Apple’s Price Hike Tactics Prompt Consumer Class Actions

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Amid Investigations and Two Class Action Lawsuits, Questions Arise Over Apple's Alleged Monopoly in the Market

Whether you have an iPhone or not, you’ll be well aware of Apple’s tendency to make their products only work with other Apple products — think green for bubbles texting Android users, the Apple Watch’s ability to only be used with an iPhone, charging cable requirements, and more.

For years, the company has been building out this Apple empire, but recently it’s feet are being held to the fire. On top of a major government investigation into its practices, Apple is also now facing consumer class action lawsuits over its “sticky ecosystem,” Bloomberg Law reports.

Consumers ‘exploited’

Apple customers on opposite sides of the country recently filed two proposed class action lawsuits, one in California and one in New Jersey, accusing the company of creating an illegal monopoly, Bloomberg Law reported.

The consumers argue that the company restricts Apple users from switching to competitor’s products through its messaging system, applications, watches, and digital wallets, and because it has “insulated” itself from competition, it is able to charge higher prices for lower quality products.  “Consumers love Apple products, but Apple has exploited that love,” said the plaintiff in one of the lawsuits. 

A government's investigation

This month, the Justice Department filed a huge antitrust case against Apple in New Jersey for allegedly suppressing competition in ways that harm consumers, Reuters reported, notably by harming smaller business rivals and ramping up prices. The Justice Department is asking the court "to restore competitive conditions in the markets affected by Apple's unlawful conduct,” Reuters reported.

Wired reported that while the lawsuit uses the messages of Apple’s own executives against it, an Apple Spokesperson Fred Sainz said the lawsuit “threatens who we are and the principles that set Apple products apart in fiercely competitive markets.” The lawsuit is much broader than the previous high profile case brought against the tech giant by Epic Games.

The Epic lawsuit

Epic Games, the creator of the popular Fortnite app, challenged the company in 2020 by including an unauthorized payment option in the Fortnite app. The decision kicked off an epic court fight. While Apple largely won out in the antitrust lawsuit, the judge on the case ruled that, under California state law, Apple could not block developers from telling customers about cheaper prices available outside the App Store. Politico reported that Epic CEO Tim Sweeney called it “a sad outcome for all developers.” 

“The court battle to open iOS to competing stores and payments is lost in the United States,” he said. Appeals from both parties led to a Court of Appeals decision that sided with Rogers. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case. 

What Apple’s actions and the lawsuit means for you

Not too long ago, we wrote about a California judge who agreed to give Apple consumers their day in court by certifying a class action lawsuit for people who have spent more than $10 on purchases in the Apple App Store. The decision could leave the company on the hook for billions of dollars in payouts. 

The aim of the government’s lawsuit is to force Apple to have more competitive business practices, which in theory would lower costs for consumers. In these new proposed class action lawsuits, bound to be the first of many, consumers are seeking damages as well as a change in behavior, meaning Apple users could end up with some cash in hand. Keep track of the lawsuit on Injury Claims to see if you could benefit from the cases.

The New Jersey plaintiffs are represented by Carella Byrne Cecchi Brody & Agnello PC and Hausfeld LLP. The California plaintiffs are represented by  Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP and Sperling & Slater LLC/

The Apple antitrust class action lawsuits are Goldfus v. Apple Inc., Case No. 2:24-cv-04108, in the U.S District Court District of New Jersey and Collins v. Apple Inc., Case No. 3:24-cv-01796, in the U.S. District Court Northern District of California. 



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