Friday, February 4, 2011

When Apple Support FAILS:
How To Calm An IRATE
Part 2

Going back a few weeks and a few articles, I discovered that there is no way to actually talk to anyone at the Apple iTunes Store. Therefore, if your email pleas for help go unresolved, you're left out in the cold. But there are further steps to take if your are willing to spend the time, money and patience to pursue them.

Apple has always had an excellent Customer Support department. It's a toll call. There's a firewall of operators you have to get through, but if you stick to your guns you can make it through and talk to someone nice, sane and incredibly helpful. Here is the protocol:

1) Go to the site, go to the bottom of the page and click on 'Contact Us'.

2) Skip everything else and look in the upper right area of the "Apple - How to Contact Us" page where you will find the "Corporate Address" including the corporate office PHONE NUMBER. (Today Apple Corporate's number is 408-996-1010).

3) Deal with the fees and make the toll call...

4) When an operator answers, say only one thing: "Customer Support Please!" That's all. Do not ask for 'tech support'. Do not chat with the operator. Do not tell the operator about your situation. Never mention 'iTunes'. As soon as the operators hear 'iTunes' they blurt out a rant that there is "NO PHONE SUPPORT FOR THE iTUNES STORE!" I had one particularly nasty operator hang up on me when I attempted to talk reason with her. Don't bother! They're pre-programmed. You only only only ask for "Customer Support Please!"

5) You will then be connected in short order (or you should be!) to a kind, friendly, helpful and compassionate human being. I love these folks. Explain in detail your situation. Explain why this is important to you. As ever, be entirely honest and patient. Their job is to help you and to resolve all Apple customer problems.

Note: The call may take a lot of time. When I spoke to Customer Support they had a difficult time themselves getting anyone at the iTunes Store to talk to directly. If the call drags on longer than you'd like, simply ask that Customer Support call you back when they have solved the problem. Also ask them for their direct number. They will give you their toll-free direct number. They will call you back. They have never let me down.

In my situation, Apple were eventually able to talk to a human being at the iTunes Store. Sadly, that person blundered the situation yet-again(!), and I had to call back my Customer Support representative for further assistance. I get the impression that the iTunes Store has been contracted out to a bunch of minimum wage kids. IOW: pray for patience.

Once it was evident that the Level 1 kids at the iTunes Store were incapable of resolving my simple problem, one of their Supervisors contacted me via eMail and we sorted it out right away, the way it should have been solved in the first place. The Supervisor was intelligent and thoughtful. Problem solved, case closed. I was delighted.

Remaining Question: Why-oh-why was it so excruciatingly hard to interact with anyone competent at the iTunes Store? It took me 2.5 WEEKS to solve my very simple problem.

Sad to say, Apple does NOT run the iTunes Store like they run the rest of the company. "ALL SALES ARE FINAL" and "THE ONLY SUPPORT IS EMAIL SUPPORT" are IMHO rude and ridiculous walls put in the way to prevent what is typically the best-in-class Apple customer experience. BOTH of these impediments must be removed or competent Level 1 people must be provided. Polite and friendly dimwits are not acceptable.


When you interact with the iTunes Store, you are NOT dealing with the Apple you know and love. You're dealing with a polite but deranged organization that damages Apple's reputation by way of blatant user-hostility. The Level 1 kids there could not have been more polite! How nice. But they also could not have been more obtuse and difficult. That I had to go all the way up to Corporate Headquarters to have a very simple problem solved was, let's be serious, completely INSANE.

I know the argument that Apple make very little money via the iTunes Store and I expect that is correct. But professional businesses don't let polite but incompetent minimum wage kids loose on their customers. The state of iTunes Store support is horrific. I wish you a far better experience than I had.

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