Apple Sued Over Gift Cards That Claim $0.99 Per Song

from the do-they-want-to-get-paid-in-gift-cards? dept

As we all know, back in April, Apple changed its iTunes pricing policy so that not all songs are $0.99. Now, some are $1.29 (and somewhere, we're told, there are a few that are $0.69). However, Apple has now been sued by a couple who claims iTunes gift cards are misleading, because they were sold claiming that iTunes songs are $0.99. The lawsuit claims that this is fraud on Apple's part, but I have a pretty difficult time believing this case gets very far.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    fat Tony, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 4:19pm

    I have a pretty difficult time caring...

    Ok, the card say the value...sue get $0.30 per song that was purchased over the amount...
    No name in the paper, no recognition, no 15 minutes...

    Also, no common sense, why is this newsworthy? Cause it's apple

     

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    CleverName, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 4:38pm

    I would guess that it depends upon when they were purchased.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 26th, 2009 @ 4:55pm

    The frak?

    So if I sell gift cards that let you obtain a slice of my awesome for 99ยข, and I later decide to offer my awesome with awesomesauce for $1, *I'm* responsible for the difference?

     

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      Glitch, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 5:03pm

      Re: The frak?

      A penny for your thoughts?

       

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      Azuravian, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 5:07pm

      Re: The frak?

      Not a great analogy. If all songs were available at the .99 rate and in enhanced versions for the 1.29 rate, I'd agree. iTunes doesn't work this way, however.

       

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        ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 26th, 2009 @ 5:45pm

        Re: Re: The frak?

        "Not a great analogy. If all songs were available at the .99 rate and in enhanced versions for the 1.29 rate, I'd agree. iTunes doesn't work this way, however."

        So what? You can't sell anything at a higher price once you issue a gift card?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 6:58pm

          Re: Re: Re: The frak?

          No, you can not sell a gift card saying "all the songs you want for $0.99" when it is "some of the songs you might want for $0.99, or more if we and the artist know you will pay more"

          Again, this is a timing issue and a stale vs fresh gift card issue. If the gift card were on say the Apple site and said "all our songs are $0.99" then it would be a credible claim. If however it set in a walgreens since christmas 2007 then maybe not so much, though it could be a valid case for the idiot who doesn't know how to use an ipod.

          Pretty much either a blatant case of apple not updating thier stuff, or someone making something out of nothing. Would be like sueing Sony over the TV you got in 2007 over not being HD compliant.

           

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    dave, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 5:42pm

    It depends

    If it is printed on the card "all songs are $0.99" (or something along those lines), then the buyer of the card would be reasonable to assume that all songs are $0.99.

    I don't have one of these cards, but it's my understanding that the card explicitly says this (that songs ARE $0.99, and movies/videos ARE $1.99 or higher). Unless there is some fine print saying that prices may change, IMO this won't be trivially tossed by a judge (of course, it depends on jurisdiction/judge).

     

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      AlwaysBreaking (profile), Jun 26th, 2009 @ 6:02pm

      Re: It depends

      My guess is that Apple's lawyers saw this coming months ago and are prepared to have it tossed out. I'm pretty sure the gift cards are for iTunes store credit, so Apple is free to adjust pricing as they (or the RIAA) see fit.

       

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    Ilfar, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 7:50pm

    We have stuff like this happening at work occasionally. If the item in question clearly states the price, and we're charging a different price, we charge the price on the item. This is no different, to my mind, to having the wrong price sticker on an item.

    Of course, always check expiry dates on offers like that ;)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 8:43pm

    David vs Goliath

    The lawsuit claims that this is fraud on Apple's part, but I have a pretty difficult time believing this case gets very far.

    Let's see, little guy versus big corporation in US court. No, I don't see that turning out well for the little guy either.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 10:39pm

      Re: David vs Goliath

      Opportunistic lawsuit by get-rich-quick schemers versus company doing legitimate business with proven business model. There is nothing 'david vs goliath' about this at all, it is a lawsuit meant only to get these people paid money they do not deserve and did not earn.

       

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        Weird Harold (profile), Jun 27th, 2009 @ 11:10am

        Re: Re: David vs Goliath

        Opportunistic lawsuit by get-rich-quick schemers versus company doing legitimate business with proven business model. There is nothing 'david vs goliath' about this at all, it is a lawsuit meant only to get these people paid money they do not deserve and did not earn.

        Yeah, can you believe their nerve? They're just lucky that Apple is willing to give them anything at all in return for their money, and they expect that return to actually be what was sold? Get real. Uppity little consumers like this need to be taught a little lesson about how the food chain works and their place in it, and I expect Apple's fine lawyers to do just that. Un-freaking unbelievable.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2009 @ 12:47am

          Re: Re: Re: David vs Goliath

          Apple is willing to give them exactly what they paid for... songs valued at the cost of the gift card. There is a dollar cost printed right there on the card, on every one. If it also gives a handy reference to the current cost of a song and give you an easy way (for the math challenged) to figure out how many songs your gift card should purchase at said pricing... that is a courtesy.

          Only a fool purchases gift cards and assumes the price of merchandise will never change before they use them. The gift card value has not changed, the product you desire to trade the card for did.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2009 @ 2:47pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: David vs Goliath

            Apple is willing to give them exactly what they paid for... songs valued at the cost of the gift card.

            Hey, that's a pretty cool scam! I wonder if I could sell used cars like that? I could sell a "gift card" good for, say, any $9,999 car on the lot. Then just changes prices to make sure there are no $9,999 cars on the lot! Presto, worthless card, $9,999 profit for me! I like it!

             

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    The Cenobyte, Jun 27th, 2009 @ 10:52am

    I agree with the customer

    You can't sell a card that says you get 10 whatzits and then when I show up tell me the price went up and how I only get 8.

    The Apple cards say .99 songs on them, Or at least used too. I am sure they have changed that now. But the older cards need to honor what they say on them. I don't care if there is some fine print on the back that says they can change it, that's diseptive and it's the kind of thing that Cell phone, ISPs, Cable and the like do that makes most of us angry every day. If we just laid down the law and said that fine print doesn't count you have to tell them people exactly what they are getting most of these issues would go away.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2009 @ 12:42am

      Re: I agree with the customer

      'fine print doesn't count'

      'tell them exactly what they are getting'

      You have no idea what you are asking for. In the first place, you want companies to NOT describe in detail what the conditions are for the product, but then you want to be told exactly what the conditions are. Are you three years old or what? Fine print is there for people to READ.. that's why it is printed there. It is not printed there for you to ignore because you do not feel like reading it. If you want to know the conditions of a purchase or agreement, then read it, and if not then deal with your surprise when you do not get what you ASSUMED you were supposed to get.

       

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        Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 30th, 2009 @ 2:50pm

        Re: Re: I agree with the customer

        "Fine print is there for people to READ"

        That could be the single funniest thing I've ever read on this site.

         

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    csin, Jun 27th, 2009 @ 6:43pm

    Get a life...

    Last time I purchased a song from iTunes it was 99 cents per song, unless you want the same song Un-DRMed and in a higher quality, in wich case it is 1.29. Assuming this is still the case, it would mean any song they want IS .99, getting that song at a better quality is a different issue.

    Now on the other hand some of the songs are free on iTunes, so should they sue because they bought the card thinking all the songs cost money, and it turned out that "All the songs they want" are free?

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 29th, 2009 @ 3:40am

      Re: Get a life...

      Last time I purchased a song from iTunes it was 99 cents per song, unless you want the same song Un-DRMed and in a higher quality, in wich case it is 1.29. Assuming this is still the case, it would mean any song they want IS .99, getting that song at a better quality is a different issue.

      That's no longer the case. Apple changed the pricing. Some songs are simply $1.29. Some are $0.99. Some are $0.69. All are DRM-free now. This change was announced months ago.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2009 @ 6:32am

    I haven't bought a track from iTunes since April. I used to buy several tracks a week. This isn't an intentional boycott for the price shift, it's just that much harder justifying the purchases. Intellectually I know it's only a $0.30 difference, but $1.29 looks a lot bigger than it should.

     

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    Rebel Freek (profile), Jun 29th, 2009 @ 6:51am

    The people who are suing in this case are morons. They went out to Sam's Club, bought $50 worth of cards AFTER the public notification that the pricing on Itunes was going to change. After noticing the price change, they went back to Sam's Club and bought another gift card( I think the second one was $15 or $20). Keep in mind that they sued after the price increase with gift cards(here in Illinois, where the suit is taking place, you still are liable for the price increase and tax for anthing bought with a gift card).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2009 @ 7:38am

    Daniel and Barbara Owens are idiots for claiming any damages beyond $0.30 per song that they try to purchase which now costs $1.29. That's not even enough to justify a case in small claims court? I wish the judge would just throw out the case and charge them $500 stupid tax.

    On the other hand, Apple is being an idiot for not letting customers buy any song they want for $0.99 on those 99-cent branded gift cards, and eating the difference. Big whoop. They could make some of that back up by still charging $0.99 for $0.69 songs for any dumb idiot stupid enough to use one of those gift cards to buy them, and for the happy customers that would continue buying songs from them.

    I mean, seriously. This is not how the Free Market is supposed to work. If I run a fruit stand, and I sell apples for $0.99, and then I give out flyers advertising $0.99 apples, I'd be a stupid mean dumb freaking idiot for denying someone a $0.99 apple if they came in and brought me a flyer. Even if I'd raised my prices since I printed the flyers. I'd just say "hey, glad you came by" and make them happy customers. Why has it gotten so difficult to sell a $0.99 item without getting sued or acting unethically these days?

    Whenever idiots mix, a lawsuit is born.

     

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    John85851 (profile), Jun 29th, 2009 @ 12:21pm

    Even if I'd raised my prices since I printed the flyers. I'd just say "hey, glad you came by" and make them happy customers.

    I agree.
    Or how about saying "Glad you came by for that $0.99 item. Here are some other items you might like also. Please feel free to browse our store for even more things that might interest you."

     

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