Consumer Reports complains about Google Play Store's in-app policies

Consumer Reports complains about Google Play Store's in-app policies
On Wednesday, we told you that Apple was being ordered by the FTC to pay $32.5 million to the parents of children who unknowingly spent real money making in-app purchases. Part of Apple's problem is that in-app purchases can be made without a password for a full 15 minutes after an app is downloaded. Some kids were able to make their purchases thanks to that opening. One 5 year old ran up a $2500 tab on his parents' iPad.

According to Consumer Reports, Google Play has an even longer opening. For a good half hour after an app is downloaded, in-app purchases can be made without requiring a password. While the FTC investigation of the App Store was kicked off by parents complaining, it is not known if similar complaints have been made against the Google Play Store. The commission would not even confirm if it was investigating Google Play at this time.

Consumer Reports did run a test on one app involved in the complaints against Apple, the Tap Pet Hotel game from Pocket Gems. The publication downloaded the app for free on an Android tablet from the Google Play Store. After enabling the Google Play Store's password protection feature, one 99 cent in-app purchase was arranged for. After that purchase was made, over the next half hour, Consumer Reports was able to make seven more in-app purchases for 99 cents each, with authorization.

In response to the settlement with the FTC, Apple will change its rules at the end of March. Before charging someone for an in-app purchase, Apple will need to obtain "express, informed consent from consumers before charging them for items sold in mobile apps." The new restriction comes after Apple added a section to the App Store last year, that explains exactly what an in-app purchase is. Apple also explained how to use parental controls to prevent unwanted charges from taking place.

It might behoove the powers that be at Google to re-examine its current policy toward in-app purchases. Surely Google does not want to find itself in the same hot water as Apple was in.


source: ConsumerReports via SlashGear

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28 Comments

1. Teja171 unregistered

Why even buy the apps ? Just get an APK file and be happy.

3. Mxyzptlk unregistered

You're right. Why pay for anything when you can be a thief and just steal it. Why pay for my gas when I can just drive off and be happy. Why pay for food when I can just shoplift it and be happy. Why pay for internet when I can just mooch off my neighbor and be happy.

5. Teja171 unregistered

Okay, you follow the above things, and i follow my things. Alright ?

8. taz89

Posts: 2014; Member since: May 03, 2011

I ain't going to lie, I use to do what you did but I realised it was wrong and went and purchased those apps legally. I realised that I'm literally using most the apps nearly every day and I just need to cough up the price of a coke can to have it forever and get updates etc and no longer have to worry about viruses or go searching for the updated apk etc. I literally don't have a single pirated app on my devices anymore, it's seriously not worth it. If we want developers to carry on making great apps and games etc then we have to be willing to support them. If we want Android to keep on getting great apps then developers need to know that they can make money off it. But am not against installing apks, some people don't have access to the play store or sometimes play store doesn't support paid apps in some countries etc so I can see why some times people pirate. The main reason I use to go through the apk route was because I was too lazy set up a direct debit with the play store and also then there wasn't many trials available at the time but now most apps usually come with a trial and well most games are free nowadays too.

22. djkhalid

Posts: 156; Member since: Jul 01, 2013

Here is my opinion on apk's. Me personally I use apk's for games, however apps i use that are important to me ie Swiftkey and others, I purchase. As far as viruses i have Lookout, Trustgo, and AVG. So I triple check that it is safe. I would have had many trojans if it weren't for them, especially Lookout Premium, I have caught many. So I guess go get Lookout

11. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

You can keep doing your illegal apk file download thing, but don't get mad at your phone if it suddenly freezes and you can't turn it on. If you purchase the app legally, you will have no worry about viruses. If you download the app apk file illegally. your phone will have high chances of getting infected. It's your choice. But for me, I rather purchase the app legally.

16. tedkord

Posts: 17489; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

It's not always illegal. XDA requires free copies of many apps that are pay in Google Play from devs per their policies.

10. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Gotta agree with you this time. +1

25. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

For once we agree on something. +1 for you. I not only pay for apps, but also donate for the ones that are mostly free (Helium, SMS Backup, Lama Profiles, Widgetsoid). They also deserve some money and the cost is less that you would pay for a beer.

27. g2a5b0e unregistered

This might be the first & only time I'll ever agree you, Mxy. Piracy is not okay.

17. appleDOESNT.com

Posts: 456; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

I bet Ray or Vick told on Google!

23. Andrewtst

Posts: 697; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

You had no different as thief. Look down on those people can spend on expensive phone but not few cents to few dollars on apps.

2. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Why is this even a problem? Those people don't deserve a dime. There's restrictions to prevent IAPs on iOS and Android. Not Apple's fault if parents are too stupid to use said restrictions. I guess the smartphones are the only thing that's smart here.

4. PBXtech

Posts: 1032; Member since: Oct 21, 2013

Because it's bad PR for both Apple and Google if kids run up bills due to "it's not their problem" approach you'd institute. It takes little to correct this, both parties, and other OS owners need to take those simple steps, it's the least they can do.

6. taz89

Posts: 2014; Member since: May 03, 2011

Agree Google needs to change it too. Basically after 1st purchase you can buy anything without a password over the 30 minutes which is far too long. There should at least be a setting that asked whether you want to be asked for password every time. I assumed at first that password will always be required for every single purchase but was surprised that was not the case even thinking for a bit that I had passwords turned off. It doesn't even tell you notify you that this is the case. Let's hope Google at least have an option to require password all the time. I can see the convenience of this obviously but it has to be an option especially in the age of freemium games when kids can accidently purxhase in app items that cost sometimes 100's of dollars or pounds.

7. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Always require a password for apps purchase. I always enable password even when Google give me an option to disable it permanently. I am glad for the option however.

9. hamid.r1992

Posts: 9; Member since: Jan 16, 2014

If you want to buy a phone. iphone 5s or lumia1520 ?

12. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

Firstly, why question here? Secondly, buy the Nokia Lumia 1520

14. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

It depends on what you prefer and want. iPhone 5s' iOS 7 or Lumia 1520's WP8? Small or big? Good camera or awesome camera? Good luck.

19. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

Suggestion, try them out. iPhone is good choice, well made, pretty good in almost everything, huge ecosystem and fanbase, and it has good reputation, which means great resale value. Lumia is one of better devices too, well made, even better camera than great camera of 5S, has one of best displays on market, and it has Nokia features. Both have sublime performance, look good and have unusual size. I think that you have to decide which OS. Both are smooth, work and are easy to use. I prefer 5S, but your choice.

13. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

This is why I don't buy things (unless physically). The problem is I constantly change my set of apps, so purchasing an app would be wasting money

15. Cha7520

Posts: 222; Member since: Oct 31, 2010

All these Google problems and issues, I think I might go to Windows.

20. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

No, don't do it. You come running back.

21. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Don't worry Cha, you can actually leave googles sphere and actually be happy. I know I did (still have a note 3 though). I currently have a htc 8x, nokia 925, nokia 521, asus windows 8.1 10.1in tablet and my win 8.1 pc. They work flawlessly together. Not to mention that my office is across all my devices. I don't miss candy crush on my phones, I have halo Spartan assault if I need to play a game and a host of others. The app gap is not as big as people think. To each his own, but the idea of 'running' back is laughable.

28. Topcat488

Posts: 1419; Member since: Sep 29, 2012

If you're still rocking a Note 3... "You never left"! Just saying...=.o

18. thecorrescode

Posts: 40; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

There is Restricted Profile in Android...

24. AfterShock

Posts: 4147; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Well, Google has it as a complaint against them, rightfully so. Now, I'm watching to see how they handle it, do they,...? A. Get on a fix and do something about it. Or B. Wait until a legal ruling is made against them and then claim they were on top of it all along.

29. elocom

Posts: 36; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

Google have many discounts and like timely become now totally free it's always a chance to get something, read reviews of more apps on vividroid.com

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