Shopping at iTunes store is quite bizarre...

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by Anuba, Sep 13, 2008.

  1. Anuba macrumors 68040


    Feb 9, 2005
    I never bought any music from iTunes Store, so the App Store is my first experience with it, and I gotta ask... what the hell is up with all these weird charges?


    I bought the 2.0 update for iPod Touch for 75,00 SEK (Swedish kronor).

    First, it reserved 76,08 SEK on my account.
    A few minutes later, it reserved 75,00 SEK.
    After 7 days, the initial reservation of 76,08 was cancelled.

    Later, I bought Zen Pinball for 38,00 SEK.

    Now it reserved 72,36 SEK on my account.
    A few minutes later, it reserved 38,00 SEK.
    After 6 days, the initial reservation of 72,36 SEK was cancelled.

    So, iTunes Store reserves some arbitrary sum on my account (it can be close to the actual price, or double, or a fraction). Then it charges me the correct sum moments later, but holds on to the initial reservation for about a week.

    If Apple wants to borrow my money, they're free to call me and I'll see what I can do, but if they're gonna keep borrowing random sums of money without asking every time I buy some innocent little App, I'm afraid I'm gonna have to avoid buying apps. I mean, if I would do a dozen or so purchases over the course of a couple of days, these peculiar 'loans' would completely drain my account, and I wouldn't be able to go out and buy food until a week later when Apple sees fit to give my money back. Why can't they just behave like every other vendor on the planet and reserve only the sum that I shopped for?
  2. Ntombi macrumors 68040


    Jul 1, 2008
    Bostonian exiled in SoCal
    That's weird. Apple on charges me the exact amount of what I buy.

    Why not write and ask them for an explanation? Use the Contact Us link in iTunes. I'd be interested in seeing what they say.
  3. philgilder macrumors 68000

    Sep 30, 2007
    they should not be doing that, as Ntombi said, contact them
  4. Anuba thread starter macrumors 68040


    Feb 9, 2005
    I'll do that, but I've heard people say before that Apple does reserve an amount to see if there's sufficient funds on the card, then they quickly cancel that charge and replace it with the "real" charge. Some kind of American practice apparently (it's unheard of in Europe as far as I know). The problem here is that the, err... "test" charge remains in the system for about a week. This may have something to do with a lag in transfers between the US and my Swedish bank, of course, but whatever is going on is creepy and I'm not touching iTunes Store with a 40 ft pole until it's sorted...

    Anyway, thanks, good to know that this isn't normal. At first I thought it's something that everyone puts up with because it's Apple.

    One time they even temporarily charged me 1,98 SEK (about 29 cents, i.e. mere pennies) for a free app(!). I'm guessing some weird rounding error in the currency conversion system resulted in 0.00 USD = 1,98 SEK.

    (Yes, in Scandinavia we use a comma as a decimal point in case anyone found that confusing)
  5. Julien macrumors G4


    Jun 30, 2007
    In the US many CC amount are pre-authorized above the purchase amount and then the pre-authorization is removed. Example is almost all restaurant charges are done this way so there is an extra amount reserved for a tip to be added after the original charge.
  6. njchris macrumors regular


    Sep 14, 2007
    That would make no sense for an instant on-line purchase. Either it gets accepted or rejected. No need for a pre-authorization/pending charge.
  7. Anuba thread starter macrumors 68040


    Feb 9, 2005
    I tried googling to see if anyone else reported similar issues, and found some other Swedes who were discussing the same thing and are hesitant to buy anything from Apple because they do spooky and unpredictable stuff with your credit card... Apparently Apple Store Sweden does it too when you order computers, they reserve the money immediately, then a few later you get the money back, and then they charge it again. Only if the cancellation of the first reservation doesn't happen on time, you end up being charged twice the amount for a few days there.

    It seems that a similar thing happened all over Europe when MobileMe was launched. The price of MobileMe is 795 SEK / year, and people who downloaded the trial version found that they had been charged 1163 SEK (again with these arbitrary sums!) immediately, even though you're not supposed to pay until after the trial period.

    Anyway, this isn't some Swedish practice, it's unheard of apart from Apple. Technically the Swedish iTunes Store is based in Luxembourg (I guess Apple picked a tax paradise for their EU sales), so I guess that's where the weirdness comes from...

    I wouldn't be surprised if they're not doing too well with their European online sales, considering they make you think you're the victim of some kind of credit card scam...

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