When it comes to digital up-selling in the iTunes store Apple’s default of suggesting HD video when buying video content has landed the company in hot water. When you go to purchase a video in iTunes, the first option presented is the more expensive HD content, US$1 extra, even if you’re using an iOS device that doesn’t support HD.
A Florida lawyer has filed a class action lawsuit against the company after he rented the more expensive HD copy of Adam Sandler’s Big Daddy from the iTunes store in 2010, only to find the standard-definition version delivered to his non-HD device.
To a degree, you can say “buyer beware” as users with older devices deal with the digital landscape moving to higher-resolution defaults. However when iTunes 8.0 was released in 2010, HD became the default option in the iTunes store, leading customers like the plaintiff in this suit to pay extra for a feature they couldn’t use and weren’t aware of.
The complaint states:
Despite the fact that Apple makes the HD version of the content offerings the default rental option, Apple failed to disclose to customers using SD Apple mobile devices that the device could not play the HD content being rented, and that the customer was needlessly paying the premium for the HD option.
Apple has since added a disclaimer to the download process, but the case is seeking restitution for what is sees as unjust charges applied to devices Apple knew couldn’t play the files. Given the popularity of the iPhone 3G, it’s plausable to imagine large numbers of people accidentally downloaded HD content they couldn’t get the most out of before Apple added the disclaimer.
You can read the full complaint here. No word has been released about the lawyers’ feelings about the film Big Daddy itself.