Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Television The Almighty Buck Apple Entertainment

Apple Offers Refund To Stiffed Breaking Bad Season Pass Customers 215

An anonymous reader writes "Two weeks ago, a man sued Apple after finding out that the $22.99 he paid for a season pass of Breaking Bad was only good for the final season's first 8 episodes. ... In light the mix-up, Apple late on Monday began informing folks who purchased a season pass for the 5th season of Breaking Bad that they are entitled to a refund in full in the form of a $22.99 iTunes credit." "Mix-up" seems an entirely charitable description.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Apple Offers Refund To Stiffed Breaking Bad Season Pass Customers

Comments Filter:
  • Netflix (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SimonTheSoundMan ( 1012395 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:27AM (#44934851) Homepage

    Whoever pays $22.99 for half a season, or any other TV show, when it is available on Netflix is beyond me. Don't get me started on bluray box sets.

    • Re:Netflix (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kthreadd ( 1558445 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:30AM (#44934919)

      Some of us are not allowed to have Netflix, or some of the content on it.

      • There [tunlr.net] are ways to get around region blocking. You just have to find one that's appropriate for wherever you live.
    • Re:Netflix (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:34AM (#44934995)

      The last season isn't available on Netflix.

      [insert something witty for mod points]

      • Here in Ireland, we get the latest Breaking Bad episodes on a Monday (I watch them during my lunch break). So this is either misinformation, or just another example of stupid geo-location-shite.

    • by Forbo ( 3035827 )
      The content in question won't be available on Netflix for several months after the release. The reason people buy it is because they want that content available as it is released.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      People who assume certain content will always be available on Netflix or that everyone has access to it, are idiots. Don't get me started on those people.
    • I buy shows that I want to own because I may not always have Netflix and/or Netflix may eventually shut down.
      • This is sensible; but the reason I don't buy on iTunes or physical media is because I really don't care if it becomes unavailable. I've watched it, no point to me in watching again. My only exception at all to this rule is Office Space. :)
        • This is sensible; but the reason I don't buy on iTunes or physical media is because I really don't care if it becomes unavailable. I've watched it, no point to me in watching again.

          My only exception at all to this rule is Office Space. :)

          Of course, other people have other exceptions...

      • by Aaden42 ( 198257 )

        Given the DRM requirement still present on iTunes video, you’re no better protected against “[company] may shut down” than you are with Netflix. If Apple goes out of business & their DRM servers go down, you won’t be able to watch your content on anything but the five machines you have authorized now. And if anything changes, upgrades, or iTunes doesn’t work on Windows version [whatever], you stand to lose even those five.

    • Whoever pays $22.99 for half a season, or any other TV show, when it is available on Netflix is beyond me. Don't get me started on bluray box sets.

      With most movies I have no problem waiting for them to come out on DVD. But somethings are just so good you want to see them now. One of the things about a series is that it's immersive and lasts a long time. You enjoy talking to your friends about it while the thoughts are fresh and the possibilities in the next show have your mind alive. You want to talk about it now not in hindsight. that's the thrill. Look at all the discussion sites for breaking bad.

      Since it's currently the best and most engagin

    • People who don't want to wait to whenever Netflix gets it? Netflix doesn't always get content right away after release. Apple and Amazon offered Breaking Bad episodes the week after they aired. Also once you pay for a show, it's yours to play as many times you like. Netflix rotates their content so it may not be around next year or whenever you get around to watchin it.
    • by ccguy ( 1116865 )

      Whoever pays $22.99 for half a season, or any other TV show, when it is available on Netflix is beyond me.

      What's beyond me is why AMC, HBO, etc, insist on not taking my money. It's Euros, OK, but really - they can be exchanged to USD and then used for everything. I can write a walk through should the network exec consider my proposal interesting.

      • What's beyond me is why AMC, HBO, etc, insist on not taking my money.

        AIUI when a TV show is made it is typically made for and owned by a TV network in it's home country (or sometimes for expensive shows several TV networks in different countries). That TV network (or networks) then sells the rights to it to other TV networks arround the world. The first TV network in a given region to buy it pays a premium because it's "new and exclutive". If they sell copies directly to customers in your country then they can no longer sell it to a TV network in your country as "new and exc

        • by ccguy ( 1116865 )

          AIUI when a TV show is made it is typically made for and owned by a TV network in it's home country (or sometimes for expensive shows several TV networks in different countries). That TV network (or networks) then sells the rights to it to other TV networks arround the world.

          That business model makes a lot of sense if you need the local network to distribute your product.
          However technology now allows to cut the middleman. Plus I'm quite sure the Spanish networks wouldn't even blink at allowing the content provider to distribute in internet (as long as it wasn't free). They're quite clueless.

          • by PIBM ( 588930 )

            Sadly, middlemen being cut off can often fight it out. Just take a look at the recent setback suffered by Tesla; they should not even have to fight about being able to sell their product but I guess some middlemens fight harder than others!

    • by kbonin ( 58917 )

      While I won't argue about the convenience of Netflix (for movies and shows that appear there, once they do do appear), since I don't spend a great deal of time watching TV, its more practical for me to take my money that would otherwise go to Cable and/or Netflix and buy movies and TV shows on DVD or BD. That way, while the fine print does state that I'm only licensed to use the "video device" for personal non-commercial private viewing, I do have a growing library of insured high quality digital copies I

    • by hahn ( 101816 )
      >Whoever pays $22.99 for half a season, or any other TV show, when it is available on Netflix is beyond me. Don't get me started on bluray box sets.

      Presumably, he purchased it last year and thought it was good for the *entire* season. Then probably became upset at the start of the second half of the season when he discovered that he had to pay another $22.99. The most recent episodes of BB aren't on Netflix until several months later.

      I paid for both half seasons because BB is one show I don't wan
    • Whoever pays anything for any fraction of a season, or any other TV show, when it is available on The Pirate Bay is beyond me. Don't get me started on bluray box sets.

    • Whoever pays $22.99 for half a season...

      They didn't, clearly Apple misled them, by accident or on purpose. Never the less, your point is cogent- 22.99 for even the entire 5th season is high when I can get it for considerably less than that otherwhere.

    • The latest season probably won't show up on Netflix for another 8 to 12 month. If someone doesn't normally watch TV, and just wants to catch that show, it makes a lot of sense to just pay the 23$ for the latest season, rather than fork over several month's worth of cable bills at probably 50-100 a month, depending on the provider and location.

    • ...when it is available on Netflix ...

      Many (most?) shows are (or the current season is) not immediately available on Netflix.

      Don't get me started on bluray box sets.

      Not all shows / movies are available indefinitely online and, especially if it's something one will watch more than once, some people like the permanent, high-quality, availability that physical media provides. I have box sets of Farscape, Firefly and Dead Like Me and equivalent media for a few other, now canceled, shows I enjoy. Sure, these may all be currently available on Netflix - at least as long as you subscribe

  • That's not a refund. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Forbo ( 3035827 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:28AM (#44934883)
    That's not a refund. A chargeback is a refund. With this they just keep your money and give you the illusion of getting the full value back, when in actuality it costs them cents on the dollar to do this.
    • by SimonTheSoundMan ( 1012395 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:33AM (#44934987) Homepage

      Meanwhile Apple can profit from the interest. It may be pennies on this single credit note, but increase that to tens or hundreds of thousand people and Apple are sure to profit handsomely.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:37AM (#44935059)

      You guys realize Apple doesn't set prices or chose how seasons are offered for sale. They can't refund money they have already given to AMC. This is a good faith measure. Why are you complaining to apple when AMC is the reason this happened?

      • by wchin ( 6284 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:39AM (#44935099)

        Bashing Apple has become a favorite past time for some people. Yes, AMC is at fault here. Apple did the right thing - I'm curious if AMC is going to reimburse Apple for the loss.

        • As always, that depends exclusively on the relative power of their law firms.

          And we're talking about Apple here.

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          Bashing Apple has become a favorite past time for some people. Yes, AMC is at fault here. Apple did the right thing - I'm curious if AMC is going to reimburse Apple for the loss.

          Probably not. But Apple did it because you don't save much - it's what, $3 per episode? And the full "season" (as defined by AMC) is $24? So you're saving a whopping... $1?

          I think in light of that, Apple decided it was stupid and let them have the full season for $23 (saving $25) versus charging it twice for a full whopping savings

      • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

        It is their walled garden, is it not? They exercise editorial control over what is or is not offered, do they not? AMC may have been the ones who tried to screw customers, but they did it through the Apple App store, which apple polices and staffs.

        It is pretty clearly apple's responsibility to step in here, a responsibility they gave themselves by the design of their store.

        If I go to your store, see signs claiming features of a product that are misleading, get the product home and find it doesn't do what is

        • If I go to your store, see signs claiming features of a product that are misleading, get the product home and find it doesn't do what is claimed, why shouldn't I take it back to your store? From my perspective I bought this product from you, in your store. I don't care who made it or who lied to you, that is your problem. I sympathise, but sympathy doesn't make it my problem. You sold a bad product its your responsibility to fix it with your customer.

          That really depends on who made the claims. For example in the VitaminWater lawsuit, Coca-Cola was sued because their ads and claims were misleading in that it conveyed that drinking VitaminWater provided health benefits when it does not. Now in the class action suit, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers were not named as defendants. Most likely it is because they have limited liability as all they did was resell the product.

          • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

            Sure but I would argue there is a difference between who a lawyer will decide is worth including in a lawsuit and how to handle a customer being wronged, which, one hopefully is able to resolve without lawsuits.

            Also, Just because you don't get included as a defendant doesn't mean that you couldn't have been either. Water drinks and many other mass market products are sold in mom and pop shops all over the place...adding distributors to the suit would have likely not resulted in enough gain to be worth it, e

            • Sure but I would argue there is a difference between who a lawyer will decide is worth including in a lawsuit and how to handle a customer being wronged, which, one hopefully is able to resolve without lawsuits.

              I would argue that a lawyer knows the difference between legally who can be held responsible and who the customer feels is responsible. Really, you can name anyone as a defendant; those defendants that the courts recognize as not legally responsible will petition the court to have themselves removed from the suit.

              As for mom and pop, Walmart and Target could have been named as they have money and are worth suing, But in the end, their cases will likely be dismissed.

              • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

                > I would argue that a lawyer knows the difference between legally who can be held responsible
                > and who the customer feels is responsible

                But I would argue there is another category of potentially responsible but not worth it due to what evidence would be needed or the likelyhood of winning anything substantial vs the risk of doing the work and then having them removed as a defendant.

                An example of this, I had a pretty solid case, and could have gotten gobs of evidence against a former roomate of mine w

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          It is their walled garden, is it not? They exercise editorial control over what is or is not offered, do they not? AMC may have been the ones who tried to screw customers, but they did it through the Apple App store, which apple polices and staffs.

          Only on the App Store, not to be confused with the iBookstore, Music Store, and Movie & TV store.

          Apple exercises less control on the latter stores as the publishers are the ones who do it and it makes very little sense for Apple to go about reviewing every new

      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        sure they can. they can then send a bill to amc.

        SOMEONE fucked up in the chain to the customer. from the customers perspective it's irrelevant if it was amc, someone puts their stuff on itunes or if it was apples fault. customer bought the stuff from apple and the product description was decidedly fraudalent either by stupidity or malice. I'd go for malice because making that one season into two seasons while calling it one season pretty much is just that. if you do that then don't fucking sell season passe

        • If there were rules on how many episodes constituted a "season", you might have had a valid point. Unfortunately for you and the validity of your rant, it varies from show to show, and even season to season.
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

        In the EU the vendor is responsible, so even if Apple can't get the money back from AMC they still have to refund the customer and take the hit. If AMC refuses to refund Apple they should refuse to take any more AMC products or risk being burned in the same way again. Basically, EU laws looks out for the customer.

        Is US law different?

      • That's like saying Walmat can't offer a refund on a product that breaks since they've already paid the manufacturer. The whole point of a refund, from a business perspective, is to keep the customer happy and retain their long-term business, at the business's short-term expense. Sometimes it's a transparent process where the manufacturer steps in and honors it, resulting in nothing more than labor expenses for the company. Other times, they just eat the cost and move on knowing they may get some word of

      • by HiThere ( 15173 )

        Apple is the vendor, so Apple is responsible. That said, I think that "mixup" is a reasonable term from Apple's point of view.

        OTOH, if I'd forked over $30, and then been left at a cliff-hanger, I don't think I'd be remotely satisfied with "OK, we'll let you try this again with a different show".

        IOW, I don't think that Apple is being malicious here, rather the producer (AMC?). But I also don't feel that the proposed restitution is sufficient. And I don't feel that Apple is living up to their responsibilit

    • by msauve ( 701917 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:38AM (#44935091)
      But (assuming the second half costs the same as the first), the net effect is that people get more than they bargained for - they have the choice between using the credit to pay for the second half season - getting exactly what they paid for, or they can chose to use it for something else.
    • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:42AM (#44935161)

      That's not a refund. A chargeback is a refund. With this they just keep your money and give you the illusion of getting the full value back, when in actuality it costs them cents on the dollar to do this.

      Well, on the other hand, the viewer already watched half the season. It's not like the season was a stale donut to be sent back. What the viewer got was good. Just half of what he expected.

      I find the whole proposition dubious, and therefore apple is being quite generous. Not only that they aren't putting up much of a fight which is what makes it even more sincere. The customer is always right is an ideal that, when you can pull it off, makes for a good premium bussiness model. Discounters can't pull that off. So it distinguishes apple.

      Personally, if it were my decision I'd fight with this customer. A season is a 1/4 trip around the sun. He got all the episodes available in that season. What he thought he was buying was Series 5 not season 5. Like how the british TV is named. If AMC had simply named them properly, Season 5 and seasons 6 or series 5 and series 6, rather than calling both season 5 there would be no ambiguity at all.

      Apple is caving here not because they have to but because thats how they roll. Apples knows it's customers are loyal and they know that Apple limits their risks (which is a good reason to buy apple if your time has any value). So they look for ways to set themselves apart in that niche

      If they are lucky this will turn up the heat on Amazon. Amazon probably has a lot more financial exposure to this. Will people make the demand to amazon now?

      • by msauve ( 701917 )
        "What he thought he was buying was Series 5 not season 5."

        Nope. The source, AMC [amctv.com], refers to them as "seasons." A "series" is all the seasons. Your attempt to be pedantic fails.
      • by Missing.Matter ( 1845576 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:59AM (#44935505)

        A season is a 1/4 trip around the sun. He got all the episodes available in that season. What he thought he was buying was Series 5 not season 5. Like how the british TV is named. If AMC had simply named them properly, Season 5 and seasons 6 or series 5 and series 6, rather than calling both season 5 there would be no ambiguity at all.

        And if I were your customer and you said this to me, I wouldn't be your customer any longer. AMC has broken seasons in half before. With the Walking Dead seasons 2 and 3, they broke the season in two, with the first half airing Oct - Nov, and the second half airing Feb - March. If you bought the "season" pass in Oct, you got the episodes airing in March without having to pay again. Thus, anyone buying a season pass to Breaking Bad season 5 had every expectation that they would get the first half and second half, since the are all part of the same season. From the start, it was announced that Season 5 would be the last. Now all of a sudden they want to charge for a Season "6" or "5.5" to capitalize on the popularity of the show? Sorry, but customers see this bullshit money grab for what it is from a mile away. I for one bought season passes to Walking Dead and Breaking Bad for 8 total seasons. I won't be buying any more.

      • That's not a refund. A chargeback is a refund. With this they just keep your money and give you the illusion of getting the full value back, when in actuality it costs them cents on the dollar to do this.

        Well, on the other hand, the viewer already watched half the season. It's not like the season was a stale donut to be sent back. What the viewer got was good. Just half of what he expected.

        that's a fun idea. imagine the offer that you could get your cash back if you returned your memories of the episodes and did something negative to negate the enjoyment you got out of them. more realistically, you could cash in only on episodes that were unwatched. unrealistic, but fun to think about.

      • Let's not also forget that Season 6 will no doubt cost something similar, from iTunes. Apple has essentially given him the full two seasons, plus extra flexibility. So what if it doesn't cost Apple anything except opportunity costs? Apple's just delivering more than what the guy originally wanted.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

        Well, on the other hand, the viewer already watched half the season. It's not like the season was a stale donut to be sent back. What the viewer got was good. Just half of what he expected.

        The season pass isn't a product, it's a service. You buy a contract to deliver the episodes in digital format, with DRM to enforce Apple's terms and conditions. Read the EULA, it's right there. Therefore your comparison is flawed.

        This is more like breech of contract, and the legal remedy is usually whatever it costs to make things as if the contract had been fulfilled. If someone builds you half a house you can sue them for the cost of finishing the house. If someone delivers you half a season you can sue t

    • Not only that (Score:2, Insightful)

      by justthinkit ( 954982 )
      Not only that. Apple is still breaking their contract. They agreed to provide a full season for a fixed price. That should be in their new offer -- everyone who signed up gets the full season for $22.99.
      .

      The way this is being "resolved" is they jack up the price to everyone. No different than the original offer.

      The class action lawsuit should continue...

      • actually, this could have been a reasonable plan as well. everybody who bought season 5.1 gets 5.2 for free. I wonder how much that would have cost?

        • Enough that Apple didn't volunteer to do it. They are trying to double up -- "pay us $22.99 + 22.99 for something you and we agreed you only had to pay $22.99 for." Classic lawsuit stuff.
    • That's not a refund. A chargeback is a refund. With this they just keep your money and give you the illusion of getting the full value back, when in actuality it costs them cents on the dollar to do this.

      Dude, they can use the refund to buy the rest of the season. That's all they wanted in the first place. So the refund is actually a better deal than they originally thought they were buying. They DID want to buy the whole season.

    • That's not a refund. A chargeback is a refund. With this they just keep your money and give you the illusion of getting the full value back, when in actuality it costs them cents on the dollar to do this.

      cmon man. the itunes page said what this dude was buying. he didn't read and clicked on the "BUY ME!!!" button. Apple is throwing him a bone.

      Also, everybody will get their full value back if they continue to buy on iTunes. Likely if they bought a $23 season pass they have committed to the iTunes ecosystem anyway. The only people who get pinched are those who are like screw you apple smell ya later! which is probably 1%. and if you feel so strongly, you can even use the money to gift media or apps to someon

    • It was only TFA that called it a refund. What Apple actually said was "we're giving you the 'The Final Season' for free. Here is a credit to buy that season with, or if you'd like, buy anything else for that amount."

    • Call it what you will, but it's a sensible solution.

      In case you don't quite get the backstory, AMC created season 5 part 1 and sold it through Apple under the name 'Season 5'. Then they released season 5 part 2, and started selling that independently. A bunch of people who bought the item labelled 'Season 5', said, "Whoa, I already bought season 5. Why do I have to buy the second half of season 5 when I already bought the whole thing?"

      So essentially Apple is providing enough in-store credit so that, if

  • I don't really count a credit as a full refund. They still keep my money. But I guess you can use your credit to buy the second half of the season, so they delivered the promised goods.

  • I really thought by this time they'd have hired someone whose only task was to stop everybody else in the corporation to piss off large sections of the customers.

    Taking into account we are paying because we believe we should, while having the alternative to simply stop paying and watch everything on torrents.

    They're a beggar spitting to the people who give him money.

  • Instead, give them what they paid for.

  • by Ellis D. Tripp ( 755736 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:43AM (#44935187) Homepage

    Apple wasn't responsible for this clusterfuck. It was Sony Pictures TV and AMC.

    AMC decided to split Season 5 into 2 halves, to extend Emmy eligibility for another year. But Sony insisted on referring to the 2 years as Season 5A and Season 5B, because that would allow them to get around having to give the actors and production staff the contractually mandated pay increase for each new season.

    So we have 2 separate definitions for what constitutes a "season", depending on what provides the corporate interests the maximum benefit. They figured that they will make more money separating the DVD sets into 2 releases, so that's what they did.

    Somebody really needs to go all Heisenberg on their asses....

    • AMC decided to split Season 5 into 2 halves, to extend Emmy eligibility for another year. But Sony insisted on referring to the 2 years as Season 5A and Season 5B, because that would allow them to get around having to give the actors and production staff the contractually mandated pay increase for each new season.

      Also another reason was probably sales/rentals of the discs. Had they waited until the end of the 16 episodes, the DVD and Blu-ray discs would have been delayed more than 18 months after Episode 1 aired. That would be a lot of sales that they missed.

    • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:59AM (#44935501) Journal

      Somebody really needs to go all Heisenberg on their asses....

      I'm uncertain what you mean by that.

      • If you ever watched Breaking Bad you'd know "Going Heisenberg" involves copious amounts of corrosive liquid and a special type of plastic container.

    • by MatthiasF ( 1853064 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @10:24AM (#44935965)

      Somebody really needs to go all Heisenberg on their asses....

      What does that mean? Do I kick their asses or don't I? Have I kicked their ass already? I have no idea.

      Oh, screw it. I'm going Oppenheimer on their asses instead.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      It's all greed.

      It's why I have no qualms in having my MythTV box at a friends house recording it for me and I get the files sent ot me via dropbox automatically.

      Screw them. I give my buddy $10 a month for the box to sit there on his CATV and power.

  • by mybecq ( 131456 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @10:11AM (#44935753)

    Don't be surprised if, over the next year, Apple makes them start including the number of episodes or the length of the season for these passes. They don't get burned twice.

    • I believe the producers actually have an interface to upload this content. So, this is really a publisher/producer issue. I strongly suspect Apple didn't do this alone, or with all their own money. AMC was looking at a class action, and I think they would have lost. Now, we'll see if Amazon follows suit.
  • ...nothing of importance. Yes, a big corporation forced to give lots of $23 refunds is "news" (sort of), but that a teevee show generates this much buzz of any kind is, well, sad. Then again, this whole thing is dwarfed weekly by "Dancing With the Stars" and similar fake reality shows...
    • It is one of the exceedingly rare things on TV that actually deserves the hype that it generates.

      Equal parts riveting drama, tense action, and Shakespearean tragedy, with just enough black comedy to keep viewers sane. Quite possibly the greatest show in the history of the medium. No exaggeration.

      Will be really hard to see it gone after this Sunday's finale, but kudos to the writers and actors for going out at the top of their game, rather than milking a great show into mediocrity ala M*A*S*H*.

  • It was their decision to redefine "season" that led to the confusion. In reality, they tried to get advertising spread over two years by offering shorter seasons.
  • Apple didn't set up the season like that. End of story. AMC / Sony did. End of Story. Apple is being the good guy here and refunding people to maintain customer loyalty in a situation where the content publisher made them look bad. I'll bet any money Apple will make content publishers have to provide more clear definitions of what is being purchased with season passes in the future.
  • ...but Breaking Bad's "season break" was 11 months. I don't see how it was at all unreasonable for Apple to be given the benefit of the doubt for treating this like a new season. Because, effectively, it was. It's not like Apple reset the toll between two episodes a couple of weeks apart or anything.

    This was a lack of attention on Apple's part, but let's be honest here and call this a stupid marketing stunt on behalf of AMC, too.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser

Working...