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I recently received an iTunes gift card. Hearing everyone else talk about how easy it was, and how much the love it, and myself having experience with several other Apple products, I was expecting a painless, easy process to download some music.
That's not what I got. I have been using iTunes for a while, but haven't ever been in
the iTunes store. Apparently, this confused a server somewhere.
The first screen I was greeted with when I tried to put a song in my cart prompted me to login with either my Apple ID, or my AOL ID. Naturally, being a geek, I don't have an AOL ID and cringe whenever I see AOL. I do have an Apple ID. I got that when I got my first Mac (a G4 Mac Mini), and used it again about an year ago when I got my MacBook Pro.
So I tried to login and got a message stating: "The Apple ID or AOL screen name you entered
couldn't be found or your password was incorrect. Please try again."
Well, it had been almost a year since I had used this ID for anything, so I reset my password. I still got the same error logging in. I tried the Apple store, yup, I could login fine there.
Time to call the helpdesk. I called the 1-800 number, silly me. The hold message said something about a billion year hold time due to iPhone calls. So I sent the following e-mail:
I tried to sign in to the iTunes store using my Apple ID, and it said, "The Apple ID or AOL screen name you entered couldn't be found or your password was incorrect. Please try again." I clicked the link to reset my password, then tried logging in again and got the same error. I was able to login to apple.com fine using the same ID and password. I tried creating a new account (as I have never logged into the iTunes store using my Apple ID before), and it said that that ID was already used.
The next day, I received the following reply:
I'm sorry to hear you're having trouble signing in to the iTunes Store with your Apple ID account "email@example.com". Please try the steps below. 1) Make sure you're using the latest version of iTunes. It can be downloaded free of charge from the Apple website: http://www.apple.com/itunes/download 2) Open iTunes. 3) From the Store pull-down menu at the top, choose Sign In. 4) On the dialog that appears, make sure the radio button next to the Apple logo is selected. 5) Enter your iTunes Store account name and password and then click Sign In. If you no longer have the password for your account, you can simply reset it via Apple's iForgot website at: http://iforgot.apple.com If you still can't access your account, I can reset the password for you. Before I can do this, however, Apple requires that you provide the billing address listed on the account. Upon receiving your response, Apple will verify your billing address, reset your password, and send you an e-mail with your new password.
I don't think they really read my e-mail.
Feeling slightly frustrated, I replied:
Dear Apple Support, I'm wondering if you'd bothered to read my e-mail. I had a problem logging into the iTunes store, and I get an e-mail back with instructions on how to login. I also work in a helpdesk environment, and realize that you have to check the obvious things first, but had you read my e-mail,you would know that I tried logging in and got an error. Had you read further, you would know that I already reset my password, and I know it works because I am able to login to the Apple web site. The only thing I hadn't tried was updating my version of iTunes. This shouldn't be an issue, because older versions should still be able to login, but just for kicks I updated to the latest version tonight. I tried logging in again, and (you may be surprised at this, but I was not), I got the same error when trying to sign in to the iTunes store.
Guess what that got me:
I understand that you have not had an iTunes Store Account and you are unable to create a new account using your e-mail address. Please let me apologize for any misunderstanding or miscommunication in the previous e-mail. I can certainly see how this would be upsetting and would gladly assist you today. I did a little investigating and I have been unable to locate an existing iTunes Store account with the e-mail address "firstname.lastname@example.org." It appears, however, that there is an Apple ID called "email@example.com" in Apple's customer database. This means you don't need to create a new Apple ID, since you can use that Apple ID as your iTunes Store account name. Here's how to access the iTunes Store using that Apple ID and its password: 1) Make sure you're using the latest version of iTunes. It's available free of charge from the Apple website at: http://www.apple.com/itunes/download 2) Open iTunes. 3) From the Store menu, choose Sign In. 4) Click the Apple radio button, enter your Apple ID and its password, and click Sign In. 5) You will see a dialog saying this: "This Apple ID has not yet been used with the iTunes Store. Please review your account information." Click Review and follow the onscreen instructions to sign in with the account. Here are a few things to keep in mind: - If you forget the password for your Apple ID, you can reset it via Apple's iForgot website: http://iforgot.apple.com - If you do not want to use your existing Apple ID for your iTunes Store account, you can enter a different e-mail address. - If you wish to change your Apple ID, visit Apple's My Info site at http://myinfo.apple.com and sign in with the current Apple ID. Note that if your Apple ID is a .Mac member name, you won't be able to change it. Should you continue to experience difficulty accessing or creating an iTunes Store account, please reply to this e-mail with a detailed description of the problem as well as the exact text (if possible) of any error messages you receive. It's been great working with you Aaron and I hope the information I provided you has helped answer your concerns. If you have any future questions regarding the iTunes Store, feel free to contact us and we will love to be of continued assistance. I wish you the best, and have a great day.
I really don't think they read these e-mails.
I just get done telling them that I have updated to the latest version of iTunes, and they tell me to update to the latest version of iTunes, and tell me how to login and to re-set my password.
This is starting to sound like a broken record...
And I love how they tell me, "Sign in then click this" Well, I would love to, except the whole problem is that I CAN'T SIGN IN!!!!!
So I replied:
That's what I've been trying to do - sign in to the iTunes Store with my Apple ID. However, I do NOT get the error: "This Apple ID has not yet been used with the iTunes Store. Please review your account information." Instead, I get the error: "The Apple ID or AOL screen name you entered couldn't be found or your password was incorrect. Please try again." For the second time; I AM using the latest version of iTunes, I AM clicking the button to login using my Apple ID, and it does NOT give an option to review or anything like that.
I'm really not expecting much at this point, so I wasn't disappointed with the reply:
To change the account name, e-mail address or password of your iTunes Store account, please follow these steps: 1) Make sure you're using the latest version of iTunes. You can download iTunes, free-of-charge, from the Apple website: http://www.apple.com/itunes/download Note: Installing the latest version of iTunes will not affect your library or any items in your account that you haven't downloaded. 2) From the pull-down Store menu at the top, choose View My Account or click the link below: http://phobos.apple.com/accountSummary The iTunes Store sign-in dialog will appear. 3) If prompted, enter your iTunes Store account name and password, then click the View Account button. 4) Click Edit Account Info on the Apple Account Information screen. 5) Enter your new account name, email address or password. Note: You cannot change your account name if it is an active .Mac e-mail address. 6) Click Done to save your changes. To protect your data security, Apple cannot change account settings for you. If you have forgotten your iTunes Store password, you can recover it using iForgot, Apple's password recovery website: http://iforgot.apple.com
You'd think at this point the "Geniuses" at Apple Support would figure out that I have the latest
version of iTunes, and have re-set my password at least twice.
From the part in the middle, I think someone is finally getting a clue that there might be a problem with my account, but since the problem is that I can't sign in, I can't follow that step anyway.
Feeling very frustrated now, I sent the following reply, which is probably more sarcastic than it should be. I also tried a few things on my own, detailed below:
Dear automated chat bot, (I'm sure you're a chat bot, because no matter what I say in these e-mails, you always tell me the same thing...) As stated several times, I have updated to the latest version of iTunes. Just to humor you, I ran software update again. The only thing it downloaded was a quick time update. It had also been a while since I'd rebooted my Macbook Pro (as the commercials say I don't need to..) but I rebooted anyway, then tried the link you sent me to view my account summary. To everyone's surprise but my own, it asked for my Apple ID and password, and when I entered that information, I got the error: "The Apple ID or AOL screen name you entered couldn't be found or your password was incorrect. Please try again." Since you've already told me in all three previous correspondences to re-set my password at iForgot, I decided to humor you and re-set it yet again. And guess what happened!! ... .... I got the error: "The Apple ID or AOL screen name you entered couldn't be found or your password was incorrect. Please try again." I thought about sending an e-mail right away stating that it still wasn't working and I really do want to buy some music (especially as I have an iTunes card that I received as a gift), but I'm getting tired of having the same article copied from the Apple website and pasted into these e-mails, so I decided to try something off the wall first. I logged into the Apple website (with my Apple ID that iTunes hates so much, hmm, must not need to reset that after all, eh?) and looked up my account information there. It let me do that just fine, but mention iTunes at all. You'd think that if one ID is used for multiple things, all aspects of that ID would be managed from one point, but in this case, you'd be wrong. Oh well. Well I was their I re-entered all my account information on a hunch, even though it didn't mention iTunes at all and the Apple store part was working fine. After saving my changes, I logged out of the Apple store and tried to login to the iTunes store, and it worked this time. I was excited, I could buy music now! Well, not really, after finding the songs I wanted, and putting them in my cart, I got an error when I clicked the button to checkout and download. It said the iTunes store was unavailable. I was able to go back into the store and browse for music, so I went back into the shopping cart. It is now empty, and I have $0.54 left in my account, and no music. I clicked Store>>Check Purchases. I have no idea what this does, but it too said the iTunes store was unavailable. After poking around in iTunes (you really need a menu bar along the top of the iTunes store that stands out and has things like "My Account" and "Add a gift card" by the way, the links to do those are buried in between adds for different music albums that I don't care about) I found my account preferences, and it said I had 14 songs for download. I clicked download, and it said the store was unavailable. I kept trying this every half hour for the next three hours, and it kept saying the store was unavailable. Is it normal for just the download part of the iTunes store to be down for three hours, and will I be able to download my music?
It's been four days since this started, and still no music.
Right now, I'm waiting for the reply to this e-mail, not that I'm expecting anything remotely resembling help...
Update: 12/05/2011: It's been forever since this happened, and I don't remember the end outcome. Since then, I've been able to download all kinds of stuff from the iTunes store, but I don't remember if I ever did get the music I was trying to get when I wrote the article...