FAQs
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General information

1. Why has this website been created?

This website has been created to inform members of the public about the collective claim in relation to charges in the App Store.

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The claim is on behalf of consumers and businesses who have spent money on digital content within the App Store.

Dr Rachael Kent alleges that Apple has breached competition law by excluding competition and/or charging an unlawful level of commission on digital purchases in the App Store.

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The collective claim is against Apple.

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Apple has allegedly breached competition law by abusing its dominant position by excluding competition and/or charging an unfair and excessive level of commission; usually as much as 30%. As a result, consumers and businesses are very likely to have suffered financial loss and are entitled to damages.

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The class representative is Dr Rachael Kent. Dr Kent has dedicated her professional life to researching consumers’ interactions with digital platforms and apps, including in relation to issues around the cost of paid apps and in-app purchases.

As a lecturer in Digital Economy and Society at King’s College London, Dr Kent’s teaching and research focusses on how digital platforms impact society and consumer behaviour and welfare. Dr Kent also works as a digital health consultant, providing support and advice to government, individuals and businesses, based on her research.

Prior to becoming a lecturer at King’s College, Dr Kent held a position at Resolver Consumer Online Limited, an independent online consumer complaint tool. She was responsible for improving the tool for users and handling complaints about companies’ unlawful and unethical practices.

Dr Kent is passionate about representing the welfare and rights of consumers and bringing the collective claim. If Dr Kent is successful, every member of the class of consumers may be entitled to damages.

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If Apple is found to hold a dominant position, it has a special responsibility to ensure its conduct does not subject its customers to unfair prices or trading conditions. This includes a responsibility not to engage in conduct that forecloses the market to competition and not to charge excessive prices. In an age where there is an increasing use of digital platforms and apps by consumers and businesses, it is even more essential that they are treated fairly.

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Hausfeld & Co. LLP are the lawyers providing legal advice and support to Dr Kent.

Vannin Capital, a commercial litigation funder, has agreed to finance the claim.

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Hausfeld & Co. LLP is a leading international law firm specialising in competition law, with significant expertise in all aspects of collective redress and group claims – often acting against some of the largest corporations in the world. Hausfeld & Co LLP is experienced in managing litigation against global “Big Tech” companies.

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Vannin Capital is a commercial litigation funder who will be financing the collective claim.

Vannin is a member of the Association of Litigation Funders of England and Wales and complies with that organisation’s Code of Conduct.

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About collective claims

A collective claim (also known as ‘collective proceedings’) is brought by a class representative on behalf of a group of claimants who have suffered loss as a result of a breach of competition law. The group of claimants is referred to as a ‘class’ and each claimant in the group is referred to as a ‘class member’.

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Collective claims can only be brought in the Competition Appeal Tribunal, which specialises in resolving competition law disputes.

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The collective claim is brought on an opt out basis for individuals and businesses domiciled in the UK.

If you are domiciled in the UK and fall within the definition of the ‘class’, you will automatically be included in Dr Kent’s collective claim and will be bound by any judgment or settlement unless you choose to opt-out of the proceedings.

If you wish to take part in the collective claim but are not domiciled in the UK, you will need to opt in to the claim. Please register your interest by clicking the 'Stay Up To Date' button on this website and you will be notified about when and how to opt in to the claim.

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Dr Kent has been authorised by the Competition Appeal Tribunal to act as the class representative. Therefore, she is conducting the collective claim against Apple on behalf of all class members, save those that opt out of the claim. Dr Kent is responsible for communicating with and issuing formal notices to the class members. Dr Kent will continue to communicate with the class members via updates and announcements posted on this website, email correspondence and written notices, such as the recent CPO Hearing notice.

To assist her in her role, Dr Kent has established a consultative group of individuals experienced in the legal, consumer and payments sectors relevant to the collective claim.

The members of the consultative group are:

  • Dame Elizabeth Gloster – International commercial arbitrator and former Vice-President of the Civil Division of the English Court of Appeal.

  • James Walker – Founder of consumer organisations Resolver and JamDoughnut, and board member of Rightly, a consumer data privacy service.

  • Kevin Jenkins – Former CEO of Visa UK Ltd, iNED and senior advisor to several banking fintechs, payments organisations and digital transformation service providers.

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The collective claim was filed on 11 May 2021 alongside an application for a Collective Proceedings Order. Dr Kent subsequently filed a re-amended claim form on 7 February 2022, which provides a minor amendment to exclude from the class family members of judges presiding over the collective claim.

Dr Kent’s application for a Collective Proceedings Order was subsequently heard by the Competition Appeal Tribunal on 4 and 5 May 2022. At the hearing, the Competition Appeal Tribunal ‘certified’ Dr Kent’s claim (i.e., it granted Dr Kent’s application for a Collective Proceedings Order so the claim can proceed to the next stage, unless it is settled beforehand). At the hearing, the Competition Appeal Tribunal also heard Apple’s application to limit the scope of Dr Kent’s claim. The Competition Appeal Tribunal is yet to determine Apple’s application. Further updates will be posted to this website in due course.

If the collective claim proceeds to trial (i.e. if it is not settled beforehand), the Competition Appeal Tribunal will decide whether to make an aggregate award of damages. If made, the award will be distributed to class members based on a distribution method approved by the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

Generally, disputes of this scale take a number of years to resolve. Please register your interest in the collective claim by clicking the 'Stay Up To Date' button on this website to be notified of developments directly.

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Any settlement reached between Dr Kent and Apple must be approved by the Competition Appeal Tribunal and must be just and reasonable. If Dr Kent settles the claim in exchange for a sum of money from Apple, that sum of money will be distributed to class members.

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Being a class member

If you meet the criteria of the class for the collective claim and were domiciled in the UK on 5 May 2022, you will automatically be included in the collective claim (unless you opt-out of it).

The exact scope of the class is yet to be determined by the Competition Appeal Tribunal, but it is likely to consist of all persons who, at any point during the period between 1 October 2015 and the date of final judgment or earlier settlement of this collective claim, made for themselves and/or another person, one or more purchases of an app or digital content, services or subscriptions within an app (excluding Apple apps) from an iPhone or iPad device in the UK version of the App Store.

To be a member of the class you (or your business) are likely to need to:

  1. Have made at least one relevant purchase since 1 October 2015. You must have made at least one purchase of an app, or digital content, services or subscriptions within an app since 1 October 2015. To check this just log into your App Store account (also known as your Apple ID) and check “Purchase History”. In your Purchase History you can filter by year and month to identify specific purchases in the claim period. If your Purchase History records that you paid Apple any sum of money since 1 October 2015, then you could be a member of the class.

  2. Have made that relevant purchase on your iPhone or iPad device. You will only be eligible for inclusion in the class if you made the relevant purchase(s) on your iPhone or iPad. This is because the claim only concerns the version of the App Store that is compatible with the operating systems that iPhones and iPads use to run (the iOS and iPadOS operating systems).

  3. Have made that relevant purchase in the UK version of the App Store. You will only be eligible for inclusion in the class if you used the UK version of the App Store to make the relevant purchase(s). To check if you are using the UK version of the App Store, simply log into your App Store account (also known as your Apple ID), click on “Country/Region”, and check whether the UK is ticked. If the UK is ticked, you are using the UK version of the App Store.

  4. Be domiciled in the UK on 5 May 2022. The Competition Appeal Tribunal has established a ‘domicile date’ of 5 May 2022 – being the date on which all consumers and businesses who made relevant purchases in the UK version of the App Store must be domiciled in the UK in order to be members of the class.

  5. Not fall within one of the following excluded categories:

    1. Officers, directors or employees of Apple, their subsidiaries and any entity in which they have a controlling interest;

    2. All members of Dr Kent and Apple’s respective legal teams and all experts and professional advisors instructed and retained by them and all funders or insurers involved, in connection with the collective claim;

    3. All members and staff of the Competition Appeal Tribunal assigned at any point to the collective claim, their parents, their spouses or civil partners or any persons with whom they cohabit, and their children;

    4. Any judge involved in any appeal in the collective claim and their parents, their spouses or civil partners or any persons with whom they cohabit, and their children;

    5. Any deceased person; and

    6. Any registered corporate entity with legal personality which:

      1. has been struck off or dissolved pursuant to the Companies Act 2006 or equivalent legislation applying outside the United Kingdom; or

      2. has experienced the onset of insolvency within the meaning of section 240(3) of the Insolvency Act 1986 or equivalent legislation applying outside the UK; or

      3. is dormant within the meaning of the Companies Act 2006 or equivalent legislation applying outside the UK.

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If your business was domiciled in the UK on 5 May 2022, and at any point since 1 October 2015 has made for itself, and/or another, one or more purchases of an app or digital content within an app from an iPhone or iPad device in the UK version of the App Store then yes, it is very likely to be part of the class.

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At this stage, class members do not need to do anything, unless you wish to opt-out of the collective case. Updates on any developments will promptly be posted on this website so that you can stay up to date. In addition, if you register your interest in the collective claim, you will be notified of developments directly.

In the event that Dr Kent secures compensation for the class, you will need to come forward and claim your share of any damages. Details of how to do this will be uploaded to this website when appropriate.

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At this stage, you do not need to do anything. However, you will shortly be given the opportunity to opt-out or request to be excluded from the claim if you would like to do so. Updates on developments will be widely publicised in the media and also promptly posted on this website so that you can Stay Up To Date.

By opting-out you reserve the right to bring your own separate claim against Apple but you will not be able to get any money in the event that Dr Kent secures compensation for the class.

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How the collective claim will affect you

Dr Kent is seeking an aggregate award of damages in the sum of hundreds of millions of pounds for the class, as a whole. Any aggregate award of damages will then need to be distributed to eligible class members that come forward to claim their share.

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As a class member, you will not incur any costs of taking part in the collective claim, nor will you be liable to Apple for its costs should the collective claim be unsuccessful.

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There is nothing preventing you from discussing the case and sharing updates on social media.

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Further information

If you have questions or would like any further information, please contact Dr Kent’s legal team here. For media information please contact: Conal Walsh.
info@Appstoreclaims.co.uk.

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