78 Comments

Summary:

Fans addicted to AMC’s meth-drama, Breaking Bad, claim Apple short-changed them when it sold them a “Season Pass” for the final season, but only gave them 8 of the 16 episodes.

Saul Goodman Breaking Bad
photo: AMC

An Ohio man has filed a lawsuit against Apple, claiming the company owes him and other Breaking Bad fans $22.99 for not including all 16 episodes in a “Season Pass” to the show’s final season, which was split into two parts.

In a class action suit filed in San Jose, California, Noam Lazebnik says Apple engaged in false advertising by providing only 8 episodes to consumers even though its “Season Pass” page explains that viewers will get “every episode in that season.”

“When a consumer buys a ticket to a football game, he does not have to leave at halftime. When a consumer buys an opera ticket, he does not get kicked out at intermission,” says the claim. It adds that Breaking Bad, which is about a high school chemistry teacher who builds a meth empire, is the most popular show in Apple’s iTunes’ store.

The claim also says Breaking Bad’s creators and actors have consistently described the 16 final episodes as “Season 5.” Apple did not immediately return a request for comment.

The lawsuit claims that viewers are owed either $14.99 or $22.99, which are the iTunes prices for the final eight episodes in standard and high definition.

The case is based on breach of contract and violation of California’s consumer protection laws. You can read it for yourself here:

Apple Breaking Bad Suit

  1. Amazon Instant Video got around this by calling it Season 6.

    1. Ditto Google Play (in the UK).

    2. Doesnt matter what the retailer calls it. It matters who owns it, created it, and what they consider it. Lawsuits all-around for other retailers if this guy wins.

      1. And deserved too. These corporations are ridiculous, forcing people to go all three way to the courts just to fix what should be a simple issue. There should be punitive damages to really teach these parasites a lesson.

  2. The guy’s an idiot. The last four episodes haven’t even been broadcast yet.

    The remaining eight episodes will come after a break. In the UK, nearly all US cable programmes come in two batches on iTunes.

    1. No, you appear to be the idiot. In all the video distribution companies (iTunes, Amazon, etc.) This one season is being sold and charged as 2 seasons when it’s been very clearly advertised as one. It’s not just a matter of them not being available yet. The second half has begun airing and is being sold as a new season. What does it matter if the last four episodes haven’t been broadcast yet? That has no bearing on this lawsuit.

      However, I wonder if suing Apple is the best thing that can be done here. Because it’s happening across all sales channels, perhaps AMC should be the real target. They seem to be the ones dictating that it should be sold this way. Apple really doesn’t have a horse in this race. If it was only being sold this way on iTunes with Amazon selling them all under the banner of one season, then a case against Apple could be made, but this really looks like it’s AMC’s directive.

      1. He payed half the price of a season for half a season… Do you guys expect to pay 15$ for the entire NEW season of what’s currently one of or the best show on television?

        1. It really doesn’t matter what they ‘expect’. If you purchase a season pass for season 5, and only get half the season then you really didn’t purchase a season pass for season 5. It’s false advertisement plain and simple. Just because iTunes offered it at half price, does not make it any better. That fault lies with Apple for advertising the season pass as a “full season”

          1. I think I agree on this. It may be an Apple only thing. WIth Amazon, The season pass is just a slight discount per episode. Maybe from $2.29 to $1.99 for Standard Def. WIth Amazon you are only billed for the episodes you actually get. If you watch 4 of the 8, you pay $8.00 So if he paid $2.00 per ep. for 8 episodes he got what he paid for.

            Apple may do it differently and that’s one reason I don’t use Apple. If they charged $16 in one pop for “Season 8″ and called it the whole season, then maybe they owe the guy some episodes. I don’t think it will apply to Amazon because they specifically state that you can cancel and only be billed for the episodes you got (that had already aired) up to that time.

            Lots of other stuff going on in the world that makes this seem kind of petty.

          2. The fault does not lie with Apple, because they leave it up to the content owner to decide which episodes are in which “season”. In this case, AMC has apparently decided that these last 8 episodes are a new season.

            So the plaintiff really should be suing the content owner. However, it is still in Apple’s best interest to do what they can to rectify this; even though this is not their “fault”, it does damage to the value proposed by the “Season Pass” concept. Why would I shell out the cash for a season pass before the conclusion of a season if there’s a chance that this sort of thing will happen?

        2. It doesn’t matter what they expect, iTunes is advertising the entire season for the price. If that’s not what customers are receiving, they should complain.

          1. Apple is not setting the season pass prices or how the season episodes are packaged. The content owners are.

            Apple is providing a store/market place for content owners to sell their stuff. Much like Ebay provies a store/market place for owners to sell their stuff. Do you sue Ebay because the stuff you bought was misadvertised by the seller?

        3. When it is advertised as such… yes!

        4. Nicholas Modesto Jesse Monday, September 9, 2013

          The pricing is not half the normal price of a Season. AMC is really trying to squeeze every nickel out of the show’s fan base before the show is over.

          Breaking Bad Season 1 – HD 14.99 | SD 11.99
          Breaking Bad Season 2 – HD 24.99 | SD 21.99
          Breaking Bad Season 3 – HD 29.99 | SD 21.99
          Breaking Bad Season 4 – HD 29.99 | SD 21.99
          Breaking Bad Season 5.1 – HD 21.99 | SD 13.99
          Breaking Bad Season 5.2 – HD 22.99 | SD 14.99

      2. I disagree AMC this is airing it as season 5. Its just another cash grab, and they wonder why people pirate tv shows and movies… Wait till the verdict is passed on this case, if buddy wins. We will see all the other online companies change their tune real fast, if not well they shouldn’t be surprised when people start pirating.

        1. How it is a cash grab? The episodes still cost the same amount each, so breaking it into two seasons doesn’t get them any more money.

          1. This is a cash grab.

            1.) Season 3 and 4 had the exact same pricing scheme for 16 episodes. Suddenly Season 5 (the final full 16 episode season) costs almost 50% more for fans to get 16 episodes.

            Breaking Bad Season 3 – HD 29.99 | SD 21.99
            Breaking Bad Season 4 – HD 29.99 | SD 21.99
            Breaking Bad Season 5.1 – HD 21.99 | SD 13.99
            Breaking Bad Season 5.2 – HD 22.99 | SD 14.99

            2.) Clearly AMC thought they could pull a fast one by calling it “the final season”. AMC has been advertised “the final 8 episodes” to be Season 5 part 2.

            1. Duh! Prices might be different because not every season had the same amount of episodes?

            2. Nicholas Modesto dan Monday, September 9, 2013

              Same amount of episodes between 5.1 and 5.2. What is your reasoning there?

              If they were charging consumers the same episode unit cost from seasons 3 (13 episodes), season 4 (13 episodes) and season 5 (16 episodes) then 5.1 and 5.2 would cost people 18.99 for the HD versions if we round up to the nearest 99 cent price point.

      3. Agreed. Clearly Apple has more money in the bank, so suing Apple instead of AMC is an attempt to maximize the cash reward.

    2. You can buy a Season’s Pass on iTunes before the Season has even begun airing and they will automatically download when they become available. That’s the point of buying a Season Pass.
      It was advertised to contain 16 episodes, which was circumvented by Apple or the Producers by including documentary featurettes to each episode. He very obviously has a case. I can’t say that I understand why people keep siding with the multi-billion-dollar corporations in cases like this, instead of their fellow consumers. Goddamn Stockholm Syndrome.

      1. Was it advertised as 16 episodes at the time? Can you show me where I can find that info?

  3. There is Always some SCUMBAG BOTTOM FEEDING LAWYER ready to take a case like this. I hope Apple raises your rates you low life loser..

    1. Hector Fernando Garcia SneakySnake Saturday, September 7, 2013

      BETTER CALL SAUL!

    2. Terrible person taking legitimate action against a company willingly and knowing ripping off their customers.

      There is always somebody who doesn’t understand ethics…

    3. There is no such thing as a frivolous lawsuit. The right to file suit is one granted to every individual in this country and one that should be exercised whenever it is required. In conclusion you sir are an idiot.

      1. Perhaps you don’t think any lawsuit is frivolous, but various US courts have held otherwise: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frivolous_litigation#Federal_statutes_and_rules_of_court_penalizing_frivolous_litigation

    4. This guy has every right to sue Apple… This is a good use of our court system… chill bro

  4. TimeDoctor (zjs) Saturday, September 7, 2013

    How is this not the responsibility of AMC?

  5. Nikhil @ MobileJury.com Saturday, September 7, 2013

    Guys don`t discuss on the video. The best part is that Apple is giving back the money to the users!

  6. Netflix are listing them as season 5

  7. the cast and crew may call it season 5. but i bet sony is calling it season 5 part 2. its produced by sony and AMC just shows it.

    1. AMCTV.com is calling it Season5.

  8. It doesn’t matter what the creators and actors call it. What matters is how it’s marketed. It’s clearly being marketed as two seasons. The suit is being driven by lawyers hoping for a piece of the pie and by “look at me, I’m getting something for nothing” plaintiffs. It reminds me of Abraham Lincoln’s famous lesson: “How many legs does a dog have if you call its tail a leg? Four, because calling its tail a leg doesn’t make it one.”

    There are 16 episodes here. Sorry, that’s two seasons of material. End of story.

    1. On AMC’s own website they are labeling the new episodes as 11, 12, 13… If this were a new season would they not start at 1. They also show the episodes as 512, meaning season 5 episode 12. So how is this marketing it as two seasons? I too would be pissed if I payed for a SEASON PASS and only got half of the season.

      16 episodes is two seasons worth of material? Some other US shows have seasons with episode counts upward of 20. So GTFO outta here with your “end of story”

    2. Aaron Blankenship Doug Saturday, September 7, 2013

      16 episodes is not 2 seasons worth of a show. At minimum a season of a popular show on the big networks should be 12 episodes. Doctor who seasons are 13-18 episodes, Heroes was 12-20 episodes a season, Supernatural is 22 episodes each.

      They did a break after doing 8 episodes to build hype, and the story continues not as a new fork in the story but from the same scene they left on.

      AMC is most likely behind this decision try and capitalize on their content twice, however Apple has been known to do some price fixing by contacting competition to follow their pricing. Maybe this is another instance of that and the reason all the other retailers are following suit. Google “Apple price fixing ebooks” for more info on that recent case.

      Whoever’s at fault, they should all just settle now and give all the customers their refund if they paid for the second half or access to the content if they bought the first half which was marketed as 16 episodes.

      1. aaron

        if you want to mix apples and oranges you should open a fruit store. the e-books case is far from over, and if there is any justice left in America, apple will win their appeal; if they don’t this little dust up will be the least of anyone’s worries. you are prejudging this case (accusing apple) just like judge cote did. shame on both of you.

        1. Please explain to me how a massive company going around to all the other companies selling something and telling them they have to raise their prices or the publishers would leave them is good for consumers? Even if they were right on the line of breaking the law or not, its clearly wrong. Why defend them? Do you have stock in APPL?

          1. That’s not what Apple did. You should do a little actual research into the details of the case.

      2. I hate to break it to you, but seasons of shows on the premium networks are often only ten episodes long. Take a look at Game of Thrones.

        1. Or Haven. Or Hell On Wheels. And The Walking Dead only had 16 last year. Speaking of which was also split into two 8 episodes.

    3. No, it’s not being marketed as two seasons. If it were, this would be season 6.

      The suit is being driven by consumers demanding a greedy company like Apple give what was sold to its customers, and apologists like YOU are only making it worse.

      Please go and show me ONE instance of the current season being marketed as season 6. No, pal, go on, I’ll wait.

      1. But on AMC’s own site, they’re clearly calling the final 8 episodes “The Final Season.” Not to mention on magazines, billboards, and web banners. But why look at it logically? Obviously, Apple designed all of AMC’s print and web advertising worldwide.

        On the advertising for the first half of season 5, none, not a single one, of the ads had the words “The Final Season.” I’m referring to these All Hail The King ads. Also, I don’t recall a single instance where Apple said you would get 16 episodes. But since everyone said Apple did, the burden of proof is on you.

        Yes, technically the final season is 16 episodes but people who are ignorant to how itunes distribution works are incorrectly blaming Apple when AMC clearly wanted two discrete “seasons” for the sake of money. The final 8 weren’t even finished when the first 8 aired. AMC could have easily sent the episodes to itunes as an addendum to the first 8, but they didn’t.

        I find it ironic that whiners who want to hold onto their extra $15 are accusing Apple of greed.

  9. I was one of the people who bought the first season 5 of Breaking Bad on itunes. When I bought it, it was marketed to have 16 episodes. Can you guess how many episodes we got? Only 8 episodes and an extras for each of the 8 episodes, which were called “Inside Breaking Bad”, which are not episodes. Called itunes about it, they said they would look into it. I’m not completely upset, but when I bought it, I did expect to have 16 episodes.

    1. You received eight episodes because that’s what you paid for. SD episodes are 1.99 and HD 2.99 and you save a couple of bucks if you buy the season pass. Do the math if you can.

      1. You obviously don’t get it… It does not matter how much they charge for it; they could charge a freaking dollar for the pass, but the problem is that customers are not getting the 16 episodes that Apple has clearly stated was included. False advertisement=illegal business practice.

        If I buy a car on sale for $16,000, but the normal price is $19,000, is the car dealer going to remove the engine because I would be “getting what I paid for”?

      2. This guy has never heard of a sale price. Prices can and always will vary. Apple did not market this as a “half-season pass”, therefore no matter what they charged it should have been the entire season. Jesus you must get all of the bad deals at the store because you don’t want to buy anything on sale. Pony up full price for everything so you get what you pay for.

        1. Right on the money, Herp. No such things as a “half-season pass”. Until Apple pulled a fast one. Or AMC. Or both.

  10. Better call Saul!

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