Erik’s Brain

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Getting a Refund From iTunes for a Rental Gone Bad

I’ll just share the email exchange with Apple rather than explain the problem I had with iTunes.

I sent the following email to iTunes support two different ways. First, within iTunes, you can report a problem with a particular order. So I sent this message that way. I also sent a message by going to Apple site and drilling down until I got to this form specific for video rentals.

Here’s my initial email to Apple:

A while ago now, I rented Nightmare on Elm Street in HD on my iPad (Order: MGJG7MNVDL, Invoice: 140012518310). Midway through the download, it stopped and refused to start again. See this video to see what happened: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/364257/nightmare.mov

I’d had this same problem when trying to rent JFK in HD on my iPad back in May or June. After going back and forth with iTunes support, we couldn’t get it to download, so I was credited the money I spent on the HD download and just rented the SD version on my Mac.

Based on my experience with the previous iPad download error, I decided to give up on downloading “Nightmare” in HD on my iPad and went ahead and rented the SD version on my Mac.

I emailed iTunes support about the problem I had with “Nightmare.” I told them to just cancel the purchase and refund my credit card since I had already rented the SD version on my Mac. Instead, they apparently just reset the HD “Nightmare” purchase on my iPad. It downloaded for a little while and failed again. Once again, it refused the start downloading again (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/364257/nightmare.mov)

The bottom line: I have spent nearly $9 on “Nightmare.” $5 for the HD version for iPad. $4 for the SD version for Mac. The $5 version refuses to even download to my iPad. This is the second HD video rental that’s refused to totally download to my iPad. Please please please, cancel that purchase so I no longer see it in the iTunes app on my iPad. Just refund the cost of the rental.

Erik

P.S. I should point out that in both of these cases, “JFK” and “Nightmare on Elm Street,” the HD versions are NOT available for download to Mac.

Stop laughing about the fact that I was so determined to watch the remake of “The Nightmare on Elm Street” that I rented it twice.

This was the first reply I got back, which was from the message I sent from within iTunes via the “Report a Problem with your purchase” method:

Dear Erik,

Your request for a refund for “A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)” was carefully considered; however, according to the iTunes Store Terms of Sale, all purchases made on the iTunes Store are ineligible for refund. This policy matches Apple’s refund policies and provides protection for copyrighted materials.

You can review the iTunes Store Terms of Sale for more information:

http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/us/sales.html

Sincerely,

Kate
iTunes Store Customer Support
http://www.apple.com/support/itunes/ww/

Ouch. Not cool, Kate. Here’s my response to her:

Kate,

Apple has already contradicted its policy at least once in my case on May 19, 2010 when I was refunded $3.99 for “JFK (HD)” which refused to download to my iPad (screenshot of that receipt it attached).

Your response completely ignores the fact that my iPad tells me that I have an iTunes purchase waiting for me to download and I’m unable to download it (see video here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/364257/nightmare.mov).

Also, my iTunes account page tells me that there is one download waiting for me. That download is the rental of “Nightmare (HD)” in question, which (a) won’t download to my Mac since it’s an iPad-only download, and (b) will apparently be forever be on my iTunes landing page since it’s impossible to download to my iPad (screenshot attached)

Once again, I’m simply asking to that you cancel the pending download that’s stuck in purgatory and refund the $4.99 I paid for the download that refuses to download to my iPad. How can Apple justify charging someone for a product they are unable to deliver?

For what it’s worth, I’m trying to download to my iPad over a wireless network created by an Apple Airport Extreme. Please do not tell me to try to fix non-existant problems with my network that might be making download to my iPad difficult.

Thanks,
Erik

I haven’t heard back from Kate, but this morning I got a reply to the message I sent via the form on the Apple website:

Dear Erik,

Thank you for contacting the iTunes Store Customer Support. My name is Vinod and I am glad to assist you today.

I understand from your email that you had downloaded “Nightmare On Elm Street” in HD but since that had a download problem you have downloaded the regular version, and since the HD version didn’t work you are requesting a refund for the HD version. I know it can be very upsetting to pay for an item you did not receive and I’m glad to provide you the right information regarding this and assist you with it today.

Erik, since the order you are requesting has crossed the refund period, I was unable to refund the charge for you.

However, to compensate for that, I have issued 3 movie rental credits to your iTunes Store account. You can use these to rent 3 individual movies of your choice from the iTunes Store.

When you sign in to the iTunes Store with this account, the video credits will appear by your account name in the upper-right corner of the iTunes Store window. The next time you rent a individual movie from the iTunes Store, your movie rental credits will be used as payment (until all credits have been used or have expired).

If you don’t see the credits, refresh your account information by signing out and back in to the iTunes Store. The Sign Out and Sign In options are available from the pull-down Store menu. If you don’t see this menu, you should download the latest version of iTunes from our website for free:

http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/

Erik, I hope this resolves your issue. If you have any queries related to this issue, please feel free to write back to me. Thank you for being a valued iTunes Store customer.

Have a nice day!

Sincerely,

Vinod
iTunes Store Customer Support

Please Note: I work Saturday – Wednesday 7 AM – 4 PM CT

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you. You may receive an AppleCare survey email; any feedback you provide would be greatly appreciated.

Problem solved. I hope I can an AppleCare survey email so I can give Vinod an A+.

My response to Vinod:

Vinod,

You’ve made my day. I’m more than satisfied with rental credits in place of a refund to my credit card. And I’m just as happy to no longer have my iPad telling me that “Nightmare on Elm Street (HD)” is waiting to be downloaded.

Thanks so much for your time and for quickly resolving this issue for me.

Take care,
Erik

In summary: Apple made things right by more than refunding the money I spent on the movie rental. Of course it’s always a pain in the butt to follow up on problems like this. It’s not that big of a deal to use the “Report a problem with your purchase” method directly within iTunes, but that method didn’t put me in touch with someone who could fix the problem. I had to navigate the Apple website’s slightly tedious support section to finally send an email to someone who could help.

This also underscores how easy it is to satisfy customers who have had a bad experience with your products or services: Apologize and give the money back or give them a credit. When I got the email response from Kate, I was pissed. Getting the response from Vinod this morning erased all of that and I’m left with a feeling of satisfaction and confidence that, should another issue come up with an iTunes purchase in the future, it’ll get resolved and I won’t be screwed. Most importantly, from Apple’s point of view, my last interaction with them has left me feeling very positive about doing business with them.

I wonder if those three rental credits are good for HD rentals…

Related: iTunes Movie Rental Disappeared

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