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Creative faces lawsuit over false capacity claims

updated 02:05 pm EDT, Thu May 1, 2008

Creative facing lawsuit

Creative is facing a class-action lawsuit that is alleging the consumer electronics maker misled customers with inaccurate capacity claims for its portable media players. The lawsuit seeks $900,000 for attorney fees and $5,000 for each plaintiff. Those who purchased a hard-drive based Creative player between May 5, 2001 and April 30, 2008 and can prove it are eligible to be part of the lawsuit.

The matter has not yet gone to court, and Creative is hoping to appease its disgruntled customers by offering them a 50-percent discount on a new 1GB MP3 player or 20 percent off any other item on the company's online store. The company will accept claim forms from eligible customers until August 7.

The lawsuit alleged Creative's advertising materials and spec sheets promised users 7 percent more capacity than could have been used. The binary definition of 1GB is 1,073,741,824 bytes, and not Creative's decimal definition of 1 billion bytes even. The company also failed to take into account space taken up by the formatting structures and software necessary for its devices to store, organize, and access stored data.

Most companies rate the capacity of their portable media players in similar fashion, though include fine print that saves them from such legal trouble. Since the suit, the company revised its fine print, warning possible customers that "available capacity will be less" than advertised. Another wrong the lawsuit alleges includes an exaggeration of the devices' playback time. [via SlashGear]

By Electronista Staff


  1. Athens

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: Jan 2003



    People should give it a rest. The only thing that would be valid is if they advertised 80GB Drive and put a 60GB drive in it. The Battery life could be valid if its a gross difference but if we are talking about 20 min or less, again forget it thats just stupid.

  1. rytc

    Senior User

    Joined: Jan 2001



    Providing vouchers for discounts off Creative products helps merely to improve their bottom line, affected customers are forced to spend more money with the company that mislead them in the first place. Refunds or vouchers for electronic stores such as Amazon would be the only fair avenue if Creative wanted to appease customers. However, such frivolous lawsuits have been going on for ages, and now amount to lawyers searching the manuals of anything containing a HD to see if such small print exists - if not they sue.

  1. ender

    Junior Member

    Joined: Mar 1999


    decimal definition

    "...Creative's decimal definition..."

    It's NOT Creative's definition. The "decimal definition" is the mathematically correct and historically accurate definition for storage capacities. You can go all the way back to floppy disks and demonstrate that storage capacity has always been expressed correctly using the metric (decimal) prefix definitions. As far as I know, memory (ie RAM) is the only thing that has ever used the so-called "binary" definition of those prefixes.

    That being said, Creative was foolish to not put that disclaimer on their marketing material like everyone else has had since the hard drive lawsuit of about 5 years ago.

    On a side note, why is it that we get so worked up about these things when it comes to our computers; but we don't seem to mind that our foot-long hot dogs are really only 11 inches. And if my MP3 player is estimated to have 12 hours of battery life, I sue when I only get 11.5 hours. Yet when my car with it's EPA estimated 20 mpg highway only gets 18 mpg I don't go running to my lawyer (if I had one) and filing lawsuits against the manufacturer and the EPA? Why are other companies' marketing material exaggerations OK, but computer and MP3 maker's marketing is grounds for class-action lawsuits???

  1. JackWebb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2007



    If I were these lawyers or end users I'd be too embarrassed to have my name publicized. Yes you, Vibhu Talwar and Patrick Finkelstein, are shameless. And what do the rest of us get? More fine print nonsense! Nonetheless, Creative is doing more than enough to appease the users on such an illegitimate claim.

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