iTunes Bad Customer Service

iTunes Customer Service SUCKS

bad-customer-service The following may or may not be an educational rant.

Yesterday, there were two charges on my bank account in the amounts of $24.45 and $45.72. I don’t have an iTunes account attached to this account. I call bank, dispute, cancel card. Bank says call Apple to get a refund. Kay.

Bank charge info says this: “Visa Purchase (Non-pin) Apl*apple Itunes: 866-712-7753ca“. So I call the number. I’m met with a damn recording that tells me what internet address to go to, so I can email them. Hooboy. I looked up an Apple Tech Support number and called in an attempt to get a human. The human informed me that iTunes has no call service for customer service.

WHAT? 
So, let me get this straight. If your company grows into a giant conglomerate, it is suddenly just fine and dandy to offer absolutely NO phone customer service. 

 Hear ye, hear ye, iTunes now resides in an ivory tower, where no such dirty buggers like me should be permitted to speak to them. iTunes is so powerful now, that their customer service calls akin to hearing the voice of God, and Apple is simply protecting our heads from explosion. 

These pompus buttholes actually believe that they can run a big company without providing ANY live customer service representatives.


I sent in my request through apple’s online support form, thusly: “My credit card, one I have NOT, not ever have had attached to ANY iTunes account, has been charged in the amounts of $24.45 on 8/5/11 and $45.72 on 8/1/11. This is a Visa credit card ending in the numbers 9485, in the name of Lorain Blanken.”

The next day, I get a note from iTunes ‘Customer Service’:

I understand that you are concerned about the charges which were made using your credit card(9485) on iTunes Store without your knowledge. I know it is of significant concern whenever something unusual happens on your account. Be assured, I will do my best to address the issue for you.

I’m sorry, but the iTunes Store normally doesn’t provide assistance by telephone. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have via email about your account, billing issues, downloading items.

Lorain, I have looked over your iTunes account and confirmed that these charges did not originate from “s—[email protected]“.  This indicates that your credit card is established on another iTunes Store account or someone with a joint credit card is using it on their iTunes account. With that in mind I have searched our records for such an account and have located one that appears to have your credit card attached to it.  Further the charges you have specified appear on this account.

In my experience, I can tell you that if this was an online identity thief they would likely be spending far more than what has been charged to date. Often in situations like this, it turns out to be a misunderstanding between family members.
I can certainly disable this account and ban your credit card from further use in the iTunes Store but I would first like to offer you some information to help determine if this was a simple misunderstanding.

Due to our privacy policy I cannot reveal the entire account ID, or any of the items purchased, but I can give you the first 5 characters of the responsible ID.

They are:  “erydf”

If this looks familiar to you I would ask that you check with members of your family or any friends that may have access to your card, just to make sure that there hasn’t been a misunderstanding about the use of your card in the iTunes Store.

If this does not look familiar, or you can confirm that nobody else you know has used your card in the iTunes Store, I urge you to contact your financial institution as soon as possible to inquire about canceling the card or account and removing the unauthorized transactions. You should also ask them to launch an investigation into the security of your account, and if possible to issue a chargeback for the purchases in question.

Lorain, if the account belongs to you, then I would suggest you to review your account purchase history to see the items you were charged for.

Sherry, I look forward for your reply. You are a valuable customer of iTunes so meeting and exceeding your expectations are my top priorities.

So, I wrote back, IS MY NAME FUCKING SHERRY OR LORAIN???

Not really. Here is what I sent:

The account “erydf” is not mine, a family members or a friends. This is fraud. I already contacted my financial institution, and they advised me to contact Apple to have the charges removed.
Again, This is NOT MY ACCOUNT OR ANYONE I KNOW. THE CARD HAS BEEN USED ILLEGALLY.
I alone use this credit card, there is no other card holder. My account, as you have mentioned, is under s—–@yahoo.com, where I am a loyal customer with a different credit card.
It is clear here that this is not an account that was opened by me. Perhaps it is your experience that fraud cases charge larger amounts, but that is inconsequential here. The card was never authorized to be used here. It doesn’t matter how much they charged, there should be NO CHARGE on this account. There is NO misunderstanding. The “erydf” itunes account was never authorized to use this card.
I am asking for a full refund. I am the owner of the credit card, telling you these were not authorized. You know I already have another account, and that this card is not attached to it. That is all the evidence you need. Whoever owns this account should have legal action taken against them. They are crooks! What are you going to do about it? Their user name should be shut down and all funds returned to me. You need to get their contact and report them to the authorities, because they just tried to rob me.
Looking forward to your reply,
Lorain Blanken
 
The reply:
Lorain, after reviewing the circumstances of your case, we determined that issuing you a refund for the items that were purchased without your permission is an appropriate exception to the iTunes Store Terms and Conditions, which state that all sales are final. A refund in the amount of $70.17 will be credited in five to seven business days to the card used to pay for the order.
So, just to make things clear, there are no sour grapes on my part. This post isn’t me shaking my fist at the fact that I’m out 70 bucks. I got my money back. What I’m PISSED about is the fact that you can’t get a damn human at iTunes. And when you DO get one, they think your name is SHERRY. I spent a day of my life believing I wouldn’t get my stupid money back, just because these guys can’t be bothered with actually talking to their customers. I wanted to post this in hopes that someone can use the numbers below, or at the least, add another ‘iTunes customer service sucks’ post to the virtual chorus below.

The moral of the story is that iTunes does not live in the good ol’ days of human-to-human live customer service. At all. It doesn’t exist.

If you have a bad experience via email, it’s just too bad, I don’t know what you can do from there… except call these numbers and annoy the shit out of real people who can’t do anything about it. This method worked for me when I annoyed the shit out of Valve customer service until someone called be back, but I doubt it’ll work at a giant like Apple:

Numbers that aren’t worth two shits:
The Apple phone number,1-800-MY-APPLE (1-800-692-7753) is useless for customer service issues, as is 1-800-676-2775 and 866-712-775.

Here are a couple of direct lines that may be of some assistance in bothering representatives: 
Apple Computer Customer Service: 512-674-2000

Apple HQ: 1-408-996-1010

North American Corporate Contacts:
United States
Apple Disability Solutions (800) 767-2775
Apple Enterprise Sales (877) 412-7753
Apple Financial Services (800) APPLE-LN (800-277-5356)
Apple Government Sales (877) 412-7753
Apple Promotions/Rebates (877) 4-APL-PROMO (877-427-5776)
Apple Public Relations (408) 974-2042
Apple Software and Volume Licensing (800) 793-2378
Apple Software Upgrade Center (888) 840-8433
Apple Store (Education – Individuals) (800) 780-5009
Apple Store (Education – Schools) (800) 800-2775
Reseller Referral (Resellers, Trainers, Consultants) (800) 538-9696

This guy found a human’s number, it might just be tech support, but worth a try:
http://www.slate.com/id/2154994/

During my quest for an iTunes human, I found the above numbers, mostly in panicked or angry posts around the interwebs. My situation wasn’t rare. There are a lot of fraud victims out there, or people who just plain need help out of this bastard company, that aren’t happy.

Here are a bunch of firstperson run-ins with iTunes ‘customer service’:

An Encouraging Blog Post

Time Square BlankenThis is a cursory blog post that is intended to force me into write more blog posts.

Sorry, the title is a bit misleading. It isn’t encouraging for you, per se, but it’s helping me a bit. The crushing guilt of the previous post dated back in the summer is enough to deter me from writing anything else on this page until extra-terrestiral pterodactyls fly in and bust shit up all over the planet. That would be worth blogging.

So, now maybe this will get me going. If they had pay-per-play time machines, I’d totally give you a quarter so that you could go back in time and reclaim the couple minutes it took you to read this.

It had been raining enough to flatten Lenore Puddle’s skunky mane of curls. Her black and white bangs hung tacky against her forehead and reeked of melted styling mousse. Hauling a bike up a hill in the rain is even less of a good time when there is a wagon full of road kill hitched up to the back. The little steel wagon clinked and clunked behind her as the rain pelted it. Lenore grunted against the handle bars and failed to ignore the smell as the grey spires of her house came into view over the silvery asphalt ahead. She brushed away the clumping hair at her forehead with one hand as twenty cents worth of hair product dripped into her eye.

Lenore’s cursing broke the hypnotic drone of the storm. She flung off one thick rubber glove and dug her clammy fingers into her burning eye socket. Crooking one elbow around the handlebars, she assaulted both eyes and fought the urge to openly sob on the side of the empty street. The rain continued to pound around her, slicking everything in a fine sheen and the heady smell of earth and summer. After the jarring anger passed, she pointed her face toward the sky. Her eyes twitched violently as she fought to hold them open against the oncoming drops of water. The flat faces of the homes around her watched her silence.

After a few more traumatizing blocks, Lenore was home, standing at the top of the long driveway that wound it‘s way down a steep hill and ended at the garage. She paused for a moment that she thought was dramatic enough, then let go of the bike. Lenore watched as it started a turbulent journey, bouncing violently over a crack in the driveway. A tuft of squirrel jumped out of the wagon as the bike miraculously stayed upright around the curve. She turned away from the descending clatter to walk into the main entrance of the Walter Puddle Funeral home, but thought twice about it and went into the side door under the carport instead. There was a muffled crash in the distance behind her and she cursed again with the knowledge that the wagon had overturned on impact. That’ll give her something to do later.

The inside of the fluorescent-lit workshop was warm enough to make Lenore’s yellow raincoat uncomfortable. “Hey Curious George!”, her father called out from behind a foam bear leg. Lenore could tell that he was in a good mood, and decided to indulge herself. He was poised behind a large bear skin that he had already treated and was preparing to mount on a bear-shaped form.

“Hey Pops. Something new on the table?” Lenore asked as she shed her remaining rubber glove and tossed it in the ‘Nasty Bucket’ by the door. She thought of the other one left on the street, probably full of water and covered in tire tracks. A smile situated itself on her face.

“Yep. Mr. Hoda survived the woods again today. Brought us this one here and a check that will keep you in those scarves for six months.” He tapped the losing bear’s crumpled slit of a left eye, the tip of his Exact-o knife catching inside for a moment so that he had to shake it free. The bear was obviously Mr. Hoda’s best yet, eclipsing the wide wooden table underneath it’s floppy girth. Lenore looked down at her striped scarf and frowned. “I don’t need anymore scarves, and I only have this one, anyway.”

“Oh, really? I thought you had a closet full of that same one. Like Pee Wee Herman.” He gave her a lopsided smile and she resisted glancing at the big gulp cup on the table. She wanted to sniff it to see if it was really water. He turned back to his work and she took the moment to slip away from a two hour conversation about nothing.

Lenore was already exhausted with his teasing. She couldn’t adjust that easily from soaking wet squirrel bodies to being compared to the stunning beauty of Paul Rubens. She stood behind her dad and stared at the back of his graying head instead of the looming bear in front of her.

“Yep, so… I’m going to go eat something.”

He father gave her an affirming ‘Mmmmhmmm!’ which sounded encouraging, but meant to Lenore that was on her own for dinner.

She patted him on the shoulder in what she thought was an ‘atta boy’ kind of way and headed into the house.

“Could you do me a favor and change out those tissue boxes in the big viewer?” her father’s voice piped up behind her before she could get through the doorway. Lenore stopped short and looked at her muddy boots as a murky feeling filled her chest. She put on her game show host voice and threw a hearty “Well, I’ll get right on that!“ behind her.

She stepped on the back of her left heel and kicked off one boot, then the other. Her coat fell off as she entered the kitchen and flushed her hands in the hot water at the sink. She turned right around and headed to the viewing room, wiping her wet hands on the sides of her grey t-shirt and old jeans.

The viewing room was at the front of the funeral home. Her socks padded from the hardwood floor and tile of the house to cross the magic threshold into plush carpeting and stranger smells. She closed the heavy white door marked ‘PRIVATE’ behind her and leaned against it. The familiar house sounds of the dishwasher and refrigerator motors vanished, replaced with a cool stillness.

It was hard to love and hate the funeral home at the same time, especially on a stereotypical ‘dark and stormy night’ like this one. The sounds of the rain were muffled here. She thought everything was muffled here. People’s voices and the colors of their clothing. The posh dark hallway that lead to the lobby, viewing, and reception rooms ran to her right and left. Inspirational paintings hung on the walls and tastefully arranged flowers stood guard in large vases .

This was when the funeral home felt like one of those model homes where all the food is plastic and it always smells like fresh paint. Lenore thought that there were always strange chemical smells here, even though it was a far cry from the basement slabs. She thought, as she shuffled down the hall, that in all rationality, the people they ‘serviced’ were a bit plastic by the end of the process, anyway. Like when you get your car back from the shop and it smells a little like the mechanic.

Lenore poked her head into the midnight of the larger viewing room. Was it better in the dark? Her eyes began chewing at the back of her brain like an eager fox, conjuring false memories of her mother lying there in a box. Flip, on go the lights. “Well, that’s better!” Lenore chimed in a very loud and cheerful tone that echoed unconvincingly through the empty room. She waltzed through and quickly gathered up empty tissue boxes from the little fine tables. She didn’t like the way her voice stuck in the corners of the room, so she began humming.

The chemical smell of preservatives no longer bothered Lenore. In the aftermath of a viewing, it was the smell of a woman’s perfume that was unsettling. Old ladies often wear too much of the cheap stuff, and it had a tendency to linger in the carpets and sofas of the viewing rooms. For Lenore, it made the business of death less clinical. It meant that not only did a woman have to stand here and look at a dead person…it meant that she had to get up this morning, take a shower and get dressed. It meant finding and putting on a black dress. Patting on makeup in front of the mirror and pressing the button on the perfume bottle. What a reason to get all dolled up, smelling great for the whole family down at the funeral home.

The alcoholic smell of cologne began to sour and Lenore sniffed at her wet scarf. It was clearly three hours past bath time. The air around her head was humid as she began to unwind the scarf from around her neck and head out. She was hit by a stench of death and wondered which lucky squirrel or raccoon she’d dipped her scarf into. Balling the scarf up in her hands, she left the viewing room behind and flipped off the lights, clicking each of three switches with a swipe of her hand. Click, click, click. Click. Lenore paused and glanced behind her, thinking she had accidentally flipped one switch up again. Nope, the room was still dark. Lenore laughed anxiously, “Echo…echo…echo!” she called into the room.

Click.
The chill that ran from Lenore’s head to her feet was enough to make her notice the staunch humidity that surrounded her. She took a step back away from the dark doorway, her sock brushing audibly against the hallway carpet. The stupidity of turning and running down the hallway danced for a second in her brain like a taunting clown as the gaping room stared her down. A sickly-sweet smell welled up and burst into the full-on stench of death in her face. It was as though an invisible garbage bag had just burst in a fury of maggots and old yogurt.

Click.

Hallway, hallway, door. Open, slam, hallway, kitchen, door, open, workspace. “Dad?”

Mr. Hoda’s bear was staring stupidly down at her, it’s saggy body now mounted loosely on the foam frame. Lenore suddenly wanted to punch it in it’s flap of a face. Her dad’s Big Gulp cup was gone. She could hear the rain and glanced to see the side door was open. Lenore found her dad outside in the car port, having a smoke and talking loudly on the phone in his business voice. A classic scene.

She sat down on the old wooden bench by the door and pulled her knees up to her chest. She grabbed at her stockinged toes. She took in the friendly fragrance of a storm and her dad’s cigar. The scraping fear began to ebb like the worst case of déjà vu as she listened to her father’s voice mingle with the pounding rain. She watched as he leaned against the broad back-end of the hearse and moved his hands animatedly as he talked to someone who couldn’t see him. Lenore stayed outside for nearly half an hour. After she had heard the same joke for the third time, the world felt normal enough to slip back into the house.


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