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Published on October 10th, 2018 | by Brad Gibson

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Deception & fleecing: Apple sued over Apple TV video bundles

A class action lawsuit has been filed in California accusing Apple of false advertising, misleading business practices and fraud involving TV show bundles offered on its iTunes store through Apple TV devices. The lawsuit is asking for compensation for not only those named in the suit, but all affected consumers.

The suit filed on behalf of two individual consumers based in California and New York state claims the company tricked them and customers in general into buying season bundles of TV shows only to find out that Apple was making them pay for promotional clips disguised as TV episodes.

The filing accuses Apple of conspicuously representing the number of episodes available in the season and that unbeknownst to consumers, many of the “episodes” offered by Apple are not standard, plot-based episodes of the TV show, but instead promotional clips.

The suit contends consumers purchase the ‘Season Features’, believing that each episode is a standard, plot-based episode and that, by purchasing the ‘Season Features’, they are receiving a significant discount over purchasing each episode individually. In actual fact, many of the episodes in the ‘Season Features’ are promotional clips and consumers are not receiving the number of episodes and the discount they expected.

PDF Gabriela Zaragoza and J… by on Scribd

“Had (the) Plaintiffs and other consumers known that the Season Features provided fewer standard, plot-based episodes than Apple represented,” the suit states, “they would not have purchased the Season Features or would have paid significantly less for them. Therefore, Plaintiffs and consumers have suffered injury in fact as a result of Apple’s deceptive practices.”

The filing explains in detail the purchases of one of the plaintiffs, stating she bought a ‘Season Pass’ of the Nat Geo TV series Genius: Einstein for $24.99 and that “Apple represented that Season 1 had 13 episodes so far.” The consumer said she then thought she would receive “13 standard, plot-based episodes, and that purchasing the Season Pass would result in a significant discount over purchasing each episode separately.”

In actual fact, only six out of 13 “episodes” were standard plot-based episodes with the remaining seven being promotional clips, the plaintiff contends.

“A reasonable consumer purchasing the Buy Season feature for the first season of “Genius: Einstein” would believe he or she is receiving 22 standard, plot-based episodes of the show. However, contrary to the representations made to Plaintiffs and other consumers, the first season of “Genius: Einstein” only contains 10 standard, plot-based episodes. The remaining 12 episodes are promotional clips.”

“Mrs. Zaragoza would not have purchased the Season Pass…had she known that 6 out of 13 “episodes”…were promotional clips,” the statement read. “Mrs. Zaragoza therefore suffered injury in fact and lost money as a result of Defendant’s misleading, false, unfair, and fraudulent practices.”

The second complaint was similar in focus, accusing Apple of deception in the sale of season six of the TV series The Americans.

“Because the TV show seasons do not contain the full number of episodes as represented on the iTunes home screens for the respective shows, as reasonably expected by Plaintiffs and other consumers, Apple’s uniform practice regarding the marketing and sale of the Season Features was and continues to be misleading and deceptive,” the filing contends.

The suit is asking Apple be required to pay for all undetermined damages caused to consumers, including the plaintiffs, and should be prevented from continuing “its deceptive practices.”

Apple’s press relations department did not reply to BESTAppleTVs request for comment to this story.

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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of BESTAppleTV.com. He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as MacNN.com, MacObserver.com, MacCentral.com, MacMinute.com, and Macworld.com. He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the Associated Press and United Press International.



One Response to Deception & fleecing: Apple sued over Apple TV video bundles

  1. Fool Me Once says:

    I’m glad someone is doing this, because I’ve nearly made this type of purchase for a television season, believing that it was the full season, because the wording is very manipulative. I felt uneasy and did some digging, seeing that other people had the same problem.

    After this previous week, I realized that iTunes is not the digital market for me. I purchased some digital 4K content over the summer. That content was 4K for around a month until it was downgraded. I waited another month to contact Apple, thinking that maybe it had something to do with the Atmos upgrades, etc. Apple was initially incredibly unhelpful and told me that the content I purchased was never available in 4K, which was a flat out lie. I had more than enough proof to show otherwise. A second rep gave me to “terms and conditions” speech. Why would I give them my money when they can’t even guarantee that my purchased content can stay that way for any significant amount of time?

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