After a misstep with a series of iTunes Gift Cards, Apple may be staring down the barrel of over $50 million dollars in payouts. This settlement comes as the result of a class action lawsuit (Johnson v. Apple, Inc., Case No. 1-09-CV-146501, California Superior Court, Santa Clara) filed to compensate iTunes users that had been overcharged for purchases made through the service.
The lawsuit claims that Apple advertised and sold iTunes gift cards with the communicated message that all songs were available for ¢99. Apple denies this claim even though many of the gift cards have the text stating “Songs are 99¢” printed on them.
Despite this denial of guilt, Apple has agreed to provide each claimant with iTunes tore credit credit for $3.25.
The truth is that songs were available for ¢99 at the time the gift cards were sold, but in April of 2009 many of those songs rose to a cost of $1.29 and Apple refused to honor the original lower price for those who had the older cards.
Millions of e-mails are currently being circulated to those who are eligible for a piece of the pie, but if you are a United States citizen and feel you may qualify for a portion of these settlement funds, you can visit the Johnson settlement website. Because of the gifted-nature of these cards and the high likelihood that many landed in the hands of children, claimants do not need to meet minimum age requirements in order to participate.
Do you think this is a reasonable settlement? The advertisements definitely appear to have been misleading, though I am guessing the small print somewhere somehow identifies that Apple has the right to charge whatever the heck they feel like charging. In the end it might just be that this is a wise PR move for Apple to basically say ‘you know what, your continued business is more important than proving we didn’t break the law.’ If that is the case, it could result in creating satisfied and therefore loyal customers out of individuals who may have otherwise boycotted their service.