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FTC to review game firms’ consumer regulations

South Korea’s antitrust regulator said Friday it will carry out an extensive review of the consumer regulations of game firms.

The Fair Trade Commission has contacted 10 game companies here, including Nexon NCSoft, Blizzard and Riot Games, for their opinion.

Both computer and mobile games’ clauses are subject to a review. Part of the sweeping reviews include, but are not limited to, clauses regarding underage users’ in-game purchases.


“Some news reports suggest that it may become easier for people to get refunds for in-game purchases if they can prove that their children used credit cards without permission,” said an FTC representative.

“But if an underage user actively deceives parents, that’s on the kids. If a minor spends more than the legally allowed amount of 70,000 won ($62) a month, he or she will be held accountable,” he said.

The FTC is reviewing the matter on a much wider scale. Some clauses hint that parental approval is needed when teenagers sign up for a game -- de facto parental permission. Some game companies limit refunds for in-game items and cash presents, even when the receiving party has yet to accept the gift. Gifted items sometimes have an unfair limited period of use. When a player publicly states inconveniences, a company should consider the “misappropriate conduct” and limit that player’s game use.

“We see these clauses as unfair,” said the FTC representative, adding that the firms can make voluntary changes or be ordered to do so.

The FTC regularly reviews consumer clauses for various industries, based on an internal decision or through consumer reports. Its review serves to raise awareness about fair trade and consumer rights.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (
catch table
Korea Herald daum