When Luke Kurtis, the IT manager for the online publication Quartz, bought an iTunes gift card from discount site MassGenie, he didn’t know that it was from a batch of stolen cards. Unfortunately for Kurtis, even though one Apple representative recognized that he had been scammed, the company locked his Apple ID for several months, during which time he couldn’t access his purchases, update apps, or buy new ones. With subsequent Apple support reps, Kurtis hit a wall, being told repeatedly that there was nothing he could do, Apple’s decision was final, and that he should read the terms and conditions. Finally, an email to CEO Tim Cook seemingly spurred Apple into action. Kurtis got his account back along with a few free months of Apple Music, and MassGenie also eventually apologized and refunded his purchase.
We’re glad that Kurtis’s story had a happy ending, but it should never have happened in the first place. Apple’s customer service needs to do better; a letter to the CEO should not be necessary in such a situation.
It’s also a cautionary tale about how we should always be aware that private companies may not always have our best interests at heart. The US Federal Trade Commission has a useful page on how to file a consumer complaint, which may involve escalating the problem to your state attorney general.