— 9 November 2007 —

Apple Wants Your Feedback, Sorta

I just lost all my videos for my iPod Touch.

When I went to sync this morning, I got a message saying there was some purchased content on the iPod that wasn’t in iTunes. I thought that was odd, but thought, “How nice of iTunes to keep track of all this for me.”

But once it finished syncing, all the videos were gone; they are not on the iPod and not in iTunes. It is at this point that any sane person might exclaim, “WTF!” I did inwardly, but decided to investigate the possible cause.

As I set out to investigate I thought that if all else fails I should be able to go back to iTunes and download all the content again which I purchased from it. I paid for it, data goes missing all the time, so there must be a way to remedy this.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

First things first. Check and recheck the library and the iPod. Nothing. Check the “Purchased” page. Nothing? That is odd. It should show all the things I purchased… Check the “Purchased on matto” page since I can now purchase directly from the iPod and have downloaded a couple of songs that way. Nothing.

Then I go to the iTunes Store. I click on my email address, which is how Apple chooses to guide me to my account. I click on the “Purchase History” button. And there is a list of everything I’ve bought.

purchases thus far from iTunes

I immediately see the “Report a Problem” button and click it with all due haste. Which then provides me with the following screen.
purchases thus far from iTunes with the purchases button missing

On first glance, the “Report a Problem” button seems to do nothing but make itself disappear. Everything on the screen looks the same except the “Report a Problem” button is missing. At this point I think two things. One, that this is a dumb ass design. WTF would make a button that disappears on click? And two, Apple doesn’t want to hear about my problems.

The rational part of my brain knows that isn’t true. Apple does want to hear about my problems (related to Apple anyway). They likely even want to help me resolve the problems quickly and to my satisfaction. But at this point I don’t see a way to move forward (other than writing another “Apple disappoints me again” post).

Staring at the screen, wondering what to do next, I happen to notice another change on the screen.

purchases thus far from iTunes with new data

There’s a new column right next to the price titled, “Report a Problem.” Underneath the title are the words, “Report a Problem.” I don’t know about you, but I find this odd. Mostly because it was difficult to notice, but also because there’s nothing on the screen to tell me what to do next.

It looks like by clicking the button, I reported a problem. Apple now knows I had a problem with the movie. But they don’t know what the problem was. Do I just sit around waiting for an email or a call? What do I do next?!

I just happened to move my cursor over “Report a Problem” next to the price of the movie and noticed my cursor changed to a hand. I ask you, what affordance on the screen is there to make me think I need to click that text? Clicking this “link” takes me to what I expected to get when I clicked the “Report a Problem” button.

reporting a problem to Apple via iTunes

An actual form to fill out!

I realize that companies want to reduce costs associated with Customer Support by increasing the use of “self-service.” But this is a situation in which self-service only took me so far. When I hit the point where I couldn’t figure it out on my own, I needed help. And Apple has designed it so only those lucky enough to hover over a link that looks nothing like a link might will get the help they need. But now I wonder if I will get even that.

All because that initial “Report a Problem” button didn’t take me to a form like I expected. I will now fill out the Problem Form. I should just link them to this post, but they might think it’s feedback spam and not help me.

Addendum

After publishing this post, I went to the Problem Form, Filled it out, clicked Submit. Got this:

took too long filling out the form, session timeout

And I can’t go back like on the web and find the content I just typed up. So I have to start all over again, and will likely have to sign in again too.

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