NY woman sues Apple, Jobs over iPhone price cut

She wants US$1M in compensatory damages and punitive damages on top of that

A woman from New York sued Apple last week over the iPhone, saying that the company broke several laws when it cut the price of the device last month by US$200 and then issued a US$100 credit to some owners.

It was the first known lawsuit resulting from the 33 percent price cut, which raised a ruckus among iPhone users and forced Apple CEO Steve Jobs to apologize for how Apple had treated loyal customers.

In a complaint filed September 24 with a New York federal court, Dongmei Li accused Apple, Jobs and Apple's wireless partner, AT&T, of price discrimination, discrimination in offering rebates versus credits, underselling, unfair and deceptive practices, and other violations of federal laws.

Li, who said she had stood in line "for hours" on July 2 -- three days after the iPhone went on sale -- to buy an iPhone, claimed that Apple practiced price discrimination between early and later buyers when it cut the price of the 8GB model from US$599 to US$399 last month. "Apple's discrimination in price between early and later purchasers substantially caused the early purchasers to be injured because early purchasers cannot resell their iPhones for the same profit as later purchasers," Li's lawsuit stated.

Her suit also dinged Apple for giving some iPhone owners -- those who bought between August 22 and September 4 -- a US$200 refund on the higher price they'd paid for their phones, while offering earlier customers a US$100 in-store credit. As part of its price-protection policy, Apple did refund US$200 to people who bought an iPhone in the two weeks leading up to Jobs' surprise September 5 price cut announcement.

The lawsuit also accuses Apple of abandoning the lower-priced 4GB iPhone, the model that Li bought; locking early buyers into a two-year contract with AT&T, something later purchasers could conceivably skip by using one of several unlock hacks; and selling the iPhone at a loss.

Li's suit seeks compensatory damages of US$1 million, plus punitive damages to be accessed by at trial.

Apple officials were not available for comment.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?