WIRED, you’re dead to me

And it’s not because of all the stupid “The Web is Dead” stuff, either– though I guess that’s part of it.  No, I am thinking of the still not complete saga of how WIRED screwed me out of my iPad application, which began back in early July and which still continues.  This has been a lot to go through for a five dollar app.  Anyway, after the jump, most of the story, but the moral of the story here is crappy customer service is a bad thing.

So, to get fully caught up, go back and read my early July post; the short version is when I installed the WIRED app upgrade to my iPad in early July, it erased the June issue of the magazine I bought (and had enjoyed) earlier.  Here’s what I wrote to WIRED customer service email address I hunted down on July 5:

Greetings!

My previously purchased June issue of WIRED was erased with your
latest update, which I find rather outrageous, frankly.  Besides being
the opposite of an update (a downdate?), you’ve buried the instructions for what to do about this at the bottom of a web page andnot on the iTunes store.  And further, your instructions for how users like me should update aren’t working for me, perhaps because I always update apps when I’m connected to a computer. I’m not sure.  Either way, this is pretty lame.

In any event, please either refund my $5 for the June issue, or tell
me how I can get back what I paid for and what your downdate took away from my iPad.  My iTunes Store username is actually
steve@stevendkrause.com, but you can email me instructions at this address.

Thank you,

–Steve

Then I received the following very personal response on July 7:

Dear Subscriber:

We are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused.

1. Please verify that you have updated your app to version 1.1

2. Was the June 2010 version of the app removed from your device prior
to your update?

3. When did you purchase the June 2010.

4. What is the Apple ID under which you made your initial purchase?

5. Please respond to this email with a copy of your iTunes receipt for
the June WIRED Magazine App.

Your response will receive our immediate attention.

If you should need further assistance, please be sure to include all
previous e-mail correspondence.

Thank you for your interest in Wired Digital.

Sincerely,

Kari

Fine.  So here’s what I wrote back to “Kari:”

Dear Kari:

Here are my responses:

On Wed, Jul 7, 2010 at 2:06 PM, Wired Digital- <WIRD@cdsfulfillment.com> wrote:
> Dear Subscriber:
>
>
> We are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused.
>
> 1. Please verify that you have updated your app to version 1.1

Yes, 1.1.0

>
> 2. Was the June 2010 version of the app removed from your device prior
> to your update?

Yes, though not from my computer.  I often remove apps from my iPad to make room for others and then put them back.  This is a normal behavior and has never caused me trouble before with any other apps.

>
> 3. When did you purchase the June 2010.

May 28, 2010.

>
> 4. What is the Apple ID under which you made your initial purchase?

steve@stevendkrause.com

>
> 5. Please respond to this email with a copy of your iTunes receipt for
> the June WIRED Magazine App.

Why in the FUCK would you ask me all of these other questions if this is what you want/need?!?!? And given that I can only buy these items through the Apple store, why wouldn’t you already have all of this information?!?!?  Unbelievable.  See attached.

>
> Your response will receive our immediate attention.
>

I am dubious of that.  It took you this long to respond to this issue,
which in my view is one that should have taken about 3 minutes to
solve.

I look forward to either a full refund or a reinstatement of my
previous purchase.

–Steve

And I included a copy of the receipt, which I should point out was not that easy to do since it is not like Apple just sends you a PDF.

Then, a little less than a week later (July 12), I received this from “Kris”:

Dear Subscriber:

We are forwarding your inquiry to the appropriate department for
handling.

If you should need further assistance, please be sure to include all
previous e-mail correspondence.

Thank you for your interest in Wired Digital.

Sincerely,

Kris

Here’s what I wrote back:

Dear Kari or Kris–

Are you serious in what you are suggesting below?!?  Why was I even
dealing with you if you weren’t the appropriate department for
handling this?

I cannot believe the inability of you folks to properly service this,
which leads me to believe that for all those years I have read
through/browsed through WIRED magazine, it turns out they really don’t have any idea what they are doing or what they are talking about.

I look forward to your refund/reestablishment of my June issue, and I intend to spend a great deal of time complaining about your absolutely horrifically bad handling of this situation in as many online forums as possible.

Yours,

–Steve

Though to be fair, I haven’t had time to complain too much about their terrible service until now.

Then on July 13, I received this, once again from my old friend Kari:

Dear Subscriber:

We are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused.

1. Please verify that you have updated your app to version 1.1

2. Was the June 2010 version of the app removed from your device prior to your update?

3. When did you purchase the June 2010.

4. What is the Apple ID under which you made your initial purchase?

5. Please respond to this email with a copy of your iTunes receipt for the June WIRED Magazine App. Your response will receive our immediate attention.

6. Please include your full name and address.

If you should need further assistance, please be sure to include all previous e-mail correspondence.

Thank you for your interest in Wired Digital.

Sincerely,

Sound familiar?  So I wrote this:

Kari,

I literally had this same correspondence with you last week.

See the attachment “Krause Wired Issue July 7 Correspondance (KMM39889920V25369L0KM).pdf”  You will note that you asked me the same questions and I provided answers as best I could.  The result?  I received an email from you that said someone else had to handle the problem.  And now I am apparently back at square one.

But given that I doubt you are able actually open an attachment and I have gone this far, I will repeat myself.

and after repeating myself, I wrote this:

You know, I don’t really have any interest in Wired Digital at this point.  When I do freelance work, I bill my time at $50 an hour, which means at this stage, I think you people owe me about $200.  But I am not expecting to get that.  What I would like though is my money back on this app and/or the issues of Wired that you took from me.  I don’t think this is unreasonable, and I don’t think it should take you bozos a month to do this.

I look forward to your reply, and I’d really REALLY be impressed if you actually sent me an original/new/personal reply, too.

–Steve

Time passed; in fact, I didn’t hear anything until the end of July.  Then, after asking, I received this on July 30:

Dear Subscriber:

We have received your proof of purchase and are processing a refund for the June 2010 digital issue previously purchased. Please allow time for processing.

You may now re-purchase the June 2010 issue through iTunes.

If you should need further assistance, please be sure to include all previous e-mail correspondence.

Thank you for your interest in Wired Digital.

Sincerely,

Kari

Really.  Really? I wrote back this:

Dear Kari (if that is indeed your real name)–

Your message doesn’t make sense to me.  You have proof that you owe me a refund for the June 2010 issue, and yet you say I can now “re-purchase the June 2010 issue.”  Why would I do that?  I certainly won’t do that until after you refund me.

Also, given that this has taken about a month to get this far, can you give me any sense of how much more time I am supposed to allow for processing?

–Steve

Interestingly enough, they wrote me back almost right away:

Dear Subscriber:

Please allow 3 to 4 weeks to receive your refund check in the mail.

If you should need further assistance, please be sure to include all previous e-mail correspondence.

Thank you for your interest in Wired Digital.

Sincerely,

Kari

Oy.  I wrote back:

Dear Kari–

Let me get this straight:

*  I was able to download the issue that you deleted from my iPad instantly.

*  Apple and WIRED took my money via credit card and electronically instantly.

*  To refund me, you people are going to actually cut a check– one on paper, like what my grandma used to include for me in birthday cards.

*  And, to send said paper check, it will take 3-4 weeks to get it to me, presumably because you are sending it via mule train.

Do I have that about right?

SIncerely,

–Steve

And last but not least, I received this response on August 2, this time from Kris again:

Dear Subscriber:

We are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused, but yes you are correct. You will receive a refund via check in the mail. Please allow three to four weeks for receipt.

If you should need further assistance, please be sure to include all previous e-mail correspondence.

Thank you for your interest in Wired Digital.

Sincerely,

Kris

And that’s been that.  So, to sum up:

  • About a month and a half ago, WIRED’s “update” literally uninstalled a copy of their magazine that I had happily paid for and enjoyed.
  • I downloaded my purchase and was charged for my purchase nearly instantly.
  • I’ve spent over a month of emailing, complaining, and pleading for a refund, spending much MUCH more than five dollars worth of my time.
  • Despite the electronic nature of all of these transactions, these people have to cut me a check, presumably from the bank of Nepal or Mongolia or someplace else at the end of the earth.

And they think I’m going to get WIRED again?  I think not.

Oh, and this bullshit that the web is dead?  That’s the last straw for me.

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