A first instance judgment on a dispute between a Chinese citizen and Apple China over the cancellation of an online sales contract was disclosed on September 29. In December, 2020, the prices of some Apple products originally worth thousands of yuan on its official website were instead priced at one or two hundred yuan, enticing many consumers to snap them up and arousing significant public attention at the time.
According to a case document, in December 2020, a Chinese citizen placed an order on Apple’s official website and paid the price of 149 yuan ($20.74). After that, Apple sent an email to notify the user that it had canceled the order and refunded the money. Three other orders made by the plaintiff for the same product were also cancelled. The plaintiff called the defendant many times, asking it to continue to perform the sales contract and deliver the products, but the defendant still failed to deliver them. The plaintiff then sued Apple and stated that the defendant should continue to adhere to the contract and compensate the plaintiff for economic losses such as legal fees of 1,501 yuan.
Apple argued that the goods involved were sold at an accidental price, causing rapid consumption and attention at that time. The firm’s official website also included a clause agreement in its sales polices that reads, “in case of pricing error, the firm can send a notice to users and cancel the order without user’s bearing the cost.” Besides, Apple believes that the contract could be legally revoked due to major misunderstanding and obviously unfair prices.
The local court agreed that the price of 149 yuan for the involved product was significantly lower than the market transaction price, violating normal transaction logic. There were two revocable reasons – major misunderstanding and an obviously unfair contract. Secondly, Apple’s sales polices clause gives the company the right to unilaterally change or terminate the contract after the sales contract is established and takes effect, which should be deemed invalid according to law. In the end, the court ruled that the online sales contract between the two sides was cancelled, and Apple compensated the plaintiff for economic losses of 1,501 yuan.
This is not the first time that Apple has made a mistake in pricing. On September 13 of this year, Apple marked the prices of all iPhones, Apple Watch Ultras, Apple Watch Series 8s and the second generation AirPods Pros as “$777,777/month” in many countries, also stirring up attention.