January 12, 2010

Dear Apple

You know, there are a lot of asshats and asshat businesses in the world. So it's always nice to run into one that sets a good positive example. Take, for instance, what happened to me last week. The following are real emails. No fonts were harmed in the making of this post. Don't try this at home.

- - - - - - - - - - -

Hi -

Earlier this morning I logged into my iTunes account and it occurred to me that I should check my "available downloads". See, I saw it there on my screen and didn't have one tiny clue what it was for. So I clicked it. Because that's how I roll. Anyhoo, I noticed that Neal Morse's So Many Roads was available for me to download which really made my scratch my head since, well, I didn't buy it. I tried but when the purchase timed out on me, I thought better of the price ($35 - you so crazy) and ordered a physical copy from elsewhere (for, like, $17 I might add). Please see attached for a picture of yours truly with that very album which, I might add, is quite good (the album, not the picture, though I expect some bonus points since I shot the pic with my iPhone...yay for product loyalty, right?).

somanyroads.jpg

This morning, I reported this fact after noticing the charge. I received a standard form email that basically told me I was full of crap. And I refuse to accept that response. Specifically, are you seriously telling me that because a) a purchase timed out on me and as such I assumed it was not completed and b) I never received the files from said purchase, I am still on the hook for payment?

Again, to the response received earlier denying my request for a refund, yes I agreed to the Terms of Service, in particular the part that said:

Once a Product is purchased or rented (as applicable) and you receive the Product, it is your responsibility not to lose, destroy, or damage the Product, and Apple shall be without liability to you in the event of any loss, destruction, or damage.

By this standard, Apple is still on the hook to provide me the product or a refund. Since the product wasn't provided and has since been purchased elsewhere (see the aforementioned picture - hi!), I'd appreciate a refund.

Additionally - also per the terms:

Once a Product is purchased or rented (as applicable) and you receive the Product, it is your responsibility not to lose, destroy, or damage the Product, and Apple shall be without liability to you in the event of any loss, destruction, or damage.

The reverse should be true - since I didn't actually buy anything, I don't think I should really be on the hook to pay for it. That's like forking over $20 to the hooker and getting a hi-five instead of a handjob.

In summary, I'd appreciate it if you'd revisit this issue. Thanks for the kind attention. Have a fantastic day.

Yours in Christ,
Chris

- - - - - - - - - - -

Dear Chris,

My name is Jason and First of all, please accept my sincerest apologies for the difficulty you've experienced with the iTunes Store when trying to request a refund for the purchase of "So Many Roads", which I understand that you never received. It was never the iTunes Store's intention for any of its customers to experience such frustration while using their products. I apologize that you have had this experience.

I have reversed the charge for the purchase, which I understand was never downloaded. You will see a credit of $35.99 USD, plus any applicable taxes, in three to five business days. If store credit was used for this purchase, you should see the credit post within three to five business days. If you still do not see your store credit, you will need to sign out of the iTunes Store and sign back in.

Thank you for being an iTunes Store customer. We appreciate your business, and value you as a customer.

Sincerely,

Jason
iTunes Store Customer Support

- - - - - - - - - - -

Thank you Jason and thank you Apple. You clearly don't suck. And that is pretty much the exception, not the rule, these days.

Any best and worst customer service stories out there?

Posted by Chris at January 12, 2010 6:52 AM
Comments

Sur la Table. I will never order online again.

Recap-

Product: IN STOCK!
Product: IN CART!
Product: Paid for!
Bank account: DEBITED!
Email: Standard Form-Thank you for your purchase and thank you for choosing Next Day UPS!
Email: We are sorry this product is out of stock and not available anywhere on Earth.
Me: Where is my money?
Customer Service Rep: 3-5 business days your account will be credited.
Me: Where is my money?
CSR: Ummmm.
Me: Where do you live?
CSR: Let me put you on with my supervisor.

It took five weeks to get 37 dollars back. I went to the Sur la Table in Friendship Heights. The product was ON.THE.SHELF.

Posted by: Angelica at January 12, 2010 7:24 AM

You got really lucky there with Apple, Chris... My boyfriends ipod touch got stolen while he was at work about 8, 10 months ago. Even though my boyfriend had his app downloads password protected, and his itunes password protected, this kid was able to get past this, and download 40$ worth of apps to his ipod. Which we promptly got charged for. Ben had contacted apple the day it got stolen, asking if they could track it (because, duh, apple has that technology, seeing as they can track it to your computer) and had provided apple with his serial number, and everything else that they could possibly need. Apple refused to do this. OK, fine. This was before any apps had been downloaded. My boyfriend then asked them if they could shut down his account. This is when we found out this lil sh** had downloaded all these apps. Apple told him no, not until his balance was paid off. The only way we could keep this kid from downloading MORE apps, was by cancelling his debit card. Which in, and of itself, was a royal pain in the rear. We refused to pay off the balance, because we had a police report in. Which of course turned up with nothing, even though he had survaliance video of the kid. And in the end, we still ended up having to pay the 30-45$, when he got a new ipod. Apple refused to do anything even remotely helpful, other than say he should have had his stuff password protected. Which we did. Ugh.

Posted by: secha at January 12, 2010 8:05 AM

None that can top that. But let me think.
Okay. When we lived in Germany I had gone to a store and purchased a French Press Coffee pot. The first time I used it, the glass shattered. I got all the pieces together and then brought the pot back to the store.
A very severe woman said "No Returns" to me, and started to walk off.
In my loudest ugly American Accent I yelled "You find me your manager, someone that speaks MY language so I can resolve this problem! I WILL NOT GO AWAY!!!
The severe lady suddenly spoke English perfectly and exchanged my coffee pot!
I never could understand why she acted so pissy!

Posted by: Maribeth at January 12, 2010 8:08 AM

This one time, I paid a hooker $20.00 for a high five and she had the audacity to try and give me a happy ending. I was very upset with her customer service and wrote a letter to her pimp. Her pimp wrote me back saying he would "straighten her out."

Posted by: William at January 12, 2010 8:16 AM

This is why I could never be a customer service rep, because I might've reassured you by adding that 'Here at Apple, we're dedicated to providing our customers with the best handjobs possible, when and where applicable'.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at January 12, 2010 8:44 AM

This is not the best or worst but it does have to do with Apple. My newish iPod stopped working this past summer. Like black screen, no connection DEAD yada yada. No lie I swear to you I spoke with an Apple rep in India first and he was super nice and helpful but we were cut off.

SO I called back thinking I will get India again but no I got JASON in Apple Customer support. And he was a total ass hat who told me I was effed, to go buy a new iPod. My warranty ran out so there was nothing he could do about it and even if I got new warranty on the iPod I have Apple does not care – that warranty was applicable to the current iPod. Gee thanks.

So I tried what the guy in India told me to do on the off chance it would work… and it worked. Now every time my iPod dies on me, which it frequently does, I do what India customer service dude told me to do and NOT what Jason told me to do, which was to fork over another $180-250 for a new iPod depending on the kind I like, and I still have the same iPod.

Moral: Jason at Apple Customer Service is a douche bag :)

Posted by: Christina at January 12, 2010 9:13 AM

I called Apple support last week because my new iTouch was acting funky with iTunes. The first guy I spoke with was a waste of thirty minutes but the second guy was awesome and he was nice and patient and fixed my problem. So no great customer service story but I agree that Apple support gets it done. :)

Posted by: Claire at January 12, 2010 9:17 AM

Absolute worst: EA Games. Absolutely, unacceptably horrible service. 24 hour response time to them means at least 7 days, wherein they will give you a list of suggestions for the wrong operating system, even though you provided them with a system profile and very specifically stated several times you were NOT running X platform but Y platform instead. And one of those suggestions will be a $150 piece of software that they "think" will fix the problem. And that piece of software? Won't run on your operating system anyway. I would definitely think twice before purchasing any of their games if you own a Mac.

Also bad: FreeCreditReport.com. They are douchebags who are so concerned with your money that they want to take it all. AT&T for products of any kind (holy mother of god they are awful).

I've found Apple to be hit or miss. Sometimes they are awesome, sometimes they are completely not.

And this is kind of a silly positive customer service thing because it really isn't the same thing, but the receptionist at my dentist's office is effing amazing (as is my dentist). She always has a smile on her face, she's always super nice on the phone, and she doesn't mind when you hand her 5 different things with which to pay your bill. lol

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at January 12, 2010 9:27 AM

You'll like this one.

I have a phone service, internet and satellite with Bell Canada. These guys offered me a package deal back in May, which includes things like "wire care" and free sat installation if moving, for example. The charge (like $2.50 per month) guarantees that if any wire/jack/etc. fixing needs to be done in my house, it'll be free. The second one is self-explanatory.

Well, we moved 2 months after that and I booked a technician to come and install the dish, only they messed up and didn't send anyone. I called Bell and turns out that they booked the guy for 1 week later. I told them that this is their mistake and that they better send someone pronto! The tech guy came in the following day and got things done. Everything was good till I got my bill... with $100 charge for sending an emergency technician. I had to call and yell at them to get the charge reversed (by now you probably think, oh ok, that stuff happens; but wait, that's just the beginning of it).

Posted by: Nadia Roy at January 12, 2010 10:03 AM

You'll like this one.

I have a phone service, internet and satellite with Bell Canada. These guys offered me a package deal back in May, which includes things like "wire care" and free sat installation if moving, for example. The charge (like $2.50 per month) guarantees that if any wire/jack/etc. fixing needs to be done in my house, it'll be free. The second one is self-explanatory.

Well, we moved 2 months after that and I booked a technician to come and install the dish, only they messed up and didn't send anyone. I called Bell and turns out that they booked the guy for 1 week later. I told them that this is their mistake and that they better send someone pronto! The tech guy came in the following day and got things done. Everything was good till I got my bill... with $100 charge for sending an emergency technician. I had to call and yell at them to get the charge reversed (by now you probably think, oh ok, that stuff happens; but wait, that's just the beginning of it).

The phone service was supposed to be moved that day too. I called our new house number and got our voicemail, so I thought, great, all good there. Only when we got to the house, there was no dial tone. Again, I had to call for their technician to come in the next day (between 8 am and 5 pm...). The guy came in and fixed it. This time there was no charge, but two more techs showed up on two separate occasions and broke, then fixed what the first guy did (apparently, the fix idiot didn't close the request so they kept sending guys).

But that's nothing. Here's the cherry on top. Remember that wire care feature I mentioned earlier? Well, the phone jack in two of the bedrooms weren't working, so I asked for someone to come in and fix them. It took the guy maybe 25 minutes total to do that. Then I get my bill and there's $154(!) charge for this!!! I was pissed especially since the charge appears on the same page as the wire care charge. By now I'm thinking what kind of incompetent idiots they got working at Bell?! I call and complain and the guy tells me that my account has been adjusted. I go away for vacation for 1 month only to come back to the same charge... Call again and the guy assures me that now it's been fixed and that I only owe the difference (i.e. my regular bill charges)... Next month - same damn charge, only now it's accompanied by a lovely late payment fee. Here I'm fuming, I call them and you know what they say as an excuse?! - they're bills are generated automatically and they don'T check all of them. I ask to speak with their manager, and when I get her on the phone, she agrees that I'm right, but acording to procedure, they have to investigate and someone will call me back that same day. You think anybody called? Hell no! I called for the 4th or 5th time (lost count at this point) and let them have it... Finally get it straighten out... Ridiculous is all I gotta say for them!

Although, lesson learnt - always, ALWAYS go over your bills!

And sorry for venting :)

Posted by: Nadia Roy at January 12, 2010 10:05 AM

oops, sorry for posting some of it twice :)

Posted by: Nadia Roy at January 12, 2010 10:07 AM

I love that you said hookers and hand jobs in a customer service inquiry.

Posted by: k8 at January 12, 2010 10:23 AM

Let's just make this easy:

Bad Customer Service:
EVERY AIRLINE
EVERY CELLULAR PHONE CARRIER
TOYS R US

Good Customer Service:
Barnes & Noble
Home Depot (at least my local store)
Le Gourmet Chef

Posted by: Rose Winters at January 12, 2010 10:27 AM

Discountpokershop.com sent me a table that was damaged by the shipper. They sent another and it was damaged too. They let me keep both AND sent a refund for 25% of the amount.

It was a hassle yes, but how they resolved it meant the most.

Posted by: Brad at January 12, 2010 11:00 AM

2-3 years ago, Brandon bought a PC game from Best Buy store, say, at 3 p.m. He put it in his computer to find that the disc was corrupted as in the game installed but he was unable to play it. With a receipt in hand, we returned at 6 p.m. to exchange for another copy. The guy said they can't take back an opened game. But it doesn't work, we said. Doesn't matter, the guy said. We asked for the manager. I mean we didn't ask for a refund but an EXCHANGE, even. We only had the game couple of hours and the effing disc is BROKEN. Take it back and check.

Somehow it miraculously worked for them in the back. (Yeah right!) Not only we lost our $20, we don't even have the stupid game.

We haven't set foot in a Best Buy since.

Posted by: oakley at January 12, 2010 11:01 AM

Funny you ask since just yesterday I had to resolve yet another issue with Care Credit, which I used to pay for my son's braces last year. Never again - let me tell you. Their customer service people are rude and uninformed. One even hung up on me as I tried to explain my first problem last month! The problem was that their website did not show a confirmation that my payment had been processed, and since it was due the next day I went ahead and did another payment. Then they processed both - even though one was never confirmed - and refused, even after 5 phone calls, to give me a refund.
I ended up complaining on their Twitter and by the end of that day, a refund check was in the mail.
Same thing yesterday. When customer service couldn't help, I tweeted, got an email, then a phone call resolving the issue.
Jody Anderson at Care Credit/GE is awesome! The rest of them? Well, they suck.
And as of today, my account is paid in full so I no longer have to deal with them.

Posted by: Traci at January 12, 2010 12:16 PM

We registered at Crate and Barrel for our wedding and 1) relatively few items arrived broken and 2) they totally took our word when items DID arrive broken and shipped us new items within a matter of five days. One phone call and all was rectified. Crate and Barrel is awesome!!

Contrast this with the department store Yonkers, where my sister- and brother-in-law registered. You want to see two people fume? Just ask them about their incomplete set of champagne glasses that took them about eight gazillion phone calls, accusations of being liars, and three personal trips to a store with broken pieces of glass. The set is still incomplete. Yonkers is not the best when it comes to personal service.

Go Crate and Barrel!!

Posted by: NGS at January 12, 2010 12:17 PM

Apple has been very, very good to us.

My take on customer service anywhere -
Be nice as a customer, no matter how rude/mean/crappy/stupid/wrong the employee is - it's much harder to be mean to someone who is treating you kindly. You can firmly state your point without being mean. I think Chris proved that here - he was nice & entertaining - and, he got what he wanted!

Posted by: laineyDid at January 12, 2010 12:18 PM

Permit me to vent....September: my dad buys us a rocking chair from our baby registry at wesuck-r-us.com. The wrong item is delivered. We beg for a box or call tag to return said item. 3 weeks and 4 phone calls later, it is picked up by ups. A giftcard arrives 2 weeks later. Instead of $350 on it, there is $9. I call immediately to report this and am told the gift card was used fraudulently and that an investigation must commence. This is mid-October. Baby is due in one month. Still no chair. Or refund. No kidding- 36 calls and one month later, I am told I am being investigated for fraud and, as such, i cannot get a refund until the investigation is complete. One day I was transferred so many times that one rep looked and said "oh, i see you've spoken to us earlier today" to which i said "no, that was 45 minutes and five people ago. i've been on the phone the entire time." I say f*ck it, admit defeat when baby is 2 weeks old and purchase chair from am*zon.com (GREAT customer service there). The correct chair arrives 2 days later and now I can yell at wesuck-r-us from the beauty of my chair. Still no refund. I finally ask them to just credit the original purchaser, my dad, instead of sending a gift card. They insist that he must make this request. He does and instead they send him a restricted gift card in the mail that can only be used by him, in person, at a wesuck-r-us store. It is now January. He receives the gift card and we blow it on diapers and wipes in one fell swoop and I swear swear swear i will never purchase another item from this store again. Whew-- felt good to get that out. Thanks.

Posted by: rebecca at January 12, 2010 12:34 PM

Permit me to vent....September: my dad buys us a rocking chair from our baby registry at wesuck-r-us.com. The wrong item is delivered. We beg for a box or call tag to return said item. 3 weeks and 4 phone calls later, it is picked up by ups. A giftcard arrives 2 weeks later. Instead of $350 on it, there is $9. I call immediately to report this and am told the gift card was used fraudulently and that an investigation must commence. This is mid-October. Baby is due in one month. Still no chair. Or refund. No kidding- 36 calls and one month later, I am told I am being investigated for fraud and, as such, i cannot get a refund until the investigation is complete. One day I was transferred so many times that one rep looked and said "oh, i see you've spoken to us earlier today" to which i said "no, that was 45 minutes and five people ago. i've been on the phone the entire time." I say f*ck it, admit defeat when baby is 2 weeks old and purchase chair from am*zon.com (GREAT customer service there). The correct chair arrives 2 days later and now I can yell at wesuck-r-us from the beauty of my chair. Still no refund. I finally ask them to just credit the original purchaser, my dad, instead of sending a gift card. They insist that he must make this request. He does and instead they send him a restricted gift card in the mail that can only be used by him, in person, at a wesuck-r-us store. It is now January. He receives the gift card and we blow it on diapers and wipes in one fell swoop and I swear swear swear i will never purchase another item from this store again. Whew-- felt good to get that out. Thanks.

Posted by: rebecca at January 12, 2010 12:35 PM

*laughing at William's comment*

Worst customer service: XM Radio. Hey XM! When I tell you REPEATEDLY that resending the radio signal is NOT FIXING THE PROBLEM, do NOT tell me that you'll fix it by RESENDING THE BLOODY SIGNAL. It took 5 calls and 18 CSRs to finally get the thing working again.

On the upside, I was so annoyed that I threatened to cancel my account and they gave me a seriously wicked discount. Score!

Posted by: GreenCanary at January 12, 2010 12:56 PM

Hubby lost out on some collector music item from Amazon because they couldn't find his office and mailed it back. He got a refund, but no satisfaction as he lost out on a collector item. We love Amazon, but you can't talk with anyone. They need to work on their customer service issues.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at January 12, 2010 1:46 PM

NetZero who promised on the phone to cancel my account well within the free trial period, and was still charging me monthly over a year later. but totally denied existence of my account or of the charges (listed on my bank statements as Net Zero $....) every time I called.
I finally paid the fee to get the bank involved and put a stop to it.

Posted by: Karen at January 12, 2010 2:11 PM

My 7yr old got a shiny new Morphibians Mega-X RC Car for Christmas. After talking to her about the delicacy of the antenna on the remote, we decided to store it up high when not in use, so it wouldn't be "played" with and broken. Two days later, my girl scout troop was waiting for their parents to pick them up, and one of the scouts managed to pull the remote down and promptly snap the antenna in two. She then hid the evidence and left. After everyone went home, my daughter brought me the remote and explained that another girl had broken it (the other girl fessed up after we called her on it). We contacted the manufacturer to see if we could purchase a new antenna, but they sent us one for free! Now I have a happy kid again.

Posted by: Jen at January 12, 2010 4:38 PM

Simlar very positive experiences with apple. My pc crashed twice and both times they allowed me to download my previously purchased stuff again for free. Even though the conditions say otherwise and it was me that should have made backup. Fast, nice and good.

My internet provider this afternoon? Not so nice. But I am not going there as those 50 minutes (again...) of €0.30 a minute made my blood boil and that was not pleasant.

But yeah Apple!

Posted by: mikkie at January 12, 2010 5:46 PM

I think it's awesome that you posted this. As someone who works in customer service (and is often the person that is called to the fore when a customer asks for "the person in charge"), it seems like the only customer service stories people ever want to talk about are the not-so-good ones. Not that that isn't valid, but there really is lots of great service out there and it often goes without any comment whatsoever. So, yay, Apple, and yay for you for sharing this!

Posted by: Librarian Girl at January 12, 2010 6:08 PM

customer service...yay....nay...lol.....canadian here....I purchased 2 $20 gift cards from Irving(big ass gas comp. here) for my neice and nephew for xmas....got a call the next day.....how they knew who i was...i will never know...to ask me to bring the cards back, there was a problem, as i pass this station every day to get to work, not a problem, stopped, they fixed them, they were for 20 cents not $20.00....imagine the looks on those kids faces when they filled up...lol....they apologized and gave me a $5.00 gift card for my troubles....yay...on xmas morning when my son opened his coffee mug with a tim hortons (like your duncan donuts, i think..lol) gift card that was supposed to be for $10 said $3.73...he said mom what the hell is this...lol...well 3 trips later, was finally fixed, no apology, no free donut, not even a freekin timbit(donut hole) so nay,,,,and i won't be spending one red cent there ever again, not that they'll miss it...just my lil story....one of many...lol

Posted by: Roberta at January 12, 2010 7:12 PM

My husband's ipod classic was stolen from our car when someone* left it unlocked in the driveway over night. He bought a replacement on line from some guy in the States (we live in Canada). When it arrived it looked fine, but when he tried to sync it with his itunes it wouldn't load more than 10% of it's supposed capacity. DH is pretty good with computers and electronics and tried lots of work arounds and fixes. When nothing worked he took it to the Apple store that had just opened in town to see if they could service it and, since he's a talker, told the guy all about it and his nano that was lost years earlier when someone* left it on the train in Germany (with the camera with ALL the pictures on it...but I digress). He pulled out his macbook to show the guy what he had tried to do and they guy just went to the back and got him a brand new ipod, right out of the box. No charge, no nothing; and he knew that the one that wasn't working right was bought second hand and out of country. Said they liked to keep their customers happy; let me tell you DH was ecstatic.
* not the same someone in either incident

Posted by: jackie at January 12, 2010 9:04 PM

"You clearly don't suck" = win.

Posted by: Heather at January 13, 2010 1:05 AM

"You clearly don't suck" = win.
(And Apple has been good to me as well.)

Posted by: Heather at January 13, 2010 1:05 AM

People liked this one, apparently, dude. Good call.

So here's the story, short.
Partner bought e-gift cards for our staff.

One dude, so sleep deprived from new infant in house, deleted and PURGED email

FOUR HOURS LATER, i finally got them to send a hard copy card (they first and second and third sent him his supervisor's gift, which was 2X bigger than his).

Card arrives next week, before Christmas. It doesn't work because they want partner's home phone to activate. He is at HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS. One more call. Working gift card.

They all knew my name in the support center when I called back, though. That gives me hope.

Posted by: alektra at January 13, 2010 1:13 AM

Shortly after my daughter was born, Blue Cross "mysteriously" stopped covering her well baby visits. I have to call them after every well baby visit (and, hello, there are a bunch in the first year) and argue with them that they DO cover these visits (they say that "persons are only allowed X amounts of visits," I say "except in the case of newborn well baby visits..."). I get put on hold, passed around from department to department and in the end, oops, it was a mistake made by their computer. Nope, it is an "unfixable" mistake. Their computer will make this mistake every time.

I wonder what the people over there do all day. They don't seem to know anything and are never helpful. Do I fork over big slices of my paycheck just to pay these yobbos to sit around and scratch their balls?

Posted by: Rengirl at January 13, 2010 6:47 PM

Best...
Hmmmm... I've actually been very impressed with Manhattan Toys when The Boy was a babe. Their attitude "It broke, we'll send you a new one." End of story.

The worst was definitely Bell Canada. (We're not happy unless you're not happy.) So bad, we switched to another company.

Posted by: Nat at January 14, 2010 7:25 AM

Wow, you did a lot better than a friend of mine did with iTunes.

Her iPod stopped talking to her iTunes on her MacBook (she has everything Mac), and when she called up customer service, they basically accused her of stealing. No amount of serial numbers, receipt copies, or other paperwork would convince them she owned all the machines in question.

I've yet to be convinced Apple is any better than any other computer company.

Posted by: Kat at January 16, 2010 1:30 PM


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