|The Consumer Competition Claims Foundation announced that it is filing the largest class action damages claim in the EU on behalf of Apple iPhone and iPad consumers. Apple has illegally used its monopoly power to make consumers overpay for apps and in-app purchases for more than a decade. The lawsuit, which will be filed in the Amsterdam District Court, seeks damages for EU consumers who have bought an app in the Apple App Store or made an Apple in-app purchase since 1 September 2009, as well as a court order to force Apple to stop its unlawful behaviour.|
|Apple’s abusive behaviour towards European consumers
The action alleges that Apple has taken specific steps to ensure that purchasers of iPhones and iPads have had no choice but to shop for apps via the Apple App Store and pay with Apple’s own payment service Apple IAP. Because users cannot use a different platform to buy apps and make in-app purchases, Apple has effectively created a marketplace over which it has complete control. Consumers cannot purchase any apps – such as Minecraft, Angry Birds, Baby Monitor 3G, Moofer MyFitnessPal and CandyCrush – on their iPhone or iPad without using Apple’s platform.
Apple has taken advantage of its monopoly position by taking an up to 30% cut of every sale from app developers – a fee that experts have concluded is six times higher than it would have been in a competitive marketplace. In turn, app developers have been forced to increase their prices, passing the cost of Apple’s monopolistic practices along to consumers. Damages from Apple’s abusive scheme amount to nearly €5 billion, exclusive of interest.
Consumer Competition Claims
The Consumer Competition Claims Foundation is a not-for-profit consumer organization that defends consumers against unfair trade practices and obtains compensation for their losses. The management and supervisory boards consist of experts in (competition) law and finance.
Bert Heikens, the foundation’s Chairman, commented, “After careful review, the board decided to take on Apple because it has clearly abused its dominance for over a decade, and caused consumers across the EU significant financial harm. This is just the type of consumer protection case that our foundation pursues.”
The Dutch foundation has enlisted the legal services of international law firm Scott + Scott, the largest law firm in the Netherlands representing victims of anti-competitive schemes, to handle its claim. “We are pleased the foundation has turned to our law firm to seek relief from Apple,” said David Scott, the firm’s managing partner.
“We demand that Apple cease abusing its dominant position in the market. In addition, it must compensate tens of millions of consumers across the EU for the damage it has inflicted,” continued Damiën Berkhout, a partner in Scott + Scott’s Dutch office.
All costs for the claim are being funded by Hereford Litigation, a third-party litigation funder experienced in the financing of group and collective litigation globally.
European consumers can register their support
The foundation calls on consumers who have made a purchase in the Apple App Store or via an Apple in-app purchase since 1 September 2009 to register at https://www.consumercompetitionclaims.com/ “We strongly encourage consumers to register on the website,” said Heikens, “Simply by adding their names, they can help ensure that they are positioned to receive the damages they deserve to collect.”