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Apple sued over 'false' iTunes card promises

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
A new lawsuit accuses Apple of a bait-and-switch tactic with iTunes gift cards by instituting variable song pricing but leaving old cards on the shelves.

While Apple has been cracking down on fake iTunes gift cards, a new lawsuit filed Wednesday charges that Apple is committing fraud of its own.

Barbara and Daniel Owens of Illinois have sued Apple in a Southern District, East St. Louis court and accuse the California firm of violating state consumer protection and fraud laws by imposing variable pricing but continuing to sell gift cards that listed all songs as selling for 99 cents each, even after the April 7th milestone when some songs began selling for $1.29. The Owens family says it bought at least one $15 card in mid-May that still showed the 99-cent figure, potentially misleading them and other customers into thinking they would get more songs per card than was actually possible.

As the issue could affect anyone in the US who bought a card and not just the individuals at the heart of the suit, the plaintiffs hope for class action status and want Apple to refund the 30-cent difference for every $1.29 song the affected class bought while using a card advertising the 99-cent price. They also seek "additional relief" where possible.

As always, Apple hasn't commented on the lawsuit, though the case has questionable merit: most songs are discounted when bought as a whole album and didn't receive a price hike in this form. Also, the suit itself adds the cards provide enough music and video to match its dollar value, not a set number of songs.
post #2 of 49
I suppose they went out and bought dozens of more cards after clearly seeing that the price on some songs was as much as a $1.29? Did they close their eyes when buying them?

Ridiculous.
post #3 of 49
Apple should have recognized those remaining 99¢ cards laying around on store shelves and sold those songs for 99¢ on iTMS, despite the new price hike.

Does anyone think ahead at Apple and prevent these sort of issues from occurring in the first place?

I guess not.


(In other news Chomo Jackson died in a house fire, cause unspecified. children celebrate in the streets)
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post #4 of 49
Very true, just 2 hours ago in a supermarket I saw a Gift Card Stand with $15 and $25 iTunes cards still with .99 a song.
post #5 of 49
Anyone that agrees with lawsuit is retarded. I guess they need to charge people 20 cents per song for those of you that bought a "99 cent song card" and purchased songs for 79 cents!!!
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post #6 of 49
Apple definitely is in the wrong here, no doubt, but filing a lawsuit about it? Seriously? People like this really make me sick.
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post #7 of 49
I think this one is going too far, way bigger problems to solve. At what point does this stop a company from being flexible.

Does the card say that all the songs are $.99, I would think there is a great selection still at $.99.
post #8 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase R View Post

Apple definitely is in the wrong here, no doubt, but filing a lawsuit about it? Seriously? People like this really make me sick.

How the f are they wrong. A store buys x amount of cards from Apple. The store then puts it on the shelf. You buy it from the store. I fail to see any logic in this lawsuit or people saying Apple is responsible. You can use a gift card towards anything in the ITMS. A movie to purchase or rent, an app for your iPhone, an album, a song either 79, 99 or 1.29, or whatever else is there. Seriously people geez
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post #9 of 49
well, this is the stupidest lawsuit that I have seen.

No one was really hurt here. but... of course the lawyers who bring this "Class Action" suit will settle and get their "Fees" Ridiculous!
post #10 of 49
It's not a HUGE amount of money, and I suspect Apple Customer Service would simply take the card back and refund it, if lawyers weren't on the trail of bigger gains. But Apple IS in the wrong. Apple DID sell cards that were labeled misleadingly.

What if you bought a $25 gift card that claimed to be good for 25 songs, when in fact the price had ALREADY gone up to $5 for some songs, which happen to be the ones you want? You were told you'd get 25 and you only get 5! Clearly, in that case, Apple should have recalled the cards and and changed the description of what you're buying, so you KNOW you may be getting as few as 5 songs. Even a small disclaimer would meet the obligation to give the buyer accurate info on what they're buying.

The real amount here is smaller, of course, but the principle is the same: the card came with text that was out of date, suggesting that you'll get more for your money than you actually might.
post #11 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase R View Post

Apple definitely is in the wrong here, no doubt, but filing a lawsuit about it? Seriously? People like this really make me sick.

I wouldn't necessarily say that Apple is "definitely in the wrong". Out of date products are on shelves all the time. I recently picked up a DVD box set which contained a coupon for discounted movie tickets. But the coupons expired in 2005! It would be nearly impossible for Apple to collect up all of the old iTunes gift cards in every outlet that sells them.

But I agree with the ridiculousness of filing a lawsuit. Did the even try to contact Apple or try to return the cards? Did they give Apple a chance to make it right? Did they know at the time they purchased the cards of the new pricing structure?

Yes, Apple made a mistake; but surely not worthy of a lawsuit.
post #12 of 49
And what if I buy 28 songs for 79 cents should I have to pay Apple 20 cents extra per song because my gift card said it was good for only 25? People like you amaze me, it's advertising. It is impossible to buy all the gift cards back in the world that have this advertising on it. Answer my question I dare you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

It's not a HUGE amount of money, and I suspect Apple Customer Service would simply take the card back and refund it, if lawyers weren't on the trail of bigger gains. But Apple IS in the wrong. Apple DID sell cards that were labeled misleadingly.

What if you bought a $25 gift card that claimed to be good for 25 songs, when in fact the price had ALREADY gone up to $5 for some songs, which happen to be the ones you want? You were told you'd get 25 and you only get 5! Clearly, in that case, Apple should have recalled the cards and and changed the description of what you're buying, so you KNOW you may be getting as few as 5 songs. Even a small disclaimer would meet the obligation to give the buyer accurate info on what they're buying.

The real amount here is smaller, of course, but the principle is the same: the card came with text that was out of date, suggesting that you'll get more for your money than you actually might.
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post #13 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by O4BlackWRX View Post

And what if I buy 28 songs for 79 cents should I have to pay Apple 20 cents extra per song because my gift card said it was good for only 25?

No. The people filing the suit should pay the difference. That's a solution we could all get behind
post #14 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase R View Post

Apple definitely is in the wrong here, no doubt, but filing a lawsuit about it? Seriously? People like this really make me sick.

Seriously? Apple's in the wrong, not say Wal-Mart for keeping the card in question on the shelf? Unless this card was bought at an Apple store I don't see how Apple could be at fault. I'm guessing the card says something about prices can change and what not.

And I've never seen an Apple card that stated how many songs it's worth. I get charged tax when I buy songs, apps, etc. So a $25 card hasn't been worth 25 songs for me ever, I don't think.

One last thing, did the card not have a copyright date on it? Knowing Apple, it probably has a copyright date of 2008 or earlier on the card. I would guess that alone would make them victorious in this case.
post #15 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase R View Post

Apple definitely is in the wrong here, no doubt

There's a lot of doubt. All we've seen so far is the original complaint which is, undoubtedly, heavily biased (as well it should be). What is the precise language on the cards? Is there a disclaimer or fine print of some sort that would inform the consumer about the potential differences in prices? Does the fact that some, if not most, songs are available for 99 cents affect the lawsuit? And most importantly, would a reasonable person, as determined by a jury, be misled?

There are very few absolutes, especially in civil cases.
post #16 of 49
I don't have one of the gift cards so maybe I missed something, but if I had one, and it said songs on iTunes are $0.99, and then I tried to buy a $0.99 tune and it didn't work, then maybe I would have a complaint.
post #17 of 49
HOMG, Apple's return key has caused a blister on my pinky. I'M GOING TO SUE THE BASTARDS....

sigh.
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post #18 of 49
These people are buying gift cards to give to themselves in June/July? Fuck Santa, Jesus, Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima in DEcember.
post #19 of 49
All Apple would have had to do is announce to the resellers that they cards are wrong, they wouldn't have to buy them back since they are worthless until activated. This really does fall under the responsibility of the stores for leaving them up for sale.
post #20 of 49
Today I saw an iTunes gift card on the shelf at a store. The card had a "silhouette person" holding







Wait for it






a 4th Generation iPod!


It lists iTunes 4.7 as one of the system requirements. It could still be activated and used, though.

As for the lawsuit, the cards explicitly state a dollar amount, not a number of songs. When you buy and redeem a gift card, that dollar amount is credited to your iTunes account, and is displayed as such in iTunes. It's idiotic in a way to think that redeeming a $15 iTunes gift card would give you anything more than a $15 credit in the Store. It would make sense if the card stated "Good for 15 songs" and a lesser amount was credited to your account.

They're basically claiming that "$15" (and the sample prices stated on the card) is the same as "Good for 15 songs" when that certainly isn't the case. Sure it was true at one point where the Store only offered music at 99¢ and music videos at $1.99, but the prices have changed since then. In some areas, a $15 iTunes Store card doesn't cover the cost of a movie on the Store, when you include the tax.
post #21 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbonner View Post

I think this one is going too far, way bigger problems to solve. At what point does this stop a company from being flexible.

Does the card say that all the songs are $.99, I would think there is a great selection still at $.99.

Most of these kinds of cards have some sort of legal mumbo jumbo about subject to change without warning of any kind. Even if these people tried to contact Apple & get it resolved the lawsuit is still retarded. $15 gift card isn't worth a lawsuit, you could have just contacted a news outlet & spread the word, that would have gotten Apple's PR machine rolling for sure.
post #22 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by lightstriker View Post

These people are buying gift cards to give to themselves in June/July?

You've never heard of birthdays, Father's day, Mother's Day, or an iTunes Gift card to simply put money on Junior's iTunes account so Mom & Pop don't have to put their CC info on his account?
post #23 of 49
On an iTunes card with the 4G iPod, it says, "Download $15 worth of songs." it also says on the back that Apple "makes no warrantees, expressed or implied, with respect to prepaid cards or the iTunes Music Store and disclaim any warranty to the fullest extent available." The latest version of the iTunes Store card, which mentions apps, and features a silhouette person holding what appears to be an iPod Touch, has similar text on the back.

Can anyone say, "frivolous lawsuit"?
post #24 of 49
When buying gift cards, you're buying a dollar amount, not a quantity of items, otherwise itunes gift cards should be 10 songs instead of $9.99. I hope Barbara and Daniel loses the case and is stuck to pay the legal fees.

People in this country sue for the stupidest things and raises prices for everyone else.
post #25 of 49
Don't wanna ne an american idiot....
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post #26 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchelljd View Post

well, this is the stupidest lawsuit that I have seen.

No one was really hurt here. but... of course the lawyers who bring this "Class Action" suit will settle and get their "Fees" Ridiculous!

You're not really clear on when to use quotation marks, are you?
post #27 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by R36 #9346 View Post

On an iTunes card with the 4G iPod, it says, "Download $15 worth of songs." it also says on the back that Apple "makes no warrantees, expressed or implied, with respect to prepaid cards or the iTunes Music Store and disclaim any warranty to the fullest extent available." The latest version of the iTunes Store card, which mentions apps, and features a silhouette person holding what appears to be an iPod Touch, has similar text on the back.

Can anyone say, "frivolous lawsuit"?

in this kind of a lawsuit, it really isnt for any real consumers that had problems, it is really about legal fees. namely... the lawyers that create this class action and sue, will later settle and try for legal fees. and some kind of stupid coupon, credit or something. its possible these numskulls think apple would settle.
post #28 of 49
What a surprise that they are looking for "They also seek "additional relief" where possible."
post #29 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

It's not a HUGE amount of money, and I suspect Apple Customer Service would simply take the card back and refund it, if lawyers weren't on the trail of bigger gains. But Apple IS in the wrong. Apple DID sell cards that were labeled misleadingly.

The label may have been misleading because they're outdated, but almost certainly not with any intent to mislead. I can see this being a debacle if it looked like they intended to mislead, but without that, it would probably be difficult to get a judgment in your favor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdhazrd View Post

Seriously? Apple's in the wrong, not say Wal-Mart for keeping the card in question on the shelf? Unless this card was bought at an Apple store I don't see how Apple could be at fault. I'm guessing the card says something about prices can change and what not.

Maybe Apple could have sent a recall note. But these days, given that just about every store of every kind sells iTunes cards, is that really a problem worth solving? If the cards contained toxic materials or so poorly made that some shattered into infant-edible fragments, then it might be worth it the recall effort.

Also, if you want, you can still buy lots of $0.99 cent songs. It's not as if all songs now are $1.29. And if you can find them, there might be about 10 token $0.69 songs. It's a game of Where's Waldo, except involving the lies of the RIAA.
post #30 of 49
What about TAX?!?!?! Hello?!?!?! $25 iTunes cards have NEVER been good for 25 songs in Texas as it's taxed! (I'm not sure how many other states are like this but I've had my iTunes purchases taxed for quite a while now) So maybe I should sue Apple for saying 25 songs when they d@mn well know I can't buy 25 songs? Good Lord people, come on, let's think about this for a second - it's a $15 iTunes gift card and specifically says $15 on it - guess how much music that will buy. Yep, you guessed it - $15 worth. For those of us in states with tax it's never been 15 songs. This is a big time "get over it, being an idiot doesn't mean the legal system should reward your idiocy."
post #31 of 49
>> It lists iTunes 4.7 as one of the system requirements. It could still be activated and used, though.

Ask your mom what version of iTunes she has?
post #32 of 49
I am declaring this thread as journalism 1.0 until we see an actual photo of the gift card in question and we are able to make our own judgements.
post #33 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by lightstriker View Post

These people are buying gift cards to give to themselves in June/July? Fuck Santa, Jesus, Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima in DEcember.

Maybe they don't do it where you live, but many of the convenience stores around here sell iTunes cards at 10% off face value. Why wouldn't you buy gift cards for ALL of your purchases if this discount is available?

Also, BJ's Wholesale Club regularly sells 3 packs of $10.00 iTunes cards for $25.00. Again, why would you pay full price in the store when this option could be available to you?

Not to mention Father's Day, Birthday, etc., as the other respondent to your post pointed out.
post #34 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by jm6032 View Post

I don't have one of the gift cards so maybe I missed something, but if I had one, and it said songs on iTunes are $0.99, and then I tried to buy a $0.99 tune and it didn't work, then maybe I would have a complaint.

Apple, if they were smart, should never quantify things like "all songs .99¢" especially knowing all the shoots and ladders they had to go through to get the contracts with all the record companies and the pain in the backside they were. Unless Apple quantified the price with a caveat or expiration date. But for Apple to state flat out that 'ALL songs .99¢' when they don't control the material and are limited by contract from the various music labels that own the rights to the catalogs of music was dumb. Kind of like ordering t-shirts silk screened with a timed certain event like 'Mardi Gras 2009!' and after it's over, what to do with those left over t-shirts? Sell them at Mardi Gras 2010? Doubt it but Good Luck with that. If they left off the date and had a cool design, they could be sold multiple years at multiple Mardi Gras, as it were.

Apple, LEAVE PRICE SPECIFICS OFF at least regarding products you don't own and without any caveats!. Would prevent a lot of headaches.

That said, the lawsuit is just as stupid also. No common sense in some people these days! Can't see the forest for the trees.

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post #35 of 49


Here's what it says :-

Download your favorite songs, TV shows and music videos. Buy songs for 99c and videos for $1.99. Millions of choices, any day, anytime.

So the question is would "Buy songs for 99c" suggest to you that all songs were 99c or simply that it was possible to buy songs at 99c (which is technically true).
post #36 of 49
I have no brain. I will call a lawyer to sue someone and buy one for me.

Idiots, or maybe scheming swine, like this should just be taken out and beaten to a bloody pulp.
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post #37 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase R View Post

Apple definitely is in the wrong here, no doubt, but filing a lawsuit about it? Seriously? People like this really make me sick.

Yes you do sometimes have to file a lawsuit. Lawsuits can be used to force correct and legal action on the part of a company, not just to take money from a company.

The respectable use of a lawsuit here would be to force Apple to accept those cards at face value....number of songs and not cost. This is purely Apple's fault for not thinking ahead to cover their butts.
post #38 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

Yes you do sometimes have to file a lawsuit. Lawsuits can be used to force correct and legal action on the part of a company, not just to take money from a company.

The respectable use of a lawsuit here would be to force Apple to accept those cards at face value....number of songs and not cost. This is purely Apple's fault for not thinking ahead to cover their butts.

If you redeem a $15 card and you don't get $15 credit then, yes, Apple should be forced to accept those cards at face value but guess what - face value isn't "15 songs" - it's $15 - ignorance and stupidity is no excuse suing someone...
post #39 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

Yes you do sometimes have to file a lawsuit. Lawsuits can be used to force correct and legal action on the part of a company, not just to take money from a company.

The respectable use of a lawsuit here would be to force Apple to accept those cards at face value....number of songs and not cost. This is purely Apple's fault for not thinking ahead to cover their butts.

Your screenname says it all......how about read the whole post before adding a comment that's already been added and I might add proven wrong.
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post #40 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by raymccrae View Post



Here's what it says :-

Download your favorite songs, TV shows and music videos. Buy songs for 99c and videos for $1.99. Millions of choices, any day, anytime.

So the question is would "Buy songs for 99c" suggest to you that all songs were 99c or simply that it was possible to buy songs at 99c (which is technically true).


I was just about to say that.... he have an case of people being idiots, or may more conniving to think they can try and take advantage of situation.

this is no different than buying any gift card with a $ value on it for any store or business and them increasing their prices. You can come around later and say hey you raised your price since you bought it and you have to now give me the product at the price when i bought the card. Does not work that way.

Just another classic class of a stupid lawyer taking on a case and no tell these people they have no case.

Oh, by the way I have a number of gift card credit to my account which date back a year ago, and ops i bough apps with it, no where on that gift card did it say i could use it for apps, i am going to sue them since i wanted only to use it for songs.
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