Class Claims Apple Gave Short Weight on 'Breaking Bad'
SAN JOSE (CN) - Apple deceived iTune customers by selling a "Season Pass" for the final season of "Breaking Bad," then breaking the season in two and charging a second time, consumers claim in a federal class action.
Lead plaintiff Noam Lazebnik accuses Apple of deceptive and unfair trade for the way it sold "Breaking Bad" on iTunes.
"Breaking Bad" is a popular and critically acclaimed show about a high school chemistry teacher turned meth dealer and murdered.
"When a consumer buys a ticket to a football game, he does not have to leave at halftime. When a consumer buys an opera ticket, he does not get kicked out at intermission. When a consumer buys a 'Season Pass' to a full season of a television show on iTunes, that consumer should get access to the whole season," Lazebnik says in the complaint.
Apple is the only defendant.
Season 5 of "Breaking Bad," produced by AMC Networks, was announced as the final season and was to include 16 episodes.
AMC said in a 2012 press release that the "final season" of the show "consists of 16 episodes, with the first eight episodes beginning July 15th and culminating with the series' final eight episodes next Summer 2013," according to the complaint.
Since that announcement and continuing today, AMC refers to the eight episodes broadcast in 2012 and the eight episodes currently airing as "Season 5."
This season's episodes are listed as "Season 5, Episode 9 (509), Season 5, Episode 10 (510), etc.," Lazebnik says in the complaint.
When Season 5 became available on iTunes, customers were offered a "Season Pass" for $21.99 for high definition and $13.99 for standard definition. In exchange, "they were promised: '[t]his Season Pass includes all current and future episodes of Breaking Bad, Season 5,'" Lazebnik says in the complaint.
The informational page on the season pass claims that the pass will give consumers access to every episode in the season, at a better price than it would cost to buy the episodes one at a time, according to the complaint.
"Therefore, customers who purchased a 'Breaking Bad: Season 5' Season Pass from iTunes reasonably believed that they would receive access to all 16 episodes of Season 5, as announced and promoted by AMC," Lazebnik says in the complaint.
But when the second half of the season became available on iTunes in early August this year, customers with a season pass had to pay another $22.99 or $14.99 to get them, Lazebnik says.
"Apple's behavior was deceptive, fraudulent and undertaken only to maximize its revenue with regard to Season 5 of 'Breaking Bad,' the most popular TV program on iTunes, all at the expense of its customers," Lazebnik says in the complaint.
Lazebnik wants Apple ordered to refund the second-half charge it took from each class member, and damages for breach of contract, deceptive trade and unfair competition.
He is represented by Matthew Wilson with Meyer Wilson Co., of Columbus, Ohio.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment.