A new lawsuit has been filed against Apple in the wake of the company allegedly terminating an account containing around $US25,000 ($32,370) worth of purchases. Apple reserves the right to terminate any Apple ID, but the lawsuit claims this practice is unlawful and unconscionable, and should be amended.
In terminating plaintiff Matthew Price’s account, Apple has allegedly locked him out $US25,000 worth of media which Apple Insider reports included “apps, in-app purchases, platform extensions and related services” as well as $7 in iTunes credit.
The lawsuit does not specify for what reason Price’s account was terminated, but does claim it was triggered due to suspicion the account may have breached an unidentified part of the company’s Terms and Conditions.
Regardless of the reason for the termination, Price was allegedly banned without any notice or explanation — a move labelled “unfair, unlawful, fraudulent, and illegal” in the case filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
“Despite knowing and publicly acknowledging that its customers’ accounts are ‘valuable’, Apple has included an unlawful, unconscionable clause in its Apple Media Services Terms and Conditions which permits Apple to, unilaterally, without adequate notice, discernable process or explanation, permanently terminate its customers’ Apple IDs and preclude access to the services and Content its customers have already purchased,” the lawsuit states.
It goes on to allege Apple may take these actions even when there is only suspicion of accounts violating the company’s Terms and Conditions, rather than hard evidence — a clause the lawsuit states is prohibited by U.S. consumer law.
This clause extends to the company’s global audience, and a ruling could have implications for Apple account owners around the world. Even the idea of “ownership” is a prickly one for users who purchase digital content, and there’s no doubt a ruling either way will change how we think about what we purchase online.
It’s important to remember that when you are buying something digitally, you don’t necessarily “own” that product. Instead, digital ownership is typically determined by complex legalities and the unique policy of the storefront you’re purchasing it from.
The lawsuit aims to confront this challenge and is currently seeking class action status, with anyone in the U.S. impacted by account terminations encouraged to participate in the case.
Should it go ahead, the lawsuit is asking for a full jury trial and seeks a permanent injunction disallowing Apple from terminating future Apple IDs along with damages and restitution of funds lost in the termination.
Whatever the outcome, the lawsuit will certainly be one to watch.
You can view the entire submission via Scribd and Mikey Campbell, Senior Editor at AppleInsider, below: