One of Apple’s big selling points has long been that their products “just work.” Most Apple users would likely confirm that the claim is true, at least for the most part. However, one group of Apple customers was apparently not so satisfied with Apple’s voice recognition software, known as Siri, and filed a consumer protection lawsuit in 2012. That lawsuit (In Re iPhone 4S Consumer Litigation, 12-cv-1127, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco)) was recently dismissed. The plaintiffs claimed that Siri didn’t work as advertised. Specifically, they alleged that sometimes Siri didn’t understand their requests, required long wait times, or responded with the wrong answer. Apple didn’t exactly put up a strong defense of Siri’s functionality by arguing that the plaintiffs could have simply returned their phones if they were dissatisfied. Even assuming the complaints about Siri are true, does that mean the plaintiff’s are entitled to recover? Not even close.
In February, U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken dismissed the plaintiff’s claims, calling them “non-actionable puffery” and ruling that the plaintiffs had failed to show adequate evidence of any fraud in Apple’s part. She also noted that Apple made no promise that Siri would operate without fail and that a reasonable consumer would understand that the commercials depicting the products they are intended to promote would be unlikely to depict failed attempts.
Thankfully, the judge used common sense in this case, which will hopefully help avoid a line of case law requiring advertisements to depict dropped calls, broken down cars, malfunctioning computers, et cetera.
We reached out to Siri for a comment and she replied:
I’m really sorry, but I can’t take any requests right now. Please try again in a little while.
(Editor’s Note: Since we’re talking about Siri, please feel feel to revisit our April 2012 post entitled “Deposing Siri.”).