In the wake of the recent iOS 7.1 release, Apple has added new in-app purchase warnings to App Store search results.
Although alerts for irritating and potentially costly in-app purchases had previously been displayed within dedicated app listing pages, the newly released update has seen clearer warnings brought to search results.
Simply stating “offers in-app purchases,” the warning labels are a presumed response to a recent lawsuit which saw Apple refund parents $32.5 million (£20m) for in-app purchases inadvertently made by their children.
While the new warnings provide no details on the extent or cost of the in-app purchases within, the added deterrent will go some way to appeasing the UK Office of Fair Trading. The OFT recently released a list of principles which clarify the laws surrounding in-app purchases.
As well as acting as a nuisance to mobile gamers, the recent rise of in-app purchases has also spawned a number of legal and ethical battles.
"You cannot charge consumers for purchases they did not authorize." US Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said following Apple’s in-app refund agreement back in January.
She added: "This settlement is a victory for consumers harmed by Apple's unfair billing, and a signal to the business community: whether you're doing business in the mobile arena or the mall down the street, fundamental consumer protections apply.”
It is not just Apple troubled by in-app purchase concerns either. Earlier this week it was revealed Google is facing a lawsuit from a Californian group over its in-app practices.
“Google has unfairly profited by marketing free or low-cost games to children and by permitting them to easily rack up charges for worthless in-game currency, by failing to incorporate reasonable controls such as simply requiring the entry of a password,” Shanon Carson of Berger & Montague, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiff said.
“Google is certainly aware that its primary competitor, Apple, has taken steps to end this unfair practice so that its users must enter their password to make all in-app purchases.”
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