Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Locked Out of an Apple Account

Luke Kurtis (via Andrew Orr):

About a week after I redeemed the gift card, I noticed my iTunes account wasn’t working. When I tried to log in, it said my account was locked. I searched online for help, but I couldn’t find a solution. I called up Apple support. […] The senior agent informed me my account had been locked because I’d used a fraudulent gift card. […] Apparently all she had to do was to escalate this to Apple’s internal security team who, because she had vetted my account, would re-enable everything within 24 hours.


Except that after 24 hours, there had been no word. Even after a few days, the agent was nowhere to be found, even after I emailed her directly. I ended up calling back into the main support line to start with a new agent […] “There is nothing else you can do, there is no escalation path.”


But when Apple locked my account, all of my devices became virtually unusable. At first, it seemed like a mild inconvenience, but I soon found out how many apps on my iOS and Mac devices couldn’t be updated, not to mention how I couldn’t download anything new. When I had to take a trip for a family emergency, the JetBlue app wouldn’t let me access my boarding pass, saying I had to update the app to use it.


All in all, I was locked out of my account for roughly two months. Had I not taken advantage of my internal Apple contacts, I may not have gotten my account back.

Update (2019-08-15): Isaiah Carew:

pretty much what happened to me about three years ago. but the account was disabled for ~6mnths. long enough that i totally gave up. i wrote off thousands of dollars in apps, movies, music, trashed 2 apple TVs, and stopped “buying” any kind of digital content on any platform.

11 Comments RSS · Twitter

This is one of the ways dedicated Apple people end up growing neck beards and quoting Stallman.

This is a great advertisement for purchasing software directly from an indie software developer when possible (i.e., on the Mac)!

I sure hope this despicable story goes mega-viral. This should be a major topic on every Mac blog and podcast this week. It seems like in 2019 it shouldn't be possible for a company to steal $15,000 from a customer without getting a significant PR hit. I wonder if this got picked up by a major news outlet (CNN, ABC, etc.) whether Apple would censor it from Apple News. Seems likely.

Unfortunately, I have no illusions that other large companies like Google don't sometimes treat customers with just as much disrespect

What a nightmare. If I got locked out of my Google account, my life would be in chaos for months.

"I purchased an iTunes gift card off of a popular discount website"

Locked out of an account with 14 years of purchases. For two months. And “no recourse.”

This really makes Apple’s “security” (fraud) people look incompetent. If he didn’t have Apple contacts, what then?

All of this bearing in mind that Apple wants to be your credit card (with binding arbitration on their terms) as well.

This is about as bad as the “Kapeli banned from the appstore” thing from a few years back. Wonder if it’s the same people?

—sent from an iPad that will *never* be linked to an Apple Card.

The moral of this story is to not buy gift cards from sketchy "discount" websites. There is no free lunch in this society, and anyone offering a discount for no reason is to be suspected. $5 saved is not worth the hassle of having to find out if you're in possession of stolen goods.

@NIcola When did "a popular discount website" become "sketchy "discount" websites"?

iTunes (or other) gift cards are frequently discounted. So you can start suspecting almost any business.

@NIcola, I'm sorry @someone is correct, these cards are discounted all the time, even from major chains. Also, why not simply remove the fraudulent amount and then send a notification to the user why the amount was denied/removed? You know, treat the customer like a victim of fraud, instead of a scammer. Nah, when you have a captive audience, why bother?

This just happened to our family today ! We got permanently locked out from our account, today without any explanation . They would not tell us why, only said that we violated their terms. When asked for more information , they said because of a gift card purchase. Except that We NEVER got any gift cards , so we have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. just in complete shock over how vulnerable we suddenly become overnight . A service that we have used over 10 years is suddenly taken away without explanation. Apple support is super dismissive and unhelpful. Can't believe this! Honestly , just can't believe they can get away with this, and lock us out without any explanation !

Same here - the first time it took 6 months - now im waiting /trying since 9,5 months ...its hell ....and i feel like i get insane ..feeling totally helpless and getting fooled by all this "supporting" XXXXX .."help"lines etc.

Same here, exactly the same, I have all the receipts and proofs, but support just won't listen God forbid consider.
Your account has been permanently locked and no one can do anything about it.
I have this account since 2008. and never had any issues, this horror loop with support I wouldn't wish on anyone

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