Apple Hit With False Advertising Suit Over iTunes TV Bundles

The digital giant is accused of tricking customers into buying season bundles by counting promotional clips as episodes.
An image of the iTunes homepage for 'The Americans' embedded in the lawsuit

Apple is being sued for allegedly tricking iTunes customers into buying TV bundles by artificially inflating the episode count, according to a class action lawsuit filed Friday in California federal court. 

Through the iTunes store on Apple devices, consumers can buy individual episodes, complete seasons or a season pass, which offers all current and future episodes for the season. This lawsuit targets the third option, and claims Apple is misrepresenting the number of episodes in the season pass by counting promotional clips.

"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," states the complaint. "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."

Davis, California, resident Gabriela Zaragoza is the co-lead plaintiff. She says she bought a season pass for Genius: Einstein for $24.99 believing she was getting 13 episodes, a discount over the individual purchase price of $2.99 a pop. In reality, there were six episodes and seven promotional clips. 

Joseph Coyle of New York tells a similar story, except he bought the first season of Killing Eve for $19.99 and later found out six of the 11 episodes included were promo clips. The Americans and Westworld are also highlighted in the complaint.

"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," states the complaint.

The proposed class includes "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."

They're suing for false advertising, unfair competition and fraud, among other claims, and are being represented by Faruqi & Faruqi LLP. 

Apple has not yet responded to a request for comment on the complaint, which is posted in full below.