Apple Being Accused of Bait and Switch Tactics in Class Action Lawsuit

Users claim that the company used promotional clips of complete seasons of their favorite shows to entice them to purchase the season pass

No one likes to feel like they’re getting duped with the promise of a great deal, only to find that the product isn’t exactly what they paid for. This is what allegedly happened to a group of iTunes subscribers responsible for filing a class action lawsuit against Apple last week.

The focus of the lawsuit is on the way that Apple advertised their season passes to the public. Users claim that the company used promotional clips of complete seasons of their favorite shows to entice them to purchase the season pass. After paying for access, they were only able to watch a portion of what was initially advertised.

The formal complaint states:

“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. 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.”

Joseph Coyle of New York, New York, is one of the primary plaintiffs named in the class action suit. Coyle claims that he purchased the season pass for “Killing Eve” from Apple’s iTunes store in May after seeing 11 episodes advertised for that season. He paid $19.99, which seemed like a bargain as the individual episodes sold for $2.99 apiece. Upon completing his purchase, Coyle learned that there were only 5 full episodes of “Killing Eve” included, and the rest were only partial promotional clips.

Gabriela Zaragoza of Davis, California, had a similar complaint with her purchase of the season pass for “Genius: Einstein.” Both Zaragoza and Coyle claim that, had they known what was really included in their purchases, they would’ve never completed them. This is the primary basis for restitution. Consumers across the country feel the same way, lending some social weight to the class action lawsuit.

The complaint is written to include “all persons in the United States who, within the relevant statute of limitations periods, purchased for personal, family, or household, purposes any of the Season Features on Apple TV 4 or 4k, for TV shows containing fewer episodes than represented at the time of purchase.”

The law offices of Faruqi & Faruqi LLP will be spearheading the suit; which includes accusations of fraud, breach of warranty, unfair competition practices, and several other violations. Plaintiffs are looking for restitution, but the primary focus has been on motivating Apple to change the language used to advertise their season passes.

“Until Apple redesigns its iTunes store, or Apple is enjoined from making further false and misleading representations, Plaintiffs and other consumers will continue to bear this ongoing injury.”

Apple has yet to respond publicly, but this lawsuit could set a legal precedent for other similar cases involving the advertising used by streaming services. There’s little doubt that big names like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and HBO will defer to the decision in the future.

Patricia Howard


Article Author

Patricia Howard is a freelance journalist and Netflix enthusiast from rural Indiana. She has a bachelor''s degree in communication with a concentration in journalism. When Patricia isn''t writing, she enjoys catching up on her favorite shows with her husband and seven children.

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