iTMS Follies

This post was published more than a few years ago (on 2003-12-12) and may contain inaccurate technical information, outmoded thoughts, or cringe takes. Proceed at your own risk.

So, my friend AAl gave me an iTunes Music Store (iTMS) gift certificate for [insert winter holiday here]. Only, I got it the week before Thanksgiving, because apparently there was no mechanism for him to delay the sending of my gift certificate email. Strike one for Apple.

About a week ago, I decided to go ahead and use it to purchase the new Mediæval Bæbes album, Mistletoe & Wine (link goes to Amazon to spite the iTMS), but before I can get to the part where I'm downloading hip new tunes (or in this case, hip, very, very old tunes) Apple informs me that "Your account information has changed." and proceeds to force me to go to a Billing Info page to verify my credit card information. Of course, my card is temporarily over its limit, and it gets declined, causing iTunes to inform me, "you will not be able to buy music until you have approved your billing information." Never mind that I have a generous store credit, courtesy of my good friend. Apparently I can't use it without backup funds. Strike two.

So, I write Apple support an email thought their special iTunes support web page-- I would have called, but apparently there's no phone number, and judging by the obvious form response I received, perhaps there's no humans either:

Dear Mark,

Thank you for contacting the iTunes Music Store.

In order to access the gift certificate credit, you must ensure all credit card information is accurate and up to date. To edit the personal information in your iTunes Music Store account, visit <>. Click Get Help With Your Account, and then under Edit Your Account, click Open iTunes Account Info.

More detailed instructions for changing personal information may be found in the Help menu. In iTunes, select iTunes & Music Store Help from the Help menu. Click Contents, then click Buying music, and then click Changing your Apple Account information.

Please note that only you can edit your account information. The iTunes Music Store may not change it for you.

The catalog of songs grows every week. Visit often to preview the latest:


The iTunes Music Store Team

So, I wrote them back:

Dear Faceless iTMST Member,

Well, my card info is accurate and up to date. Just temporarily over limit. Why won't you let me use my $50 of credit, when it's not going to be charged to my card anyway?

And if you're going to give me some excuse about the possibility of going over my $50 credit, then don't bother. If you guys can program something as sophisticated as the iTMS, you should also be able to make it distinguish between an order with usage of just store credit, and something that will be charged to a card, and only require a valid card if something is going to be charged to it. Not allowing you to use store credit for such a pedestrian reason is inexcusable.


I'll let you know if anything changes, though I expect it's unlikely. AppleScript can do a lot of things, but "understanding" isn't one of 'em.