Apps and iTunes Cards in Canada: Follow Up

Recently blogged about this issue: though information about this appears nowhere on the card or in the terms of service, iTunes Cards (gift cards or certificates) may not be used to purchase applications on the Canadian version of the iTunes Store.

Since I posted that blog entry, a few things have happened. I did receive replies from Apple, which were rather unhelpful. The most useful one was this message:

Hello Alexandre,

I understand and apologize about your situation and i do want to assist you as much as possible . I am going to issue you 10 song credit. Again i apologize and i hope this issue gets resolved. I will also apply feedback about this issue .

Thank you for choosing iTunes Store and have a great day.

Sincerely,

Todd
iTunes Store Customer Support

I had no intention of purchasing tracks on the iTunes Store at this point but I do “appreciate the gesture.” Here’s what I wrote back:

Thanks. I wasn’t planning on downloading songs but I appreciate the gesture.

Not overwhelming gratitude on my part. Simply stating that, though this isn’t appropriate, I can still be polite.

What’s funny is that I received this reply to my simple “thank you” note:

Dear Alexandre,

You’re very welcome. I’m glad to hear that i was able to help some .

Nothing makes Apple happier than to hear that we have pleased our customers. I hope that you continue to enjoy the iTunes Store.

Thank you for choosing iTunes Store and have a great day.

Sincerely,

Todd
iTunes Store Customer Support

From that message, you’d think I had praised the iTunes Store for hours on end.

Just in case it might make a difference, I tried filing another support request. Here’s the reply on that one:

Dear Alexandre,

Welcome to the iTunes Support Site. My name is Staci and I am here to assist you.

Thank you for contacting Apple about the App Store. We’re glad you’re interested in
this new offering.

I’m sorry, but you will not be able to purchase games or applications with store
credit or an iTunes Gift Card in Canada. Customers residing in Canada may only
purchase games and applications using a credit card.

I am confident that the information provided will solve your gift card issue. If
you have further questions, I can be contacted during the hours listed below. Thank
you and have a prosperous New Year.

Sincerely,

Staci
iTunes Stores Customer Support

This one sounds even more like a canned reply and  “the information provided” doesn’t, in fact, “solve [my] gift card issue.”

Clearly, Apple isn’t “doing the right thing.” In terms of customer service, it’s not a positive experience. I did enjoy some aspects of the iTunes Store and I think it’s quite convenient. But I’m not “enjoying the iTunes Store” so much, anymore.

In the meantime, I started receiving comments on my previous blogpost on the issue. One was from someone who purchased a 150$ iTunes Card. Almost as much as the 8GB iPod nano.

Most of the advice given on this issue, outside from Apple’s unhelpful replies, has to do with things which are illicit. One would be to resell tracks purchased with this card to other iTunes users. Since the tracks are now all DRM-free, this is technically feasible. But it’s also illicit and potentially traceable. Another piece of advice, to purchase applications using an iTunes Card, is to buy a card in the US. As far as I know, this is technically doable but it also contradicts Apple terms of service.

Not good solutions, but ones which disgruntled iTunes Card buyers may contemplate.

Since then, I also received a message asking me to complete a survey about my experience with Apple support. Here’s the complaint I included in that survey:

I was given the “runaround” on a very easy issue: I need a refund.
There’s an obvious problem with the fact that iTunes Cards may not be used to purchase applications on the Canadian version of the iTunes Store. Nowhere on the card itself or even in the Terms of Service is this restriction mentioned. As this issue gains prominence, Apple could get a significant hit in consumer perception. Not sure if it will become a class action lawsuit, but it’s as significant an issue.
Email replies were disappointingly unhelpful. Instead of investigating the situation, I was led to a forum post musing about the possible reasons for this restriction. I was eventually credited ten songs even though I had no intention of getting tracks on the iTunes Store at this point.
While the amount of money is relatively small in my case, I’m getting comments on my blog from people who lost the money equivalent of an iPod nano.

Again, I probably won’t file a class action lawsuit against Apple, in part because these suits mostly make money for lawyers. But my dissatisfaction with Apple remains. In a way, it even grows, because there were several opportunities for Apple to “do the right thing.” Yes, it’s partly on principle. But it’s also a matter of the way the corporation is perceived. In this case, they sound polite but quite dismissive.

There’s no question in my mind that a mistake was made: no information on this restriction was added anywhere a gift card purchaser may find it. Because of this, people are redeeming iTunes Cards with the specific intention of enjoying their iPhone or iPod touch in a new way. As this was a season of gift-giving, some people probably received these gift cards and, thinking they might use them anywhere on iTunes, redeemed these cards instead of returning them. Only to find out, after the fact, that “you will not be able to purchase games or applications with store credit or an iTunes Gift Card in Canada.”

Bummer.

This frustration isn’t such a big deal in the abstract. But context is everything. Part of the context is the set of restrictions placed by the iTunes Store in general. It may not have been much of an issue, for a given user, that it’s impossible to buy applications directly from developers, unlike Android Market (the Google equivalent to the App Store). For casual users, this is pretty much a non-issue, especially since the App Store is so convenient. But this restriction becomes quite conspicuous once an iPhone or iPod touch user runs into this kind of problem.

There’s a broader issue. With the iTunes Store, Apple is sometimes said to have “solved micropayment.” Ever since the iTunes Music Store opened, at least part of Apple’s success has been assigned to the Amazon-like way they implemented their payment structure and it’s quite likely that the iTunes Store model has been having positive effects on the way Apple is perceived by investors. Because of the way it handles payments and reduces overhead, Apple has been able to make money on relatively small amounts of 99¢ (and, recently, 69¢). I’d call this “minipayment” because one can easily imagine even smaller amounts being paid online (for instance, a minute of cellular or long-distance communication). In this case, Nokia, eBay/Skype, and cellphone carriers have better micropayment systems. But Apple still deserves “Wall Street cred” for the way it handles small payments.

Yet, once you start thinking about Apple’s payment system in more details, say because of a bad experience with the applications section of the iTunes Store, you start noticing how flimsy the payment structure is because it relies on users willingly entering a closed system. It’s not just that the iTunes Store is closed. It’s that, once you buy on Apple, you need to restrict yourself to “Apple’s ecosystem.” This has often been the case on a technical level. It’s now a matter more visible to the casual end user: money.

From a “tech media” perspective, this closed ecosystem is part of a pattern for Apple. But the financial part isn’t frequently discussed.

It will sound like a strange analogy but it’s the one with which I come up as I think about this: IKEA bedding. Because IKEA’s measurements are metric, bed linen was an issue with IKEA-purchased mattresses in Canada. Not sure if it’s still the case but it used to be that those who bought beds at IKEA were then stuck with metric measurements for bed linen and those are difficult to find in Canada. In effect, those who purchased beds at IKEA were restricted to IKEA linen.

In computer terms, the classic case is that of a difference in fileformat between products from two developers. Apple certainly had its share of “format wars” but it mostly solved these issues. Recent Macs (including the Mac mini Intel Core Duo I’m currently using) support a Windows installation as well as Mac OS X. In terms of networking, it’s now quite easy to set up mixed networks with both Mac OS X and Windows machines. Even the music part of the iTunes Store is lifting those restrictions which made them technically incompatible with other devices. All in all, Apple has gone away from its strict control, at least in technical terms.

But in financial terms, Apple is using a fairly restrictive model for its iTunes Store. Once money gets into an account (through gift cards, allowances, or “gifting”), it can only be used on that account. Because of some restrictions specific to Canada, some of that money is restricted from use for buying applications. And Paypal isn’t available as a payment option in the Canadian iTunes Store. In effect, the only way to purchase an application for the iPhone or iPod touch is through a valid credit card. Given the fact that a majority of people are likely to have some kind of credit card, this doesn’t seem too restrictive. But there’s a variety of reasons people may not have valid credit cards and there’s no connection between buying something on the App Store and using a credit card. The iPod touch has been marketed as a gaming platform during the holidays and chances are that some iPod touch owners are children without credit cards. I’m not sure what the options are for them to buy iPod touch games. The same could be said about games for the iPod Classic, a device which clearly is used by children.

Part of the problem relates to the Canadian financial system. For one thing, debit cards with credit card numbers are rare in Canada (I’m not sure they exist). Many Canadians tend to use Interac, which does offer some advantages over credit cards, IMHO. As I’ve recently experienced, Interac now works online. It would make a lot of sense for Apple to support it online (I’m sure Canadian Apple Stores already support it). And there must be a reason Paypal, which can be used for iTunes Store purchases in the US, is unavailable in the Canadian iTunes Store.

So, yet again, Apple’s Canadian customers appear “underprivileged” by comparison with US customers. In public perception, this is pretty much a pattern for Apple.

I don’t think that the messages I’ve received helped. Though they were polite, they were dismissive as my problem was basically dismissed. From being dismissive, Apple can sound arrogant. And arrogance is tricky, in today’s marketplace.

I’m reminded of the recent Simpsons episode about Apple. Excerpts of it made their way to YouTube as they play on several gripes people have with Apple. Arrogance was clearly a key theme in that episode. Another Apple parody, the MacBook Wheel spoof from The Onion, was more directly centred on making fun of users and elements related to Apple’s perceived arrogance were less obvious.

I don’t own AAPL.0 stock but, if I did, I might sell some. Sounds silly but corporations which treats its customers in this way aren’t something I would invest in. Despite the fact that I do “invest” in Apple products.

I just wish Apple “did the right thing.”

About enkerli

French-speaking ethnographer, homeroaster, anthropologist, musician, coffee enthusiast. View all posts by enkerli

215 responses to “Apps and iTunes Cards in Canada: Follow Up

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  • James

    Alright, so now Ive used up my 15 dollar credit for apps, i have 60 cents left and it wont let me use my prepaid visa cards anymore, ive got 50 some odd dollars worth of those to use that i cant now, WHY APPLE? WHY?

  • la jiao shou shen

    I still refuse to upgrade my Ipod touch firmware.

  • Gordo Skins

    iTunes gift cards can now be used to Pay for apps and movies and shows in Canada! I found out after I put a credit card (bought visa prepaid and loaded it on my account, essentially same as iTunes gif card). And I had 40 bucks in store credit, which ended up paying off my 12 dollars that was outstanding!
    So yes fellow Canadians! You CAN now use iTunes money to pay for things other then songs!!!!! As long as you have a valid credit card on the account. I am very excited that they brought this to Canada!
    Hope you all appreciate the heads up! No more credit card charges!

    • enkerli

      Yup. Some commenters told us. Finally!

      • AthenRahl

        So it still requires a valid credit card? I’ve bee considering using an iTunes card because every time I try to set up a valid AppleID to get apps for my iPod Touch, whether through my iPod Touch, through iTunes OR through the website, it keeps insisting my security code isn’t valid, no matter what I do.

      • enkerli

        You should be able to create an account with a gift card, now. I can’t really check because I don’t have a gift card, anymore, and I created my account ears ago. But I guess the issue is that you may be adding the payment info in the wrong place. You redeem a gift card and it’s then used for purchases. I don’t think you can add it as a payment option. If it keeps not working, I’d contact Apple directly, if I were you.

      • Larry Kwan

        You can click on a free app on iTunes and then it will ask you to either enter a pre existing account or set up a new one. If you set up a new one, you can then choose ‘none’ under the method of payment and you will have an iTunes account without needing to enter a credit card.

  • StEC

    YES FINALLY Apple has addressed whatever problem it was and now allows the cards!!!! This is long overdue though!

  • Tiggy

    This policy has now changed; I purchased some apps in the Canadian iTunes store on May 20th using an existing iTunes gift card balance; no credit card was requested. I realized something was different when a “terms and conditions have changed” window popped up while logging in. An unexpected but pleasant surprise.

  • Canadians! Finally, you can buy apps with iTunes cards! - xBlurb

    […] evening, I just got an email from this long thread of comments (https://enkerli.wordpress.com/2009/01…ada-follow-up/) stating that it is now possible to buy apps with iTunes cards in Canada. So I went ahead and […]

  • Nathan B

    I got an email at work today and confirmed this with Apple…
    CANADIAN ITUNES CARDS WILL NOW WORK FOR ANYTHING!!! including appz!!
    Finally!!!

    • Lawrence Kwok

      This is confirmed! I just downloaded Angry Birds to test if it works, and it started downloading to my account! This seems too good to be true considering how long they ignored us!

  • J

    if you want apps that bad fund someone who can jail break your ipod touch for you and you can get them all for free

    • enkerli

      But that’s not so cool to our good friends the developers. Aren’t there online stores which sell apps for jailbroken devices? Assuming they give as big of a cut as the App Store, that could be interesting. I’m not into jailbreaking my devices. I’ll be getting my iPad soon and I’m already getting a number of apps. With a prepaid MasterCard, it works flawlessly.

  • Charlie

    im 12 years old and got an ipod touch in December. i wanted to download some apps with the gift card i got for christmas, since im 12 and dont have a credit card. when i couldnt, i got very angry. i got so many cards for christmas, but i already had tons of music. Apps need support in canada!

    • enkerli

      Thanks for sharing. Of course, we all agree with you. If only Apple could understand the importance of something which affects some younger people, I hope they’d finally deal with it. I’m not one to talk about generations so much but when a 12 year-old can take see things so clearly, there’s hope for the future.

  • Moni

    I was so angry when I found out that I couldn’t buy apps! Quite honestly, I love my ipod, and all that it brings with it, but after buying a $50 card and not being able to use it towards games just made me hate Apple just a little…

  • Jim

    We tried to do the right thing. No wonder piracy is on the rise. Apple are forcing us to steal. That is the last $$ I ever spend at the Itunes store.

  • Quinton

    I ran into this issue on a large scale as well.
    My girlfriend and I both got iphones together and in our excitement I purchased two $50 cards to purchase apps/games etc.
    I redeemed the card and got my credit to the store. I shopped for a few hours and purchased some great apps, I noticed something odd as I was making my purchases; my credit total was not reducing as I shopped. I assumed that maybe the store was lagging and the balance would be corrected soon, much to my (and my girlfriends) dismay we discovered a few days later that the purchases were being billed to her credit card (which was linked to my account because of a purchase made at an earlier date).
    I called apple support straight away and they were .. well diplomatic at least. They explained to me that because of Canadian trade law in conjunction with the Canadian Taxes (PST/GST) it was difficult for apple to offer apps at this point, that was a reasonable answer.
    Of course it still didn’t help me at all and in fact ended up costing me more money because I felt guilty for charging my apps to her Credit Card so I paid her the $50 to put against her CC, made $50 of purchases in music (luckily I’m a musician and an avid audiophile so shopping for music is never difficult) and of course gave her her own $50 card (which was a gift in the first place).

    Over all setting up my new iphone with some apps cost me $150 and a certain amount of embarrassment towards my lady.

    I am still an apple fan boy (of course the ipad is making it increasingly difficult for me to even take the company seriously) but I am frustrated with the store format for Canadian buyers. As a side note my girlfriends CC is no longer linked to my account and as a result I need to ask her permission to purchase apps first (I don’t have a CC nor do I want one), ya thats embarrassing being a grown man and having to ask permission before buying something

  • trish

    I came across this problem as well. I even went as far to call iTunes Support and was told that at this time, applications can only be bought by credit cards in Canada and that Canada wasnt given a license of some sort yet.

    The back of canadian iTunes cards now have the Terms and Conditions, saying that: “Its not redeemable for for all purchases, such as iPod games or App Store purchases.”

    Theres no question that Apple will be losing out if this continues.

    • enkerli

      Haven’t been replying to comments in a while (sorry, been busy). If I’m not mistaken, Apple actually outsources the handling of those cards to some other company. It might explain why it’s so hard to get better answers from Apple. Still doesn’t explain why they won’t allow App Store purchases through them. It seems clear to me that they’re not gaining anything from this policy.

  • win maw

    hello brother my iphone is can use call in and call out .i dont’s know why.please help me.

  • win maw

    my phone is iphone first generation when i up date and restore my phone is dead why?

  • Adam

    I thought I should let everyone know that the Apple excuse that Canadian laws are prohibiting this is complete BULLSHIT. After several e-mails back and forth with support staff asking where I could find these laws prohibiting Apple from letting people use gift cards to find apps I got this response:

    Ok, I have spoken with a supervisor concerning this issue. I have a misunderstanding on the situation. The supervisor said that Apple decision to not offer application purchases using store credit at this time has no relation to Canadian tax law.

    So, therefore I was mistaken this has nothing to do with any Canadian laws, it just that Apple does not allow it.

    I apologize for the misunderstanding. I hope that you continue to enjoy the iTunes Store. Have a great day.

    I think any hope of seeing this fixed has just gone out the window.

    • Mitchell

      Yes, people have been complaining about this issue ever since the App Store was launched. I saw several posts 1 year old saying “Hopefully, Apple will get this fixed in the near future“

  • FP

    whatever man, it’s apple’s disadvantage. For about a year or less i was forced to download free apps because i don’t have a credit card and now i jailbroke my ipod because i am tired of apple not fixing this issue. Now i get all my apps for free because I cant buy them. To be honest, I would buy the apps if I was able and if apple fixed the issue, but until then the only way is to get them for free.

    sorry apple, make your shit better because in the end, its you whose losing

  • Dabest1ever

    Man i was totally jacked to buy this 5-0 radio pro for $1.99,it is basically a police scanner for iphone or ipod touch,but if you buy it you also get to listen to Howard Stern radio which is a super deal as it cost roughly $15 a month to get Howard on Sirius satellite radio. So this morning i went out to get a gift card get home redeem it and like the rest of you could not purchase this app let alone any other apps. Clearly we are being deceived into buying gift cards as they DO NOT say anywhere that you can not buy apps with the card(s). I feel cheated like the rest of you and i can not believe that they are doing this sh!t! I was going to buy an Ipad in the coming weeks as well,but why bother if i can not get any apps for that. I wish my phone never needed to get replaced as now i am stuck with the new firmware and i can not jailbreak my phone(for now). F%@K YOU APPLE AND GET YOUR SH!T TOGETHER!

  • Brad

    Actually buying a card in the states to purchase apps from the Canadian store will not work either… I received $50 card from my dad in the states and when I tried to activate it, it said that it was outside my region…. So I then had to send the card back to my father have him take it back send the money to me I had to exchange it (not to bad ended up with like $52.56 after the exchange) then I had to go buy a Canadian itunes card… So in conclusion buying a U.S. card will only screw you over more because your not able to use it anywere……

    -Brad-

    • Lawrence

      @Brad: I went to Seattle for a school trip and remembered on the last day to get a US iTunes card. I had a US iTunes account with a fake address and I redeemed the credit with that account and everything works fine.

      @Thelastdisciple: That makes me even more angry.

  • thelastdisciple

    Looks like Apple are covering their a*sses now, Terms and Conditions were just updated and now include mention of this whole problem we’ve all been having.

  • Emilio

    So excited to have saved up and bought an apple itunes card today at Shoppers. I just spent $50 on it only to find out about this after the fact. I am quite frustrated that Apple seems to have done nothing for people on this matter. My Ipod touch was a gift to me but is still returnable to future shop. I’m not able to stomach a company that knowingly misleads its customers. My giftcard doesn’t have the disclaimer on it and apple Canada’s website says “An iTunes Gift Card lets recipients shop for anything at the iTunes Store, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

    My mom had a problem like this with an elgato tv tuner that was sold through Apple – the product box says that you get a TV Guide software with the hardware. After installing it we find that this is only available in the US. I wish apple Canada would start caring about its customers and warning us of these features we think we are paying for only to find out later its not available in Canada.

    I’ll be reporting them to the Better Business Bureau – I hope others do as well. Those of us too young to have a credit card should not be knowingly misguided like this (it seems like Apple has had a while to shape up, judging by all the complaints I now see online that have been piling up since over a year ago.

  • thelastdisciple

    Pretty well decided hey i have 5 bucks left over from my $15 gift card of which i only used to buy a $9.99 album, why don’t i get some cheap apps!

    Suddenly I’m forwarded to filling in my billing info, immediately it’s like… excuse me? I don’t recall my card having been expired so why am i being prevented from purchasing an inexpensive application…

    Then i find out about all of this…

    Oh how i hate the politics involved in all these pathetic online stores especially country exclusive, this is why i HATE HATE HATE buying digital.

    They should have software discs that you can buy in the store as far as I’m concerned, then load it up into Itunes or whatever for it to be transferred to the Ipod/phone.

    I get that buying digital is convenient but to me there’s nothing more so than having something handy and RIGHT THERE! bah… this is definitely an infuriating issue.

  • Hamilton_9

    Could Apple be in violation of their commitment to App Developers in terms of making their apps available in Canada but not allowing gift cards to be used to purchase them?

    If I were an app developer I would not be too happy with Apple making music available to gift card holders but not allowing apps to be purchased.

    I wonder if its one of those things where its just “not fair” for App developers or something that is actionable in a legal sense for App devs.

    Nonetheless, thanks Rhyan Birch for taking the time to follow up with App Developers, I think it will help our situation (and theirs!).

    I still remain totally confounded as to why and how Apple has simply ignored this issue (and their customers) so blatantly and for so long.

  • Rhyan Birch

    I recently started contacting companies that have apps I want and can’t get because I do not have a credit card and letting them know why I am not buying there apps and the responce I have been getting from apple. So far only one company has responded but I have only sent out about ten emails so far. We will have to see how things go. I have found that most companies with apps can be found on the web.

  • jerm

    so pissed just bought a card and can’t even buy apps :@

  • Larry

    I’m annoyed they still haven’t fixed this a year after. There are apps I want buy but can’t because I don’t have a credit card. I emailed Apple and got pretty much the same verbatim answers. Now I jailbreak my phone and download cracked apps. I have no shame in doing this. I will pay for the apps as soon as Apple lets me.

  • Sophie

    I also have the same problem, seeing as they do not mention it anywhere on the gift card or even the package it comes in, nor on their website or in iTunes anywhere, I had no idea. This Christmas I recieved an iPod touch and after a few months I saw some apps that I liked, but they had a price. So, for my birthday, thinking you could purchase apps using gift cards, asked for iTunes gift cards for buying apps. I got $50 from my mom and another $15 from my aunt, I tried using them to buy an app and it sent me to fill out credit card information, because I don’t have a credit card since I’m sixteen years old, have no job yet, and I live in Canada, I do not recieve the same benefits as I would if I was living in the U.S. How does it even benefit Apple if they only allow it in the U.S? How is this fair and why haven’t they done anything about it? Because now I have $65 on my account, no apps, and no intention on buying anything from the iTunes store. I’m extremley unhappy with this as it’s not only unfair, but it could even be considered dicrimination. Perhaps if they let us Canada users know before we bought the cards that we couldn’t use them for apps, or even mention it on their website would have been nice. Although they do mention it once on the package that the gift cards come in:
    “Not redeemable for all iTunes purchases”
    If only they had been a bit more specific, then maybe so many people wouldn’t been in this situation.

  • Rhyan Birch

    I have decided to contact any developer who has an app I want to buy and let them know why I cannot buy their app. I have gotten some interesting feed back. I will let you know how this all turns out.

  • TorontoDude

    I finally got the Vanilla MasterCard to work. I bought it from 7-11, it gets activated at the cash when you purchase it [I did this from Ontario store]. Even though it is activated most websites employee address verification of some sort in their security model – I too tried to register the vanilla prepaid mastercard in itunes and it failed, usually with the invalid security code error. What I had to do is go to the vanilla mastercard website: https://www.vanillamastercard.com and register a valid address associated with the card [which must match your itunes account exactly]. I then went back to itunes and tried to register it but still had an error and gave up for a while – and that seems to be the key, you actually have to wait it out a few hours. You can actually look at your payment history on the vanilla mastercard site and I could see Apple made several $1 pre-auth attempts that were denied specifically because the card was not fully in the mastercard system yet [despite being activated at the actual 7-11]. About an hour or two later and itunes did indeed take the card and I made a purchase with it [using an actual in-game APP purchase]. I also made sure the hypenation in my phone # matched between itunes and the address i entered on the vanillamastercard website. The vanilla mastercard site also forced a SPACE in the postal code so i made sure my itunes account had the space as well!!!

    Hope that helps – to recap for the vanillamastercard you should go to the website and associate the prepaid card with a real address – that matches itunes. Perhaps this is not necessary and it was just the time delay that was important but my hunch was that you needed to match address information between your itunes account and that registered on the vanillamastercard website…

    • enkerli

      Ah! That makes sense! Well, in its own way. It’s still incredibly absurd and awkward. But it explains it. I was able to get my card to work on the first attempt, but it was with the exact same address as my iTunes account. I expected this location-verification (especially since I’m used to those issues, having moved around a fair deal).

  • alex

    ya thats freakin gay i was going! to buy an itouch but not i cant since i live in canada and y parents dont have a credit card!!
    im so pist off at apple those assholes suck!!!

  • Defmatrix

    Simple question. So why are iTunes gift cards for sale in Canada? Where else can you use the gift card besides the app store??

  • Michael

    Hey Folks,

    Just reading over the long long long list of stuff here. Just this week I bought a new 3GS (after having a 3G last year) and my girlfriend is picking up hers now as I write this. We were looking to add a couple of apps.

    Long story short, I no longer have a bank issued credit card and do not want one ever again however I would like to be able to purchase apps and have cash to be able to do this. I realize paypal isn’t accepted here and prepaid gift cards don’t work either but…..

    I was reading someone got a prepaid credit card from Shoppers Drug Mart or something, does this work? Is there a way around the “thou shalt have a bank issued credit card” fiasco that Apple bestows upon us?

    Cheers,
    Michael

    • enkerli

      Last time I tried, a Vanilla MasterCard purchased at Shoppers’ worked. But it’s been a while.
      I now use a Prepaid Travel Card from BMO Banque de Montréal. No fees and I can recharge it at any point.

  • Rhyan

    I still say the only way we will ever get Apple to listen is to file a suit against them. I thought about getting a prepaid Mastercard or Visa but it appears that it is no longer an option. I don’t want to break the law but I do want to be able to play games on my Ipod Touch.

    • enkerli

      It’s been a while since I tried the prepaid Vanilla MasterCard, but it did work well. As for the class action suit, it might work in terms of getting a few dollars back but it’s a long and difficult process which is unlikely to produce the desired effect.

  • Gavin

    Ok so what can we do as Canadians to “push” Apple to get on this? There must be someone we can all contact NICELY, and explain that we WANT TO PURCHASE their Apps and make them money😉

  • Infinity Focus

    I work for a respected all Canadian retail chain and I contacted one of our buyers in regards to this issue (The one that deals with Apple directly)
    Apparently “Apple is very close to a resolution for Canada” on this issue, but an exact roll-out date can’t be confirmed quite yet. Something to do with Canadian laws and buying “software online”

    Anyway the good news is a resolution seems close if our buyer’s contact at Apple was truthful in their response.

    • NQNDY

      I contacted Apple today about this same issue and was given the run around from supervisor to custmoer service rep etc. I gave them many suggestions to fix my problem as I have created an america Itunes account so that I could use Paypal or my American Paypal credit card. (Neither worked of course). I suggested that they do an exchange on the canadian funds into american and they could not do that either. I was told by one supervisor that a fix was forth coming but then next higher level person I spoke to said that was not the case and again tried to blame it on Canadian Law stating that Canada will not allow software downloads without a bank issued credit card. Well I pointed out that THAT could not be true as I download to my Wii regularly which is software. I am also able to use my paypal account to download various different software programs so their arguement does not hold water. I will not take no for an answer and tomorrow I will be getting a call from the Itunes Store Manager. As I told them, I have no intention of keeping a $700 phone that is absolutely useless to me when I could have paid $35 for one that will do all that this one will be able to do without the apps I need. I will keep you posted on what they have to say. There needs to be a fix for this issue. I think we should all call daily until this is resolved.

  • spiceweasel

    i’ve just recently gone through this apple as well. what an absolutely frustrating process for near zero return.

    during the exchange i pointedly mentioned the gift card purchase was for apps/games and was provided with a variety of music and video credits because I apparently ‘enjoyed’ making these types of purchases with an otherwise useless gift card.

    eventually a request to me to provide international banking information to support in order to refund the gift card purchase was made. I politely declined given the relative value of a 15$ gift card vs giving a 3rd party contractor direct banking information.

    here was the final email from apple support that amounted to a kiss off:

    Dear xxxxxx,

    Greetings from iTunes. Its Kiran again. Thank you for your inquiry. I’m sorry, but I cannot comment about such matters on behalf of the iTunes Store. Apple makes its company news available to the public through numerous channels, such as these:

    The Hot News webpage: http://www.apple.com/hotnews
    The Press Info webpage: http://www.apple.com/pr
    Apple and the Environment: http://www.apple.com/environment
    The Investor Relations webpage: http://www.apple.com/investor
    Email newsletters: http://www.apple.com/enews/subscribe

    I apologize, but as mentioned in the previous email we have no additional information to provide regarding this issue. iTunes Store now considers this case closed to further discussion and any more emails pertaining to this exact request will go unanswered. Please feel free to contact us via a new email if you have any other iTunes Store account issues in the future.

    Thank you for your understanding. The iTunes Store appreciates your business.

  • hamilton_9

    thank you — I appreciate your blog being provided as a venue for people to discuss this issue!

    • enkerli

      My pleasure. Really. The reason I started blogging is that I enjoy engaging people in conversation. The reason I blog much less, these days, is that I get more conversations out of Facebook (and, to a lesser extent, Twitter) than out of my blogs. But this issue has generated quite a bit of back and forth.

      Thanks again for passing by!

  • hamilton_9

    @enkerli — The thing is that if there is a legal / licensing / tax / whatever reason that Apple is not allowed to let gift cards be redeemed for apps, it does not explain why they have not made this reason public knowledge or addressed it in a direct way — something to the effect of “We’re really sorry, we are not allowed to let gift cards be redeemed for apps in Canada — it is not our call, it is because of the following reason: _______.”

    Kind of like if you drive up to a Tim Horton’s window and there is no coffee… it would be like them just saying: “sorry, no coffee, have a tea instead” instead of saying “we currently do not have coffee because worldwide coffee growers have decided to stop shipping coffee to Canada due to the East Coast pirate problem” lol — both statements are true, both illicit different reactions from the consumer — the 2nd statement makes it is clear it is beyond Tim Horton’s control. The first is just maddening and confusing.

    Anyway — I am kind of surprised that this has been an open issue for over a year now and Apple has chosen to flat-out ignore it. Considering the way Apple wants their brand to be perceived by the public, this makes things extra surprising. If this were Rogers or Bell or some other Canadian brand that is mostly out of touch with their consumers I would kind of understand. But since this is Apple, I kind of expect a bit more, and since they have said and done nothing, it really takes their status down a few notches in my mind.

    I “think differently” about Apple now.

    I especially feel for the 15 year old. He can’t get a credit card, can’t use a gift card and therefore can’t get Apps. Wow.

    Apple, yes, its “only” Canada, but this is really a glaring issue you need to address in some way! (Again, I am not even saying you need to make gift cards usable for apps — just come out and make it crystal clear to the public BEFORE they make a gift card purchase.)

    • enkerli

      Fully agreed. I’m as puzzled as anyone. Not that I really expected more from Apple specifically, but I just can’t understand what’s behind this. Transparency would be so refreshing! These days, stonewalling isn’t that effective a strategy. Responsiveness and transparency goes a long way.

      • hamilton_9

        Yes – good point – Apple has so many ways they can deal with this issue, all we (the consumer) ask is that they choose one and bring some transparency to the situation.

      • enkerli

        Funniest thing is, if one of us were to get an honest to goodness transparent answer, it could make the rounds quickly and actually enhance Apple’s reputation. Too bad for Apple. Sad for those who basically lost money because of this policy. Hopefully, some artists may benefit from albums purchased through that money. Even though it’s something of a forced sale and they get much less money (percentage-wize) than app developers, it could still be a slight consolation. Sometimes, it almost feels like Apple has had something against Canada. Sounds absurd but their actions look absurd from our perspective.

        Come on, Apple, go on record. You’ve been doing this more and more, recently. This is your chance to make amends.

      • hamilton_9

        I agree – it would be an easy win for Apple.

        I give companies a lot of rope when it comes to how they conduct business — after all, it is hard enough to make a good product and deliver it flawlessly to the market — and up until now, Apple has not really done anything to tarnish their record (they have done some silly things — like every other company and person on the planet)

        Apple has not really done anything in the past that made me think what they did is unfair or wrong – until now.

      • enkerli

        To be honest, I like your attitude. Quite thoughtful, which is rather rare in blog comments about issues like those. I feel just about the same way about Apple. At the same time, I feel free to voice concerns about their actions. Even if it’s hard to avoid certain issues, it’s still important to discuss actions which seem far from optimal. The way they handled some support requests, for instance. Sure, they’re not that much worse than others. But it’s possible to do much better. Or their approach to openness, in general (DRM-free music, app approval process…). I understand “where they’re coming from” but I still think they could find a better way to handle these things. At any rate, I certainly won’t buy another iTunes gift card at any point. I’m purchasing things on the iTunes Store (including both apps and music) through a prepaid credit card, and that works rather well. I just wish I had known more about that possibility before I bought that one gift card.

  • Morgan

    I’m only 15. I don’t have a credit card. How am I supposed to buy apps! I seriosly don’t understand. If they can do it in the US why can’t they do it here! Me and all my friends are forced to jailbreak our iPods because we have no other means of buying apps!!!!!!

  • Michael

    Just jailbreak your phones and ipods. Its safe, it takes about 30 seconds, its totally reversible, and most importantly it allows you quadruple your device’s capabilities! Besides, you can get ANY app you see in the app store absolutely free. After you’ve done this, send an anonymous feedback to the app’s developer stating why you had to resort to pirating his software. And that you tried everything imaginable to do it legally but Apple thwarted you at every turn.

    I had the same problem with the gift card thing. My Canadian App store even has a link to buy gift cards for purchasing apps… except the catch 22 is that the gift card won’t work. In my opinion, this is the same as theft on the part of Apple. Although i love their products, i have moral issues with dealing with a multibillion dollar corporation that would purposely use these little scams (they know DAMN well that they are misleading people), to take money from people who struggle every day to put food on their tables.

    Therefor every time i illegally download an app, I explain all of this to the developer.

    Just my 2 cents.

    • enkerli

      Still, I prefer using the App Store. Apart from avoiding the store, what do you see as a major enefot of jailbreaking? Haven’t seem anything compelling, yet.

      • Sabis

        I have wanted an iphone for 2 years. (since we bought my daughter her itouch) I held off and finally…finally I have one. What was the draw for me? The Apps!

        I purchased the Iphone through Bell. The Bell representative did NOT mention the Itunes gift card limitations for Canadians. He’s Canadian, Bell is Canadian and I am Canadian. That’s a no brainer, he should have mentioned it. For that matter, the Rep at Costco did not mention it when I was reviewing the Roger’s Iphone package with him.

        I do not have a credit card. I purchased a Visa gift card for App purchases. Itunes will not accept one. I took that Visa Gift Card,(lost my 3.95 purchase fee) and bought two 15.00 Itunes cards at an additional 5.00 expense because they did not have one 25.00 version. So now I’m 33.95 in the hole. With great expectations, I brought home my cards and happily added them to my account.

        Then I went app shopping….

        Only, every time I tried to buy an App, I am asked for credit payment information. Not once does it mention the reason why my 30.00 credit is not being applied. After several attempts and searching for causes, I grew extremely frustrated and handed the issue over to my IT Admin better-half.

        He tries, and fails. He calls Apple support, only to be informed that Canadians cannot use the Itune cards sold here in Canada for Apps. We were told it has to do with an issue with the U.S selling software to Canadians without Visa/Mastercard.

        That’s my problem? Apparently it is. I did not purchase Itunes cards for low quality music or movies that I can rent from home on my cable box. I do not want it, but that’s all my money is good for. For all intents and purposes, I feel I have been misled and defrauded.

        The cards purchased from Walmart on February 5th, in the tiny legal disclosure on the back, it states the limitations, but on the FRONT of the card is written in bold print:
        “Get the latest music, movies, TV Shows and more.” What is the “more” if not Apps?

        To say the least I am very upset. I had considered the non-savory illegal options out there, but having paid near 200.00 for a warranty, I do not wish to void it in my efforts to rightfully attain that which was advertised on every commercial and ad for the Iphone. Apps. Is Apple afraid of losing Canadian sales? After all, why buy the Iphone for music and movies? Buy an Ipod. Looking for office applications, camera, email and a phone? Buy a Blackberry. The Iphone’s draw is its customization and the Apps.

        Supposedly something is to happen in March with the Canadian/Itunes/Apps issue. I will not be recommending it until I see a resolution to this issue.

      • enkerli

        We’re all in the same boat, it seems. Variations of the same story.

  • In which she joins the ranting multitudes on Apple’s ridiculous iTunes gift card policies for Canadians buying apps

    […] of workaround out there somewhere, but there isn’t one that I could find. What I did find was post after post after post of angry consumers, many of whom had contacted Apple and received paltry […]

  • hamilton_9

    Hi

    Great post and great thread — I found it after I posted on Get Satisfaction (http://getsatisfaction.com/apple/topics/why_doesnt_itunes_gift_card_apply_to_my_app_store_purchases_in_canada)

    I can’t believe that Apple has not addressed this issue. Even something basic like the phrase “Sorry, iTunes cards can not be redeemed for apps in Canada” near where you type in the code for the iTunes card.

    Yes, this would be the lamest of all possible avenues Apple could take, but at the very least they would be addressing the issue. Even better: make it clear to people buying cards that it is no good for apps so the buyer can make an informed decision.

    There are much more elegant ways for Apple to deal with this (ie allow cards to buy apps!) but to me, the two above ideas are ‘must haves’.

    hamilton_9

    • enkerli

      Fully agreed. At first, I thought it was just oversight on Apple’s part. But it’s been a year since I had this issue and they haven’t put these precautions in place. At the very least, it should be very easy to add it to the redeeming page. I’m still at a loss as to why they haven’t done this.

      • Mitchell

        Apparently, there are law issues or something that doesn’t allow us to use gift cards. The thing is, why can we use PSN cards, Wii points cards, Microsoft points, and even iTunes cards for everything else? But not apps.

      • enkerli

        A mystery to us all. Saying that Apple doesn’t care isn’t much of an explanation. Some have said it’s a tax issue, but that doesn’t really explain it.

      • Nancy

        If that were true, we would not be able to use Wii Gift Cards for downloading to Nintendo. I think its just an excuses Apple is using. At this point I think they are theives. They have our money and we are screwed.

      • enkerli

        It does sound like it’s not the actual reason, but nobody knows what the real reason is.

    • Kyle

      I’ve read elsewhere that a man has been emailing back and forth with a member of parliament and apple customer support. From what information he has gathered, apple seems to think there’s a law restricting the use of these gift cards as currency to buy apps. According to said member of parliament no such law exists and apple should by all means be able to do this. I see this as a scam. It would take apple no time at all to get a little footnote on the page in the appstore where you redeem your codes saying “Canadian customers cannot use gift cards for appstore purchases” I mean the damned iphone is a gps, its not as if the thing doesn’t KNOW that I’m in Canada, feeding off of a Canadian provider.

      Infuriated.
      (ps. I read the back of the card exstensively before purchasing, and nowhere did it mention any countries where redeemed points wouldn’t work for appstore purchases, this was January 17, 2010.)

      • enkerli

        Kyle,
        You’re probably referring to Jim Whitelaw.
        http://www.jimwhitelaw.com/2009/10/itunes-credit-in-canada-apple-changes.html
        It’s pretty much agreed, at this point, that there isn’t an actual law preventing app purchases through gift cards. Apple’s support staff has changed the way to describe the situation and they don’t refer to a law, anymore. But I haven’t seen anything more useful in the meantime.
        I agree that it looks really weird and I just don’t get why Apple would do this. As you say, there isn’t anything on the card which describes this restriction and there wasn’t anything in iTunes’s redeeming page either. And it’s been going on for more than a year.

  • Craig M. H.

    I felt I had to share my ongoing experience as I’m rather upset as to how they want to avoid dealing with it:

    Previously I was told that the reason my account balance wasn’t going down when I was purchasing apps was because in Canada apps cannot be purchased with a gift card. Not much was done to reconcile the issue, but I took it for what it was, yet another company who could care less that my credit card bill was higher despite the fact that no where on the gift card did it say anything differently.

    As I was searching for apps last night on my iPhone 3GS, at the end of the “Featured” categories, it had “Redeem,” and the ability to put in a code to do so. There are no App gift cards, so I was happy to see that I could now use a gift card instead of using my credit card.

    My dad bought me a gift card for me to use for that and I entered the code in the Redeem section IN THE APP STORE, where it then brought me to iTunes to redeem.

    I’m extremely angry that Apple is misleading people by having an option to redeem gift codes IN THE APP STORE when it cannot be used there. I have read the fine print on the back of the card, and although it says used in the iTunes Store only, accessing the store by computer, the categories “Music,” “Movies,” “App Store,” and so forth all appear under iTunes store. In fact, as I click on “App Store,” at the top of iTunes it reads “accessing iTunes Store”. If the App Store was completely separated from iTunes, it shouldn’t be reading that, nor would I be able to access the other categories of the iTunes store.

    I ask that I be credited for the 15 dollars to go to the App store. I try not to purchase songs from the store anymore if I don’t have to as the quality can be quite poor.[In fact, two Tiffany tracks I purchased actually “skip”. They were somehow lost on my computer while I was syncing ( I did NOT remove them nor touch them), so I bought them again since didn’t want to deal with emailing someone. I also thought, “oh well,” they will work this time, but still they skip.]

    I have read many blogs on this issue, and read many comments on how Apple often will give them the run around with scripted responses, and I ask as a courtesy not to do this with me.

    I have read again and again comments where Canadians feel misled on this issue by Apple, and how some are considering organizing a class action lawsuit against the company. I don’t want to do that; I just want to purchase apps without using my credit card, and if I can’t, then “redeem” should be removed from the App Store on the iPhone, and it should be a clear and distinct store so when I click on it, iTunes reads “accessing App Store.”
    Thank you sincerely for your time,
    Craig M. HXXXX
    >>
    Their reply:
    Dear Craig,
    Thank you for contacting iTunes Store Customer Support. This is Prashanth, I will be assisting your concern today.

    I understand how this may feel frustrating to you. I have felt the same way in the past when I’ve found myself in similar circumstances. I have found in situations like this that voicing your opinion is a good way to get the “ball rolling”. We’re glad you’re interested in this new offering.

    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. Customers residing in Canada may only 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.
    For more information, please consult the iTunes Terms of Sales for Canada:

    English: http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/ca/terms.html
    French: http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/cafr/terms.html

    Craig, I would like to thank you for taking the time to email us here at your iTunes Store. Please know that we appreciate your business, and it has been more than a pleasure assisting you. Feel free to reply with additional questions or concerns, and I will be more than happy to help you to the best of my abilities. My hours are listed below for your convenience. Thank you again for choosing iTunes.

    Thank you for your understanding.

    Have a great day!
    Sincerely,
    Prashanth
    iTunes Store Customer Support
    Please Note: I work Tuesday to Saturday 9:30 PM to 6:30 AM CST. My weekly offs is on Sunday and Monday.
    Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you. You may receive an AppleCare survey email; any feedback you provide would be greatly appreciated.

    My reply:
    Hello,
    I just spoke with Joan from Apple. I had called the Apple toll free number (Canada) which, for whatever reason, was actually an American representative that I spoke with.
    I explained my situation, and how I was given the run around, and that I’m not interested in purchasing music (and I’d never ever spend a ridiculous amount of money on a movie off iTunes when I can get a DVD or Blu-Ray of for cheaper or at the same cost).

    She informed me that there were now Apple Store gift cards and Apple App gift cards; she also said they should now be in Canada. As far as I know these do not exist in Canada, or rather, not in the city I reside in.

    I explained again how it is not on the iTunes gift card stating that it doesn’t apply to apps, and how if I access the App Store on my computer it shows that I’m accessing the iTunes Store.

    She said she wasn’t an iTunes Specialist and suggested I contact support once again in hopes that I could receive better help than simply given the typical run around.
    Thank you again for your time,
    Craig M. HXXXX

    They replied with:
    > Date: Thu, 7 Jan 2010 02:37:30 -0800
    >
    > Dear Craig,
    >
    > Thank you for contacting iTunes Store Customer Support. This is Prashanth, I will be assisting your concern today.
    >
    > Thanks for being so patient and so understanding with me. It really means a lot to me, thanks again!
    >
    > I would like you to know that shopping the App Store requires an iTunes Store account. When you create an iTunes Store account, you must provide a payment method for your purchase. The available payment methods vary by country, but typically you can use credit cards, gift cards, store credit, or PayPal.
    >
    > Note: Gift cards and gift certificates cannot be used to purchase Apps in Canada.
    >
    > In countries where the iTunes Store only sells applications, the accepted payment methods are Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Other payment types such as gift cards, store credit, monthly allowances, and PayPal are not accepted.

    > You may also refer the web link provided below for reference:
    > App Store Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
    > http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2001
    >
    > I truly understand how this may feel frustrating to you. I have felt the same way in the past when I’ve found myself in similar circumstances. I have found in situations like this that voicing your opinion is a good way to get the “ball rolling”.

    Please know that Apple takes the feedback from our customers very seriously. This is the reason for our feedback page – to create a forum where our users can vent, praise or share whatever feelings they have to allow us to meet your needs, and grow as a company.

    I took the liberty of submitting your concerns to Apple on your behalf. I would also encourage you to share this link with all of your friends and family, and have them all submit the same request.
    Here is the link for you.
    http://www.apple.com/feedback/itunesapp.html

    I know sometimes it feels as though submitting feedback will not yield results, so I will also invite you to check out the following link. This is a letter from Apple’s CEO addressing customers who purchased an iPhone very early on at $599, then the price went down to $399 shortly after. Mr. Jobs heard our customers and Apple responded accordingly.
    http://www.apple.com/hotnews/openiphoneletter/

    I hope that you will consider sharing your thoughts on the feedback page.

    We very much appreciate your concerns, and if there’s anything else I can do for you, just respond to this email and let me know. Thank you for supporting the iTunes Store.

    Craig, I hope the information provided above is helpful to you. Please feel free to contact us if you experience any issues in this concern and any suggestions on our products and services. Meeting and exceeding your expectations are my top priorities.
    Thank you for your understanding.
    Have a great day!
    Sincerely,
    Prashanth
    iTunes Store Customer Support
    Please Note: I work Tuesday to Saturday 9:30 PM to 6:30 AM CST. My weekly offs is on Sunday and Monday.
    Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you. You may receive an AppleCare survey email; any feedback you provide would be greatly appreciated.

    Me:
    Although I sincerely appreciate the link to leave feedback, I don’t appreciate the cut and paste from the initial e-mail, nor do I appreciate avoiding my statements. It is misrepresentation on the part of Apple.

    I’m NOT interested in using my gift card for movies or TV shows that I can buy on DVD or Blu-Ray for the same price or cheaper than iTunes, not to mention watching a Blu-Ray priced movie on a small screen without any extra features.

    I don’t really want to buy music which is poorer quality than what would be on a CD anymore.

    If it isn’t meant for the App store at all, then when I access that through my computer, I should not be seeing that it is “accessing iTunes” store but “accessing App store.” As for it being on my iPhone, there should not be a place to redeem something if it isn’t meant for it. No one addressed the fact that I contacted customer support in Canada and received someone in the United States who had no idea what the situation was in this country.

    All I’ve received is cut and paste script telling me “too bad, so sad, get lost,” and it’s making me look at selling my iPhone and never have anything to do with Apple again.

    If that is the goal of Apple for its customers, then it is succeeding.
    Thank you for your time,
    Craig M HXXXX

    Them:
    Dear Craig,

    Thank you for contacting Apple about the App Store. We’re glad you’re interested in this new offering.

    I understand that you will not be able to purchase software, games, or applications with store credit or an iTunes Gift Card in Canada. Customers residing in Canada may only 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.

    For more information, please consult the iTunes Terms of Sales for Canada:

    English: http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/ca/terms.html
    French: http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/cafr/terms.html

    Craig, I hope the information provided above is helpful to you. Please feel free to contact us if you experience any issues in this concern and any suggestions on our products and services. Meeting and exceeding your expectations are my top priorities.

    Thank you for your understanding.

    Have a great day!

    Sincerely,

    Prashanth
    iTunes Store Customer Support

    Please Note: I work Tuesday to Saturday 9:30 PM to 6:30 AM CST. My weekly offs is on Sunday and Monday.

    Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you. You may receive an AppleCare survey email; any feedback you provide would be greatly appreciated.

    I was completely pxxxed off at this most recent reply. I get that this guy may not be able to do anything for me, and he had at least given me a link for feedback as a result of this, but to reply again with something so cut and paste is offensive to me. I replied back to give it to someone else if he isn’t going to respond to my queries. Maybe I should have let it go once he gave me the link to leave feedback, but at the same time I would really like to have someone even say, “we apologize for how it is; it is an oversight to not have anything on the gift cards, to not have App gift cards in Canada, and it should not appear in the Canadian App Store via iPhone or iTouch. However, at this point, it is out of our control, but we are taking note as to the demand for change here in Canada, and we’re working on it.” Even a simple, “too bad, we can’t do anything about it, eff off already.” But to just keep cutting and pasting and telling me there’s lots to enjoy through iTunes, it just rubs me the wrong way, and I don’t want to just give up. But, I guess that after this last reply to them I will.😦

    In any event, hopefully if enough people leave feedback, something will happen.

  • Willy S.

    I too bought a prepaid itunes card thinking it can be used to buy anything in the iTunes store. I Was wrong. I wasn’t able to buy any applications. I bought a prepaid card because I don’t have a credit card. I’m only 14. I guess the only way to get the applications I like is to buy a prepaid credit card. I’m sad.

    • enkerli

      We’re with you. One commenter was eventually able to get a full refund after talking to a manager, but it might not be very easy and it still doesn’t give you full access to the App Store…

  • Bill S

    I too bought a iTunes card over Xmas and later found out that it could not be used to purchase games and apps. So I also sent in a complaint to iTunes support and received the same generic response but they did offer to refund a $2.99 game that was charged to my credit card instead of the giftcard balance. I then pushed it further and said I wanted a supervisor to respond to my complaint and low and behold a received an offer from the supervisor to refund my full balance on my itunes account by check and also credit the next $50 I purchase from the app store. So if you push it far enough you will get results. Thought this might help a few people with similar situation to mine.
    Thanks Bill

    • enkerli

      Fascinating. Not sure it’ll work for all of us, but it’d be great if some people got refunds. Maybe the fact that you also had a credit card on the account changed something.

  • Austin mcsween

    I have found a way to buy apps that you have to pay for even if you don’t have a credit card and no I’m not talking about jailbreaking but since I’m only 14 and can’t get a credit card while I was at a save on foods if you know what that is but anyway while I was waiting for my parents I was looking at cards ( like gift cards on the wall) and I saw you can get refillable VISA cards so I got one even thought it costed 100$ I put the number ok iTunes and it DOES work in the app store

    So if you’re willing to spend a minimum 100$ there is in fact a way to buy apps in CANADIAN iTunes accounts hope that helps you bud

  • Paula

    Wow, talk about frustrating. I’m dealing with a similar frustration. I am from the U.S. but currently reside in Canada. I have a valid credit card and am still unable to purchase apps, I guess because my credit card was issued in the States. I have both a U.S. and a Canadian iTunes account. Of course, I can’t get my credit card nor PayPal to work on either one. I didn’t know it would be so hard to spend my own money.

    • enkerli

      Seems like there’s always been a country-specific restriction with credit cards. These rules aren’t specific to the App Store. As far as I know, you can’t buy songs (TV shows, movies, iPod games, apps) on the US iTunes Store with a credit card associated to an address in Canada. And vice-versa.

      If you have a Canadian credit card (associated with a Canadian address), you can use it on the Canadian iTunes Store but not on any other iTunes Store. If you have a US credit card (associated with a US address), you can’t use it on the Canadian iTunes Store. One difference, in the US, is that you can use PayPal and Discover. (You can use Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, or “no card” on both stores). This also applies to prepaid credit cards and to iTunes gift cards: you can’t use a US iTunes gift card or a prepaid credit card associated with a US address to make purchases on the Canadian iTunes Store.

      In a way, these rules are easier to understand than those having to do with gift cards and apps. Rules about royalties and laws about commerce are mostly country-specific. So, while these country-based restrictions are supremely annoying, they’re not that surprising. It’s a bit like physical CDs which are only sold in one country or the other. With apps, it could have to do with all sorts of regulations. It often looks purely arbitrary (like the fact that we couldn’t get Skype on the Canadian App Store), but this is a well-known issue.

      I was living in the US, in the past, and I still have an account on the US iTunes Store. It shouldn’t be used to make purchases in Canada but, as far as I know, Apple doesn’t currently use any technique to prevent people from using a US account from Canada (or vice-versa).

  • Katy P.

    I went to a new years party and won a 15$ itunes card also, i recently recieved and iPod touch. i tried using store credit and a gift card to pay for some applications but it just asked me for my billing info. I would really like to know why itunes isnt letting canada buy apps with credit and gift cards, i foung this information somewhat helpful, Thank you

  • Berny

    I just got a 15$ iTune gift card before Christmass, and also CAN’T buy apps. You can be sure that all people around i know that have an iPod touch or iPhone will be advice about this. What difference does it make to Apple if the card is used for sounds or apps, they make money anyway right? Well they must be making more money out of songs than apps or we would not be talking about this issue. Of course this detail is not being printed on the back of the carton board, but only on the cards themselves. I’m sure there must be somekind of law saying that you can’t do this… Dawn them….

    • enkerli

      Actually, I think they make a better margin on apps than on music. But I may be wrong. I really don’t think it’s a way for them to make more money because they’d apply the same rule in the US, if it were the case.

  • Katie

    This is ridiculous. How are young people who do not qualify for a credit card, supposed to buy these thing? Not only that, but when you buy an itunes card it does not specify on the packaging that they are not to be used to buy apps. The only place it says this is on the card itself, which you cannot see before purchasing. Well in any case I suppose apple is the one losing money in the long run

  • RichardP

    I just came across this issue today, freaking Apple. I’m just gonna stare at my $15 until they eventually let Canada into the App buying business.

    Seriously, I feel bad for those who payed more than $10 for themselves.

    • Seven

      I paid $15 and same stuff happened.. i dont want songs.. i want APPS!!

      • Anonymous

        I got 100 in gift cards and only after apple realized how many people think they are douchebags, did they put in tiny lettering that it isn’t possible. I want to know why as I have done some research and found no laws/regulations of the subject. Being 13 I obviously don’t have a credit card .

  • Sabrina Ali

    I was/am very upset that I can not use the giftcards in the Canadian iTunes store. As I am only fifteen, i do not have access to a credit card to buy the applications with. I have not complained to Apple, I’ve read stories from other people who’ve run into the same problem and they’ve received the same ‘warmth’ you have.

    I think it’s unfair towards Canadians that neither gift cards NOR pay pal work in the store. I have received two cards totalling one hundred dollars… I don’t know enough songs to use up that amount of money!

    But I’ve heard some ideas on how to get the cards to work. One that I think was mentioned above was to purchase a card in the US to use in Canada, and the other was to change you address from a Canadian one to a US one.

    At least until Apple changes it’s policy, if it ever does.

    • enkerli

      Using the US App Store can work, but it might not work in the future, for upgrades and such. Apple keeps pointing this out in their TOS, almost as a threat. If they ever start blocking non-US IP addresses, it might make things quite cumbersome. Prepaid credit cards work well, in my experience. And we do get to pay the same amount in CAD as we would in USD, so it’s a slight discount.

      • Brandon

        I used a prepaid Visa card. It worked, but eventually Apple made it so I could not buy songs using my iTunes credit, or even install free apps! It still let me play the game I downloaded but I decided I would delete it, update the gift card in the billing information (which they accepted, once again) and then once (or if) they would accept it, I would delete the gift card information they wanted me to post again. That made it so I could now use my account again. So I was thinking I could do the same thing except make a fake account. My only concern when I asked my step dad if it work, would be would that maybe they would be able to trace the IP address I “bought” it from and then make it so that maybe all users downloading from that IP would be blocked (which would suck because I have an iPhone and iPod touch and my brothers also have ipods and iphones), and they would also ban that account. Sorry for the lengthy message, but PLEASE message me back ASAP to see if that plan would work! Thanks!

      • enkerli

        Not sure I follow all of this but I’m quite positive they wouldn’t block an account based on IP address. Strange that you were prevented from buying songs. Did you still have credits on that prepaid Visa? I’m sometimes told that I don’t have enough credits even though I do, but I simply press the “Buy” button again, and it works.

  • Becka

    Just discovered the application/gift card mess with my new Touch/$50 card I got for Christmas here in Canada. It does say directly on the back however that it is “Not redeemable for all purchase, such as iPod games or App Store purchases”, however in the night before Christmas shopping my husband didn’t have time to read it and he assumed wrongly that an iTunes gift card could be used in the iTunes store.

  • C.S.

    My Dad bought an iphone but hasn’t got into the apps yet. I wanted to give him a Christmas gift that would make his iphone more fun so I bought a gift card from itunes. NOWHERE on the sales page did it say I could not use it for apps. Now I realize of course that the gift I gave him is useless. I feel totally ripped off. If they had been honest enough to at least warn me when I was making the purchase, then I would have had time to find a different present for my Daddy. Thanks to Apple’s sleazy tactics, Christmas was ruined and my great gift was a flop. I’m so angry.

  • Nick E

    Well I dont mean to be rude but I just spent 100$ on Itunes cards to buy apps and I cant.
    I hope it’s reasonable to say fuck you in the nicest way possible.
    I hope apple has fun cheaping me into wasting $100 on your stupid system.

    I hope this “issue” gets resolved soon.

  • appleipod

    I must say I’ve ran into the same problem before. 15 bucks out my pocket. At least I’ve learned to never trust Apple, and to buy prepaid visa cards for apps instead. Better yet, I should just jailbreak my damn iPhone.

    • enkerli

      Apple makes the situation difficult for themselves, with this rule. But I still enjoy the App Store.

    • jesselee

      heey i was wondering so PREPAID CRDIT CARDS/VISA work to but apps on the itunes store ? please reply ASAP ! thank thank you

      jesselee

      • enkerli

        Yes, you can buy apps on the App Store using a prepaid credit card. For instance, Vanilla MasterCard from Carlton Cards or Shopper’s Drug Mart.

      • StEC

        Actually I could swear in the latest Terms of Service update from Apple it says prepaid credit cards are NOT ACCEPTED and that you must use a real credit card to have an ongoing line of credit unlike prepaid cards which don’t, I could be wrong but I could of sworn I seen that somewhere!?

        Just another slap in the face by Apple. I hope the guy below that contacted Global TV get’s something going because so many people are getting burned by this scam!

      • enkerli

        I looked at the TOS last year, and didn’t see anything about prepaid cards. Maybe they’ve changed the terms. FWIW, I use a BMO travel card (no line of credit) and it works.

      • StEC

        Found it and yeah prepaid credit cards are no longer accepted…

        “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.

        Credit cards and debit cards have daily spending limits that may prevent the processing of your order. ”

        BULL$HIT😦

      • enkerli

        Huh? That’s strange! Ah, well… Thanks for the info, though!

  • gus

    Ran into the same problem. bought ipod touch as a Christmas gift for my son and I wanted to load it up with apps using my credit in itunes. Was politely told “your out of luck mate” by apple. Seeing as it is a week from Christmas I called all the television stations in Toronto and left voice mail messages about this problem with their consumer affaires reporters. I thought a consumers get burned by gift card story might be a nice present to apple. I have already had a call back from Global tv here is hoping the media pick up this story and force a change from apple.

  • a guy

    As long as we remain unpunished here in canada for downloading music, movies etc. freely via programs like limewire or torrents … no one will ever buy an itunes gift card for the purpose of purchasing songs on itunes.

    make the itunes gift card ONLY able to buy royalty-driven items like music and tv shows… and slyly conceal that fact deep in the terms and conditions… and you can sell itunes gift cards like crazy, and force people to spend their gift cards (money already spent and handed over to apple) on music, movie, and tv downloads… or not even redeem them at all.

    it’s the only way to pull royalties into itunes through canada. otherwise all canadian itunes gift cards would be spent on apps alone, and not contribute to royalties. the success of itunes depends on major contributors like the major records labels and tv networks.

    it doesn’t make sense in the real world. they’d make more if they let us spend our gift cards on apps. or so we think… how much can they make off a $0.99 app? obviously profits are much higher off music albums and tv show season passes…

    so really, they’re just making money how they know best. and some of us are happy we only spent $15 on that gift card.

    • enkerli

      An intriguing hypothesis. There might be a connection between our private copy laws (which are relatively obscure to some people, including Canadians) and Apple’s way of handling gift cards. But since apps are a relatively recent thing and since there are people who purchase them to give as actual gifts, I’m not sure the connection is so clear.
      Still, Apple doesn’t help us get to the bottom of this.

  • Sally L

    Gosh darn it… like many others here I wish I’d read this before I bought an Apple gift card! There is absolutely no where on the gift card which says you can’t buy apps and I even asked the store clerk who chirpily informed me I could buy apps with the gift card! I HATE the fact Apple wants all my personal details – to activate even a damn gift card. They are such an invasive company – they make google and microsoft look like benovalent, stand offish, don’t really care for your data good guys! At least google and microsoft aren’t FORCING me to give my home addres, email and phone number every time I make a purchase or use their services! Apple does. Very irritating and I certainly won’t be buying another gift card. Since I don’t want to buy their tunes, I don’t know now how I will use up that $15 credit… Grrrr!

    • enkerli

      Possibly the saddest part about this is that it’s a disservice to app developers, including some in Canada. Many of them are small, independently-owned companies which are trying to get into the market. A bit like shareware developers, actually. They’re the ones who give the iPhone platform a large part of its worth. And, contrary to large music or movie studios, they have limited ways to recuperate their investment in time and energy.

  • Dennis

    In Canada, it is still legal to download music, movies, etc. The law only prohibits sharing it with others. I am not 100% sure how this ties into it all, but for some reason Apple has decided that they want to collect identifiable information from it’s users, such as credit cards, where as the prepaid gift card is untraceable. There is also laws in Canada about placing expiry dates on gift cards and this too could have something to do with it.

    • enkerli

      Good points. Though it’s hard to know how closely they relate to what Apple does, since they haven’t been transparent.
      The private copying law is one that isn’t sufficiently discussed. Still, it’s strange that it would apply to the App Store and not to music.
      As for identifying users, it could make some sense in terms of age restrictions. But, then, why is this not done in the US and why do I still have to click to say that I’m 17 or older?
      Didn’t know about gift card expiry dates. Not sure how it fits but it’s an interesting tidbit.

  • Annonymous

    Whydont you just jailbreak your iPod, add cydia.hackulo.us as a source, download installous, then you can get almost every app on the iTunes store completely free.

    • enkerli

      We all have different approaches to these things. Jailbreaking may be the right solution for you, but it’s not necessarily for everyone.

      • Colin

        More importantly that would leave the app developers broke.

      • enkerli

        Very important point. At the same time, one might say that app developers can have their own marketplace for jailbroken devices. Not sure if it’s been working, but some might even say that the App Store is too restrictive (even though it offers a large market).

    • spencer

      u can’t get Beejive, i’ve tried, and since that is the only i thing i want this is dumb. I guess ill just stick with trillan😦

  • Madmo

    I am in the same boat as the rest of you. However, this would be a great TV commercial.

    “Hi I’m Apple. I make it easy to take your money and offer nothing in return.”

    • enkerli

      That could be neat. Maybe as a YouTube response to some App Store ads. Eventually, it might get people interested in the issue. Of course, it’s specific to Canada but that’s no reason to keep it a secret…

  • StEC

    I am in the same exact “Ripped Off by Apple Boat” as all of you. I am a brand new customer to Apple, never before have I owned an Apple product and I can tell you right now never again will I own an Apple product after this disgusting fiasco!!!

    I just bought the newest generation 32gig iPod Touch at Future Shop for $298 mainly for games & applications, music is only a secondary use for me. I do not have a credit card nor can I obtain one but I was excited to see iTunes Store Gift Cards (which do not say “not for games” anywhere on the cards) so for testing purposes I got the $15 card thank god I got that one because I was thinking of diving in and just getting a $50 one. Well as you all know just like you all I was shocked, disgusted, confused, angry and felt seriously ripped off to find out that I wasted not just $15 on a card that is useless to me now but that I spent $300 on a piece of electronics that is also pretty much useless to me and sold to me under false pretenses.

    I did contact Apple customer support via email and have gotten a scripted response that has been posted here already and I have since sent off a much firmer email to them tonight so I await their response on this issue now.

    What a way to welcome a new customer to Apple… lie, steal their money and slap them in the face!?!? I am so angry by this and reading all the similar disgust on this blog and many others I have searched out on the net that I do think a class action lawsuit should be considered!

    I really wish I bought the Sony PSP now.

    • enkerli

      Sorry to hear about this. The one thing I’ll say, though, is that the easiest workaround is to buy a prepaid “credit” card. You can purchase the Vanilla Prepaid MasterCard at Shoppers’ Drug Mart and elsewhere. They work well but cost you a few dollars more. I’ve used a couple of those before getting a BMO travel card (cheap, easy refills, etc.). Apparently, there’s a similar issue with the PSP store and, in Sony’s case, the prepaid cards don’t seem to work very consistently.

  • enkerli

    Speaking of follow-ups, seems like Apple Canada is admitting that it’s not a law which prevents it from accepting gift cards in the Canadian App Store.
    Now, if we can all get refunds…

  • Nicolas Bouliane

    It’s sad to see this happens. I’m certain many good souls would pay for a legal copy of their apps but end up jailbreaking their devices because of such ridiculous policies. I guess I will have to, in the end!

  • mat

    wtf is up with apple stelling my money stupied retardes can at lest put the resrtictions on the card … like wtf!

  • Kelly

    Omg I have the same situation here!!! I just bought a $15 card just to buy apps for my ipod touch, who knows there are these weird rules about itunes card.When I click “buy now” for this app, it didnt work so I tried to buy a song to see if it works and now I have $14.01 with no apps . I AM SO PISSED, before buying the itunes card i was thinking should I jailbreak or buy apps legally, I guess now I know the answer😛

  • jimwhitelaw

    I’ve been pursuing this issue for some time. The Canadian Minister of Industry (Hon. Tony Clement) has stated in a letter to my MP and myself that he is unaware of any Canadian laws preventing me from using iTunes store credit for purchasing apps. See his letter here:

    http://www.jimwhitelaw.com/2009/09/itunes-credit-in-canada.html

    • enkerli

      Thank you very much for working so diligently on this. My guess is that Apple interprets a law too strictly and that it should simply allow us to use those cards. My guess is that this letter can, in fact, serve as leverage as we try to get Apple to acknowledge the problem. In the meantime, I mostly hope that Apple can at least warn Canadians through the redeeming page.

      Thanks again.

  • TJ

    What if we get a itunes gift card, and then put a credit card on, and then could we just buy it with the iTunes card itself?

  • Morgan

    I had the EXACT SAME PROBLEM! I myself am going on a 5 hour flight next week and my only intentions for the card was to purchase some applications to help pass the time. I am truly dissapointed with apple!!!!
    I just sent them an e-mail, I tried to be half nice about it. If they e-mail me back and say how they don’t know how to fix it or they’re sorry for the inconvience they will be getting a very nasty reply about how that was such a waste of my money!!!!!!
    I’m getting more fed up with apple every day, and if this issue isn’t resolved this will be my first and VERY LAST iTunes card.
    -Morgan

    • enkerli

      Glad your email to Apple was at least half-nice. It’s sometimes a bit hard to remain civil about such things.
      And it’s easy to be fed up with Apple as a company. I’m a fan of several of their products and I even trust them in terms of coming out with innovative projects. But the company itself has a lot of negative stuff in its track record. Maybe it’s just too big.

    • jon

      And notice how this ‘law’ doesnt appear to apply to:

      Xbox 360 Live arcade games
      Wii Virtual Console games
      PS3 game points

      all of which allow you to download software for points….sounds way too much like an excuse to get us to put an open credit card on Itunes to me….

      • enkerli

        I know what you mean. And it’s possible that it’s an excuse. But, in that case, it’s weird that they would only do this in Canada. Maybe, as with SOx and iPod touch upgrades, it’s more of an overly strict interpretation of the law?

  • Cory

    I communicated with a rep through the Online chat through Apple.com/support/itunes

    They basically said its due to Canadian Federal Tax laws that ONLY apps need a credit card and nothing else, i just bought music tracks and it never asked for a credit card. I think its pure bull that we need one, i asked about this on a forum and they say its required cause apps are taxed, but aren’t music and games taxed also ??

    If you bought the gift card at a local 7-11 or game/electronics store where iPods are sold it should be ok to use them as long as iTunes can take the price and tax from the balance on the account. I don’t trust apple with a credit card on file this is why i got a gift card, but thats just not enough.

    • enkerli

      Sounds awkward but not that surprising. Some of these laws are quite strange. It’s possible that Apple is overzealous with this but they most likely interpret the tax law to mean that they need to charge differently for apps. Preventing Canadians from buying apps with a gift card isn’t in their interest. I do wish they’d at least put up a page, when you redeem the card, saying that it’s not valid on app purchases. And they should allow for some other method to buy apps. Of course, as has been mentioned here, gift MasterCards found at pharmacies and card stores do work on the iTunes store.

      • Cory

        You thought about going to the top of the food chain and writing Steve Jobs ??

        sjobs[at]apple.com and CC it to steve[at]mac.com and Steve[at]Apple.com
        See if he’ll atleast push the concern and maybe get it corrected cause who’ll say no to the Boss ??

      • enkerli

        I’d be a bit surprised that Jobs himself would respond well to messages directed at him personally, but it’s worth a try. He’s written at least one open letter before so maybe he’ll read some.

  • Coreena

    I just found that my VISA giftcard worked with no trouble… I guess I will be purchasing those from now on instead of the itunes ones.

  • jon

    Hey,

    suffereing the same as you guys, but still at the stage where apple claims it doesnt understand what the problem is with my account.

    Am heading out to the retailer I brought this from yesterday night to ask for a refund, doubt it will work, but if it does, perhaps we can start to force apple to give us our money back?

    I want apps, I already got all the music I wanted. I found no information about the card not being usable for what I needed, so it is a misleading sale as far as I am concerned.

    Wish me luck.
    🙂

      • jon

        Well they didnt refund or exchange, but the manager offered to buy the card off me with his own cash, which is astonishing. I could be all jaded and suggest he would expense it anyway, but choose to decide it was a nice gesture🙂 Put money on account in the end, I am sure I will use it, and don’t want to inflict my misfortune on others!

        Oddly Itunes allowed me to download two apps yesterday, but now bugs me with a message that says I owe $1.98 to apple – of course I now have that $15 sitting in credit, so will leave that as a stalemate, and see what happens🙂

        I wonder who I could annoy if I went to the apple store in the mall and asked for my change in US$ because I only accept that currency – perhaps when I am bored🙂

      • enkerli

        Congrats on getting a manager to offer you credit! Impressive! And I like your attitude. Teasing Apple about this might not be more effective than anything else we’ve tried, but it’s much nicer than a class-action suit.😉

  • Mitch

    Hey Philip, I own a PSP too, and had to use it to play music, videos, pictures, etc. it was as big as a brick, and not an ideal mp3 player so I go out and buy a 8gb iPod Touch, it’s great so I download some free apps and sync all my music, then I find that I want to buy some apps, so I get an iTunes card and found out that I couldn’t buy apps without a credit card! I don’t have a credit card, and I suppose most kids over the age of 13 don’t have one either!GGAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! I hate Apple! They also just recently released a new firmware called 3.0 and I can’t get it because you need a stupid credit card! I ended up having to download the file off the internet for free, I installed it and found out it wasn’t worth 10 bucks. 3/4 friends of mine also have this issue about not being able to buy apps, and the 4th one doesn’t even own an iPod Touch! I’ve always liked Apple but i’ve started hating them ever since I got iTunes.

    • enkerli

      I feel your pain. Unfortunately, there isn’t much we can do, apart from using prepaid credit cards and such. As you say, there are people who don’t have credit cards, for several reasons. It’s a bit silly to restrict purchases to credit cards. There might be a legal reason behind this. But it still seems absurd.

  • Anonymous

    I JUST BOUGHT A 32 GIG IPOD TOUCH AND CAN’T BUY ANY APPS. I AM PISSED. I AWS GOING TO ALSO BUY A MAC BOOK. NOT ANYMORE….

  • Dave Pretty

    In a slightly different vein, I’m having trouble with Itunes player itself and I’m starting to sense that my complaints are just receiving canned lip-service type replys. The player is no longer playing about $150 worth of Itunes I bought and despite following the online advise it still does not work. It keeps telling me I’m not authorized…blah blah. After the initial polite response I have not heard a peep from Apple. I get the sense that they have their money and there’s lots of paying customers left out there so they Apple is not too concerned about me.

    • enkerli

      Care to provide a bit more details?
      Do you have more than one iTunes account? How many computers have you authorized with this specific iTunes account? When did the problem occur? Are some of these tracks available as iTunes Plus?
      As for canned responses, would you be able to share some?

  • Paco

    you can file a complaint through BBB, and provide deatils. If a large number of us do, maybe they’ll respond.

    • enkerli

      Didn’t realize we had those in Canada. There’s Office du protection du consommateur, here in Quebec.

      • Jason

        While I can’t comment on Quebec (I’m a westerner) I know that there is BBB in Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC. I see little reason that it wouldn’t exist in the rest of the country, albeit possibly under a different name.

      • enkerli

        In Quebec, we have Office du protection du consommateur. We probably have the BBB too, but consumer protection is even more appropriate in this case.

  • J.

    i just got a $20 card cuz im not 18 either and I found some apps I really wanted. To my utter disappointment, I’m here facing a screen that says to enter my credit card information. And then I find out that we can’t buy apps with the card in canada.

    could they not at least STATE IT SOMEWHERE. how many people have they scammed. seriously, when I mentioned it, 4/10 friends had teh same problem, they just never got around to mentioning it.

    apple’s a great company but this seriously. is horrible.

  • irene

    HEY ITUNES ARE YOU JUST GOING TO DO NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    BECAUSE ITS YOUR MISTAKE THAT YOU DIDENT TELL US WE CANT BUY APPS WITH A GIFT CARD!!

    AND IF YOU ASK ME WE SHOULDENT PAY FOR YOUR MISTAKES!!

    SO CANT YOU JUST AT LEAST TELL PEOPLE YOU CANT BUY APPS WITH A GIFT CARD!!

  • irene

    hello itunes i just bought a 15$ itunes card so i could buy some apps.

    However the card did not say i couldent buy apps for my ipod touch i am very fusterated what sould i do???

    • enkerli

      Irene,
      As you might have noticed, several of us have had the same issue. So far, it doesn’t seem like Apple is doing anything to reimburse those of us who bought gift cards to buy apps. As you note, the problem is with the fact that we weren’t told about this limitation.

      • irene

        well then its kind of a scam if they dont tell us if you think about it.

        i mean come on itunes at least lable it

    • Glen

      I too just purchased a $15.00 card from a local grocery store so I could pick up an application I wanted. I had recently removed my credit card from the Itunes Store and after I entered the card and went to purchase the app I was told that I needed a credit card. Further digging, such as going to the website on the back of the card was a dud. They have since changed where the gift card faq is located.

      I have just filed a complaint with Consumer and Corporate Affairs Canada. I have also left a complaint demanding my money back from Apple Canada.

  • Django

    Though not related to the iTunes cards, I’ve been feeling frustration with the iTunes Store now.

    I have recently relocated from Canada to Ireland, and as my credit card was about to expire I changed my mailing address.

    Obviously the iTunes store is not the best place to buy music online, I much prefer digital-tunes.net (d/l mp3@320, flac, and wav), but this caters to my somewhat less-mainstream musical tastes. For a pop song that I’m not looking to re/mix with iTunes is the easiest place.

    Unfortunately its not that easy, having an iTunes Canada account is not enough to buy a song, the credit card billing address must be in Canada. Ok, so this is understandable (sort of). But when I switched to the iTunes Ireland store, and tried to use my card, it was considered invalid, probably because no visa issuing financial institutions in Ireland use the series of numbers on my card. (This is not an issue with any of the other digital music suppliers I use)

    With the increasingly globalized economy, transnational workforce, and the long standing crisis in the music industry, obtaining music legally should be much easier than the alternative.

    • enkerli

      Nice to hear from you!
      And thanks for your comments.
      As you might expect, I fully agree with you. In fact, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the globalisation angle (and the irrelevance of borders in terms of online activities). The crisis in the recording industry has been a long-standing theme, for me. As for the legal issues, you obviously know about Creative Commons and such…

      I didn’t know about the restriction on credit card numbers themselves. It might be new, as Apple is adding different things to the iTunes Terms of Service to specify restrictions based on location. They don’t seem to be tracking IP addresses yet but it’d be “logical” (within the logic of the RIAA, with which Apple has been working) to block “foreign” credit cards.

      BTW, since you’re in Ireland and you’re interested in the “property rights” angle used with music, you might be interested in fellow ethnomusicologist Anthony McCann‘s work. The case of the Irish recording industry constraining the work of traditional musicians is quite illuminating and McCann’s approach is quite appropriate. He seems to be in Ulster but he knows about the Sunny South.

  • enkerli

    @Karen I probably didn’t explain this properly: the cheapest Vanilla MasterCard is 28$ (25$ value plus 3$ of fees).

    @AlexT If nothing changes, the App Store will ruin all holidays, for some people.
    Ah, well…

  • alexT

    Man i am sooo disappointed. I asked my wife to get me an itunes gift card for Valentines day. She obliged and I was very excited to start getting apps.. then to my horror as well as everyone elses i was unable to download any applications. in a last ditch effort i tried to download a song to see if i was doing something wrong. to my surprise it took off a dollar. so i started googling for advice and i came across this blog. i really dont know what to say. im sad and heartbroken. now i have 24.01 and no apps and my Valentines gift was rendered useless.

  • Karen

    Lol, I just got a $15 Gift card from Safeway since there are a few apps I really wanted to get, so I got the cheapest one to try it out. It’s not as big of a loss as those who spent $150 for one, but still, like a lot of people said, I got it only for applications, so now I don’t know what to do with it. I /hope/ they’ll make it available for Canadians, but that’s very unlikely.

    And yeah, I agree with the person that said they should have mentioned this on the card.

    Btw, thanks for telling us about the prepaid Vanilla MasterCards, I’ll try looking for one. $3-$5 is all I need, anyways.😀 There’s a few $.99/$1.99 apps I want.

  • enkerli

    @PJ Good point about the law itself. It would be important that Apple cite the law itself. Not only would it be easier to have a public debate about that law but it would have helped Apple retain some of people’s trust. Transparency works well.
    My personal problem, though, isn’t with the law itself, at this point. It’s with the way Apple handled this Canada-specific law. They don’t put any information about it anywhere, the official terms of service have nothing about this law, they selectively reimburse some people who purchased iTunes cards to buy applications, and they make vague comments about the situation.
    It’s partly a question of public relations. I’m clearly no Apple-hater but my trust in Apple has been wavering. Commenters on this blog have voiced similar opinions (often in more forceful ways). In my opinion, it sounds like the onset of a class-action lawsuit. Even worse, disgruntled users who aren’t vocal may generate very negative opinions of Apple which could spread around.
    Part of this I say as an observer of the relationships between organizations and human beings.

  • PJ

    Thanks for blogging about this. I hate this. I follow lots of iPod Touch reviewers and forums where free promo codes are given out for new apps. Guess what? Can’t use them in Canada. I’ve been searching everywhere and can’t find the law that this restriction refers to. Hard to get a law changed if you don’t even know what it is. It seems like a real moronic law and behind the times with the Internet.

  • enkerli

    @James
    Well, there are different ways. I recently bought a prepaid Vanilla MasterCard at a Shopper’s Drug Mart. These do work. They cost 3-5$ and aren’t refillable, but they’re still convenient.

  • James

    i just bought a friggan ipod touch and now i find out i cant even get the apps with it no wonder everyone is jail breaking theirs

    great post Enkerli

  • enkerli

    @Ben Good point about this not appearing on the card. Customers shouldn’t have to dig for this information.

    @Mike Your reaction is understandable. I occasionally feel like this but I also happen to enjoy several of their products. So, the effect of this problem on me isn’t a flat-out boycott but it does affect the way I perceive Apple and, more specifically, the App Store.

  • Mike

    I’m seriously starting to hate apple. Everything is going wrong with them, even though I’ve been a fan for a long time. Just as a pre-note, money doesn’t come around easily here. Especially for someone under 18 trying to survive.

    To start off, my powerbook G4 is starting to fail. While it was in warranty, I got a bunch of vertical lines a pixel thick that refused to dissapear. They were there all the time. ON A $3000 COMPUTER, THE SCREEN WAS FAILING A YEAR AFTER PURCHASE! Anyways, sent it back, and got it fixed… Now, I got another 4 lines today, while it is out of warranty, and I found out it will cost in excess of $1000 to fix. SCREW THAT!

    A little while ago, I purchased an 8GB ipod touch.. after an earlier ipod broke. So, I saved up for a looong time for the ipod touch. Of course, I was super excited for that. Downloaded tons of free apps, but I found they never really satisfied what I was looking for. So, I went out to buy an itunes gift card today (remember, under 18 so I can’t get a credit card) and practically ran home to redeem it! There were tons of apps I was looking forward to get. After fumbling around for 10 minutes trying to get it to work, but to no avail. As if they just let it slide that you can’t get apps in Canada from a card!

    This is seriously disappointing, and I don’t think I’ll ever purchase another apple product again.

  • Ben

    ..nvm i just looked at the site again to make sure they say nothing about canadian apps not downloading and it says that it doesnt work with a card, but it still sucks that i bought the card, and it doesnt say anything on the card…

  • Ben

    I live in canada and i got a itunes card for christmas. My only intention of this card was to buy games from the apps store. I have searched through the apple site for anything about the cards saying that they do not work in canada. I find it extreemly frusterating that after paying $300 for an ipod touch, and $25 on a gift card that i can’t download paid apps. All of this because of an invisable line… I am also less than 19 years old, so i am unable to get a credit card, so it is impossibal for me to buy apps.

    • Jade

      I know this doesn’t help your situation, but you said you searched the site for where it states that you can’t use a gift card. It’s in the terms and conditions of iTunes. apple.ca/legal

      GIFT CERTIFICATE TRANSACTIONS

      Gift Certificates may be redeemed for iTunes Store transactions only and are non-refundable for cash. They cannot be used for purchases on the Apple Online Store or used in Apple Retail Stores. Purchases for Gift Certificates may be purchased only in whole Canadian dollar increments or designated amounts. Gift Certificates may not be used to purchase other Gift Certificates, iTunes Cards or Monthly Allowances. Gift Certificates cannot be used to purchase software, games, or apps.

      MONTHLY ALLOWANCES

      Monthly Allowances are for transactions on the iTunes Store only. The Allowance Account may not be used for gifts, or purchases on the Apple Online Store or in Apple Retail Stores. Monthly Allowances may not be used for purchases on the Apple Online Store or in Apple Retail Stores. Monthly Allowances are non-refundable. Monthly Allowances may not be used to purchase Gift Certificates, iTunes Cards, Apps, or other Monthly Allowances. Monthly allowances may not be used to purchase software, games, or apps.

      iTUNES CARDS

      iTunes Cards are for transactions on the iTunes Store only. iTunes Cards may not be used for gifts, or purchases on the Apple Online Store or in Apple Retail Stores. iTunes Cards are non-refundable. iTunes Cards may not be used to purchase Gift Certificates, Monthly Allowances, Apps, or other iTunes Cards. iTunes Cards may not be used to purchase software, games, or apps.

  • enkerli

    @Freddy Thanks for sharing.

  • Freddy

    Very annoying, I got a Canadian gift card for christmas and put it on my account. When I bought a .99 item I noticed Itunes charged my card instead of my ample ‘gift card’ balance. My first and last paid purchase from the Itunes store.

  • enkerli

    @Vitalyok That make a couple of people saying this. I upgraded my ‘touch firmware as early as possible and been very happy with it. All those free apps…

  • Vitalyok

    I still refuse to upgrade my Ipod touch firmware.

  • enkerli

    @Owen At this point, I’m getting a bit tired of being asked a credit card number everywhere. I’ll be getting a prepaid card for online purchases but I still find it inconvenient, in general.

    Android has good geek cred and some neat apps. But the G1 phone isn’t so good. Played with one for a few minutes and I was unimpressed. Even the phone’s owner wasn’t that enthusiastic. Battery life is quite bad and the device itself feels quite clunky.
    I love my ‘touch with firmware 2.2. Lots of cool apps. Though, I do agree about the annoyance.

  • Owen Wiltshire

    I still refuse to upgrade my Ipod touch firmware. I purchased it well after the app store upgrade came out, but the one I bought hadn’t been updated. Apple still wanted 12 or so dollars to upgrade a bran new touch…

    Not that my bitching changes anything about apple, but did I mention the first page that popped up when I plugged the thing in was “ENTER YOUR CREDIT CARD INFORMATION”.

    I’m really looking forward to hearing more about Android.

  • enkerli

    @Philip Thanks for dropping by. As you put it so clearly, Apple has a problem, here. Will people there listen?

  • Philip

    Nice to see others are grumbling about this issue, I own a 3rd gen Nano, and spent about 15 minutes going in circles to the billing page trying to figure out what the money in my account Apple already has isn’t sufficient to pay for a $6 game. I’m hoping they address this issue, otherwise my first ‘gift card’ purchase will be my last, and I’ll put up with the horrible interface on my PSP to play my music AND games.

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