Aggressive Apps May Be Breaking The Law, Says OFT

Children should not be pressured into making in-app purchases, according to OFT principles published today, with some developers accused of using unfair and aggressive commercial practices to make money.

The OFT looked at 38 apps as part of its investigation into online and in-app industry practices and said that game developers must be upfront about potential charges or the presence of ads, as well as making it clear if personal data will be shared. When dealing with children, payments should not be taken unless a parent or guardian his given their informed consent.

It has produced guidelines for eight areas following the investigation into industry practices – prompted by bill shock complaints from parents – and the body hopes to create international standards for online and mobile gaming. App sthat breach the guidelines could be banned.

The OFT is asking for comments from consumers and the industry on these principles until 21 November.