Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz says the commission is looking closely into concerns raised about Apple's "In App" purchases on mobile devices and other applications that are free to download but generate charges later on for products and services within those applications.
In-App purchases are part of new programs on Apple's iTunes store that allow companies to charge for products and services, and in some cases, items that act like electronic tokens to be used in games. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and other lawmakers raised questions about the services earlier this month after parents complained in a Washington Post article about the charges they received stemming from games their children played on an iPhone, iPad or another device.
"We fully share your concern that consumers, particularly children, are unlikely to understand the ramifications of these types of purchases," Leibowitz wrote in a letter to Markey last week. "Let me assure you we will look closely at the current industry practice with respect to the marketing and delivery of these types of applications."
In response, Apple noted that a password is required to purchase any goods on the company's App Store including In Apps. In addition, she said that iTunes includes parental control settings that allow parents to restrict app downloading or to turn off the In-App purchasing feature.