Two years ago, my sister Patsy e-mailed me in distress because she couldn't locate a customer service number for Amazon.com. With a little sleuthing, I was able to discover that the number is 1-800-201-7575. To this day, publishing Amazon.com's customer service number (not once, but twice; I'll probably do it again when the Christmas shopping season rolls around) is my most profound contribution to the commonweal. When I die, I expect my tombstone to read: "He published Amazon's customer service number. Those bastards tried to keep it a secret, but he found it, bless him, and he splashed it all over the Web."
Patsy e-mailed me again today, in distress once again because she'd been charged $3.96 for four songs she'd never purchased on iTunes. Once again, she could find no customer service number. Once again, I found it for her. This one was a lot easier to find—so much so that I wondered why Patsy couldn't track it down herself via Google. The number was:
1-800-676-2775. Choose menu option 1 for English, then menu option 2, and then menu option 1, and then menu option 3.
But wait! Here's what I got after I'd done all that:
If you're calling about a question relating to an iTunes music store purchase or gift certificate, please visit us on the Web at www.apple.com/support/iTunes and select the iTunes music store customer service link.
(Click! Dial tone.)
A classic bait-and-switch. Obviously, Apple Computer didn't know who it was dealing with.
I next tried 1-800-275-2273, a number I located, oddly enough, by logging on to Apple's "How To Contact Us" Web page. But all I could find there was "technical support," not customer service. An erroneous bill for $3.96, I was pretty sure, did not constitute a tech problem. Next I tried Apple's corporate number in Cupertino, Calif., hiding in plain sight on the same Web page: 408-996-1010. When I asked the operator for iTunes customer service, she said she'd switch me over to "corporate customer relations." Could I have the direct-dial number? No, she said as politely as she could. "It's just a button on our switchboard."
I don't believe it's just a button on Apple's switchboard. There's a direct-dial number, damn it. There has to be. I will not rest until I find it. Hang in there, Patsy.