iMessage At The Heart Of New Class Action Lawsuit

Keep Away!
Keep Away!

The iMessage problem. Anyone that knows anyone, that has changed from an iPhone to another device knows of this problem.

What occurs is once an iPhone user grows up and decides to use a smartphone, Apple holds their text messages hostage. This is not new. This is something that has been occurring since the beginning of iMessage.

What is iMessage? A simple answer to this question it is an app. We know how Apple loves apps! iMessage is Apple’s version of BBM. Offering a few of the same options, like the ability to message, and a read receipt. But it also does a few other things. When an iPhone user activates iMessage it also pulls your SMS messages in to the app. This sounds like a matter of convenience. After all, the iPhone does not have a unified hub like BlackBerry. So just imagine, if you were having several text and BBM conversations, and had to keep flipping out of BBM to go to text messages, and then back out of text messages to go back to BBM. I shudder at how painful that would be. So Apple, instead of giving it’s consumers an easy way to see all messages (like our HUB) simply absorbed text messages in to iMessage. Which sounds great until you try to leave iPhone.

People that leave iPhone, discover quickly that iMessage hasn’t simply mirrored the text messages in to iMessage. It’s actually kidnapped those messages and is not releasing them. Text messages will continue to be sent to the iMessage servers instead of your new phone, and iMessage holds those messages until you decide to come back to iPhone. The fix for this we were told previously, was to ensure that you turn off iMessage before you leave your old phone. But that doesn’t always work. In fact, it rarely works. If you do an internet search of the topic, you will find various workarounds and fixes that people are trying. Some work for some people, but none works for everyone. What does seem to finally fix the problem is time. Apparently after a period of 45 days, Apple will finally release  your text messages back to you. Not the ones you missed mind you, but future text messages will no longer smell of the Apple orchard.

Finally, someone has decided to do something about this.  A Californian woman by the name of Adrienne Moore filed a class action lawsuit against Apple after she switched from her iPhone 4 to a Samsung Galaxy S5 and was cut off from text messages from her friends with iPhones. If she is successful with this lawsuit, damages shall exceed 5 million dollars. That kind of monetary damage is nothing to Apple. Merely a drop in the bucket.

But hopefully, it will fix the problem and shed more light on Apple’s business practices. What I have noticed with this issue, is that people will get new phones, and when the text messages no longer work, they blame this issue on their new phone. This impacts their satisfaction with their new phone, and oftentimes leads to the consumer returning to Apple. This leads me to think that this ‘error’ of iMessage is by design. And would fit in with what we have seen with Apple business practices in the past. (e-books anyone?)

Plaintiff Adrienne Moore (“Moore” or “Plaintiff” ) hereby brings this action on behalf of herself and all other similarly situated persons within the United States who obtained wireless cellular service on an Apple iPhone or iPad device that was equipped with Apple’s iMessage service, and subsequently replaced that device (on which they were obtaining their wireless cellular service) with a non-Apple device instead.

When Plaintiff and the putative class members subscribed to cellular service through these Apple iPhone or iPad devices, they had, as part of their cellular service contract and Apple device ownership, the ability to send and receive text messages. To accomplish this task, these Apple device users employed an Apple service and application that were part of Apple’s software operating system, and that are known respectively as iMessage and Messages.

Unbeknownst to Plaintiff and the putative class members, however, once they switched from an Apple iPhone or iPad to a non-Apple device for their wireless service needs, Apple’s iMessages and Message service and application still retained text messages that were directed at these persons from other Apple users, and failed to deliver these text messages to the putative class members as long as these putative class members continued using a non-Apple device.

In this manner, Apple tortiously interfered with the contract for cellular service between these putative class members and their cellular telephone carrier in that Apple’s actions prevented the subscribers from receiving all of their text messages, as they were entitled to obtain through their cellular wireless service contracts. Further, Apple failed to properly disclose to Plaintiff and the putative class members, at the time that they owned their Apple iPhone or iPad devices (or anytime thereafter) that, should they switch away from an Apple device to a non-Apple device, Apple’s iMessage and Messages service and application would act to prevent these persons from receiving all their text messages on the non-Apple device that these class members used to replace their Apple iPhone or iPad devices. Through this material omission, Apple violated the California Legal Remedies Act. The foregoing conduct also amounts to a violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law.

Patently Apple

Unfair Competition Law? I can’t say I’m surprised to see Apple start to see lawsuits based on these laws. I think there are many more business practices that should be examined with these laws as a basis.


Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs. Former BlackBerry Elite. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.