Apple encouraged consumers to pay more for HD versions of movies and TV shows for their mobile devices — even if those devices did not support HD, says a new lawsuit.
A Florida lawyer who rented “Big Daddy” from iTunes has filed a class acton suit against Apple, claiming the company deceived him into paying $1 more for a high-definition version of the film — even though his phone did not support the HD format.
In a complaint filed in June in San Francisco federal court, Scott Weiselberg says Apple violated consumer protection laws and should compensate him and everyone else who paid $4.99 to download HD versions of movies and TV shows to older Apple devices.
According to the complaint, the first three versions of the iPhone and the iPod touch do not support HD video but Apple nonetheless made HD the default option for these devices when it released iTunes 8.0 in 2010. As a result, consumers like Weiselberg paid extra for an HD version even though, the complaint says, they only received a Standard Definition version of the show since that is all their device was capable of playing. The filing adds that iTunes was able to recognize that a device was SD-only but sold the HD version anyways to make more money.
The complaint says that Apple sold over 49 million of the older devices. It does not seek a specific dollar amount but says that “millions” of consumers downloaded HD videos to SD devices, and accuses Apple of fraud, unjust enrichment and violating consumer protection laws.
Here’s a copy of the lawsuit which was spotted by Courthouse News: