A new class action lawsuit is accusing Apple of deceptively marketing its Season Pass TV bundles by artificially inflating episode counts, according to a new report by The Hollywood Reporter. The lawsuit, which was filed last week in a California federal court, claims that Apple is wilfully misrepresenting the number of episode in television seasons that it sells as part of a “Season Pass” by counting all of promotional clips as if they were standard episodes. “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.”
Examples of the basis for the complaint include one customer who bought a season pass for “Genius: Einstein” for $24.99, believing she was getting 13 episodes that would have been priced at $2.99 each, when in fact the pass contained only six full episodes, plus seven promotional clips. Another plaintiff purchased the first season of “Killing Eve” for $19.99, later discovering that six of the 11 episodes were promo clips. Other shows highlighted in the complain include “The Americans” and “Westworld.” While the ratio of normal episodes to promotional content becomes clear on iTunes once a season has ended, the key complaint in this case seems to be due to the fact that “Season Passes” are pre-orders that provide only an episode count without listing any specific episode details in advance, leaving consumers with a reasonable expectation that they should be receiving the specified number of standard episodes and not simply trailers or promotional clips.
The lawsuit filing, which is for false advertising, unfair competition, and fraud, goes on to state that “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,” and 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.” [via 9to5Mac]