After the credit-card company canceled the fraudulent order, Apple disabled my account. And left it disabled.
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983


Apple iTunes support? Better late than never

April 15, 2012

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2012, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2012, The Post-Standard

When I ordered my new iPad, somebody hacked my account on the Apple Store and started charging a bunch of stuff to my Discover credit card.

Hey, easy problem to fix. Discover quickly shut down the account, blocked payment on the items the crook had ordered and sent us a new card.

It sure would have been nice if Apple had been running its customer support the way Discover does.

First, Apple disabled my account. Good idea, Apple! Keep those crooks from doing anything else.

That's it, folks. Apple disabled my account. There is no "second." No "now let us help restore your account." It was just plain disabled. Apple then forgot about me. Never mind that I had just spent a zillion bucks for a new iPad. I was a non-entity.

I was a victim twice -- first, I was robbed, and then I was robbed again, blocked from any way to update the apps on my new iPad, blocked from buying any new apps for my new iPad, and even blocked from any FREE apps for my new iPad. Blocked from any commerce whatsoever at the App Store or the iTunes Store. As if I had been the crook.

There's more. Hard to believe, but was even blocked from fixing my account. I changed the password. I submitted a new credit card. I did everything Apple's confusing website directions told me to do. Three times.

But surely a guy who has written in a newspaper about Apple products for 6 trillion years had easy access to Apple's customer support, right? And I did, in fact, have that access. Apple's super-secret Internal Customer Relations department responded and told me to call a special 800 number.

Special, my behind. The guy who answered told me he couldn't fix the problem. Go to Apple's website and fill out a form, he said. I had a real, live Apple support person on the phone, and he couldn't do anything to end my agony.

Many days had passed since I had lost access to my account. The website I had been directed to, the form I was told to fill out and the information I had given and regiven Apple (and re-regiven again, if you can conceive of it) had failed entirely.

Upset beyond measure, I wrote the first version of this column, which ended with a bitter reflection on my lot in life and a plea for the cosmic forces to bring rain to Cupertino for 40 days and 40 nights. Or something. Maybe just the appearance of threatening clouds over the building where customer service people work.

But then, beyond all expectations, one of those inexplicable miracles of customer support blew a friendly breeze my way. Apple's regular customer service people, the ones I had written to a week before, got back to me and told me they'd fixed the problem.

They had indeed. Everything worked. I quickly rewrote my sad tale.

So here I am, new iPad in front of me, wishing all the crooks would go away, maybe fall into a hole and steal from each other, at last downloading updates and free apps and even a few of those $1.99 specials. As the T-shirt my wife gave me says, Life is Good.

Next week I'll tell you what I think of the new iPad. As to what I think of Apple's customer service, ask me some other day.