The Office of Fair Trading has launched a public survey into in-app purchases, aimed at parents and guardians whose children play web and app-based games.

The questionnaire is part of the UK government's recently-announced investigation to determine whether the charges found within such games are "misleading, commercially aggressive or otherwise unfair".

Parents are being asked which games their children have played and whether they had expected to be charged money via in-app purchases for them.

Five-year-old Danny Kitchen, who spent 1700 on free iPad game Zombies vs Ninjas.

Other questions include how often parents had paid for in-app purchases for their children, how much these cost and how it was paid for (via a credit/debit card or iTunes gift token, for example).

Finally, parents are invited to provide any other information that might be relevant to the OFT's investigation.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 28th June 2013.

Formally announced last week, the enquiry follows a number of high-profile cases where children racked up huge bills while playing "free" games.

By targeting game makers, the investigation hopes to prevent this from happening again.

"We are concerned that children and their parents could be subject to unfair pressure to purchase when they are playing games they thought were free, but which can actually run up substantial costs," the OFT's senior director Cavendish Elithorn previously explained.

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Tom Phillips

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