I wrote this during the week, but I haven’t been able to post it until now.
I signed up for an iOS developer account with Apple last week. The sign up process was every bit as slick as you would expect from Apple, although I was advised that activation could take up to 24 hours, which seemed reasonable enough – I know that there are certain checks that have to be performed to protect Apple’s customers against fraudulent developers/apps.
A few hours later I got an email telling me I could go ahead and activate. I followed the instructions but was unable to complete the activation.
The next day I received an email from Apple saying there were inconsistencies in the data I had provided and requesting that I upload a copy of my “government issued photo ID”. No details of exactly what was inconsistent were provided. I double checked all of the data I had provided, I could not spot any errors.
I contacted Apple through the developer portal, expressing my confusion and seeking some sort of clarification. The Contact Us page says that they will return emails within one business day, but I waited for two business days to pass and then contacted them again as I had not heard anything. That was three days ago. Today I finally received an email response, except instead of being helpful it reiterated exactly the same message, there were inconsistencies in the data I had provided, but no details on what they were.
I decided to phone Apple.
My call was answered quite quickly and the guy on the other end of the phone took my details and tried to find out what was wrong. He explained that I had provided two different names during the sign up. I knew this was not right and so waited for him to expand. It seems that in one place I had listed my name as Mr F Oobar and in another I had listed it as simply F Oobar. I could not believe that this was the cause of the issue. One of the fields I had completed during the sign up process asked for my name as it appears on my card, the other asked simply for my name. Whilst I could understand how this could cause a computer to flag the play, I thought that a human being would instantly be able to diagnose the problem and dismiss it as unimportant. I asked the guy from Apple if he sort the issue out now that he understood and allow my enrollment to complete. Nope. Still needed to see my passport or drivers licence.
I was pretty annoyed at this point and said that if the guy was unable to complete my enrollment that he should go ahead and cancel it and refund my money. He didn’t argue and stated that I would receive an email later on explaining the details of the refund. I considered the matter closed.
When the email arrived it stated that they had processed the refund I had requested as “an exception to our policy”. Really? Because I thought that the Distance Selling Regulations made guaranteed my right to cancel when the contract was never concluded, I was never able to access the service and I had first attempted to contact them well within 7 days?
Seriously Apple. This is not what I expect from you and it really is not good enough. I am shocked that this is how you treat developers looking to contribute to your platform. :(