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Citizens Advice welcomes new move to clamp down on unfair in-app purchases

26 Medi 2013

As the Office of Fair trading releases new principles for the online games industry, Citizens Advice welcomes the move and calls for the new guidelines to be backed by strong enforcement action.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of national charity Citizens Advice, said :

"The scandal of online games which try to pressure or trick players into making extra purchases must end. We've seen parents turning to us after their children inadvertently run up huge bills for downloads, so we welcome the OFT's moves to clamp down on the practice.

"After an unexpected £200 bill landed on his doormat, one of our clients assumed he'd been the victim of fraud. But after approaching his bank, he was told that the bill was in fact down to a game his ten-year-old son enjoyed playing. He was shocked to be told that as the extra costs were laid out in the small print, the only way to get his money back would be to sue his son.

"It's good to see that the OFT are considering action to make games include clear information on costs, and require authorisation for the account holder before children can make in-app purchases. The final rules must be backed up by strong enforcement action to ensure that consumers are properly protected."

Notes to editors:

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  2. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  3. To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit You can also get advice online at
  4. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers
  5. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.3 million clients on 5.4 million problems from October 2013 to September 2014. For full 2013/2014  service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
  6. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.