Tomahawk, WI 01/22/2014 (BasicsMedia) – Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) could face a damaging lawsuit in Massachusetts whereby three customers have filed a case accusing the company of tricking customers. The case filed January 15, alleges that Apple Inc required customers transacting through credit card to disclose their ZIP codes, contrary to the law.

The three plaintiffs identified as Adam Christensen, Jeffrey Scolnick and William Farrell claim that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) illegally stores the disclosed personal identification information (PII) and later trade them for profits with partners. The plaintiffs go as far as quoting a line from the website of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) which seems to say that the company make certain personal information available to strategic partners.

The lawsuit is based on the premise that disclosure of PII is not a requirement in Massachusetts and that in fact, the state bans establishments from asking such details from customers using credit cards. But according to the lawsuit, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s stores would here none of that and continued to insist on PII being provided to complete a credit card transaction.

It is reported that the alleged transaction breach by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) occurred between 2012 and 2013. If the company is found guilty in these accusations, it will be a damaging development given that it has always been held high in terms of reputation. Nonetheless, such accusations have these days become commonplace among tech companies.

Just recently a lawsuit was filed against Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) where it was claimed that the company routinely breached its own privacy policy by accessing private messages sent by users. The lawsuit also claimed that the company went as far as opening links shared through the private message feature.

Also, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is facing a string of accusations related to violation of privacy policy. The company is accused in several states in Europe for illegally sharing users’ details and even making it hard for some users to delete what they shared on the platform.

Previous cases

Among the tech companies, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has often steered clear of legal controversies, save for the tax related issues where it has more often than not come out with a clean bill of health. Having suffered few cases in its life, the company looks vulnerable to cases touching on its reputation as it has little experience dealing with them.

Image factor

At this time Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) needs a lot of good image. The company has just concluded key agreements with distributors including China Mobile (CHL) for the offering of iPhone. Claims that the company is stealing users’ information can thus really jeopardize its phone distribution opportunities.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is trying hard to boost sales in key markets such as Europe, China, North America and also emerging markets like India, Middle East and South America. The company is known for proving high-end devices, but this has seen it lose opportunities among budget buyers. So then without bowing to price pressure, the company is seeking greater penetration of the high-end market and to do this it needs intact reputation which is something that is now being contested in the Massachusetts lawsuit.

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