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Apple sued over iTunes gift cards

An Illinois couple is suing because Apple advertises its iTunes gift cards as selling songs for 99 cents a pop. However, some songs actually cost $1.29.

Update at 9:25 a.m. PDT: A few more details added.

Illinois residents Daniel and Barbara Owens are suing Apple, accusing the company of fraud related to its iTunes gift cards.


The suit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in southern Illinois and obtained by CNET, shows that the couple is seeking monetary damages for Apple's "wrongful, illegal, improper and fraudulent acts."

The Owens claim that Apple markets the gift cards as selling individual songs on iTunes for 99 cents each. The couple argues that not all songs in the iTunes Store are that cheap--some actually cost $1.29. They contend that they have been "denied the benefit of their bargain to purchase any song" from iTunes for 99 cents.

In April, Apple changed the pricing structure of the iTunes Store from 99 cents per song to a variable model in which songs cost 69 cents, 99 cents, or $1.29. The Owens say they purchased several iTunes cards including two $25 cards on March 1, 2008, from Sam's Club and a $15 card on May 19, 2009, from Wal-Mart.

Apple has expanded its presence in many retail outlets over the years, allowing stores like Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Walgreens, and others to sell gift cards.

The company is being sued on four counts including two counts of breach of contract, one count of violating the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, and one count of violating the Consumer Protection Statutes.

Apple could not immediately be reached for comment.