Commission which gave a series of guidelines developers and app stores should follow.



In order to stop unwanted in-app purchases, the Commission asked that any application or game advertised as free should not mislead the consumer about their true costs. Especially games should make it clear how payments are made and not directly ask children to make purchases. Apps should also provide an email address for consumers who have questions or any complain.


Google already made the first step and announced that they’ll add protections in order to prevent children from making unwanted purchases through in-app. Games will stop being advertised as “free” by the end of this month, and will require payment verification before each purchase. Apple however hasn’t agreed to any specific change. They stated to the BBC that they were already doing “more than others”. Their upcoming iOS 8 will included a feature called Ask to Buy, which allows children to send purchases to a parent for approval.


While the European Commission will continue to monitor the issue about in-app purchases, law enforcement will be left to national authorities.


Read more: In-app purchases: Joint action by the European Commission and Member States is leading to better protection for consumers in online games


Christophe BENTO
Etudiant en Master 2 Commerce Electronique.

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