Feeds

Apple sued for 30¢ $5m

Gift card gamble gone awry?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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 Nor did it "honor the pre-April 7 Agreements" and sell tunes to owners of out-of-date gift cards for 99¢.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. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.