Apple to Google Face EU Pressure to Limit Kids' App Sales

Apple Inc., Google Inc. and other companies that make and sell mobile applications will be told by European Union regulators to curb purchases by children, the EU said today.

The European Commission and consumer-protection authorities will meet with app makers and marketers to discuss default settings that may lead to consumers racking up purchases without giving their explicit consent. Games that encourage children to buy items or that are misleadingly advertised as free will also be on the agenda, the EU said in an e-mailed statement.

“Industry will be asked to commit to providing solutions within a clear timeframe so as to ensure proper consumer protection for app customers,” the EU said in the statement.

Apple will refund at least $32.5 million to consumers to settle a U.S. Federal Trade Commission complaint that it billed for app purchases made by children without parental consent, according to a settlement agreed last month. Apple’s advertising of warranties in Europe have previously faced examination by consumer-protection agencies.

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