Apple sued over 'false' iTunes card promises

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    ulfoafulfoaf Posts: 175member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 48
    mactrippermactripper Posts: 1,328member
    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)
  • Reply 3 of 48
    techprtechpr Posts: 13member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 48
    o4blackwrxo4blackwrx Posts: 380member
    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!!!
  • Reply 5 of 48
    chase rchase r Posts: 18member
    Apple definitely is in the wrong here, no doubt, but filing a lawsuit about it? Seriously? People like this really make me sick.
  • Reply 6 of 48
    rbonnerrbonner Posts: 635member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 48
    o4blackwrxo4blackwrx Posts: 380member
    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
  • Reply 8 of 48
    mitchelljdmitchelljd Posts: 147member
    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!
  • Reply 9 of 48
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 48
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,255member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 48
    o4blackwrxo4blackwrx Posts: 380member
    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.



  • Reply 12 of 48
    ronboronbo Posts: 669member
    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
  • Reply 13 of 48
    rdhazrdrdhazrd Posts: 3member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 48
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 48
    jm6032jm6032 Posts: 147member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 48
    HOMG, Apple's return key has caused a blister on my pinky. I'M GOING TO SUE THE BASTARDS....



    sigh.
  • Reply 17 of 48
    These people are buying gift cards to give to themselves in June/July? Fuck Santa, Jesus, Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima in DEcember.
  • Reply 18 of 48
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 48
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 48
    hezekiahbhezekiahb Posts: 448member
    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.
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