The European Commission is criticizing Apple for not doing enough to inform customers about the true costs of free apps that come with in-app purchases. The Commission wants Apple to make the real cost of these games apparent to customers before they download an app. Apple has yet to make a committment to address the issue. There are a number of protections that the European Commission are asking app distributers to put in place, according to the BBC:
- Games advertised as "free" should not mislead consumers about the true costs involved;
- Games should not contain direct exhortation to children to buy items in a game or to persuade an adult to buy items for them;
- Consumers should be adequately informed about the payment arrangements for purchases and should not be debited through default settings without consumers' explicit consent;
- Traders should provide an email address so that consumers can contact them in case of queries or complaints.
Apple is implementing some protections in iOS 8, adding Family Sharing, which will allow parents to approve or deny their children's iTunes purchases. While this doesn't completely address the problem, as hidden costs of apps impact both adults and children, it is a step in the right direction.
What steps do you think Apple should take to make customers more aware of the potential costs of free-to-download apps? Let us know below in the comments.