Disappointing Apple service to say the least

OK... continuing the saga of the iPod touch that never was (rapidly becoming the saga of the iPod Touch that never will be)...

My story is that on 2/20 I purchased through Apple's online store a refurbished 8GB iPod touch.  No problem right?  That's what I thought.  I even paid extra for the expedited shipping - an extra $16.00!  Personally, I think that's a little high for shipping, but that's capitalism for you.

So anyway, I purchased the iPod touch.  I was a little short on the one card so I decided to put $270 on my one bankcard and the balance $10.90 on my main card.  Apparently, until Apple ships your product they put a merchandise authorization on your card for the amount you're charging until the item ships.  That way the retailer is guaranteed their money.  I have no problem with this.  The funds were there and they did what they needed to do to process my order.

By Thursday 2/21, my order had still not shipped.  When I got home, I found and email from Apple customer service advising me that they were unable to process my card for the $270 amount (keep in mind that Apple had already put a merchandise authorization on my card for this amount - they knew the funds were there).  So I figured OK - rather than go through the hassle of  calling them, having them research it, and finally correct the problem  I would just cancel the order and have everything released in time to purchase it as a local Walmart and take it home right then and there.  After all for the amount I was going to pay for expedited shipping, I would have only come out another $20 behind anyway.

That turned out to be a HUGE mistake.

I noticed that by Friday the funds were still missing from my card - the $270, including 2 $1.00 pre-notes that they use to make sure the card number is valid and everything is OK.  So the total now was $272.  I was rather upset that Apple had not fulfilled their promise of "you have not been billed for the items listed above".

Call # 1 to my bank:  I called my Visa card issuer and explained the situation.  A very friendly and helpful representative named Leslie requested the Balance Update department correct my account and place the $272 back into my account.  By Monday 2/25, this was corrected.

Today, less than 2 hours ago, I checked my balance on my Visa card (because I'm anal like that), and low-and-behold, Apple had REAUTHORIZED the $272 transaction on my card.  Needless to say, at this point, I am fuming angry with Apple.  This was a transaction I had cancelled on 2/21 and they have now taken $272 not once but twice, both times AFTER the online order was cancelled.

Call # 1 to Apple Customer Service:  Waited on hold for over 10 minutes to get a representative, who, as it turns out was unable to help me anyway.  My call started at 7:39p.  I spoke to a friendly representative named Cheryl who, I'm sure, tried her best to assist me.  The conversation ended when she stated she saw no second authorization on my card.  Only the original authorization $272 from 2/20.  She offered to connect me to the Billing Review unit for further assistance.  I accepted this offer.

Call # 2 to Apple Customer Service - Billing Review Department:  Spoke to Sarah who was also unable to see a second authorization to my card for the $272.  I advised her that this was extremely frustrating as this was the second time this was authorized on my card without my consent.  She advised me that it normally takes 2-5 business days to have the authorization dropped from a cancelled order.  I politely stated to her that this order was made on 2/20 and cancelled on 2/21.  Today is now 2/26.  As far as I am concerned, Saturday/Sunday are business days, since Apple is open for business both online, in their retail stores and through the phone service (1-800-MY-APPLE).  She said she understood my situation and would send something over to her billing department to have the authorization dropped from my card and the funds returned to my card within 24 hours.  She further recommended I contact my Visa card issuer within 48 hours to ensure the funds have been placed back on my card successfully.

At this point, I am not hopeful.  I am in serious doubt of ever seeing my $272 again.  All for a cancelled transaction almost a week old.  All this hassle for an iPod that's not even brand new.  It's ridiculous.

I will check my balance on that Visa card tomorrow per Sarah's suggestion.  Lord help Apple, their customer service unit, and the supervisor I plan on speaking with if this is not completed within the promised timeframe.

All this makes me seriously doubt Apple's ability to service their customers efficiently.  I plan on making a purchase sometime in March or April for a brand-spanking new MacBook Pro.  Not to mention the $99 .Mac account I bought in February and the over $300 I dropped last week in the iTunes Music Store.

I have been a loyal Mac user for 10 years now.  I will pay my last dollar to them because it's a product I believe in (more so than anything Microsoft has put out - ever).  This is no way to treat your customers - loyal, hardworking, dedicated customers who would go to the ends of the Earth to convert every last PC user to a Mac fanatic.

Please quit fucking me.