Friday, January 7, 2011

The Squeaky Wheel

A few weeks ago, my parents came for a visit. As it happened, just before leaving, my father accidentally deleted five songs he had recently downloaded from iTunes, and contacted technical support to see if he could download them again.

Now, in my experience, this is a fairly simple endeavor. Long-time readers may even remember that I blogged about it, a while back, when a few of my own tracks went missing. Unfortunately, my father, who has probably the worst luck on the planet, was not so lucky. By the time my parents arrived at their hotel, en route to our house, a support tech had contacted him and re-enabled every track he’d ever purchased from iTunes.

Let me re-emphasize this: he needed five tracks replaced, and they supplied his account with something to the effect of 981 tracks, 976 of which were already on his hard drive. What’s more, they were queued up in chronological order, so he had to download all 981, to get to the last five. In a hotel room. Over hotel WiFi. He left his MacBook on all night, downloading like crazy, and still didn’t get through half of them. (He downloaded the rest, once he got to our house.)

Now, I don’t understand exactly what happened from there, because my father’s infamous bad luck obviously struck again. One of the beautiful things about iTunes is that it’s extremely easy to display duplicates in any given list; you just go the File menu and select Display Duplicates. Since he and my mother were leaving to visit my aunt and uncle in South Carolina, only days after visiting us, Dad displayed duplicates, sorted by date (descending), and deleted the dupes that had been downloaded during their Indiana trip. Unfortunately, by the time they were on the road, he realized that he had done something wrong: every track in his library displayed a broken link.

He contacted iTunes customer support again, presumably by replying to the last email. Rather than attempt to troubleshoot with him, the same woman responded rather tersely that it was not Apple’s responsibility to provide him with a backup solution. Nevertheless, she re-enabled every track again!!! Suffice to say: Dad was not happy.

Well, to make a long story even longer, he eventually contacted me for help and together, we figured out that the reason all this happened was because his iTunes Media Folder location was mis-set. Furthermore, since he had re-downloaded everything twice, he had three copies of just about everything, on his hard drive. After hours of merging folders and Consolidating Files in iTunes, he had everything back, just the way it was.

Well, after all this, Dad was understandably unhappy with the tech in question. As such, he replied to the support tech and let her know what had happened, basically telling her what he thought of her service (or lack thereof). Not surprisingly, she responded with an olive branch: a one-song credit at the iTunes Store. Suffice to say: Dad remained unpleased.

So finally, at my suggestion, he called up Apple and asked to speak to Customer Relations. After explaining his problem to a representative there, the rep gave him a choice of several items in the $100-$150 range, for his trouble. Long story short: my father is now the proud new owner of an iomega external 1TB hard drive. (Yeah, that’s a lot for that, but whatever.) ;-)

So, quite roundabout, but when it came right down to it, Apple customer service comes through again—which is why I continue to love them.

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