Most Mobile Shopping Apps Lack Effective Consumer Disclosures

Most Mobile Shopping Apps Lack Effective Consumer Disclosures
Image: Pixabay
August 7, 2014

Use a mobile app for shopping? Read the disclosure?

A recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report found that most mobile apps used by consumers for shopping purposes lack important information in their disclosures prior to download. The apps failed to give users information about the dispute process, their potential financial liability and how the app uses customers' personal information.

The FTC report included more than 120 different shopping apps: 47 price comparison apps, 50 deal apps and 45 in-store purchase apps.

Many of the apps reviewed frequently failed to give consumers information about how to dispute charges or how they could be potentially liable for errors when making payments through the app. The FTC recommends that app developers, particularly those of in-store purchase apps – make these procedures clear.

Apps also used vague language to inform users that their personal information – names, address, purchase information and social security numbers – was stored and shared. In some cases, 29 percent of price comparison apps, 17 percent of deal apps and 33 percent of in-store purchase apps, this information was collected, used and shared without restrictions.

The FTC report recommends that users closely examine the app's policies on dispute resolution, data collection and liability limits before downloading. Apps that don't provide that information shouldn't be downloaded or the amount of money stored on the account.

For more information, visit the FTC's website.