Alexander: Apple holds reins on old purchases
- Article by: STEVE ALEXANDER
- Star Tribune
- September 4, 2012 - 5:00 PM
Q Our credit card was temporarily not working because we had moved (causing a change of billing address). When my subscription to Pandora was due to be renewed through iTunes, I received an e-mail notification that our credit card wouldn't go through. But I knew that it would work itself out in a little time.
Then I tried to play the movie "A Bug's Life," which I had purchased for my son a few years ago via iTunes. But our Apple TV device would not allow me to play the movie until I updated our credit card information for the Pandora transaction on iTunes.
I talked to the woman you referred me to at Apple, who said it's a straightforward matter of "You couldn't watch a movie because you didn't have current Apple ID information." (The Apple ID was linked to my out-of-date credit card information.)
To which I said, yes, "that may seem reasonable to you, but perhaps I never want to buy something from Apple ever again, yet I must have a current credit card on file with Apple to watch a movie that I purchased in the past?"
What can be done to keep Apple from denying access to legitimately purchased content?
BECCA VARGO DAGGETT, GOLDEN VALLEY
A You have a valid point; this isn't fair treatment of the consumer. If you buy a movie from iTunes, Apple apparently intends to maintain control over that movie forever.
While an Apple spokeswoman confirmed your version of events, she refused to comment on the record. I consider this poor performance by Apple, whose stock price now makes it the most valuable company in history. Consumers put Apple in this position, and they deserve better treatment.
Two weeks ago, I wrote that the mysterious international phone text messages for which Bill Jafvert of New Brighton was forced to pay T-Mobile nearly $75 were in fact placed by his son's iPhone without the son's knowledge. The phone was contacting Apple servers in England for authorization each time the son opened iMessage, Apple's instant message service. I've since received this e-mail from Jafvert:
"I received an e-mail from a gentleman from the office of the president and CEO of T-Mobile requesting some account information," he wrote. "Then Tuesday evening I received a phone message from a lady, Mercedes Brown, from the executive offices of T-Mobile informing me that $74.70 had been credited to my son's account, and that T-Mobile is going to continue to investigate this situation, and keep me informed if there is any news."
E-mail tech questions to steve.j.alexander@ gmail.com or write to Tech Q&A, 425 Portland Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488. Include name, city and telephone number.
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