As many of you know, I have been a lovestruck teenager for Apple and their products for quite some time. It started out innocent enough, with my first iPod, and grew immensely when I began using my iBook. I saw how PCs paled in comparison to my sexy, sleek iBook and all it's glorious features. Then I upgraded to an iPod touch and my love abounded. Eventually, when Michael's Dell desktop computer crapped out for the second time, I used my feminine wiles to convince him to replace it with an iMac, and when he finally conceded, he too fell in love. We have been an Apple household ever since.
To continue to list the Apple products I have purchased over the years would probably be a welcome invitation to local robbers and street gangs (if they even have those here), so I will just get on with the story of my first lover's quarrel with Apple.
It began on a sunny Saturday morning, not unlike any other. Bored, I was playing with my iPhone (hello product placement) and decided it was time to change my ring tone. I noticed in iTunes that they have added some great new selections, and I found the perfect one with which to make a statement to the world about who I am. The Dexter theme song. Nothing's scarier than a hugely pregnant woman with a serial killer ring tone. When I tried to purchase it, however, iTunes informed me that I needed to upgrade to the newest operating system before I would be allowed to purchase said ring tone. Well that seemed innocent enough, I mean 'upgrade' is such a nice sounding word, so I went down to the computer and followed the procedure to upgrade to iOS 5. And this is where things take a turn for the worse.
Upon retrieving my phone, I saw a strange new screen that was asking me to input certain information before my phone setup could be completed. I went though the series of screens with no problems until it wanted me to put in my iTunes user name and password. After I did so, I received a message saying I needed to change my user name to an email address to continue. That seemed like an inconvenience to the login process, considering how much more I will now have to type just to purchase a damn song, but who am I to argue with the phone instruction page? I put in my email address, which is my first and last name at gmail dot com. Then, an ugly blue screen pops up saying "an account with this email address already exists."
Well, that's strange, since I have not set up another account, and I haven't approved any strangers using my email account with the confirmation email that Apple sends you. So what gives? After quite a bit of time spent trying different password combinations with my email address, it seemed clear that there was something wrong on Apple's end as to why I was unable to use my own email account for this now obnoxious upgrade.
I wanted to call Apple's tech support to get some help, but I could not get past this setup screen to access anything on my phone. Then I remembered I have one of those archaic land lines that I pay for but never use, so I dusted off that phone and searched Apple's website for a phone number. And herein lies the next problem.
There is no customer service phone number for these kinds of issues. You can call their support for issues with your devices, but the problem wasn't really my device, it was a problem with either their new operating system, or iTunes account management. However, I tried the phone number anyway, and answered the automated a-hole on the other end of the line. But then he kept asking me for my phone's serial number. Well, that is stored under the "settings" icon on the home screen, but I cannot get past this stupid user name and password page to get to my home screen! After screaming "OPERATOR!" at the automated a-hole a few times, I was finally connected to a live person, who was about as friendly as the automated a-hole. When I told her in detail what I was dealing with, she asked me for my iPhone serial number. I had to explain AGAIN that I cannot get to it, as I am stuck on this screen. Then she asked me for my email address to look me up that way. She was unable to find any account under my email address. When I asked her why, then, is it telling me an account already exists with my email(?!?!), she said she didn't know. Helpful, as that is why I have called today. When she was finally able to look me up, she told me my 90 days of free service have already expired for my phone so they may or may not decide to charge me a fee before they'll help me, but someone else will determine that, and she promptly transferred my call. Now, I don't really understand why, if she had actually been listening to me, she would be telling me that I need iPhone support, when this is clearly not an issue with my phone itself, but with iTunes. Before I could find out from the next person though, my call that had taken 15 minutes was disconnected.
Now, I'm not the most patient person to begin with, but the thought of being without my phone when I'm 8 months pregnant and my husband is across the country, made me hit the redial button and try again. After going through pretty much the same process and reaching an equally friendly "service" agent, he also tried to tell me I was going to have to purchase support if I wanted their help. Before I could ask why, I was disconnected again. Seeing as how well my last two calls went, I searched the website for alternate means of resolving this issue. Since this upgrade is new, I couldn't find any answers in the troubleshooting forums, so I found the iTunes support contact, which is only via email, and sent them the following message:
"I updated my iPhone to the new software version 5 and now I'm trying to set up my phone and it tells me I need to put in my iTunes user ID. I do this and then it tells me I need to change it to my email address. So I put in my email address and it tells me this email address is already being used. Well my password doesn't work with my email address and when I have tried to reset it by having you send me an email, I am not receiving any emails from you to reset it. I have tried 3 times. I also tried by answering the security questions and it tells me my answers are wrong. Now I can't use my phone and you have no way of helping me unless I pay you for iPhone support? But this is not an iPhone problem. I need my phone to be in working order today as I am 8 months pregnant and my husband is working out of state, and I need to be able to send and receive calls and texts to and from him. This is unacceptable."
A few minutes later, I got this reply:
This is an automated reply, but an iTunes Store representative will be reviewing your request and will send you a personal response soon (generally within 48 hours).
And it goes on to reference several "helpful" FAQ articles.
With the prospect of spending 48 hours being unable to use my phone, I spent a quality amount of time fiddling around with my iTunes preferences and was eventually able to get my email address accepted as my user name. Which again, is pretty inconvenient. I mean now I even have to type an @ when I want to purchase anything? My old user name was 8 characters, now it's 25. Annoying. But whatever, I got my phone to work again, no thanks to Apple. The next day I got this cheerful little number in my inbox:
Greetings from iTunes Store Customer Support! I would like to introduce myself, my name is Mariz and I will be assisting you today.
I understand that you are having trouble signing into your iTunes Store account "email@example.com" on your iPhone. I know this is upsetting and am sorry for the inconvenience this have caused you.
Rebecca, please try the steps below to sign into your account on your device.
Since you have the latest software for your device, follow these steps to sign in:
1) Verify that you have access to the internet from your iOS device via EDGE, 3G, or Wi-Fi.
2) On your iOS device, tap the Settings icon on your Home screen.
3) Scroll down and tap the Store icon.
4) The Apple ID you are signed in with will appear on the next screen. If you aren't signed in, you'll see a Sign In button.
5) If you are already signed in to an account and the Apple ID that appears is different from the account you'd like to be signed in with, tap the Apple ID button then tap the Sign Out button that appears.
6) Once you are signed out, the Sign In button will appear. Tap it.
7) Now, tap the Use Existing Apple ID button.
8) Enter your Apple ID as listed above and your password in their respective fields, then tap OK to sign into your account.
If you sign in successfully, your Apple ID will appear in the Apple ID button at the top of the Store screen. You can press the Home button to return to your home screen once you know are signed in. You can then tap the iTunes, iBooks, or App Store icons to browse the stores on your device.
If you no longer have the password for your account, you can simply reset it from any computer via Apple's iForgot website at:
If you have any trouble signing into your account or if you receive any error messages, I can reset your account password for you. Before I can do this, Apple requires that you provide the following for security reasons and troubleshooting:
- The billing address listed on the account
- A detailed description of any error messages you may have received
...as well as one of the following:
- the last four digits of the credit card used for your iTunes Store account
- or the order number of your most recent purchase
- or the name of any item you've purchased using this account
Upon receiving your response, Apple will verify your information, reset your password, and send you an email with your new password.
If you have any additional questions, please let me know and I will be happy to assist you further. I hope you enjoy using the iTunes Store.
Have a wonderful day!
iTunes Store Customer Support
Please Note: I work M-F, 8:00AM-5:00PM CST
To which I replied:
Obviously you did not read my original email, because I already explained in it that I had tried resetting my password on iForgot, and that did not work. And not only that, but I was trying to do the new setup on my iPhone because I upgraded it to the new operating system 5, and if you had read that part of my email, then you would also know that none of your other "tips" would work, since I was unable to reach the Home screen without completing your new setup, which REQUIRES the iTunes user name and password to reach the Home screen. But it doesn't matter that you merely glanced over my words and gave me no usable solution to my problem, much like your colleagues who work the Apple "support" telephones, because I was able to resolve the problem on my own, after spending many frustrating hours trying to figure it out, with absolutely no help from Apple's "customer service." To say I am upset with Apple's ability to handle a matter such as this would be a vast understatement. I used to tell everyone how wonderful I thought Apple was; I always buy Apple products, my house could be a showroom for Apple. But now I will be sure to tell everyone contemplating buying one of your products about the horrible experience I have had, and in future purchases will myself look into other brands that actually offer help to their customers when needed instead of Apple's laughable customer service.
Sent from my iPad <---- how ironic.
Was this a slightly dramatic overreaction? Maybe. But still, obviously this person did not read everything I said, or maybe they have chimpanzees running their support office, in which case Mariz did a pretty excellent job of understanding my issues, given his hindered communication abilities and lack of opposable thumbs. But something tells me this s a person, not a chimp. Nonetheless, I felt a little bad for the bitchiness of my email, like maybe my hormones got the best of me. And then I received this little gem this morning:
Natasha, here from the iTunes Store. Mariz is out of the office for a few days and has asked me to keep an eye on your request for him.
Thank you for your response. I apologize for any frustration this may have caused Rebecca. I am glad to hear that your issue has been resolved however.
I hope you enjoy your day! Thank you for your continuous support. Take care Rebecca.
iTunes Store/Mac App Store Customer Support
Thank you for your continuous support?!!?! What about my response conveyed that I have continued support for this company? Apparently Natasha's reading comprehension is as spectacular as Mariz's. Not to mention her utter disregard for the comma. Although, at least I know that an actual human being took time out of their day to write that asinine response. But I think it's safe to say I am no longer in love with Apple to it's core. Steve Jobs is gone and so is my blind loyalty. Perhaps I will change my mind once I cool off. Or give birth. Either way, Apple has a lot of making up to do to me.