Welcome to the Great Canadian Apple iTunes gift card fight. What am I talking about well it is the fact that if you want to buy apps in the iTunes store you have to use a credit card and cannot use a gift card.
Here is my story feel free to add you comments below on your particular story. As most of my friends know I have a great love/hate relationship with Apple products. The fact that I got an iPhone surprised several of them, but I did and for the most part I actually enjoy it and the apps I have added to it.
This is not a bitch about on how the phone works, but there is a complaint or two about the place where I get the apps at. Yes, I mean the iTunes store. I have had my phone for a couple of months now and in the last month I wanted to install a couple of apps that would be useful to me and my business of web hosting and design. I actually held off on that because I knew I would be getting a couple of iTunes gift cards for Christmas.
Well yes, I got the cards for Christmas and proceeded to enter them into the iTunes store; they redeemed ok and credited my account fine. Then the fun started, well I went to spend them and found that it kept asking for a CC number. I just kind of sat there going WTF…. that makes no sense since I had just entered what I thought was the equal to money in my account and now I can't seem to spend it.
First thing I did was re-read all the fine print on the card to make sure it was valid for apps. As far as I could tell on the card it fine print and large print says nothing about not being able to buy apps. I did send an email to Apple asking about this and received a response back within a few hours I was surprised at that since I did not expect a response for a day or so.
So what did they have to say on it well let me quote the email
“I'm sorry, but you will not be able to purchase software, games, or applications with store credit or an iTunes Gift Card in Canada. You will need to add your credit card info back to your account to purchase purchase software, games and applications using a credit card. Your iTunes Gift Card balance can be applied towards purchases of all other types of content on the iTunes Store (music, movies, TV shows and audiobooks)
For more information, please consult the iTunes Terms of Sales for Canada: English: http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/ca/terms.html
Apple is very receptive to the comments of customers. If this is something you'd like changed please send your comment to our feedback page. I urge you to use the iTunes Feedback page to send in your comments: http://www.apple.com/feedback/itunesapp.html ”
This was not much of an answer for me so I did some binging about the internet and what did I discover? Well it seems I am not alone in this (not that I really thought I was alone in it). It seems for a while Apple was claiming to uphold some vague Canadian law about taxes and software. Which you can find out about on these sites this is a great post from a guy who chased it down http://www.jimwhitelaw.com/2009/09/itunes-credit-in-canada.html these posts on the Apple forums where just the day before I had my issues http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2280052&tstart=360 and here http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2180915 and there where so many more (click here for the search I did) wish I had seen it before I actually entered the cards into my account now my only recourse is to wait and see if Apple can be convinced to change policy or buy music, movies or books.
Now the one thing that is quite stupid here is that while Apple is claiming to uphold some vague Canadian law or it is simply their policy, Microsoft does not seem to have any problems letting people pay for apps, games and software online with a gift card. I have in the recent past used Microsoft points cards gift cards to download extra content and games on our Xbox. So it would seem that this is actually some idiotic outdated policy that was based on hearsay and not properly researched by some staffer at Apple.
I say Apple you need to change this policy to allow a rather large market and growing for apps and software to be able to buy them using gift cards. Why because well not everyone has a CC and from your stated policy you do not accept the Vanilla MC and Visa this is from your site “PLEASE NOTE: We are unable to accept credit or debit cards issued by banks outside of Canada or prepaid gift cards issued by credit card companies.” At http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/ca/terms.html plus if you have childer in the teen years the last thing you want is your CC easily available for them to be buy loads of stuff, since you can easily get lost in the app store (or maybe that’s what Apple wants).
If you would like to help change Apples mind on this crazy policy then visit them here and let them know what you think about it. The iTunes Feedback page to send in your comments: http://www.apple.com/feedback/itunesapp.html .
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