Only a Fool Would Believe Our Ads: Apple

William J. Gillis Jr. filed a lawsuit against Apple in September which alleged that Apple and AT&T had made overstated the performance of the iPhone ("twice the speed, half the price," remember?). Apple's interesting legal response says, in part, we're not lying about the performance, but honestly, you should know better than to believe us.

It's actually a legal term: "
puffery," or in this case "puffing," in Apple's sixteenth affirmative defense on page five of Apple's legal reply (.PDF) which Wired obtained. Puffery means:
"A subjective, boastful claim that is so exaggerated or vague that a reasonable consumer would not take it seriously."
Apple's sixteenth affirmative defense states:
Plaintiff's claims, and those of the purported class, are barred by the fact that the alleged deceptive statements were such that no reasonable person in Plaintiff's position could have reasonably relied on or misunderstood Apple's statements as claims of fact.
Yep, puffery. Basically Apple is saying, you'd have to be an idiot to believe us. Despite the statement they make in their fifth affirmative defense on page 2:
Any statements made by Apple were truthful and accurate and were not misleading or deceptive.
Whoa, you can't have it both ways! But as far as puffery goes, this article has an excellent look at puffery, and makes one wonder if Apple's defense, at least in terms of puffery, holds water. One sentence in particular:
Instead, false advertising law defines the puffery defense categorically: claims “not capable of measurement” that “consumers would not take seriously.”
Not capable of measurement? Well, twice as fast is capable of measurement, as is half the price (which we already know was inaccurate; the 3G model is more expensive when you take into account the changes to the service plans).

Is this defense going to hold up? We'll have to see, but at least in the U.S. Apple hasn't had any ads banned; in the U.K. two have been banned.
Via:  Wired
Tags:  Apple, iPhone, ATT
bob_on_the_cob 6 years ago

Well Apple wouldn't be the first time a fool won a court case.

3vi1 6 years ago

I can't believe some idiot made up that award with no investigation beyond the mainstream media:

If, despite over 700 previous incidents you still insist on a company policy of keeping coffee at abnormally high, scalding temperatures, that causes spill victims to need eight days of skin grafts (whether you spill it on them, they spill it on themselves, or a customer spills it on someone else), you deserve to be sued.  You're giving this stuff to people in a flimsy cup with a flimsy lid - if she had taken a big swallow, it probably would have killed her from internal scalding.

The lady only wanted $20,000 for hospital bills she had to pay to not die, it was the jury that put McDonalds out to dry for their reckless, callous and willful (the judges words) neglect of public safety.  And the lady didn't receive the 2.7 million the jury picked - It's entirely possible she barely got any more than she originally asked for.

bob_on_the_cob 6 years ago

I guess you guys no lika my jokeEmbarrassed

tanka12345 6 years ago

I don't get it. Tongue Tied If Apple say that 'only a fool would believe our ads', it means they weren't expecting people to believe it. Then why were they still using that ad in the first place?

bob_on_the_cob 6 years ago

[quote user="tanka12345"]

I don't get it. Tongue Tied If Apple say that 'only a fool would believe our ads', it means they weren't expecting people to believe it. Then why were they still using that ad in the first place?


Since I'm making bad jokes in this thread I'll say this. Apple is calling us all fools!


jeremy 6 years ago

A company using patently misleading advertising (Apple) is way different than sueing a company for your own stupidity. Every consumer is obligated to check the details (if it's too good to be true . . .), but companies should not be able to use blatant falsehoods to sell a product.

If a car company claimed their new car was twice as fast as the old one or their competition, but it turned out they were only talking about how quickly a CD loads and plays, you know it wouldn't fly. I don't see this being any different.

shanewu 6 years ago

Good luck to Mr. Gillis! I'm a very skeptical person, so I don't believe claims made in most ads, BUT I do believe that our regulations in the US don't stop misleading and false advertising enough. Let's hope David can slap Goliath around a bit. ;)

volatile 6 years ago

It's long overdue that something be done about the blatant lies in Apple advertising. Microsoft should have slapped them with a lawsuit years ago, I'm glad a consumer finally is. Sure, only an idiot would believe their claims, but lets face it, that only rules out perhaps a quarter of the population.

Post a Comment
or Register to comment