Commending Apple customer service…even if it does creep me out

Sections: Features, iTunes, iTunes Movie/TV Rentals and Purchases, iTunes Music, Opinions and Editorials

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Stan Ridgway - Mr. TroubleSo, I’m at work last week, I’m wondering why God hates the Cleveland Browns so much, when I decided it was time to finally pick up that recent Stan Ridgway release from iTunes. You remember Stan, right? “Drive She Said?” “Camouflage?” That other song he sang with that other band you may remember? Problem is, when I went to listen to the new download, it was already in iTunes. I’d purchased it from another service, listened to it a few times, rated the songs…and went ahead and bought it again anyway.

Senior moment? No, I’m not there yet. We’ll say I was distracted. A momentary lapse of concentration. Too much music, not enough time to memorize it all. Regardless, I’d just spent $6.00 for music I already owned. Not a big deal, of course, but annoying. So, I decided to contact Apple customer service.

Digging around on their website, I found the e-mail link for iTunes customer support and sent them a quick e-mail. “Hello, Apple. How’s it been? Family’s good? Great! Hey, here’s something kind of embarrassing…”

It didn’t sound exactly like that, of course, but I basically told them what happened, claimed responsibility, and asked if they could refund the purchase and deactivate the songs. If not, no big deal.

Less than 24 hours later, I got this response:

Dear Kirk,

Welcome to iTunes Store Customer Support. My name is [Apple Support Guy] and I am glad to help you today.

I understand that you have accidentally purchased some songs on your iTunes store account. I am sure you are anxious at this time and I will do my best to help you right away.

Kirk, after reviewing the circumstances of your case, we determined that issuing you a refund for your unintentional purchase is an appropriate exception to the iTunes Store Terms and Conditions, which state that all sales are final. In five to seven business days, a credit of 5.94 USD should be posted to the PayPal account that appears on the receipt for that purchase.

The iTunes Store provides a warning message that asks if you are sure that you want to buy an item. This warning can be turned off. If you would like to make sure that this warning is on, you can reset the warnings in the iTunes Store by following the instructions in this article:

Resetting iTunes Store warnings

Additionally, you can make modifications on certain devices that will prevent them from making purchases:

iOS: Understanding Restrictions (Parental Controls)

Kirk, if you have any further questions, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Have a nice day!

Hey, cool! Thanks, Apple. That’s why I dig you guys. But…

Is it just me, or does it seem weird when e-mails from people you don’t know address you directly? Like they’re either welcoming you to Carrousel or explaining you have a brain cloud.

This is exacerbated by the phrase, “I am sure you are anxious at this time…”

Anxious? Over $6.00? Now you sound like my high school guidance counselor seeking ways to keep his job if the levy doesn’t pass. Not every problem in life is going to send me to my poetry journal or to Waponi Woo. I don’t think I’ve been “anxious” over $6.00 since I stole cash from my mom’s purse to buy Journey LPs. (Don’t judge…I’ve since paid her back, and Frontiers was totally worth the risk.)

It got even more weird when I received a follow-up e-mail from the same Apple support robot doctor rep:

Hello again,

I wanted to send a quick note to see if you are still experiencing any difficulties with the iTunes Store. Resolving your issue is important to me, so please don’t hesitate to reply if you need any further assistance.

At least this time he didn’t address me by name, but dude! It’s $6.00! I think it’s totally awesome that you bothered to refund the money, but you’re starting to care more than I did! I’m waiting for this guy to friend me on Facebook, pop up in Messages, then arrive on my doorstep so we can listen to some AFI and talk about loneliness. He has access to my music collection, after all. He knows what moves me.

And that I have no AFI in my music collection.

Of course, none of this will happen. Anyone who has access to my music would likely just be as frightened and confused as my wife and kids are on lengthy car trips. And as long as there are goofs like me who do stuff like buy the same music twice (accidentally…I’ve purposely purchased Queen’s A Night at the Opera six times in various formats and have no problem with it), the iTunes customer service folks will be too busy to perform house calls.

The point is that despite the horror stories you may hear about Apple customer service, give them a chance next time something goes wrong, be it your fault or theirs. You might just save yourself $6.00 in the process. That may not seem like much, but the way things are going, you can likely use that to buy the Cleveland Browns before too long.

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  • Robert Bacal

    I find a lot of customer service and marketing online is “creepy”, in the sense that it’s either automaton like, or it seems they know a lot more about me than…well, I know about myself!