February 13, 2004
Apple is facing a growing wave of consumer lawsuits over the iPod battery. At least five class-action lawsuits have been filed, charging the company misrepresented how long the batteries would last.
The rechargeable lithium-ion battery in the iPod is good for only about 500 recharges. That's something very few customers knew until it was too late. Apple recently began offering a $99 mail-in batery replacement for iPod owners, but only after two New Yorkers took to the Web to trumpet their dissatisfaction (story).
Until then, Apple's position was that when the battery breathed its last, iPod owners should shell out several hundred dollars for a new iPod, since the battery is not easily replaced by the user.
The lawsuits came to light i Apple's quarterly report, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Apple stated that five separate plaintiffs known only by their last names, Craft, Chin, Hughes, Westley, and Keegan, have filed class-action lawsuits alleging misrepresentations relating to iPod battery life. The complaints point towards the California Civil Code Section 17200 for unfair competition and violation of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act. The cases also allege false advertising, fraudulent concealment and breach of warranty.
Apple was also named the defendant in a class-action suit filed by the plaintiff known as Cagney on January 9th in California that alleges unfair competition and improper collection of sales tax in transactions involving mail-in rebates.