Universal Apple stole $29 from me, an ex-Applecare employee perspective

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by zorrobyte, Oct 13, 2016.

  1. zorrobyte, Oct 13, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2016

    zorrobyte macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2013
    #1
    I wasn't always an Apple customer, in fact I was a pretty diehard Android fan. My first Android phone was a T-Mobile G1/HTC Dream, fresh into my hands on release date - replacing my HTC Windows Mobile phone with a keyboard. From there led a long history of rooting, flashing and tweaking my handset at will.

    I got a job working for Apple from home, supporting OS X and then finally iOS. I was there for about three years, yet never owned an iOS device. Release after release, "How are you enjoying your new iPhone?", "I still actually have my Nexus 4, but I'm excited for your new iPhone!". Apart from my first home computer (a PowerPC with a 75Mhz processor, running Mac OS 7), it wasn't until the last year there that I purchased a MacBook Air under the employee purchase plan. Around then the monstrosity that was Windows 8 was out and I got hooked having a decent bash terminal baked in for my sysadmin hobbies.

    I ended up transitioning into a software development role after leaving Apple. The LG G4 was hot on the scene, I purchased one from T-Mobile but then was let down by the locked boot loader and carrier bloatware. Regardless of the reasoning, I was pissed that I no longer had control over a device I purchased. I figured with all of the years training I had with iOS that I'd give it a shot, so I purchased an iPhone 6s Plus.

    It was awesome, perfect integration with my now favorite MacBook Air and a rich App ecosystem of more often then not polished Apps. I knew support was superb (even if I never needed to use it) and generally knew that iOS was straightforward and bypassed the OS fragmentation issues I experienced with Android. Sure, I'd miss out on rooting and tweaking my device (my go-to was an ad blocker, but iOS 9 added content blocking for Safari), but it just seemed to "work" and had this magical hassle free aura to it (maybe years of Apple training finally indoctrinated me).

    The magic wore off though. Yes, things do seem to "just work" and things are rather stable (as long as you stay within Apple's walled garden of Apps and services). But it eventually got boring. Downloading music locally in iOS 10 requires some nasty Smart Playlist hacking, or individually selecting each of my 300 tracks to download. Mail can't do push for Gmail. Sure, I can remove stock Apps (finally) and replace with alternatives such as Spotify and so on, but lacking Siri integration (I use it often in my car). Overall I was still satisfied though for my use cases. I bought in further and purchased an iPad Pro 9.7 and Apple Watch Series 2.

    Last week I was browsing Macrumors, looking for news on the yet to be announced MacBook Pro when I noticed that the Dash app was removed from the App Store (Dash pulled from App Store - Macrumors). This App is a programming API documentation browser, as a software developer it is a tool that I use often. There is even this handy iOS Remote feature that I can lookup documentation on my Mac and the documentation will show on my iPad Pro that I sit next to my Macbook's screen, expanding my screen space.

    My first thought was, "Wow, this sucks. I won't be able to get updates for the app on iOS now". What I didn't know until some hours later reinstalling a stable version of iOS (I was trying out the iOS 10 Beta for an App I'm working on), that the App simply vanished from my purchase history. Flabbergasted, I started furiously searching online for more information.

    Surely with my three years of experience working for AppleCare, they would take care of me as I knew that we cared deeply about our customers. We refunded purchases made by children without authorization, we waived repair fees for accidental damage for extenuating circumstances, the list goes on an on. Heck, there was even a customer who called in for two years straight claiming that aliens were inside their Apple products (and other insane claims) and we eventually ended up refunding every single purchase they ever made.

    My Apple Support experience though differed greatly. I initially chatted in, was escalated to Tier 2. All dandy I thought, only T2 can make policy exceptions. I straight out asked for a customer appeasement exception for dissatisfaction with iTunes Store policy and was denied. I argued that not only did I disagree with removing access to products purchased from the iTunes Store, but the advise offered to Transfer Apps to effectively backup my purchases to my Mac was incorrect as Transferring purchases was removed in iOS 9 (due to app-slimming). This led to the AppleCare agent ignoring my replies and simply spamming snippets (canned replies) to me about how to backup and restore my iOS device (again useless as Transferring Purchases has been removed). This angered me and demanded that a CSR (Customer Service Rep) call me back (highest level of customer support at Apple), in which they agreed.

    I received a call from Tier 1 iOS support, I requested Tier 2 then explained my situation. More advise was offered about backing up my device and restoring, however it didn't seem to click that Transferring Purchases is now impossible. I was informed that they can no longer escalate to CSR and I'd have to call corporate. The AppleCare Advisor did file a request to iTunes Store support and advised me to wait a few days for a reply. Today I received the reply and it's below:

    Hi,

    Thanks for contacting us. I understand that the full version of Dash 3 has been discontinued and you’d like a refund for your purchase.
    As we discussed, I had your account reviewed for your refund request of the App purchase.
    After carefully reviewing your case, we’ve determined your purchase doesn't meet the conditions for a refund. If you’d like to learn more about our refund policy, see this page:
    http://www.apple.com/legal/internet-services/itunes/ww
    The discontinuation of applications isn’t determined by Apple. For more information, contact the app's developer directly:
    https://kapeli.com/dash
    Note: Although we mentioned third-party products in this email, Apple doesn't recommend or endorse these products.
    Thank you for your patience while I looked into this further for you.


    Not only is this a canned reply without a shred of personalization, but is factually incorrect as the discontinuation of the application was determined by Apple. Seriously, it would of only taken a second to type anything applicable to my concerns, such as removing the ability for end users to backup Apps or understand that I'm not asking to conform to the refund policy, rather an appeasement which is totally within scope as per Apple support SOP.

    I'm livid. No other software distribution platform that I'm aware of would take such drastic measures to prohibit access to an item that an end-user purchased. I can download each and every single product I've ever purchased on Steam, for good better or worse. The infuriating part is that not only has my $29 been simply stolen from me, but that AppleCare has completely lacked even a shred of personalization, empathy or understanding when communicating with them. Simply spamming canned replies in live chat and email is completely unacceptable and isn't the experience I had working for Apple when I was there. What the hell happened?

    The next step for me to contact CSR by calling Apple Corporate and try to come to a resolution. I'll continue updating my post as the plot thickens.

     — UPDATE — 

    Just got off the phone with CSR (Apple Corperate Support), they have stated that there is nothing they can do and that no appeasement or other remedy is available. I recevied the end of line, “Apple takes this very seriously, but you as a consumer have the right to purchase the products and services which fit you best” — which boils down to if you don’t like it, don’t buy Apple products. The Pixel XL is starting to look mighty appealing.
     
  2. Closingracer macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    #2
    Google can do the same exact thing on the play store...
     
  3. AndyK macrumors 65816

    AndyK

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    #3
    Buying an app doesn't guarantee you any updates for the app nor does it protect you if a developer goes out of business or gets themselves banned for an indiscretion. It sucks for all of us but that's how it is. As the poster above has pointed out, Google do the same so moving with that as your reason isn't overly productive.

    This isn't Apple's fault, especially given the latest information coming to light that makes Kapeli looks less and less innocent with his play the victim routine wearing thin. You should direct your displeasure to him, not with an essay bashing Apple for upholding their own policies. Especially after it also seems they gave him every opportunity to admit what was going on & get Dash back in the app store and move forward.
     

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