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Journal: iTunes Customer Service is HORRIBLE

Journal by SlashdotOgre

Normally I'm not one to go on a rant, but I have had the WORST online customer service experience I've ever faced from Apple this week and feel like I ought to share it with others. It all started with me being a huge Pearl Jam fan, and by extension a fan of the lead singer Eddie Vedder. Recently, Eddie recorded the soundtrack for the film, "Into the Wild," and iTunes had a deal which got them exclusive access to four tracks. Personally I don't care for iTunes because I primarily run Linux (no port) and I find the software bloated and feature lacking compared to Amarok, but I like Eddie Vedder's music enough that I was willing to boot to Windows and deal with their DRM laden crap. My Windows desktop had an older copy of iTunes (something like 4.9), I didn't bother to update it because it's been my experience that Apple makes horrible, bloated software for Windows (eg. Quicktime usurping your browser plugin settings, etc.).

Over the weekend, I'm at Starbucks buying a coffee, and since I'm using my debit card since I didn't have cash on me, I thought I might as well pick up their pre-paid card for the, "Into the Wild" Soundtrack that I was planning to purchase from iTunes any for its exclusives. I get home, boot to Windows XP, load iTunes 4.9, and redeem my code. iTunes throws an error saying I need to upgrade to iTunes 6 or later, and it doesn't download any music. NO WHERE ON THE CARD DOES IT SPECIFY A MINIMUM ITUNES VERSION, but whatever, I'll just upgrade. I almost never use Windows anyway, I decide to upgrade to the latest iTunes (version 7.4), I download the 50MB file, update it, launch it again and try to redeem my code. Itunes throws another error, it claims my code is already redeemed. Well now that's a problem, yes I tried to redeem it earlier, but it failed and now I'm stuck with an invalid code and no music.

This should be something that a 5 minute conversation would resolve, right? WRONG. Well, I figure I can just give them a call and work it out, turns out ITUNES DOESN'T HAVE A CUSTOMER SUPPORT PHONE NUMBER. Fine, the prepaid card lists a support URL which I go to and submit a ticket explaining my situation. An HOUR later I receive a canned response asking for additional info which I provide. A DAY later I receive a response saying that someone will investigate the issue. ANOTHER DAY after the previous email, I get a response with a new prepaid code used to collect my songs. I think great, an issue resolved, took longer than it should have, but whatever, I got my music, I'm happy. Well I was wrong, THE IDIOT WORKING MY CASE PROVIDED ME WITH THE CODE FOR THE WRONG ALBUM. The code they gave me automatically fetched some KT Tunstall crap which I do not want in the least.

Now what's even more infuriating is that the correct album name, INTO THE WILD, is in the first sentence of the Comments section of my trouble ticket which is at the bottom of the email they sent me which had the wrong code. So now, here I am, several days after purchasing the music, and I still don't have the album I want. I responded to the email with the wrong code, but I have no clue if they'll get it (Customer support emails come from a generic address). I submitted a new trouble ticket referencing the first, but I have absolutely no confidence in the people working in the iTunes customer service department.

I can only hope I'll eventually get the music I purchased, and it pisses me off to no end that there's no way to contact the company and explain where they're failing their customers.

Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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