Saturday, 20 November 2010

Thumbs up for Apple iTunes Customer Support!

Apple’s customer service sometimes seems like a two-headed monster. When it’s bad, it’s very bad but when it’s good, it’s about as good as it can get. I have only had the need to contact them on one occasion, which was about a week ago. I had downloaded some TV programmes from the iTunes store as my limited access to Swiss TV was becoming overloaded by Champions League football and a marked drop in the number of programmes being shown with an English soundtrack option.

In particular I’d earmarked The Red Riding trilogy shown earlier this year in the UK, which had good reviews and had captured my imagination. When I was back at home a couple of weekends ago I took the opportunity to download the 3Gb of programming, along with some other goodies, and was looking forward to watching the trilogy over a few nights the following week.

On my return to Zurich, I noticed that iTunes was showing duplicates of each of the episodes and given my lack of hard disk spaces I did a clean up. When I then came to watch the shows I got an error telling me that the originals were no longer available. And because my iTunes library already weighs in at 70Gb, I had excluded it from my Time Machine backups.

So no Red Riding…

I contacted Apple Support and detailed the problem in an email. Within a couple of days I received a reply from Arran asking confirming his understanding of the problem and asking me for the order details. I was a little busy at the time, and didn’t get round to replying immediately, but 24 hours later I got a second mail repeating the request. This time I managed to send a reply, and within a few hours the shows were made available to me again at no charge.

With limited bandwidth, there was no way that I could download the material while still in Zurich, so I wrote back asking if there was any time limit for downloading the replacements, and indicating that I would be able to perform the download within a fortnight. Again I received a reply within an hour or so, confirming that this was not a problem, and that the shows would be available for download for as long as required.

Last weekend I finally got the material back onto the laptop and I’m looking forward to finally getting round to watching the series. I hope it’s going to be worth all the effort!


Between writing this entry and actually publishing it, I’ve had a second opportunity to put the iTunes support guys to the test, and once again they’ve come up trumps. I downloaded the Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album by The Beatles on my iPad to mark the occasion of The Beatles music finally being available for download. Everything seemed to work OK but when I later linked the iPad to the MBP only the video was there – all the songs were missing. This time I contacted support via the Report a Problem in iTunes, but the outcome was very similar. Some mails acknowledging the problem and confirming the issue and a day later a mail explaining that the missing material was available for me to re-download at no extra cost.  Thanks to Daniel on this occasion.

I’ve also managed to lose Red Riding again, but this time I know there’s a backup at home!