Amazon Vs. iTunes Throwdown

Having blogged about the new Amazon MP3 store without actually, you know, kinda using it, I felt a pang of accountability to check it out. It took a while to find a recording that interested me enough to select it — the selection is still spotty, and it didn’t include some of my test-case obscurities such as Jools Holland and His Millionaires or the Iron City Houserockers’ Love’s So Tough — but I was drawn to a recording of Music From the Court of Henry VIII, and 27 cuts for $7.99 stood out as a good deal. I started clicking and pushing buttons, downloaded the requisite separate downloader application, agreed to the terms of service, and installed the application. During the installation process, a blank screen popped up with two buttons: “Ignore” and “Choose” (I think those were the options; it took place a couple of hours ago, so I’m no longer certain). Granted that I couldn’t tell what I was supposed to ignore or choose, I clicked on the “Ignore” button; this may turn out to be important, but at the moment it’s hard to tell.

I continued the “buy an album” process, booted up the shiny Amazon Downloader app, got to the the Make a Payment screen, gave Amazon my permission to charge me $7.99, and — Nothing happened. The shiny Amazon Downloader app had no album listed for downloading, and when checked back at the Amazon end of things, I had been charged for the album, and there was no visible option for “resume interrupted download” or “whoops, we didn’t send you the files you paid for, here they are.” Instead, Amazon’s page that reputedly tells me my download history solemnly assures me that I have indeed downloaded them.

I’ve filled out a query with Amazon’s usually-outstanding customer service department. We’ll see what happens next. Right now, I’m liking Apple’s integrated approach more than Amazon’s “our web page will hand off the downloading process to a separate application” approach.

At least one correspondent has indicated experiencing the same problem, and has not heard back from Amazon. Details when they become available.

In what is, I assume, a response to my problem, I’ve received a gift certificate from Amazon for more than the amount of the album. I’ll go try to download it and see what happens.

Lather, rinse repeat. Not only did the download not go through, the process left no evident way to pay for my purchases with the gift certificate. I followed up with Amazon’s phone support system — waiting for their callback right now.

OK, here’s the scoop: the gift certificate had nothing to do with my order; it was, by sheer coincidence, the arrival of my Amazon Associates quarterly certificate. The main Amazon call center doesn’t handle calls relative to the MP3 program; make sure, if you’re calling in a query, that you enter the order number in some field or another, so that they direct your call to the MP3 customer service.

The MP3 service rep walked me through the problem, which seems to have involved my Safari and Amazon applications not talking to one another. He remedied this by instructing me to restart Safari —after which time the Amazon downloader did indeed recognize Safari and the files that we were working with. If this happened to you, they will work with you to make sure you get the files you’ve paid for.

As for me, I can’t count this as a successful test, though the files are gradually appearing on my drive. Sometime I need a single file, I’ll drift back again to see what Amazon has to offer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *