[box border=”full”]On 19 July 2013, the Assistant Treasurer, the Hon David Bradbury MP, released the Commonwealth Consumer Affairs Advisory Council’s Inquiry Report on App purchases by Australian consumers on mobile and handheld devices.[/box]

It is evident that apps offer many benefits, including through their ability to increase the functionality of a user’s handheld device. However, CCAAC has also uncovered circumstances where consumers have experienced difficulties when purchasing, downloading and using apps. The prevalence and aggressiveness of in-app purchases for some apps has been a common cause for concern for consumer stakeholders.

CCAAC views this inquiry as only the start of the conversation. There is an ongoing need for industry, government and consumer stakeholders to continue to monitor consumer outcomes in this new market. It is hoped that CCAAC’s findings will help support further work in this regard. In particular, CCAAC has identified concerns relating to the refunds and complaints processes of some app stores and proposes a range of improvements that could be made. In addition, CCAAC considers that improvements could be made to the manner in which information is provided to consumers, including with regards to in-app purchases.

While CCAAC has not identified a need for additional industry-specific regulation, it acknowledges that regulatory options could play a role in improving outcomes for the community. It would be appropriate to consider whether there is a need to re-examine the issues in two years time. In this regard, CCAAC has written to industry stakeholders to encourage them to make some practical changes to their current practices and it is noted that some app stores have adjusted practices in advance of the release of this report.

CCAAC Final Report – App purchases by Australian consumers on mobile and handheld devices [PDF 2.88 MB]

CCAAC Final Report – App purchases by Australian consumers on mobile and handheld devices [DOC 7.76 MB]

CCAAC Issues Paper – App purchases by Australian consumers on mobile and handheld devices [PDF 521 KB] (RTF – 402kb)

Click here for more information, including submissions, background to the inquiry and terms of reference.

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