Thursday, June 25, 2009, 03:15 pm PT (06:15 pm ET)
Apple sued over 'false' iTunes gift card promisesA new lawsuit accuses Apple of a bait-and-switch tactic with iTunes gift cards by instituting variable song pricing but leaving old cards on the shelves.
While Apple has been cracking down on fake iTunes gift cards, a new lawsuit filed Wednesday charges that Apple is committing fraud of its own.
Barbara and Daniel Owens of Illinois have sued Apple in a Southern District, East St. Louis court and accuse the California firm of violating state consumer protection and fraud laws by imposing variable pricing but continuing to sell gift cards that listed all songs as selling for 99 cents each, even after the April 7th milestone when some songs began selling for $1.29. The Owens family says it bought at least one $15 card in mid-May that still showed the 99-cent figure, potentially misleading them and other customers into thinking they would get more songs per card than was actually possible.
As the issue could affect anyone in the US who bought a card and not just the individuals at the heart of the suit, the plaintiffs hope for class action status and want Apple to refund the 30-cent difference for every $1.29 song the affected class bought while using a card advertising the 99-cent price. They also seek "additional relief" where possible.
As always, Apple hasn't commented on the lawsuit, though the case has questionable merit: most songs are discounted when bought as a whole album and didn't receive a price hike in this form. Also, the suit itself adds the cards provide enough music and video to match its dollar value, not a set number of songs.
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