FTC Urged To Investigate In-app Purchases

Two US lawmakers have asked the Federal Trade Commission to examine in-app purchases in games available through Apple's and Google's smartphone platforms.

Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Mark Pryor of Arkansas want the FTC to determine whether Apple and Google are unfairly charging consumers for in-app purchases.

The lawmakers were prompted to write a letter of concern to FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz after reading an article on Washington Post, which had revealed children were unwittingly spending exuberant amounts - in one case over $1,000 - via in-app purchases on free to download children's games like Smurfs' Village and Tap Zoo.

“I am concerned about how these applications are being promoted and delivered to consumers with respect to children, who are unlikely to understand the ramifications of in-app purchases,” Edward Markey wrote in the letter to Leibowitz.

Markey enquired as to whether the FTC had taken to investigate the issue and encouraged the Commission to provide consumers with more information on the marketing and delivery of the apps.

"I request that the Commission assess current industry activities in this area to determine whether they constitute unfair or deceptive acts or practices," he added.