Apple Sued for Hiding Cheaper SD Video Offerings for iOS Devices

Scott J. Weiselberg claims in a new lawsuit against Apple that the company charges a $1 premium for renting HD movies, TV shows and other videos from its iTunes store – even if consumers do not have an HD-capable device. Attorneys for Weiselberg claim that the iTunes store's default download offering is the more expensive HD option.

"Despite the fact that Apple makes the HD version of the content offerings the default rental option, Apple failed to disclose to customers using SD Apple mobile devices that the device could not play the HD content being rented, and that the customer was needlessly paying the premium for the HD option," the complaint states.

Apple began offering movie and video download rentals for iPhones, iPods and iPads in 2008 but early models of these devices were capable of playing only standard-definition (SD) content. As newer versions were upgraded to be HD-capable, Apple began charging an extra $1 per rental for the premium service, according to the complaint.

Weiselberg, who owned a 3G SD iPhone, said he rented the movie "Big Daddy" for $4.99 in June 2010, and was unaware an SD version was available for $3.99. He claims that Apple eventually added a notice to the download process, letting people with SD devices know they could not play HD content, but by then the company has already collected "millions of dollars in undeserved profits."

"Apple failed to disclose to consumers they were paying a premium for HD downloads that would not be supported by the SD mobile Apple device, and that the consumers would actually be viewing SD content that was downloaded at the time of the rental," the complaint states.

Weiselberg claims Apple's trick constitutes "fraudulent omissions" in violation of California's Unfair Competition Law. He is seeking restitution, disgorgement, and injunction and damages for unjust enrichment. Weiselberg is represented by Richard Kellner, with Kabateck Brown and Kellner, in Los Angeles.

Source: Courthouse News


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