Sneaky Apple – for once I’m not impressed

I am normally a fan of Apple and it’s products – I have done quite a bit for their bottom line over the last few years; I have quite a collection of Apple gear.

I have also had an Apple Mac account for many years – I use it as my private email address. My wife has her email account as an add-on service to mine – the cost of which was £7.50 a year. She doesn’t need all of the extra features (idisk, ical synchronisation etc.) so the email account is ideal. I pay £59 for the privilege of mine – but I do use all of the features.

On Christmas Day I got a message saying that there was an issue with my mac account – and it transpired that it had not automatically renewed on Christmas Eve as it was supposed to have done. They had my credit card details and these were correct. My wife’s account then abruptly stopped too.

I was impressed to be able to have an live chat (via keyboard) with Apple. In the early parts of the conversation it was clearly a very clever robotic programme, but later on, I think I was dealing with a human being.

In essence I was told that they had issues with the renewal process and that the best route of action was to close my account which I could then re-open without losing anything – just by manually entering my details. I did this and it worked – but not for my wife’s account.

I was still on line when the Apple person (Charlie) reassured me – an extract from our chat is set out below…

Guess what – when I tried to sort this all out on Boxing Day – I couldn’t – they put a very small announcement on their web site saying they were no longer offering the email only account – I needed to buy a family pack. As my wife uses her email account quite a lot it was Hobson’s Choice. So I spent £30 – buying additional 3 more email accounts and features I don’t need.

I am less than impressed. This sort of behaviour does nothing to enhance a Company’s reputation – even if their products are (generally) superior to the opposition. I guess it impacts on so few people that Apple simply don’t care.

8 comments on “Sneaky Apple – for once I’m not impressed

  1. I agree with Simon on this. It’s a very slippery slope when profit dictates and takes precedence over customer satisfaction. We all know you make far more from customers by taking less over a longer time and continuing to offer relevant good value. A worrying trend.

    Particularly with Google and WordPress offering quite so much for free. With Google you can have up to 50 email accounts for free and only pay $50 if you get into enterprise level above this.

  2. Somebody name me a home technology company which rises above this ‘computer says no’ roboticism when it comes to customer relationship management. There must be a big name out there which manages to combine scale with great service…isn’t there?

    • RH Freight In Nottingham have no call centres anywhere and do all their dealing with clients through real people. Whilst they are not as big as Apple, they re a pretty major business bucking the trend

      • RH is a good call John, may be we should make a point of flagging up the people who get it right. Valuable – and soul-cleansing – as it is to sound off about those teeth-pullingly awful customer service experiences, I’d love to hear more about the people who never hit the headlines because they don’t mess up.

      • Blimey folks, this is a grumpy old man’s blog. This is not some giant ‘love in’. I have a reputation (created by you Richard) to keep and nurture. If you lot are going to start telling everyone how wonderful life is I shall have nothing to blog about!

        I shall rack my brains whilst skiing next week (I mention this in case John has forgotten) to report on good service!


  3. I agree I think apple are great but there seems to be more and more of this sort of activity from them. It’s only a matter of time before they do a Microsoft.

    It looks like we might all be turning to google before long

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