Apps Will No Longer Be Labeled As Free By Google When It Comes To In-App Purchases

The recent resentment on in-app purchases (IAPs) by parents in UK has led Google to prevent labeling the apps “free” that allow IAPs. This move of Google is aimed for the users of UK but would be affecting the users all over the world. The announcement is the outcome of the recent circular passed by European Consumer Protection Cooperation Network (CPC Network). The circular prohibited on a number of particulars that these companies must follow or what they must not. The particulars say that:

  • The apps labeled as free must not involve IAPs that involve real costs.
  • There must not be games that will encourage children to buy specific items in it nor is it anything to do with the adults to buy purchase items for their kids.
  • There should be adequate given to the consumer about payment terms.
  • There will be no chance of forgery because payment will be debited after the consent of the consumers and not through default settings.
  • Consumers should have authenticated contact information like email id so they can be contacted at any time of the day.

More about the Changes Made and New Guidelines Stated
As per the statement made by the European Commission, the word ‘free’ will not be used. The EU will monitor any apparent breaches of laws closely. Google has also stated that it has adapted its default settings and users will need to authorize payments before any in-app purchase.

Interestingly, Apple has not made a similar commitment yet. Apple has not stated any changes in their payment protection policy yet. Apple has also not yet given their consent to authorize payment each time during an in-app purchase.

Apple on its part, stated that the iOS features are robust and the “controls go far beyond the features of others in the industry”. Stating that features like Ask to Buy give parents a whole lot more control over what kids can really buy on the iOS store, Apple stated that they are constantly adding in new features to the iOS 8 to strengthen its security.

It might be remembered that Apple came to an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission to pay a minimum $32.5 million in a case related to how Apple had charged millions of dollars as app purchases without the parents consent.

How Best To Make An In-App Purchase?
If you are not handling the device or if your kids play with your Android or iOS device, it is always a good idea to disable the in-app purchases options from the settings menu. While iOS devices ask you for password authorization whenever making a purchase, there is no password authorization asked for fifteen minutes after a purchase have been made. You can buy any number of apps during the next fifteen minutes without any password authorization. More, this only entails to app payments and not in-app purchases, which can be bought with a single click.


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