According to the Hamburg Senator for Consumer Protection, Anna Gallina, when using games apps on smartphones or tablets, users run the risk of falling into a cost trap. “In order to better protect children and young people in particular, we need suitable protective measures,” demanded the Green politician before the consumer protection ministers’ conference in Weimar on Wednesday and Thursday. The additional functions, which are often expensive, should not be able to be paid for with just one click by credit card, but require further confirmation of the purchase with a password or fingerprint.
Pocket money limit and purchase confirmation required
Gallina also spoke out in favor of considering the financial risks of children and young people when rating video games. The costs incurred in the game should adhere to the limits of the usual pocket money. The senator did not name a specific amount.
To protect intensive players, the federal government should consider capping the purchase price. Gallina referred to a similar regulation in the State Treaty on Gambling, according to which players may use a maximum of 1000 euros per month online.
Another thorn in the side of the Hamburg senator is unauthorized debits from third-party providers for online games, which they collect via the mobile phone bill for additional functions of the game apps. At present, users would have to deactivate this option, but they usually did so only after bad experiences. This lock should therefore be the default setting on new devices. “This is an important measure against fraudulent subscription traps,” said Gallina.
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