The Telegraph
Monday , December 17 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
CIMA Gallary
ITunes charge

It is a classic case of: “Ask and you will receive, demand and you will be slaughtered”. A man, recently, sued Apple for $5 million for overcharging him on the iTunes Store. Did he get his money? No, not a penny.

The overcharging complaint has many takers. Soon after the iTunes Store opened in India, many people grumbled that they had been charged Rs 60 for a Rs 15 song. Others said they rented high definition movies for Rs 120 but Rs 270 was charged from their credit card.

Is this really a mistake on Apple’s part? May be not. When you open a new account at the iTunes Store or change your credit card or your billing information, Apple charges you a temporary store holding charge to check whether the new details are valid. After your purchase is cleared, your financial institutions will remove these holds and you will find that your overcharge has gone. The amount of time it takes to remove authorisation holds varies. So give it some time.

Technically, you are not eligible for a refund from the iTunes Store. So what do you do if you feel you have been overcharged or charged for something you did not buy? Apple advises you to lodge a complaint with iTunes Customer Service through this page: /support/itunes/contact/. You’ll get a prompt reply

There is another way. Launch iTunes, click on ‘Store’. Then go to ‘View my Account’. Enter your password, click on ‘See All’ under purchase history. Select the approximate month and year of your purchase from the drop down menu. When the item that you have a problem with appears, click on the small arrow next to it. Click the “Report a Problem” button, then select the words “Report a Problem” next to the overcharged item. A browser window opens. From the menu on the left choose the nature of complaint and write a description of your problem in the box provided and ‘Submit’. Apple will respond within 48 hours. If your problem is not resolved you can start a dialogue with customer service via email till your problem is solved to your satisfaction.

Another question my readers often ask me is that does the iTunes Store accept debit cards? The answer is yes and no. In India banks issue four types of debit cards: VISA, VISA Electron, MasterCard and Maestro. Your debit card will have your name, expiry month and year and a three-digit CVV code, which is on the back of the card. These three things, along with your address, are used to authorise your transaction. On top of this you need to register your Visa and MasterCard online in your bank’s portal and create a password for it. For Visa, this password is called ‘Verified by Visa’ (VbV) and for MasterCard it is called ‘3D SecureCode’ (3DSC).

When you shop online on an Indian website, after entering your card details and address you are taken to your bank’s authorisation gateway where you enter your VbV or 3DSC password. Only then is your transaction authorised, you are taken back to the merchant’s page and your transaction is completed. When you shop from international merchants like Apple, they don’t use your bank’s gateway. So when you enter your details your bank keeps requesting for VbV/3DSC behind the scenes and Apple does not use it, so your transaction fails.

It is best to use a credit card at the iTunes Store. Credit cards use a different verification strategy. For an Indian merchant, it is through VbV/3DSC. For an international merchant, such as Apple, the credit card is not routed through your bank’s payment gateway. The details are stored in your iTunes account and verified from there. So Indian credit cards work fine. This strategy is not implemented for Indian debit cards and therefore, though technically iTunes Store does accept debit cards the transaction fails in most cases.

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