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Apple Accused of iTunes Gift Card Fraud

Apple has been hit with a lawsuit alleging the company's iTunes gift cards are fraudulent because they advertise 99¢ songs when some actually cost $1.29. The suit was filed by an Illinois couple claiming the gift cards falsely represent the number of songs that can be purchased thanks to wording that says "songs are 99¢."

According to the couple's law suit, Apple "knowingly and fraudulently misrepresented, concealed, omitted, and/or suppressed the cost to purchase individual songs from its iTunes internet Web site."

Apple does sell many songs at the iTunes Store for 99¢. After after April 7, 2009, however, the company began selling tracks on a sliding price scale scheme, making some tracks cost more than a dollar and others a little as 69¢. The suit seems to focus on the April date without acknowledging the fact that Apple sold higher quality recordings at $1.29, known as iTunes Plus tracks, before that.

iTunes pre-paid music cards

None of the iTunes cards TMO checked included any verbiage stating songs cost 99¢. One $15 card said "iTunes Music Card," and another card simply stated "$10 Gift Card." Since not all iTunes music store pre-paid cards include the same text, many iTunes Store shoppers may have made pre-paid card purchases without seeing the 99¢ song text.

Pre-paid cards for the iTunes Store can be used for more than music, too, regardless of whether or not songs cost 99¢. The cards can be used to purchase any content at the store, including videos, TV shows and movies, iPod games, and iPhone and iPod touch apps -- many of which cost well above 99¢.

The couple is hoping to convince the court to grant the suit class action status, and also wants damages to the tune of 30¢ for each song purchased at $1.29 with cards that include the 99¢ price reference, attorney's fees, and damages.

[Thanks to Ars Technica for the heads up.]

4 comments from the community.

You can post your own below.

Tiger said:

Oh, give me a break. The song prices changed 2 months ago, and the cards were probably printed last year! Don’t car dealers change their prices and advertise things and then change them constantly? It’s a gift card. Stop looking it in the mouth and trying to make a quick buck. If $.30 per song is a huge freaking deal GET ANOTHER JOB and STFU.


DanielDecker said:

It is akin to complaining that you get fewer songs with your $10 bill. The face value is clearly visible on the front of the card. No fraud here, the frauds are the record companies. Besides the fact that the gift cards can be used to purchase anything from the store.

So, if I had a $10 card, and I wanted to buy and app that cost $10.99, does Apple owe me the $0.99? No, because I’m not a ninny little cry baby sapping the American Justice system with ninny little cry baby lawsuits.


geoduck said:

As long as there are SOME songs at .99 each this is totally without merit. I hope that Apple demands and the judge gives them Apple’s legal costs from the couple.


sumtermug said:

I would be interested in knowing when the cards were printed/purchased. Are there dates on the cards showing when they were printed? If so, then the information on the card, if printed before the price change, would have been accurate at the time of printing. If I am not mistaken, this is all the law requires.


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