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Owners of Apple’s Beats-branded Powerbeats 2 earphones may be able to get some cash from a proposed $9.75 million legal settlement.
Customers who bought a pair of the earphones before Aug. 7, 2020 qualify. Only people who purchased them from an official retailer—that excludes eBay-style secondhand resellers—are eligible.
Some customers may have already received a personalized notice of the settlement, via mail or email, alerting them of their options. The notices should include a “claim identification number” and a “confirmation code,” which can be entered here.
The deadline to file a claim—online or postmarked—is Nov. 20, 2020.
The class action lawsuit, filed in 2017, accuses Apple of falsely advertising a “shoddy” product. The plaintiffs allege that the headphones “contain a design defect that causes them to stop retaining a charge.” Apple is also accused of deceiving consumers about the headphones’ durability and sweat-resistance. And further, the company is said to have replaced any earphones returned through its one-year warranty program with products that contained the same flaws.
“Apple continues to promote and market its faulty Powerbeats, and continues to profit handsomely from their sale,” the lawsuit said. “In so doing, Apple has defrauded the public and cheated its consumers.”
As part of the proposed settlement, Apple has denied any wrongdoing. The two parties agreed to the settlement to avoid dragging out the litigation.
The presiding court in California’s Santa Clara County gave preliminary approval to the deal. The court must deliver its final approval on Jan. 21, 2021, at which claimants can air any objections.
Beats to the punch
To how much money will everyone be entitled?
As is the case with most class action lawsuits, a large portion is set aside for the lawyers. Legal fees and administrative costs are expected to consume, roughly, $3.7 million. The remaining amount will be split between applicants, so the ultimate payout will depend on how many people apply.
The maximum payout for any individual is $189.
The proposal uses a point-based system to earmark funds for claimants. The system awards more points to people who supply more evidence in support of their claim, such as proofs of purchase and records of warranty repairs or replacements. (For a detailed description, see pages four and five of the proposed settlement here.)
Assuming 75,000 people submit a claim and they show, on average, one proof of purchase, one record of warranty repair or replacement, or both, each will receive about $80 apiece. If 150,000 people apply under the same conditions, each will receive about $40.
Any leftover funds are set to go to the Consumer Federation of America, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group.
Powerbeats 2 cost $200 when they debuted in 2015.
A battery of lawsuits
This isn’t the only class action lawsuit Apple is settling.
As part of another case, Apple fessed up to intentionally slowing down people’s iPhones, including many models in the iPhone 6 and 7 generations. The phones’ batteries were incapable of keeping up with the demands of the company’s frequent software updates.
People can file a claim for $25 as part of the proposed settlement here. The deadline to submit is Oct. 6, 2020.
Anyone who wishes to sue Apple independently of the class action lawsuit should not submit a claim, though that route also forfeits one’s claim to the payouts described above.
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