With Amazon deciding to try its luck against the Federal Trade Commission on the subject of in-app purchases, Google is making steps to dodge similar bullets. The company will be removing the “free” label from apps in its Play Store if in-app purchases are allowed.
Google—as well as Apple—were approached by the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network to work within the European Commission’s terms. The European Commission is an agency known to work on the side of families affected by the bills children can generate when there are little or no safeguards on in-app purchases.
The terms of agreement would see that no games would be listed as “free” if they aren’t free in their entirety. Games should not entice children or persuade parents to purchase in-game items or currency (extra lives, better equipment, more coins, more gems etc).
The agreement also puts forth that consumers should be informed about payment methods and that consumers should not be charged via default means. Currently there’s an option under settings that allows customers to set if they want a password safeguard on purchases on a timed basis of 30 minutes, at all times, or not at all.
The last of the terms sees that traders—in this case the developers—include an email where consumers are able to contact should any problems and complaints with purchases arise. Currently most developers dealing through Google’s Play Store can be contacted through their official sites which have contact methods or through their major social media accounts.
Google have stated that they have been working closely in tandem with consumer protection groups to make the Play Store a safer marketplace for consumers and children.
While the European Commission has said that Apple hasn’t made the same commitment within their proposal, the Cupertino-based company told Recode.net that iOS has far more advanced safeguards and restrictions in place to combat unauthorized in-app purchases. Apple also said that more features are in development.
It was during Apple’s $32 million run in with the Federal Trade Commission on the subject of unauthorized in-app purchases that saw the company point out Google’s own lax policies.