21 January 2012

The Core of My Problem with Apple Customer Support

Yesterday, I received an email from Apple letting me know that there had been a purchase (using my Apple ID) made on an unauthorized device.  Ok, fine I say to myself.  I will take there advice and change my password.  But I can't.  Close inspection of the email shows that  the Apple ID listed is... not mine.  Its a mismash of letters and numbers, ending in @lvvl.info.  Alarm bells and whistles go off in my head.  This is a big barrel of NOT GOOD.  I do some research on my own and discover this site (Hacked iTunes Accounts).

Turns out that there is a know issue with how users pay.  It turns out that if you use Pay Pal or have a gift card balance, it makes it easier for a hacker to take over your account, change your username and password and buy apps.

I then go to Apple's help site.  The site suggests that for my issue, I use their 'Express Lane' email support service.  I fire off an email.  Then I notice that it will take up to 24 hours for a response.

No.  I'm sorry, but Express is not 'up to' 24 hours.  Especially when it deals with my account being hacked.  So, with the help of (jacobnorton and uraifenn) I got some phone numbers and started dialing.

This is where I started have a problem with Apple Customer Service.

I first called around 0700, EST.  The automated voice told me that no one was in.  Ok, no problem, I know its early. I go through the prompts and the voice informs me that it can't help and that I should call back during operating hours.  Then the line goes dead.  I got a bit upset here as most places will have a message indicating the hours that you can speak to a human.  No such thing here.  I then call every 15 minutes until...

Its now 0803 EST.  I give the required information to the automated voice who then transfers me.  I give the same information to the first human I speak to.  At this point I'm starting to simmer at a low boil.  I explain to him the issue that my account has been COMPROMISED.  He then transfers me to Human number 2.  Who then asks for the same information I just gave the last person and the automated voice.  You mean to tell me that at no point the first two entries of my information were recorded and passed on?  Pretty lazy in my opinion.

Here's where I (admittedly) lose my cool.  I tell Human number 2 the issue, that I was a victim of a KNOWN issue, my accounts been hacked and I want this fixed.  He goes off line to see what he can do.  He comes back 15 minutes later and says that nope, iTunes support is email or online chat only.  Excuse me?  My account and personal information has been compromised and taken over and all you can do is email?  No.  I gave this poor soul some rather salty language.  I ask him questions like: 'So, they can sit in front of a computer and type, but not pick up a phone?'  He did not have an answer for that one.

So we proceed to lunch time.  I get an email from the Apple iTunes support saying that they have reset my account information.  Also, they refunded me the money stolen, so that was good.

I decided to send along an email to the iTunes support person who assisted me.  I just wanted to know what Apple was going to do about this known issue.  Surprisingly, I got a response.  Unsurprisingly, the email was just standard boiler plate about how to better protect my account.  Sigh.  I responded to that second email with the information I un-covered, but I'm not expecting any further response.

In the end, I'm glad that I was able to get my account fixed, and the money refunded.  However, I am still upset that a customer who was calling about a compromised account was brushed off so easily.  Will this stop me from using Apple products?  No.  I guess I just expected better.

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