Australia Launches Inquiry into Cost of Smartphone Apps

The Australian government is launching an inquiry into the cost of smartphone apps which will see users asked to ‘name and shame’ the worst offenders.

The inquiry will look at additional purchases which can be made within apps, rather than the price of apps themselves. Consumers are said to have raised concerns about apps which target children with virtual goods and services.

Many apps give users the option of paying for extra features and there are concerns about how easy it is to make in-app purchases using credit card details stored on a device.

Australia’s Assistant treasurer David Bradbury wants to make sure that the country’s laws keep up with the pace of technological development: “In a very short period of time, new mobile devices like smartphones and tablets have changed the way consumers engage in commerce.

“We have strong consumer laws in Australia that protect the rights of consumers and place clear obligations on businesses.

“This inquiry is an opportunity to look at the adequacy of existing measures to address any consumer concern.”

Mobile users will be asked to submit responses through a government website and the inquiry will remain open until January.

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