UPDATE, 9:30 AM: Apple are breaking out their wallet today and breaking good it seems. Just days before Breaking Bad ends forever, the company is refunding the fans over their iTunes purchase of the last episodes of the AMC show. This iTunes $22.99 credit on Apple’s part doesn’t come cheap being that Breaking Bad was one of the most popular TV series on the online store. And it comes over two weeks (see below) after one irate fan began a class action suit against the tech company for its double dipping charges on Season 5 of the drama on iTunes. Back in mid-2012, AMC announced that the final season of Breaking Bad would be split up. However people who had bought a Season Pass to that season of the show on Apple’s music and video service didn’t discover until the second part of the cycle debuted on August 11 this year that they would have to pay another fee on top of their Season 5 Season Pass fee to watch the last 8 episodes. Those shows were now called “The Final Season” on iTunes. Needless to say, the fans were not happy and it looks like Apple or AMC or both heard them loud and clear. Check out the email that Apple sent out today to customers:
We apologize for any confusion the naming of “Season 5″ and “The Final Season” of Breaking Bad might have caused you. 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. This credit can also be used for any other content on the iTunes Store. Thank you for your purchase.
Related:AMC’s ‘Breaking Bad’ Breaks More Ratings Records
PREVIOUSLY, SEPT. 10 PM: In a clumsy cash grab, Apple has rubbed one Walter White fan the wrong way and it could come back to haunt the tech company to the tune of big bucks. Alleging that he was “unfairly deceived, misled and taken advantage of by Apple’s promise to deliver something it never intended to provide,” Dr. Noam Lazenbik late last week filed a class action complaint against Apple over Season 5 of AMC’s Breaking Bad being broken into two separate entities on iTunes. “This case is about Apple’s deceptive and unfair sales practices with regard to Season 5 of the popular television program Breaking Bad,’ said the 20-page complaint filed in U.S. District Court Northern California on September 6 (read it here). Apple is the only defendant.
This class action complaint all came out of Lazenbik and his son-in-law purchasing a Season Pass in September 2012 to the last cycle of the drama. As described by iTunes, Lazenbik’s understanding of that purchase was that “[t]his Season Pass includes all current and future episodes of Breaking Bad Season 5.” Turns out it didn’t. Earlier in 2012, AMC had said that Season 5 of Breaking Bad would be split up but always insisted that the final cycle would consist of 16 episodes. Still, when the second part of Season 5 debuted on AMC on August 11 and became available on iTunes, Lazenbik discovered his Season Pass was no longer valid. He also discovered that the second part of the fifth cycle was now called “The Final Season” and he would have to “pony up another $22.99 or $14.99 in order to access it.” After a few emails to Apple with no relief, that’s when he broke legal.
The Ohio doctor is only seeking $20 in damages right now but if more join his suit over one of the most downloaded series seasons on iTunes, Apple could be facing some serious money. And a quick look at comments about Breaking Bad on iTunes shows Lazenbik is far from alone in being peeved. “Like many others I am ticked off that I bought Season 5, a split season, but only got the first half. Bad business practice,” wrote one BB fan. “Out of all the low down ways to make a buck. Final season? How about just calling it ‘Season Screw You. You’ll Watch It,’” said another. That’s cutting to the chase.
Counsel for Lazenbik and the Proposed Class are Matthew Wilson and Michael Boyle of Columbus firm Meyer Wilson Co., LPA and Nicholas Dicello and Daniel Frech of Cleveland’s Spangenberg Shibley & Liber, LLP