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FTC to investigate iOS in-app purchase policies

updated 10:15 pm EST, Tue February 22, 2011

Chairman letter focuses on accidental purchases

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz has reportedly confirmed plans to investigate Apple's in-app purchase (IAP) policies for iOS devices. Despite the recent buzz surrounding new App Store rules for subscription content, Leibowitz wrote a letter to Representative Ed Markey that primarily focused on concerns over children unknowingly purchasing virtual items that are billed to parents' iTunes accounts..

"We fully share your concern that consumers, particularly children, are unlikely to understand the ramifications of these types of purchases," Leibowitz wrote in a letter to Markey, after the Massachusetts politician asked the agency to investigate the "promotion and delivery" of apps with IAP content, according to excerpts of the correspondence that appeared in The Washington Post.

"What may appear in these games to be virtual coins and prizes to children result in very real costs to parents," Markey said.

Separate reports suggest the FTC and Justice Department are also looking into Apple's new policies for subscription content, which have been met with criticism from a range of developers. The rules force developers to offer equivalent subscriptions through iTunes rather than relying solely upon outside channels, while also placing pricing restrictions on content sold through other means.

by MacNN Staff



  1. ilovestevejobs

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Apple, start your back peddlin' engines :)

  1. Eldernorm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    @ilovestevejobs and the FTC

    Lets see. Candy is bad for your teeth, so the FTC should ban all candy until your 18 (so no more candy for you ilsj. :-) )

    And any business deal that is not approved by Microsoft is banned, er except for Microsoft, of course.

    And I think Walmart ought to be fully investigated for those so called "low prices". Afterall, who says they are low. False advertising, I say.... Any rules that slow me down are bad...

    Anything I don't like is bad.,,, unless I want to do it. Of course the rest of you can go jump, :-)

    We have pirates killing Americans, riots around the world and in Wisconson too, yet the goverment seems to want to focus on totally minor items that affect almost no one. OH, there is a golden goose..... Lets kill it before it lays any more of those golden eggs... They are so bad for you...!!!!! LOL

    Sorry, its just that trolls and dumb government is getting so totally off the wall these days, that average people like me just begin to wonder if any of it makes sense.

    I guess its past my bed time. LOL

    Just a sad thought.

  1. facebook_Justin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Feb 2011


    comment title

    And yet again the government tries to step in and help idiots, just like they did with the new credit card laws put into play last year. As much of a Democrat as I am, the government needs to STOP HELPING IDIOTS THAT CHOOSE TO ABUSE THINGS. As the AppStore terms CLEARLY STATE, AT THE BEGINNING OF THEM NONE THE LESS, THE PERSON WHO's NAME THE ACCOUNT IS IN IS SOLEY RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT IS PURCHASED ON IT. So, if the IDIOT customer knows whats good for him he'll monitor whats being purchased on HIS ACCOUNT IN HIS NAME. THE GOVERNMENT IS ACTUALLY PROTECTING THESE STUPID f****? In America what do we do when we make a mistake? Blame it on the company, ALWAYS. It's always the companies fault, right? "My kid, who I authorized to use my device, purchased something from the AppStore, and he didn't even know he did it, ITS APPLES FAULT!" HE WASNT SUPPOSED TO KNOW, YOU WERE. ITS YOUR ACCOUNT, NOT HIS. You wanna be useful, FTC? Why don't you look into the SIM lock AT&T had for 4 f****** years (and still has) on OUT-OF-CONTRACT devices as well as devices sold at full retail price. LOOK INTO THAT. Or how about Adobe Flash having almost 100% of the market for interactive content on the web. Thats actually hurting web developers, forcing them to pay thousands for the proprietary Flash suite or get out of web development. DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT, FTC! Gosh I cant stand to hear the government support morons who don't know how to read the terms of the products or services they purchase! The government seems to think it has a right to waste tax payer money helping lazy idiots.

  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969


    One thing

    I have to admit Apple currently has the App Store / iTunes purchases screwed up. You can buy one thing (and enter your password) and then buy something else, even accidentally since you have a time period where the password doesn't need to be reentered. This applies to in App stuff too.

    How about AT LEAST giving the customers the OPTION of REQUIRING entering the account password every single time!!! I have accidentally bought rented something because my fat fingers were unable to easily hit preview button versus the buy/rent button. The location of the button AND the lack of a password requirement (after the first password entry) is either:

    1. clearly designed by a moron, or...
    2. intentionally designed to take advantage of peoples' mistakes and make extra $$ off of them.

    This one issue would alleviate many of the complaints against Apple. (Not the subscription B.S. albeit)

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