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Apple Just Lost A Fight In New Zealand Against One Guy

Adam Crouchley loves Apple. He had an iPhone 4 and recently upgraded to an iPhone 5 and freely admits that he’s deep into the ecosystem. You might remember a little while ago, Adam and Apple had a bit of a falling out. No, this isn’t a biblical story involving a snake and a girl, instead it’s the story of how one New Zealand man took the world’s largest company to task and won.

Earlier on in the year, Adam placed several orders via Apple’s online store. He placed these orders after noticing what he thought was just a snap special on the store: iPhone 4 accessories that were normally over $NZ100 had been marked down to less than $NZ1 in some cases. Naturally, Adam jumped at it, but not before calling Apple Australia to confirm the absurd discounts.

He was told not once, but twice that the mark-downs he was looking at were the correct prices, so naturally he placed the orders while giving himself a pat on the back for being a savvy consumer. He placed seven orders and received an email confirmation for each one, but Adam would never receive any of the gear he wanted.

Days later as the first item was beginning to ship, Adam got a troubling notification. His orders had been cancelled by Apple and the courier carrying the first bit of gadget-goodness was physically stopped and turned around to keep it out of Adam’s hands.

Adam went to order the gadgets again through the online store, but found that they had been marked back up to their original prices.

Adam wasn’t going to stand for it, and took the proof he had from Apple to the New Zealand small claims consumer tribunal and demanded he be paid the full cost of the items he had ordered from Apple in compensation.

Last Thursday, Adam walked into a small hearing room in New Zealand to defend his consumer claims case against the biggest company in the world. A company that had just landed a $US1 billion settlement from Samsung. It was the consumer equivalent of David and Goliath battle.

Adam pled his case before the tribunal but Apple refused to budge, saying it was only prepared to refund the cost of the first purchase Adam had made, seeing as how that was the only cost that Adam had incurred on his credit card so far. The other six orders had been cancelled.

In a shock decision that afternoon, the court awarded the case to Adam, saying that the order confirmation notifications along with the phone calls he had made demonstrated that he should have received those items at the discounted price.

Apple now has 7 days to pay Adam the full balance of his order as if he had paid for it at full cost. Needless to say he can’t disclose the amount, but Adam has assured us that it’s a lot more money than what he had spent on the items to start with.

Merry Christmas, Adam, and let this be a lesson to all of you that big corporates shouldn’t be pushing you around.