Apple has been accused of failing to offer any “concrete and immediate” plans to stop users being misled by “free” apps.
The European Commission is looking into the practice of offering “free” games apps which encourage and, in some cases, require players to purchase in-game add-ons such as weapons or extra powers.
Many parents have complained that children have run up large bills after downloading such upgrades and add-ons.
The Commission says Apple and Google, whose respective app stores are the biggest sellers of such apps, must make the true cost of games clear to consumers.
EC officials say Google “has decided on a number of changes” which will be implemented by September. These include not using the word “free” when games contain in-app purchases and requiring every purchase be confirmed by use of a password.
Apple has been criticised for not making a clear enough commitment to changing how apps are described.
In a statement, the EC says “Although, regrettably, no concrete and immediate solutions have been made by Apple to date to address the concerns linked in particular to payment authorisation, Apple has proposed to address those concerns.
“However, no firm commitment and no timing have been provided for the implementation of such possible future changes.”
Consumer protection agencies in each EU nation will continue to monitor the issue, including the effect of any changes implemented by both companies.
EC Vice President Neelie Kroes, responsible for the Digital Agenda, said: “The Commission is very supportive of innovation in the app sector. In-app purchases are a legitimate business model, but it’s essential for app-makers to understand and respect EU law while they develop these new business models”.