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Thursday, August 09, 2007, 04:25 pm PT (07:25 pm ET)

Apple sued over power adapters, store receipt concerns

A class action suit in Florida claims Apple is exposing its American shoppers to fraud and identity theft through store receipts. Meanwhile, a Michigan resident is filing a lawsuit against Apple for designing notebook power adapters that include a built-in battery charge light.

Florida residents file class-action suit over store receipts

Two Miami-Dade County citizens, Angely Maria and Todd Narson, have begun a class action suit in a local court that claims Apple has "recklessly disregarded" consumers' rights to have credit or debit card information kept secret under a section of the US federal government's Fair Credit Reporting Act.

A statute within the Act prevents companies from printing receipts that display a customer's credit or debit card's expiration date, as well more than the last five digits of the card's number. Printing any more information could subject buyers to credit card fraud or identity theft if the receipt is lost or stolen, according to the law.

But Apple has ignored this law, says the class action group's law firm Lessfield, Leighton & Partners. In the 17-page complaint put into the docket on Wednesday, the representatives note that receipts printed from Apple's online store have shown more information than allowed under the FCRA despite advance warning of when the law would take effect. The ruling first applied to customers in January of 2005 but included a clause that gave companies with older printing methods an extension until December 2006.

Apple's insistence on printing the same vulnerable receipts despite the grace period makes it guilty of violating the credit law regardless of how old a customer's printer might be, the lawyers allege. Any shopper who has done business with Apple online in the US, including Maria and Narson, could therefore be considered part of the class affected by the suit and would be entitled to compensation for the heightened risk.

Under the terms of the law, any plaintiff proven to have been affected by Apple's receipt practices could collect at least $100 and as much as $1,000 for every purchase made since the FCRA conditions came into action.

Michigan man files notebook power adapter suit

Novi, Michigan resident Thomas Harvey's seven-page complaint, filed in an Eastern District of Texas court on Monday, alleges that Apple's portable power adapter treads on two connected patents granted in 2004 for a portable charger with the same fundamental technology.

The electronics company's inclusion of a battery status LED at the end of a notebook recharger effectively copies Harvey's technology, according to the plaintiff's representative law firm ZITO tlp. Consequently, Apple is unfairly profiting from any sales of its version of the adapter, particularly those bundled with portable Mac computers that require a battery.

Before filing the lawsuit, Harvey is said to have contacted Apple with a request for the California firm to either alter its product line to avoid infringement or else to license the patent for its products. Apple's refusal to take either response prompted the legal action, ZITO argues.

If completely successful at the requested jury trial, the Michigan plaintiff's lawsuit would have Apple account for lost profits and also pay out triple the awarded damages for the actual patent infringement.