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Apple Should Do Right By Its Former Customers

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For the past year, reports have persisted about text messages sent from iPhone users to Android users either being received late or not at allby the Android user. Annoyed users of both devices began posting about their issues online, and a common thread was discovered: The affected Android users had recently switched over from using an iPhone.

It appears that former iPhone users who switch to Android but keep the same phone number could potentially never receive text messages from iPhone users. That's because iPhone has a built-in feature called iMessage, which allows iPhone and iPad users to send each other messages for free, without having to pay the phone company's SMS fee (These messages appear in blue bubbles, whereas ordinary text messages appear in green.). Your iPhone assigns your number to an iMessage account, but when you switch your phone number to a non-Apple device, the number is still registered with the old iMessage account; by default, your friends' iPhones will send text messages to that account instead of your new phone.

Apple has yet to provide consumers with a definitive solution t

Apple has yet to provide consumers with a definitive solution to this problem. Many have theorized that it's an intentional bug built into the iPhone's programming, designed to discourage people from switching to a competitor. More likely, it's a malfunction that the company simply doesn't have an incentive to fix-why should it waste resources trying to help former customers?

Luckily, Apple may soon be forced to deal with the issue. A class action lawsuit was just filed against it in California, alleging these very issues. "Apple's iMessage service and Messages application penalizes those Apple device owners who deign to switch away from Apple to other non-Apple wireless cellular devices," the lawsuit's Complaint says. Class action lawsuits allow multiple plaintiffs to band together in a single action when the individual damage may be low, but the collective damage is mighty. This is one such case-the damage to an individual plaintiff is minimal but the shared damages across all plaintiffs constitutes a big consumer rights abuse by Apple.

Hopefully, this suit will force the company to address, correct, and rectify its oversights. Our courts are where ordinary people can hold mammoth companies like Apple accountable, not allowing them to do whatever they want just because they can. Here's hoping the people win this time.

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