Class Claims Apple Tricked Them in Downloads
(CN) - Apple charged customers an extra $1 for high-definition feeds to old Apple devices that lack high-def capacity, a class action claims in Federal Court.
In his complaint in San Francisco, Lead plaintiff Scott J. Weiselberg claims Apple charges a $1 premium for renting HD movies, TV shows and other videos from its iTunes store.
He claims that the iTunes store's default download offering is the more expensive HD option.
"Despite the fact that Apple makes the HD version of the content offerings the default rental option, Apple failed to disclose to customers using SD Apple mobile devices that the device could not play the HD content being rented, and that the customer was needlessly paying the premium for the HD option," the complaint states.
Apple began offering movie and video download rentals for iPhones, iPods or iPads in 2008. Early models, however, were capable of playing only standard-definition (SD) content. As newer versions were upgraded to be HD-capable, Apple began charging an extra $1 per rental for the premium service, according to the complaint.
Weiselberg, who owned a 3G SD iPhone, said he rented the movie "Big Daddy" for $4.99 in June 2010, and was unaware an SD version was available for $3.99.
He claims that Apple eventually added a notice to the download process, letting people with SD devices know they could not play HD content, but by then the tech giant had already collected "millions of dollars in undeserved profits."
"Apple failed to disclose to consumers they were paying a premium for HD downloads that would not be supported by the SD mobile Apple device, and that the consumers would actually be viewing SD content that was downloaded at the time of the rental," the complaint states.
Weiselberg claims Apple's trick constitutes "fraudulent omissions" in violation of California's Unfair Competition Law.
He also seeks restitution, disgorgement, an injunction and damages for unjust enrichment.
Apple reported revenue of $156 billion in 2012.
It is the largest publicly traded corporation in the world by market capitalization, with an estimated value of $626 billion as of September 2012, according to the complaint.
Weiselberg is represented by Richard Kellner, with Kabateck Brown and Kellner, in Los Angeles.