Many parents have learned the hard way that many mobile games that are initially free can quickly become expensive, because they may charge for extras while playing the game. Europe says it is pushing Apple and Google to be more upfront about the potential cost. The European Commission on Friday said it had worked with national authorities to start an enforcement action, asking Apple and Google to stop misleading consumers with games labeled “free,” among other requests.
The commission criticised Apple for making no immediate changes to address the concerns. But it said that Google had made important changes — for instance, Google said it would stop labeling games “free” whenever a game offers in-app purchases. “Although, regrettably, no concrete and immediate solutions have been made by Apple to date to address the concerns linked in particular to payment authorization, Apple has proposed to address those concerns,” the commission said in a statement. “However, no firm commitment and no timing have been provided for the implementation of such possible future changes.”
American regulators have also been cracking down on in-app payments. In January, the Federal Trade Commission said it had reached a settlement agreement with Apple that required the company to refund at least $32.5 million to customers whose children had made purchases without their consent.