Like many of you who may purchase songs from the iTunes store on a regular basis, I naturally assumed that all my purchases were mine to keep forever and ever. But then a few weeks ago, I began to notice a number of songs missing from my playlists. Not only that, but all the movies I had purchased through iTunes were no longer available when I clicked on their icons
At first, I thought maybe they’d somehow been deleted from the iTunes library, but were probably still somewhere on my hard drive in the iTunes folder. However, upon searching for a few of the missing songs, I couldn’t find them anywhere. And the movies were nowhere to be found either.
Naturally, I immediately went to the iTunes store to try and find a phone number for their customer service department. And guess what? There isn’t one. The only way you’re supposed to be able to contact iTunes is through their “convenient” e-mail form. Not satisfied that there wasn’t some other way to reach them, I did a thorough search of Google to find something that resembled a phone number for customer service. Eventually, I just called the regular Apple hotline and asked to be transferred to the iTunes store. After being bounced back and forth from one Apple employee to another, I was eventually told the ONLY way to get my issue resolved was by filling out their “convenient” e-mail form. Which is not only IN-convenient, but also guarantees that your problem is not going to be resolved any time over the next twenty-four hours.
What kind of customer service is that? And since I was already freaking out over the missing music, the fact that I had to retain this anger for another few days was not making me a happy customer.
Nevertheless, I waited patiently until one of the representatives (from India, I believe) eventually wrote me back with an even more disturbing question. Have I ever backed up my iTunes library? Of course, my answer was no, as I never thought I needed to do such a thing---once the music was on my hard drive, why would I need to back it up? And what difference would that make anyway, since my iTunes folder and the iTunes store were too different entities, were they not? It’s not like once something is no longer available at the iTunes store, it’s automatically going to be taken out of my iTunes library, is it?
In my case, the answer was yes. And though the customer service person offered to let me re-download all the songs I’d previously gotten from iTunes as a back-up, he also let me know that if a song was no longer available on iTunes, or for some reason, the original product had changed, it would no longer be available for me to download. In fact, the customer service person was very helpful in compiling a list of all the songs I would not be receiving again….over 300 of them. And yet, he offered no explanation as to why the music or movies were “taken” out of my Library in the first place.
I’m beginning to wonder if their new Genius software, that is supposed to help the iTunes store figure out what kind of music you like best, may actually be removing some of your music they don’t recognize during their search process. Either that, or whenever you update iTunes, something in the process is filtering out older content. I don’t’ know which, but I still do not have a satisfactory answer as to why over $300 of my purchase was taken away from me. If I found a way to steal over $300 worth of product from the iTunes store, I’m sure they wouldn’t be happy about it. And yet, all I’ve gotten so far is an apology for my misfortune, and a warning to back up my purchases in the future on a regular basis.
But that’s just me. Have any of you had a similar experience with iTunes?