SEOUL, Nov. 8 (Korea Bizwire) – The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) announced on November 8 that it has drafted a standardized list of terms and conditions for the mobile gaming industry that has been passed into law.
Mobile gaming is growing in popularity by leaps and bounds, but its steady rise has also been accompanied by thousands of complaints lodged by gamers. The FTC-operated 1372 Consumer Counseling Center recorded 5,368 mobile game-related grievances reported from 2014 to 2016.
One of the focal points of the FTC’s list is to ensure consumer refunds for purchases made in a game’s ecosystem. Though small in scale, the problem of mobile game providers abruptly cancelling user accounts with little to no explanation and pocketing the fees paid for game items has become a recurring one.
An in-depth investigation conducted by the Korea Consumer Agency last year discovered 300 individuals who had lost money this way. Among those affected, 34.3 percent were reported to have received no advance warning that their gaming accounts were about to be suspended.
In response, the standardized terms and conditions will mandate mobile games providers to inform users thirty days in advance if an account is to be suspended. The warning must be delivered not only through the game, but also via e-mail and text message. The message must provide in detail the reason for the impending suspension, the precise date, the refund policy for purchases made, etc.
The FTC has set out strict requirements that a provider must meet to suspend a user’s account. Either the business must be going under, or there must be some set of extraordinary circumstances that necessitate the cancellation of an account.
Refunds will amount to purchased item’s remaining value plus 10 percent. A clause in the FTC’s terms and conditions guarantees users the right to withdraw from a previously made agreement (“withdrawal of subscription”) pertaining to unrelated content that was not accessed.
Additional security measures were included that would place the burden of responsibility on the game provider for any harm incurred by a user through content provided by a third party. An example would be if the user is redirected to an illegal gambling service and the game provider fails to take action to rectify the problem.
In 2015, the mobile gaming market was worth 3.3 trillion won, constituting 32.5 percent of the entire video game market.