Apple’s In-App Purchases Called to Question by US Lawmaker

Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) is concerned about Apple’s in-app purchases.

According to the Washington Post, Markey wants the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to probe the Cupertino, California-based tech giant’s “marketing practices of applications for Apple devices.”

Markey’s interest in the matter was sparked by recent reports of kid-friendly gaming apps failing to “adequately inform users of potential charges.”

This week, Markey sent a letter to FTC Chairman Jon Liebowtiz. In his written correspondence, Markey points to “evidence” of Apple’s potentially questionable practices.

Just last Tuesday, the Washington Post published a story about how several in-app purchases on iPad, iPod and iPhone games – like Smurfs’ Village – resulted in substantial unwanted charges.

According to the Post report, little Madison Kay inadvertently – but repeatedly – purchased $99 batches of “Smurfberries” – an eventual $1,400 expense for mom and dad.

As a result, Markey asserts that some of these apps “may be taking advantage of childrens’ lack of understanding when it comes to real money and buying pretend services and products on the Web.”

The FTC has not yet publicly offered comment on the matter.