App Store developers that charge exorbitant prices for their apps or in-app purchases better have a good reason to justify it.
Apple is looking to crack down on apps that’s prices “do not reflect the value of the features and content offered to the user.” Basically, if Apple thinks a developer is charging too much for their app or in-app purchases, the company will reject the app from inclusion in the App Store.
“Charging irrationally high prices for content or services with limited value is a rip-off to customers and is not appropriate for the App Store,” reads the rejection email Apple sent to the tipster.
Apple confirmed to Mashable that during its app approval process, the company will reject applications that try to rip-off its users. Apple reiterated that the purpose of its is to keep the App Store a safe and trusted platform for its users to download apps.
A review of the App Store Review Guidelines found a number of references to apps being rejected for attempting to scam Apple users.
“While pricing is up to you, we won’t distribute apps and in-app purchase items that are clear rip-offs,” reads the Business section of the guidelines. “We’ll reject expensive apps that try to cheat users with irrationally high prices.”
Their Developer Code of Conduct also clearly states that “apps should never prey on users or attempt to rip-off customers, trick them into making unwanted purchases, force them to share unnecessary data, raise prices in a tricky manner, charge for features or content that are not delivered, or engage in any other manipulative practices within or outside of the app.”
Apple’s products and services have often been referred to as a “walled garden.” The company requires that all third-party developers’ work match Apple’s standards. Every app in the App Store is reviewed by Apple before its inclusion on the marketplace.
Yet still, throughout the years, many scam apps have made it through the approval process and on to the App Store.
Just earlier this month, developer Kosta Eleftheriou a slew of new scam apps, some of which were making millions of dollars per year. One particular app began signing people up for a $416 per year subscription simply by with a prompt screen that said “Unlock now” after opening the app for the first time.
Mashable has previously on numerous App Store scams, such as apps that tricked users into making exorbitant in-app purchases through TouchID on the iPhone.
Another with scammers is to coerce a user into signing up for an expensive subscription for a service they don’t want. A particularly egregious example of a scam application was a security and antivirus app called “Mobile protection: Clean & Security VPN.” The app actually didn’t do anything, yet hundreds of users were tricked into signing up for a $99 per week in-app subscription. Before Apple pulled the app from the App Store in 2017, mobile app analytics firm Sensor Tower estimated it was making $80,000 per month.
This letter from Apple appears to be the first time a rejection of this kind has been publicized. Apple seems to be stepping up and cracking down on apps looking to scam users with ridiculously high pricing and hard-to-cancel subscriptions.