An investigation into in-app purchases has been launched by the UK Government’s Office of Fair Trading, and part of it includes a public survey.
Following repeated incidents where children have paid for virtual items or access with real money, the OFT has launched an investigation into whether children are being unfairly pressured or encouraged to buy additional content in ‘free’ web and app-based games.
This includes upgrading to memberships or in-app purchases such as virtual currency, coins, gems or fruit, and so on.
The questionnaire is specifically about children and their use of these apps, and tends to be directed at parents.
The deadline for submissions is Friday, June 28th, 2013.
The full questionnaire is listed below:
1. How old is your child? (Please complete one of these forms for each of your children, if you have more than one.)
2. Which web and/or app games has your child played in the last two months?
3. Have any of those games invited your child to make a purchase?
4. When you first downloaded those games – or allowed your child to create an account to play them – did you expect that in - game purchases might be a feature of the game? Did you expect the game would invite your child to make a purchase?
5. Have you, your child or another adult made an in - game purchase for your child? Or made any other form of purchase to allow your child to progress further in the game or access additional content?
6. If you answered yes to question 5, how many of those purchases have been made in the last two months?
7. Thinking about the most recent of the purchases mentioned in question 5, what was the value of that purchase and how was it made (for example, by credit/debit card, gift card, iTunes account or similar, etc)?
8. Is there any other information you would like us to consider as part of our investigation?