ITunes Gift Card Deal Valued at $6 Million

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Apple must credit consumers for more than $6 million worth of iTunes gift cards it deactivated before they were redeemed under a settlement given final approval by a federal judge.
     U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken said Friday that the settlement "represents 100% recovery for the class."
     An estimated 287,218 deactivated gift cards purchased between the class period of September 2007 and December 2009 have a value of more than $6 million, according to the stipulation of settlement.
     Apple, Best Buy and Incomm Holdings are obligated under the settlement to "provide class members with iTunes account credits for all Credited Gift Cards; iTunes account credits for all Identified Gift Cards; assure all Reactivated Gift Cards have been reactivated as of November 14, 2013; [and] honor all Qualified Verified Valid Receipts," according to the final approval order.
     The order also appoints Barbara Fafard as the representative of the settlement class, and it designates Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff, of Sacramento, Calif., and Marcus & Auerbach, of Jenkintown, Pa., as class counsel.
     The firms will recover $750,000 in attorneys' fees, and Fafard will receive a $5,000 incentive fee.
     The cost of the settlement administration and class notice, which the defendants must also cover, is expected to be in excess of $300,000, according to a motion filed in February 2014.
     Wilken granted the deal preliminary approval in April. The final order states that no class member opted out of or objected to the settlement.
     Fafard claimed in the complaint that the gift cards did not list an expiration date and that neither Best Buy nor Apple informed customers of one.
     InComm Holdings provided activation and deactivation services for the gift cards.
     "Neither Best Buy nor Apple provides the purchaser with any reasons why, or an example of any circumstance under which, a gift card would be deactivated after purchase," the complaint alleged.
     Fafard said she received gift cards from her daughter, but that the cards were canceled less than a year after purchase.
     "Apple made it clear to plaintiff that Apple had not canceled the gift cards, but rather the gift cards had been cancelled by Best Buy ... and that Apple would not accept the gift cards," the complaint states.
     The defendants were represented by David Michael Walsh of Morrison & Foerster and Matthew McKenna Wrenshall of Reed Smith LLP in Los Angeles.