Apple Offers Refunds over “Breaking Bad” Episodes
(LOS ANGELES) — Apple is offering a refund to customers who purchased the “final season” of Breaking Bad, only to find out it wasn’t a whole season.
Earlier this month, a fan of the show filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the tech giant, alleging its iTunes service “deceived” him when he purchased a season pass to watch Breaking Bad.
AMC announced in May 2012 it planned to evenly split up the 16 episodes of the fifth and final season of Breaking Bad and air them over two summers. The network showed the first eight episodes of the season beginning in July 2012. The second eight episodes premiered last month.
Apple reportedly emailed some iTunes customers apologizing “for any confusion the naming of ‘Season 5’ and ‘The Final Season’ of Breaking Bad might have caused.”
“While the names of the seasons and episodes associated with them were not chosen by iTunes, we’d like to offer you ‘The Final Season’ on us by providing you with the iTunes code below in the amount of $22.99,” the email states, according to 9to5mac.com. “This credit can also be used for any other content on the iTunes Store. Thank you for your purchase.”
Apple did not respond to ABC News’ emails and phone calls requesting comment.
The plaintiff suing Apple, Noam Lazebnik, a doctor in Cleveland, bought his season pass in September 2012. He “relied upon Apple’s promise that the Season Pass would include all current and future episodes of season five,” according to the lawsuit.
But when the second half of season five became available on iTunes in August 2013, Lazebnik learned he would need to pay $22.99 to watch Breaking Bad episodes nine through 16, which Apple treated as a different season, the lawsuit states.
Lazebnik’s attorney, Nicholas DiCello, declined to comment on whether the reported refunds would lead his client to drop the lawsuit. DiCello said he has not heard from Apple or the company’s legal counsel.
“To the extent that some people are getting refunds, given the circumstances how this final season pass was marketed, we certainly see that as a positive development in response to the class-action case that we filed,” DiCello said.
Lazebnik filed a class-action in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California on September 6, alleging he “was unfairly deceived, misled and taken advantage of by Apple’s promise to deliver something it never intended to provide,” according to the suit.
“When a consumer buys a ticket to a football game, he does not have to leave at halftime. When a consumer buys an opera ticket, he does not get kicked out at intermission. When a consumer buys a ‘Season Pass’ to a full season of a television show on iTunes, that consumer should get access to the whole season,” the complaint stated.
DiCello previously told ABC News that his client was not the only Breaking Bad iTunes season pass holder claiming that Apple misled them.
Season five of the series was the third-most downloaded series on iTunes in 2012, behind Downton Abbey and The Walking Dead, according to Mashable, a website for digital news.
Lazebnik is seeking $20 in damages, according to the lawsuit, since Apple refunded him $2.99 for making a standalone purchase of episode nine.
If the class-action succeeds, each individual involved would be reimbursed either the cost of a high definition or standard definition Breaking Bad season pass, DiCello said. The damages for every member of the class action would be different, though. They could be calculated “by taking the cost of the episodes they were or will be inappropriately denied…and, where applicable, reducing that amount by any related rebates they might have received,” the lawsuit stated.
Attorney’s fees are separate from the class-action recovery, and are decided independently by the court, DiCello said.
DiCello said that the attorneys working on the case have already been contacted by others who are interested in joining the lawsuit.
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