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In-game app fees face Office of Fair Trade consumer protection crackdown

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is concerned about in-game charges, saying it has seen evidence of “potentially unfair and aggressive commercial practices” after studying 38 popular titles. The Office of fair trade has proposed new guidelines for app developers. These guidelines would apply to both apps and internet browser-based video games available via Facebook and elsewhere. Children were the main reason these guidelines were proposed, because they are an easy target for in-game charges.

They include:
1. Providing up-front information about the costs associated with a game before consumers download it.
2. Ensuring that gamers are not misled to believe they must make a payment to proceed if that is not the case, for example, if they could wait for a period of time instead.
3.Preventing the use of language or anything else that might exploit a child’s inexperience, for example, implying an in-game character would be disappointed if they did not spend money.
4.Making it clear how to contact the business if the gamer has a complaint.
5.Only taking a payment if the account holder provides “informed consent”, in other words a charge cannot be made because a password had recently been entered for something else.


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