Feeds

Apple sued for 30¢ $5m

Gift card gamble gone awry?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Now that all the world's injustices have been resolved, peace and harmony reign throughout the land, and the lion has lain down with the lamb, a US court has been asked to resolve the last remaining inequity still disturbing our perfected existence: Whether Apple's iTunes gift cards misrepresent the cost of an iTunes tune.

This tragic tale of mercantile perfidy began when plaintiffs Daniel and Barbara Owens bought one $15 gift card from WalMart and two $25 cards from Sam's Club in Fallon, Illinois.

According to court documents filed with the US District Court of the Southern District of Illinois, on the cards was printed "Download [dollar amount] worth of entertainment to enjoy on your Mac or Windows PC. And, of course, your iPod. Songs are 99¢ and videos start at $1.99."

However - again quoting from court docs - "On or about April 7, 2009, Defendant raised the price to purchase certain songs from its iTunes Store from $0.99 to $1.29."

But said Defendant - that would be Apple - didn't recall all of those offensive iTunes cards and replace them with newly worded ones. Nor did it "honor the pre-April 7 Agreements" and sell tunes to owners of out-of-date gift cards for 99¢. Instead, Apple charged the Owens a buck twenty-nine for the newly non-DRMed songs.

And now the Owens want those multiple 30-cent differences back. In their case, that adds up to about $15. But Dan and Barb are playing hardball: Their suit also asks the judge to elevate the matter to a class action "on behalf of all others similarly situated," an aggrieved horde "believed to number in excess of one hundred thousand individuals."

Thirty cents here, thirty cents there. It quickly adds up to some serious coin. "The amount in controversy," reads the complaint, "exceeds the sum of $5 million."

That figure, it is to be assumed, caught the attention of the Cupertinians.

It is also to be assumed that it caught the attention of the Owens's attorneys, the law firm of Onder, Shelton, O'Leary & Peterson, LLC, who bill themselves as "St. Louis Personal Injury Attorneys" and who wrote into the complaint that a judgment in their clients' favor should also recover "reasonable attorneys fees, interest and costs to the maximum extent allowed by law."

We would love to know whether Apple recognized the difference between the marketing blurb on the back of their gift cards and the new price of tunes, but simply gambled that a mass recall wouldn't be worth the time, trouble, and expense.

We'd also love to know if the iTunes Store's infrastructure has any way of telling which cards with the offending 99¢ language were activated after the April 7th price rise.

Apple, as is its wont, remains mum - but if Onder, Shelton, O'Leary & Peterson are worth their "reasonable attorneys fees," they'll ask. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.