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Apple sued over claim gift cards aren't secure enough

Apple Gift Cards
Apple Gift Cards (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple is being sued over its gift cards.
  • Specifically, a plaintiff says the gift cards "are easily susceptible to theft upon purchase."
  • Rachael Shay bought her son a gift card for his birthday, but the card was found to have no value.

A lawsuit has been filed against Apple over claims it doesn't do enough to secure its gift cards, and that they are "easily susceptible to theft upon purchase."

As reported by AppleInsider:

The complaint, originally filed on May 28 in San Diego County Superior Court, was on Friday moved to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. In the lawsuit, which seeks class status, the plaintiff claims that Apple has failed to "implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices to properly secure" its physical gift cards. As such, it alleges that Apple gift cards can be targeted and compromised by thieves at the point of sale.

Rachael Shay, a California resident, bought a $50 gift card for her son from Walmart back in April. The suit states that it was "solely in her possession" until she gave it to her son, but that when her son tried to load the gift card, was told it had already been redeemed. Apple told Shay that the card had been redeemed by another account on the day it was purchased and that it no longer had any value. Apple could not tell her who had done this, only that it was an account unrelated to her or her son.

The lawsuit alleges that Apple has failed "to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices to properly secure the Apple gift cards", and that the cards are targeted by thieves "who electronically access the Apple gift cards at the point of sale and redeem the funds activated by the consumer."

The plaintiff wants the action turned into a class-action lawsuit and would like Apple to award damages to everyone who has been affected by similar problems, namely "consumers in the United States who purchased an Apple gift card wherein the funds on the Apple gift card was redeemed prior to use by the consumer". It would also like Apple to undertake a corrective marketing campaign.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.

1 Comment
  • She might as well start a class action suite against all gift cards.
    "Gift cards are not usable until they are activated at the cash register. In many stores, gift cards are sitting out in an accessible place. People have been known to steal a stack of cards, bring them home, write down the numbers (or script it out using a mag stripe reader) and then sneak them back into the store and place them on the shelf.
    Brazen criminals can write down or take pictures of the numbers down right in the store. From there, it’s a waiting game. Most merchants offer a way to check gift card balances online – the fraudsters will repeatedly check balances on the merchant’s website and wait until they are activated by a legitimate purchase." (https://www.tripwire.com/state-of-security/risk-based-security-for-execu...) This isn't limited to Apple, but it certainly is more likely at places like Walmart were these things are hanging out where anyone can pick them up, wander around with them and put them back.