Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The not-so-Evil Empire

144 Responses

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  • Simon Grigg, in reply to SteveH,

    I think the onus is on the purchaser to ensure that they are comfortable with the T&C before they buy the thing. It's not like they can't find out in advance.

    I had a guy in MBK (the huge phone mall for those unfamiliar with Bangkok) tell me that he was selling five or six to families in one hit when the iPad first came out - guys were buying one each for mum, dad, the kids and grandma and so on as the new gadget in a gadget-fetish town. Hundreds were being sold daily across the mall. Not sure the T&C were that important - owning it was - whether you used it or not.

    I guess the bulk of those ended up in boxes until the grandchildren or the maid took them away.

    A friend who owns this pretty cool iPad accessory company in Melbourne said his research was similar - a huge percentage of those sold in the early flurry to buy were hardly, if ever, used. I'd image that's changed since V1 but it must've helped Apple's bottom line at the time.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3208 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    Since reading of Brian Fairchild’s dilemma – unable to shake this number.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    I do think Apple are missing a trick commercially:

    If they had a scheme where you could sign up for a gold ID and give them full access to your credit card - you would then be couriered the fully loaded, top of the range model of all products on the day of launch.

    I think this would be very popular.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4467 posts Report Reply

  • Brian Fairchild,

    A lot of what is being said is a bit above me I'm afraid. I know a bit about computers but I'm not a 'techy'. I guess there's always going to be two camps on the Apple subject. I'm not an Apple 'hater' and I really was looking forward to what others had led me to believe was a step forward in mobile computing. It's not about the credit card either. I would just like the service I agreed to when I accepted their terms in late December. I followed all their prompts and instructions when I first turned the device on. I know nothing about being able to use iTunes without inputting the credit card details and I know less about how I make it update without accepting the new terms and conditions. And as for the 'cool' trend, I'm afraid the term 'cool' is just an indication of a temperature range when you are my age.

    One chap stated that it doesn't stop the iPad working if you don't accept the new terms. This isn't correct and the NZ Herald app would be a good case in point. I cannot see any of the video in the NZ Herald app because I can't download the app update without accepting the terms I find unpalatable, hence I miss out on a reasonable amount of news.

    Another aspect which I believe tramples all over the consumers right is that we have some sort of legislation that allows you to 'change your mind' during a short period after entering into a contract. It doesn't appear to be acknowledged or actionable within the Apple kingdom even if you do mistakenly download an app that charges a subscription after a trial period. I can't comment on whether or not there's fair warning or pop-up screens asking you to confirm that you understand the rules of download or trialling an app because Apple has stopped me from being able to do these things.

    The idea of anyone being able to 'help them selves' from my credit card because I clicked 'agree' doesn't seem like a 'natural' justice to me.

    At the end of the day I'll be happy for the Disputes Tribunal to decide if I have a valid case or not. If I'm wrong there will be a cheap iPad for sale and if I'm right Apple will have a cheap iPad for sale. I don't hate the iPad or Apple but I do have a problem with their terms and the way that they administer them.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2012 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Brian Fairchild,

    The idea of anyone being able to ‘help them selves’ from my credit card because I clicked ‘agree’ doesn’t seem like a ‘natural’ justice to me.

    Thanks for coming here and engaging, Brian.

    But they're not "helping themselves" in my view -- they're charging your card to the sum of a purchase you've made. You raise an interesting point about being able to change your mind after making a purchase, but that general right is not offered in the Consumer Guarantees Act. The ministry says:

    You don’t actually have the right to return goods for a refund if you just change your mind and decide you don’t want them.

    I think there are cooling-off periods with certain kinds of purchases (door-to-door, for instance). But I don't know of any online service that lets you do this.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Brian Fairchild, in reply to Russell Brown,

    An online service that will let you use the ‘cooling-off’ rule is Air New Zealand. But again, this isn’t the point in my view. Similarly, If I have made a purchase I would expect to pay for it. When I first sought assistance from Apple with regard to the functionality of my iPad I was accused by Apple of having made a purchase as per the following;

    “Thank you for contacting iTunes Store support. My name is Nel and I’ll be glad to help you with your concern today.

    I understand that your child accidentally purchased some items from the iTunes store. I know how this would be a frustrating situation and provide as much information that you’ll need.

    Upon checking your account there is a billing issue with one of your iTunes Store orders and you are unable to resume purchasing with your iTunes Store account. Unfortunately, the iTunes Store has been unable to verify an authorization from your financial institution and has not received payment for order M3NVN9HTXV. As soon as this order is paid for, we will issue your account a refund for the accidental purchase and you’ll be able to resume purchasing with your iTunes Store account.”

    I pointed out that my ‘child’ was 34 years old and unlikely to have even touched the iPad let alone purchased something. She would never have figured out my password.

    I was then, after numerous emails, advised by Florian:

    “For the advisor who made a mistake and thought you have some purchases on your account. I can only apologize for this circumstances but we are all doing mistakes and we were able to confirm here that you didn´t purchase anything except of downloading free Apps.”

    I’ll happily send you the trail of e-mails so as you can judge for yourself the frustration of dealing with Apple.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2012 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Brian Fairchild,

    An online service that will let you use the ‘cooling-off’ rule is Air New Zealand.

    That’s because you haven’t used the service though. And does that apply to the cheapie fares?

    When I first sought assistance from Apple with regard to the functionality of my iPad I was accused by Apple of having made a purchase as per the following;

    So they were mistaken and then apologised. They seem to have been polite throughout. And when they thought you'd made an accidental purchase they happily offered a refund.

    It must have been frustrating to sort out but I’m struggling to see the evil here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I'm not so partial to the term evil but I believe there is something in this:

    when the operating system had an update, it stopped working all together

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Brian Fairchild, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Yes it applies to the 'cheapie' fares.

    Computers make mistakes! That's a new one! So who placed order number M3NVN9HTXV?

    Auckland • Since Jul 2012 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Brian Fairchild,

    Computers make mistakes! That’s a new one! So who placed order number M3NVN9HTXV?

    Oh lord, I don't know. But it hardly seems malicious, given that they were offering to refund the purchase.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Brian Fairchild, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I'm not trying to convince you or anyone else for that matter, that they are evil or malicious, but I do have trouble with their ambivalence to what my 'moral compass' says is a fair and reasonable expectation. I think the question has been asked and readers will make their own determination based on what they take out of the discussion that followed.

    Have you never felt aggrieved by the action of some entity that appears to be taking your custom for granted?

    Auckland • Since Jul 2012 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    Have you never felt aggrieved by the action of some entity that appears to be taking your custom for granted?

    Certainly. I'm sorry to trouble you Brian, could you provide a more detailed description of what Chris Barton was describing when he wrote:

    "when the operating system had an update, it stopped working all together"

    The iPad no longer functions? It doesn't turn on? It freezes? It would seem a reasonable assumption that someone here may be able to volunteer a workaround for you on this issue.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Brian Fairchild,

    Have you never felt aggrieved by the action of some entity that appears to be taking your custom for granted?

    Of course. And it was Chris, not you, who characterised Apple's actions as "evil".

    But the condition you object to is that they will debit your card to the sum of any purchase you've agreed to make. This isn't unusual: it's how buying digital goods works.

    Moreover, it's evident from the correspondence you've quoted that they are willing to refund accidental purchases.

    I get that you have the right to refuse the T&Cs, I'm just a bit puzzled as to why you would.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Brian Fairchild,

    Have you never felt aggrieved by the action of some entity that appears to be taking your custom for granted?

    In Chch that would be EQC, Fletchers and insurance companies in spades!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5071 posts Report Reply

  • Brian Fairchild, in reply to chris,

    The apps installed on my iPad currently show that there are 11 updates wanting to be installed. I cannot install them without accepting iTunes new terms and conditions. Similarly there is an updated operating system that addresses bugs, Safari, Photos and other items that I cannot access without accepting the new terms and conditions.

    Some software, most notably the NZ Herald app, is no longer fully functioning because the update cannot be installed without me accepting iTunes terms and conditions.

    I can't answer for Chris Barton on this as the iPad has functionality, just not full or optimum functionality.

    Aside from this, my problem is based on changing terms and conditions. I was prepared to accept the terms when I purchased the iPad, I was not prepared to accept changed terms less than five months later. I believe I should be able to operate the iPad on the same basis of the terms I originally accepted and that service should not be reduced or declined because of my unwillingness to accept new terms.

    My view was summed up quite nicely by one person who commented on the NZ Herald site when they said;

    "..imagine if the manufacturer of your car disabled it unless you agreed for them to track you with the satnav?"

    Auckland • Since Jul 2012 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Juha Saarinen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I get that you have the right to refuse the T&Cs, I'm just a bit puzzled as to why you would.

    That's not so hard to understand, surely? If the Ts and Cs change to the point of being unacceptable to you, then is it fair that your purchase(s) are essentially made useless?

    Since Nov 2006 • 525 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Ballantyne, in reply to Brian Fairchild,

    I'm a fairly heavy user of iOS – my iPhone currently holds 297 apps (of which six are games), 680 photos, five videos and 428 songs – and my iPad is similarly loaded. So if Apple was about to abuse anyone's credit card it would probably be mine.

    So far it hasn't.

    That's typical of my experiences with Apple; I'm 62 now and I've been using Apple products since I was 35 without any serious problems, except for the time my Mac Plus made a long hissing sound as it let the air into its CRT.

    I don't really expect Apple to try to swindle me, anyway – it's making plenty of money from me by, for example, clipping my ticket by 30% every time I buy an app. That's capitalism, which we live with more or less happily. I used to complain about it but the death rate on the Berlin Wall and the realisation that the Soviet Union would never have devised something like Mac OS, much less an iPad or an iPhone, helped me grow to tolerate it. Besides, Apple lets app developers have 70% of the retail price of their work – compare this with the 10% book publishers typically let their authors keep. As big capitalists go, Apple is pretty good.

    If you don't like the terms and conditions attached to your iPad, have you thought about jailbreaking it? It's true that jailbreaking defeats the idea of simple, secure computing, and it won't solve your system update problems, but at least you'll be comforted by the knowledge that you can do what you want with your device. Assuming you know what it is you want to do, that is.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • merc, in reply to Steve Ballantyne,

    That's been my experience as well since using Macs since '86.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Brian Fairchild,

    ”..imagine if the manufacturer of your car disabled it unless you agreed for them to track you with the satnav?”

    I think I understand Brian's problem now. And also the problem of the commenter. They both are under the impression that the price they paid for the hardware is the value of the item. Under that assumption it is entirely reasonable to expect updates to be free and for those updates to be free of conditions.

    But for an iPAD you are not buying the hardware, no matter what it looks like. You are buying and paying for the design and software.

    To flip the analogy it's like buying a satnav and expecting Mazda to supply the car that goes with it for free, with upgrades to the latest model for free.

    And I really don't mean that to sound like I'm insulting Brian. It really is a difficult change in perception.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3426 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    Bart, If I buy one of these sat-navs with free car attached.... and a sat-nav upgrade comes out (new streets added to the map, or similar)..... whether the upgrade is free or cost $5000...... the car should not stop working if I decline the offer...

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Tamara,

    I also see some of the problem. I agree that it's a raw deal if you have to keep accepting new T & Cs that may be unreasonable just so you can keep using the expensive device you bought. It's changing the nature of the bargain. However, if the original terms included one that said that you would have to accept any new terms from time to time or else your devices wouldn't work optimally then you couldn't really argue with that. Does anyone know if there is a term to that effect?

    New Zealand • Since Oct 2010 • 100 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to FletcherB,

    the car should not stop working if I decline the offer

    But the car does not stop working. It just can't go to the new streets.

    Really, as Brian says, the iPAD still works it just can't use the new apps.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3426 posts Report Reply

  • Tamara,

    To be fair to Brian, he is saying he can't use updated apps, eg the NZHerald one that he could use previously. Streets that he used to use are now blocked to him?

    New Zealand • Since Oct 2010 • 100 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tamara,

    I also see some of the problem. I agree that it’s a raw deal if you have to keep accepting new T & Cs that may be unreasonable just so you can keep using the expensive device you bought.

    I can see that's an issue: if service conditions change in a way that's a showstopper for you, declining the new conditions is going to limit your future use of your device.

    But I genuinely can't understand Brian's refusal of a term that does no more than oblige him to pay for something he's bought -- especially when his own correspondence from Apple demonstrates that they will refund a purchase if you say it was made in error.

    What is the actual problem here?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Tamara, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I agree, in this particular case I don't see why the specific term in question was such a problem for him.

    By the way, I suspect with the cooling off period he may have been thinking of the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act (phew). Statutorily mandated cooling-off period.

    New Zealand • Since Oct 2010 • 100 posts Report Reply

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