With European Commission breathing down the necks of Google and Apple, Mr Good Guy Google is looking to address the issues regarding in-app purchases in apps bought on Google Play Store. Consumers have been lodging complaints that in-app features have been bought without their authorization. This is especially the case with children buying in-app add ons without the consent or knowledge of their parents. Bills are piling up to the thousands of dollars for parents and things are getting a little ridiculous.
Google is taking steps that should all be enforced by the end of September this year. The first baby step is that developers will not be able to call apps with in-app purchases free on Google Play Store. The default settings on Android will be changed permanently to reflect this as payments are authorised prior to every in-app purchase, unless the consumer actively chooses to modify these settings. Also, targeted guidelines will be developed for its Android developers to prevent direct exhortation to children as defined under European Union law and time-framed measures will be put in place to help monitor apparent breaches of consumer laws.
It has not been announced whether these changes are to be implemented worldwide or limited to only Europe. I’m quite sure a worldwide plan is more preferred in everyone’s eyes. In-app purchases without authorization have become more of a nuisance than a tech age convenience. Users are forced to pay for items they aren’t aware they are buying and those with children are the more unfortunate. Honestly, it kind of sucks when you download a game and fall in love with it, just to get your heartbroken when you realize you need to pay $3.99 to continue to the next level or get that much needed feature in the game.
We’re glad to hear that Google are taking necessary steps to find a solution to this horrid problem. Apple on the other hand, has only done a lot of talking but not much walking. The company is looking to just push out proposals but there are no action plans being executed by the company. We’re hoping that Apple follows suit in the footsteps of Google before things get too messy with the European Commission.