Does Apple trick users into buying bundles of television shows at a higher price point by including promotions in the episode count? According to a new California federal court complaint, the answer is yes.
Gabriela Zaragoza and Joseph Coyle accused the company of tricking iTunes customers into buying a bundle of remaining episodes in a season of a TV show on the Apple TV 4 and 4K devices by inflating the episode count with promotional clips. Zaragoza paid $24.99 for a season bundle for Genius: Einstein thinking she was getting 13 episodes, she told the court, a savings over the purchase price of $2.99 per individual episode.
But after she bought the bundle, she alleged, she received just six episodes and seven promotional clips. Coyle claimed he had a similar experience when he purchased a bundle for Killing Eve at a total price of $19.99 for 11 episodes of the first season. Believing he was saving money with the bundle purchase over the $2.99 per episode charge, Coyle alleged that his purchase contained five episodes and six promotional clips.
“Consumers purchase the Season Features, reasonably 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,” the complaint alleged. “However, because many of the episodes in the Season Features are promotional clips, consumers are not receiving the number of episodes and the discount they expected.”
Had the plaintiffs and other consumers known that the bundles allegedly provided fewer standard, plot-based episodes than Apple represented, they would not have purchased them or would have paid significantly less, Zaragoza and Coyle added.
Seeking to certify a nationwide class as well as two state-specific subclasses, the plaintiffs alleged violations of California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act, Unfair Competition Law and False Advertising Law and New York’s General Business Law, as well as breaches of implied and express warranties and common-law fraud. The complaint seeks monetary damages, restitution and injunctive relief.
To read the complaint in Zaragoza v. Apple, Inc., click here.
Why it matters: The plaintiffs claim that Apple violated consumer protection and false advertising laws by misleading iTunes users with the episode count for its bundles by including promotional clips along with standard, plot-based episodes.