Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Apple QuickTime Pro Enema

This is straight out of Orwell's "1984" -- a propitious year for Apple Computer -- only not quite so dark and forbidding as events in the book. Actually, this is nothing like "1984" or, if it is, it's "1984" as written by Ayn Rand, which publication would have been a dark day for literature.

My wife and I shot some video on our compact Olympus digital camera this past weekend, while skiing with our kids at Bear Valley in California's Sierra Nevada. Without thinking, most of the video I shot was in portrait mode, which, as you can imagine, plays "on its side" in Apple's QuickTime application (and most/all other applications, I'm sure).

I assumed naively that the free version of QuickTime 7 for Windows would allow me to rotate the video and, sure enough, the option to do so is right there in the Window menu, labeled "Show Movie Properties." Alas, it is disabled and is only available if you purchase the Pro version for $29.99. Never in my life did I think I would buy a copy of QuickTime but at 10 pm last night, due to a desire to make the video files available to other family members ASAP, I was offering up my Visa number to Apple in exchange for the privilege of rotating a few video clips 90 degrees (yes, there's probably a free solution that would allow me to do this, but I was in a freewheeling frame of mind).

So I paid $32.46 (which included estimated tax) and was taken to a receipt web page, which mentioned the "registration code" I would need to upgrade to QuickTime Pro, but there was no code anywhere on the page. I then received the confirmation email that also mentioned this code, but it, too, contained no code. I then visited the My Account page at Apple, and on the transaction page for the purchase there was, again, no code. Mind you, Apple's support pages indicate the registration code should be available on all three of these sources.

Flummoxed, I sent a nasty-gram via Apple's support form and a reply was waiting in my Inbox early this morning:
Dear Mark,

Thank you for your recent order. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Although your purchase attempt was successful, a QuickTime Registration Code was not generated.

A credit in the amount of $29.99 is being credited to your account and should appear on your statement within five business days....
A credit of $29.99? What about the $2.47 charged for tax? I fired off another form submission asking that very question of Apple Support and received the following a couple hours later:
Dear Mark,

Thank you for contacting Apple.

We apologize for any confusion. Your original purchase was for $29.99, therefore Apple issued a $29.99 credit for web order number W27652158 and sent it to your credit-card company....
At a loss as to the $2.47 misunderstanding, I savaged another form submission, this one ending with, "I don't give a damn about the two dollars and change owed me for the tax -- it's the principal! I feel a nasty blog entry worming its way out of my sphincter, so please let me know I'll be getting a $32.46 refund before I pass this thing!" Apple Support replied an hour later:
Dear Mark,

We apologize for any confusion.

In order to verify the information provided at the time of purchase, Apple requests a preauthorization from your credit card company. Each time a change is made to your billing information, a preauthorization is requested. The preauthorization may sometimes appear as a line item of $1.00. In addition, you may see a preauthorization for the approximate amount of the order to reserve funds for your purchase.

Preauthorizations will not appear on your credit card statements and will be dropped from your account based on your credit card company's policy.

The actual charge to your account (and subsequent credit) was $29.99....
Preauthorization. Ah, yes, I knew that....


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