Apple lawsuit update

Posted by on February 21st, 2013 | 10 Comments ยป


Back in November, I wrote a blog post about the SIM deactivation issue on Verizon iPads. In a nutshell, Apple’s web advertising is deceptive. Apple claims that the cellular data plan can be managed from the iPad at any time, when this is clearly not the case. What Apple doesn’t tell its customers is that Verizon will deactivate your SIM card if your data plan has been inactive for five months. After both Apple and Verizon blew me off, I filed a suit against Apple in New York City’s small claims court.

On the night of the case, I arrived at the courthouse with a mountain of evidence, including:

  • Apple’s iPad web advertising (current and from early 2012)
  • Verizon’s iPad web advertising and support page
  • Approximately 90 pages of forum posts discussing the issue
  • Apple and Verizon’s Terms of Service

Apple did not show up to the court proceedings, so I presented my case to an arbitrator. I received the judgment notification in the mail two days later. I was granted a very fair monetary award. Justice was served.

If anyone at Apple is reading this, allow me to offer a suggestion: The right thing to do is tell your customers about Verizon’s SIM card policy. Even if it’s a footnote on a web page, this is better than deceptive advertising. I can only speculate why this material fact is left off your web site. Maybe you don’t want to rock the boat with Verizon. Maybe you’re not allowed to disclose the SIM policy as part of your deal with Verizon. Whatever the case, by leaving out a material fact you are screwing over your customers and treating them like fools. Very un-Apple-like.

I will now have to collect the judgment from Apple. Hopefully there will be no drama, but I’ll update the blog as needed. The judgment is valid for 20 years. I sent an email to Britani at Apple, asking to speak with someone in Apple’s legal department.

Update 2/22/2013: Britani did not reply to my email, so I called Apple’s corporate phone number. I spoke with Brian in customer relations. After being placed on hold, he said he reached out to several groups to get me a contact in Apple’s legal department. It sounded like he read from a script, telling me to have my lawyer contact Apple’s legal department. I told him I didn’t have a lawyer, and he still wouldn’t give me the phone number. I managed to find Apple’s “small claims line” on its web site and left a voicemail.

Update 2/25/2013: I received a phone call from Tim in Apple’s legal department today. We had a pleasant conversation. He said that Apple would be paying me once he received the needed documentation. He asked if I’d like to return my iPad to Apple. I reminded him that I was under no legal obligation to do so, so I won’t be returning it. The judgment was strictly monetary. I emailed Tim scans of the requested documentation this evening.

Update 2/26/2013: Britani called me to see if I was able to reach the legal department. I gave her the update. Later in the evening I received an email from Tim. He wrote that I can expect the check in a couple of weeks.

Update 3/14/2013: I received the check in the mail.

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10 Comments

  1. tom says:

    Congratulations on your victory! Sometimes you need to rock the boat a bit to get problems like this noticed. Hopefully they will get on the ball, either advertising accurate information regarding the terms & conditions you can expect when buying a verizon iPad, or alternatively, bringing reality into alignment with what they have been advertising all along.

  2. Sam T. says:

    Good job Dan. I just purchased the data plan from my Verizon ipad 3 just to keep the Verizon micro SIM card alive, even I don’t need the data plan for this month. The last time I activated the data plan was in Oct 2012, so I must do that before the 5-month period elapses. I usually need the data plan in September or October when I go on road trip with my family only, now I have to pay for thing I don’t need due to Verizon’s unreasonable network requirement. I would not have purchased VZ ipad if I had known this in the first place from Apple. I am glad that you brought this issue to their attention, well done.

  3. Todd H says:

    I just got off the phone with Verizon over an account access issue on the IPAD4 and asked about this case of the sim card expiring. The second person I talked to at Verizon said the cards expire after 5-6 months of being inactive and a new sim card needs to be purchased if the device is to be reactivated. However, the third person, a technician, said this issue has been solved since the end of 2012, and sim cards should not expire.

  4. Sam T. says:

    Hi Todd, I just cancelled the data plan on my Verizon iPad3 this morning, because I don’t want to get charged automatically at the end of next week when the one month period is up. My Verizon iPad3 is still saying my data account will be deleted from Verizon after 5-month of inactivity after I selected “delete my account later”, so the 3rd guy you spoke with at Verizon was wrong. It has not been fixed. I’ve only used less than 5mb on my Verizon iPad 3 from the last 2 weeks, because I don’t need the data plan this month at all. I activated my plan just want to keep the micro SIM card alive to avoid micro SIM card issue in the future. I feel like I am paying annual fee instead of usage, and this is totally not “pay as you go” when you need it at all as advertised. I think I am just going to sell my Verizon iPad 3 and use the money for an AT&T ipad mini to avoid this issue all together. Unfortunate, I know I am not alone, many people will have this hassle sooner or later. Sorry, I am just venting here, thank you for reading.

  5. Ingrid P. says:

    I just tried to “suspend” my iPad 2 Verizon pre-paid cellular data plan and guess what? There was no “delete my account later” option. This is the first time I’ve run into this and haven’t been able to find any current information from Verizon, Apple, or the Internet. Would love to have feedback if anyone else has encountered this problem.

  6. mike geiger says:

    I too bought the VZ iPad thinking to activate for vacations. Than last night my ATT Gateway crashed and I thought why not try using the iPad as a hotspot. 2 hours and quite a shock later, I could not reactivate my iPad. The last time I canceled I was accidentally billed. I asked VZ customer service if, after deleting the data plan (as opposed to suspending it) I could reactivate it. He quite clearly said yes, at any time. No mention of needing a new SIM card. This is just bad technology meeting bad marketing confused by bad customer service. After always recommending VZ for the iPad, I can no longer do that.

  7. Chad Berger says:

    I was just burned by this same issue. Verizon said that they could not even mail me a new sim card and that I would need to plead my case at the Verizon store. Very disappointing!

  8. pc says:

    This is kind of funny. The irony is I had this same problem. I don’t know why they were unable to tell you otherwise, but I walked in an apple store and walked out 5 minutes later with a new (functional) sim card installed.

  9. Ben says:

    Just dealing with the same issue today. I accidentally cancelled my SIM card and am told that I have to go through this whole pain-in-the-neck process to get service re-established…and i don’t even cancel out once i sign up. Verizon has me pretty steamed right now.

  10. This is not resolved. I just found out that mine is “gone” after 3 months of inactivity. I was told I had to buy another sim card for $20 then pay for my service. After 3 months of inactivity I get to start all over again!!!

    My local store was worthless……..