Disappointed with Apple

Today* was the day Apple disappointed me.

It’s not that I am going to stop using their products or services – but I definitely don’t view them through my rose tinted glasses anymore.

What happened was this. Two days ago I bought the Things 3 for iPad app. I already have the iOS and macOS version, and while purchasing the iPad version I sort of assumed the price shown was just a mistake and once I actually make the purchase I won’t be charged. It’s happened sometimes with paid apps – when you try and download it on a different device it shows a price but when going ahead with the purchase the system realizes you have already paid for it and doesn’t charge. In retrospect I should have checked whether the iPad version was separate, but whatever – I didn’t, mistakes were made, mea culpa.

The following day, which is when the option to make a refund was available, I applied for it. And was rejected. I was asked to make a justification, which I did, and it was rejected again with no further recourse. I couldn’t make a further case, there was no one to even talk to, and I couldn’t even resubmit a refund request. I raised a support ticket via email – same response, sorry we can’t do anything if the refund team has rejected – and worse, the email you get is from an address that doesn’t take emails! So again I was stuck with no recourse. (Which is so irritating, the way you are treated like some insignificant thing. I think that’s the thing that really got to me – how after spending much on Apple products and in general being an Apple fanboy, the company doesn’t really care for you. They don’t even want to interact with you or treat you with basic respect. That’s the bit where the rose tinted glasses really came off).

Next I tried the chat system. Similar drill, but this time I could ask for a Senior Advisor to call me. Which he did, and while he was helpful and at least listened and treated you like a human, he too couldn’t do anything. Apparently all customer service can do is send a link to the terms of agreement. Am glad he called though, and kudos to Apple I suppose for having a real person call you, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that this person has no real power.

In the terms of agreement all I could find was one paragraph regarding refunds:

From time to time, Apple may suspend or cancel payment or refuse a refund request if we find evidence of fraud, abuse, or unlawful or other manipulative behavior that entitles Apple to a corresponding counterclaim.

So that’s it. What does it mean – does Apple think I am a fraud or manipulative or abusive somehow? I’d have to assume that as that’s the only piece of information I have.

It’s not like I regularly buy and refund apps. In fact just a few days ago I bought Side Mirror and also signed up to the Pro version of Flow (a Pomodoro timer app I tried and liked). And I subscribe to Apple’s own iCloud and Apple Music – been so for the past many years. Sure, I’ve applied for refunds – a handful over the years – but I know I don’t abuse the system. When I have applied for a refund it’s often because many apps don’t let you try them without buying. So you buy, see that you don’t like it, and apply for a refund. But again, this has just been a handful of occasions.

So now I am stuck with Things 3 for iPad. And while that’s not bad situation coz I will use the app (it’s a good app, and I like Things anyway) the incident has left a bad taste. It’s not what I was expecting, and the way I was treated isn’t fair. I am sure if I were to buy the app from Cultured Code (the creators of Things) directly they’d be happy to give a refund. Or at least treat me with more respect when denying my request. Maybe they’d try and work out something else or give the reasons why they can’t refund. Whatever – it won’t be like what Apple MegaCorp did.

And that’s makes me realise why the whole thing of only being able to download apps from the Apple App Store is a bad idea. So far I was on the fence regarding this, and if anything I was leaning towards Apple – coz Apple is great, right? They love their customers, they have our interests and safety in mind. Sure, app developers wouldn’t mind selling directly and not paying Apple the 30%, but that doesn’t matter to me as the end user. But no, now I realise. With the App Store model my relationship is no longer with the app developer whose product I love, but with this middleman Apple who has no business being in the middle of this transaction except for the fact that I am using their device and OS (for which I have paid anyways). And thus we end up in situations like this where I have a bad experience and from now on whenever I see the Things 3 for iPad app I will think of today rather than enjoying the app – all for no fault of the app developer, yet my experience for them is somehow corrupted.

I have to do something here. Though I don’t know what.

An injustice has been done. And I need to move the anger away to where it rightfully belongs – Apple. The app purchase cost me about USD 24 including taxes. That money is spent, I can’t do anything about it, but I do want to make Apple pay for it somehow because it is their fault that I can’t return an app I don’t want to use (and no, I am not talking about buying and using an app for a few days or weeks and then returning – I am trying to return this at the first opportunity I had). Part of me wants to just cancel my iCloud subscription. I can’t cancel Apple Music as I am too hooked into it, especially with my HomePods, but surely I can move away from iCloud to pCloud or something. But then again, do I want to do that? Not really – it’s too much of a hassle and waste of time. Plus, it’s not like I am going to stop using Apple products, and as long as I have an iPhone and Mac it makes sense to use iCloud.

No, what I think I can do is not spend any more money on Apple. WWDC is coming up. And I am pretty sure I would have forked some money for the 15″ MacBook. I also know at some point I’ll buy a new iPhone (coz the iPhone 13 Mini I have is too slow and keeps throttling) or the latest HomePod or any upcoming HomePod Mini. So that’s some decent money I would have spent on Apple, even though I don’t really need to buy any of these products, but just because I am an Apple fanboy pure and simple. And so to express and channel my anger, and to show that at the end of the day I the customer too have a voice – a voice it can suppress through its refund tactics – I am not going to buy any more Apple products this year. And not just this year, I am not going to buy any new Apple product for up to 1 year from now – i.e. until 24/04/24 (nice how that date turned out to be). Apple can keep the USD 24 it took and which it refuses to return, I am not going to spend a dollar more on new purchases I would have made, and which would have been way more than that USD 24 anyway.

That’s all.

* I wrote this post yesterday (22nd April 2023) but only got around to publishing it today.

Update (20th Sept 2023): On 15th Sept 2023 I pre-ordered the latest iPhone. F*ck. 😀