Apple is being sued in a new class action suit (via GigaOM) led by Florida lawyer Scott Weiselberg, who accuses the company of allowing customers with older devices supporting only standard definition films to pay for and download higher quality content.
This class action involves defendant Apple, Inc. ("Apple") and its deceptive business practice of charging a premium price for the rental of HD content programs (e.g., movies, etc.) to consumers on early versions of Apple devices that Apple knew could not play HD content, and which only played the less expensive standard definition ("SD") content that Apple downloaded at the time of the rental.
As a result, millions of customers were deceived into paying the $1 premium for HD content rentals for their SD Apple Mobile Devices.
According to the filing, Weiselberg rented and downloaded the high definition version of the movie "Big Daddy," before discovering that his iPhone did not support HD playback. HD content is often offered at a premium in the App Store, and Weiselberg says that he was "tricked" into paying an extra $1 for the content.
While SD and HD content is clearly marked in the App Store, Weiselberg was not aware that his phone could not play HD content, and within the filing, he suggests that Apple should have automatically recognized the device type and prevented the purchase of HD content from an SD-only phone.
HD playback was first introduced in 2008, alongside iTunes 8.0. At that time, older iPhones and iPod touches were not able to support the new format, allowing some mistaken purchases to be made. Apple has since changed the download process, introducing warnings and preventing HD content from being downloaded by SD device, but Weiselberg believes that SD options are still too difficult for users to find.
The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of damages, plus interest, sustained by the Plaintiff and the Class, as well as legal fees.