back to article Apple swipes £121 for 'free' MobileMe trial

Europeans who signed up to a trial of MobileMe are finding mysterious charges on their payment cards of up to £121...for what they thought was a free look at Apple's answer to MS-Exchange. Anyone wanting to have a go on MobileMe must enter credit card details so they can pay for the service when their 60-days free trial …


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  1. Mark Daniels
    Jobs Horns

    ... how "£$%^"£%$^ much ?

    So, this 120 quid, is this on top of the network charges for airtime/ download megs ?

    I have to say, not being an Apple user, I laugh at the gulability of Apple customers : pay for too much for a sub standard 'phone, pay excessive amounts for air time, not allowed to use the device for you want to becuase Apple block adding apps and then they steal 120 quid for an email service that, frankly, is free on almost every other phone I can think of.

    My e65 looks like the bargain of the century in comparisson.......


  2. Richard
    Jobs Horns

    Does this mean?

    That Apple are striving to outdo Adobe in the currency conversion stakes?

    $1 = £121

    No buying from Apple's online store for a bit methinks...

  3. Pyers
    Jobs Horns

    Cheeky monkeys!

    This is surely in contravention of the terms of the merchant account to accept cards, and complaints from people who have been shafted like this could result in the withdrawal of Apple's credit card service.

    I know when I signed up to accept cards for my business there were very stiff warnings and penalties for this sort of practice.

  4. Anonymous Coward


    Just who are you calling ignorant?

    Taking £100+ (US$200+) when you said you'd take $1 is pretty well guaranteed to piss people off

  5. Mei Lewis

    The arrogance!

    "Your ignorance is not Apple's mistake." !!???!

    Wow! And he can't even spell 'cheque' correctly!

  6. Clive

    Mac fanatic

    It always amazes me the way Apple fanatics always blame everyone else – Apple is never at fault

  7. 4a$$Monkey
    Jobs Horns

    Mac fanatic

    Ah yes even being ripped off wont dent their rabid support for Apple.

  8. Tetsugaku-San

    The Iphone 3G and Mobile me launch ...

    Has been an absolute cluster fuck.

    Apart from getting the phone going on day one, I have been plagued by software crashes, a mobile me account that won't push from my phone (but will from the desktop) buggy app software, a keyboard that only reacts (literally) 4 seconds after I press it when I'm sending a text, random fast forwarding tracks, a shocking battery life, BlueTooth that won't let me send or receive files (or sync) a Mobile Me website I can't log into, and now charges for a service I was supposed to be 'trialling'.

    I only just swapped to Mac - I was lead to believe they were better than this.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    "Your ignorance is not Apple's mistake."

    No. It's Apple's entire business plan - get dumb people to pay over-the-odds for gadgets which look pretty but do the same as other gadgets that cost half the price. ;)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not exactly true

    After a long and heated discussion with my bank about authorised payments using debit cards, it transpires that if you have authorised the use of your debit card, then the company you authorised can take those funds, whether or not you have those funds in the bank. So if you make a payment for £100 but the company doesn't cash it until a week later, £100 is debited from your account, regardless of your balance.

    All the company needs is your authorisation, so why pre-authorise AND take the money, when they are already guaranteed the funds whatever ?

    Sounds like PayPal to me ...

  11. Kevin O'Byrne


    You just reminded me to cancel my MobileMe trial account.

    I don't mind waiting 15 minutes for my gmail to arrive to my iPhone.

    I will keep calendar and contacts on my exchange account in work.

    I'll post my pictures up on Picasa.

    Anyway, the only way I might have switched over would be if I could make my mail appear to come from, which I can't (I'm not changing my email address again) It's just not worth the £59 a year when I can get all the features for free anyway.

  12. Law
    Jobs Horns

    RE: Mac fanatic

    I'm an apple user and I blame apple.... wouldn't call myself a fanatic though, I just have a macbook pro and I don't drop whatever im doing every hour to bow down in the direction of Jobs...

    I will be checking my account tonight, if I've been charged I will angrily cancelling the bloody thing. The hilarious thing is, I didn't realise it was a new service that costs as much as it does, I was still on my 60 days free trial of .mac, and the other day I had an update which replaced something with the mobileme stuff. Now I need to find out if I need to cancel, or whether they will attempt to charge a card I gave another service 2 months ago. sigh..... getting slightly annoyed by the whole thing.

    They are true to their advertising though of "It just works" - apparently before you even ask them for it....

  13. Omer Ozen


    provide CC details for "free" trials has been my principle for many years. If they believe their service is the bee's knees, then they should not need this kind of hidden subscription should I forget to cancel it con.

  14. John Scott

    No Surprises!

    Well this isn't a surprise. If this was any other company they would have been hung out to dry by now but because it's Apple and for some reason, as someone already mentioned, their fans are more than happy to pay way over the odds for what amounts to out of data tech, they have gotten away with this just about.

    Then again the fact that people are even considering paying for something that can be easily put together on most other phones for free just re-enforces the stupidity of most of these users.

    I personally use an HTC TYTNII, with the new version out soon, there is no reason to consider anything else!

  15. adnim


    that consumers will supply credit or debit card details for a free trial. Would the words fraud and theft be too strong to describe this "free" trial?

    It's much safer to tar all corporates and big businesses with the same brush, the one dipped in the tin with "thieves and scoundrels" printed on the label. If we as consumers were not so blinded by the advertising machinery and prone to sheep like behaviour we could pretty much determine our own terms for services and goods. I accept I live in a dream utopia where the consumer is in control, and not a world where the word consumer is synonymous with the term cattle to the slaughter.

  16. Anonymous Coward


    You bought an iPhone, not a Mac. Perhaps that is your problem. Or maybe you're just a troll.

  17. Webster Phreaky
    Jobs Halo

    @ Mark "I don't do research" Daniels

    > So, this 120 quid, is this on top of the network charges for airtime/ download megs ?

    It has absolutely nothing to do with network charges - it's for separate service. Do some research!

    > I laugh at the gulability of Apple customers : pay excessive amounts for air time

    Apple don't set the "airtime" costs - the mobile phone networks do. Do some research!

    > not allowed to use the device for you want to becuase Apple block adding apps

    You haven't heard of the AppStore then? Do some research!

    > 120 quid for an email service that, frankly, is free on almost every other phone

    "MobileMe" is not free on ANY phone, although other free email services work just as freely on the iPhone. Do some research!

    > My e65 looks like the bargain of the century in comparisson.......

    With all the money you're saving you should invest in a dictionary. Your spelling is atrocious!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Holy Jesus - Justice galore

    Serves you right, all fanbois! Even Jesus' poo and pee would smell like chocolates and rosewater for you nuts.

    Whats the word ??....... Masochists all !

    Even Paris can smell a scam these days.

  19. Andre Carneiro


    I swapped for an iMac as well.... and now back on my Windows XP machine, having gotten rid of that overpriced piece of (rather sexy-looking) shite.

    Better the devil you know. ;)

  20. Tim J
    Paris Hilton

    It's never Apple's fault

    The Mactard quoted in the article says "Your ignorance is not Apple's mistake."

    Eh? How about Apple's ignorance about how the world outside the United States operates not being the customers mistake! If Apple can't adapt so they can do business locally then I suggest they don't bother in the first place.

    I do like Apple Macs - but their legion of brain dead fans who'll leap to their defence regardless of the facts is a completely unsavoury sight and is really quite off-putting and in my mind at least damages the brand.

    Apple have messed up here, and have almost certainly screwed up the finances of some people who operate without much of a safety margin. Is it remotely possible for an Apple fan to actually acknowledge this?!

    Paris - because she certainly doesn't like it when a pre-authorised transaction gets debited too early... or something...

  21. Someone

    General (American) Ignorance

    I think a large proportion of people with experience of using a debit card will be aware that many businesses, especially American ones, refer solely to credit cards throughout their literature, but are able to accept payment by debit card. Anyone taking such a strict reading of the MobileMe Terms of Service would conclude that they say nothing about debit cards, so Apple may not seek any pre-authorization for these. It’s either a billing cock up over the amount ring fenced or Apple are far less trusting of anyone outside of America.

    It should be noted that Apple have done nothing wrong under the card network terms and conditions they agreed to to be able to take card payments. MobileMe customers are giving Apple what is called Continuous Payment Authority. This entitles Apple to take whatever amount they like, whenever they like, as often as they like. You will not be able to go to your card issuer and dispute any transaction. You will not even be able to stop future transactions by cancelling your card.

  22. Mark W
    Jobs Horns

    Got one but not the other.

    Well, I don't have an iPhone 3G, however, I do have 3x £159 charges to my credit card from O2 for last week when I did try to upgrade to one during the shambles where the site kept dumping us out. I've asked O2 and they don't seem to have any answer. Was funny that they recently sent me a questionnaire. You can assume it wasn't good.

    From being someone who thought that Apple stuff was good, well done Mr Jobs, you've managed to remove your reality distortion field long enough to realise that you're as much of a shower of shite as every other computer company. Took me long enough to notice.

    Thankfully Apple haven't stiffed me for the £121 mobileme charge. not yet, anyway (and I do have a trial account...).

  23. Anonymous Coward

    No such problem for registrants of .Mac ....

    Interestingly I registered for the free trial early last week when it was still .Mac and was not asked for any credit card details at all, so this is clearly a new thing for the MobileMe service.

    However they did clearly underestimate the load that the MobileMe service (or lack of) was going to get over the weekend, combined with a shortage of phones, the activation foul ups and problems getting V2 of the software - it has certainly left some egg on the faces.

  24. Stewart Knight
    Paris Hilton

    Serves 'em right

    for buying apple!

    Why paris, because she's a dumb vacuous blonde trying to be achingly fashionable, but NOT that dumb / vacuous blonde and fashionable that she'd buy into this crap!

  25. Kyle

    @ Mei

    I think the "check" card is in relation to the Yanks calling "current accounts" "checking accounts", rather than the usual linguistic incompetence.

    It's still funny to see someone defend a corporation so rabidly...

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Tetsugaku-San "I only just swapped to Mac - I was lead to believe they were better than this."

    I was the same with one of their routers, it didnt do what it said on the box (its got 802.11a/b/g/n!!!!, just not at the same time) and going to forums for help was a waste of time with the fanbois telling me that it was my fault for not reading the small print on the apple website.

    Moral of story, only buy stuff that has been on the market for ages and the fanbois no longer try to wallpaper over the stupid bugs(features in fanboi speak) anymore

  27. Ron Eve

    Flames aplenty. Facts a few

    Actually, as someone else has pointed out here, there is a world of difference between CREDIT cards and DEBIT cards. The latter works on your current or checking account and is, basically, the same as cash.

    For instance, I recently checked into a hotel and they wanted a card for pre-authorisation. This is normal. However, it was pointed out to me that if I used my debit card the account would be debited immediately and refunded up to 5 days later.(Years ago they would take an imprint on check in and tear it up if you paid cash). With credit cards the amount is recorded then cancelled (or collected) as usual.

    The point is these are NOT Apple's terms, they're the bank's.

    Free trial: those of you who think you should never have to enter your card details to enroll for a 'free trial' then you are clearly from another planet. Sure it's possible but for 90% (yes a wild guess...) of all other commercial sites you have to enter your details. If after the trial period you decide not to continue then you cancel the account. Very simple and commercially sound. If you forget to cancel, oh say, because you're trying to get the software/service for free then tough titty. Serves you right for trying to bilk someone.

    And finally: Webster - good grief! That was almost a defence of, shock horror, Apple!!

  28. yeah, right.

    Apple fan here

    I guess I fall into the category of "apple fan", having three of the damn things at home. Of course, since they went to Intel it's just not been the same.

    That said, I find this kind of business practice should see the company heavily fined and the person responsible taken out back and introduced to a cattle prod. It's just not on.

  29. pctechxp
    Jobs Horns

    Apple tw*ts and billionaires

    Steve jobs didn't get where he is today by charging a fair price for a decent product, oh no.

    He's been screwing people over for years but Apple fans are just plain thick.

    I own a Nano simply because its small and I can connect it to my choice of stereo, I got rather a good deal on it (£114 compared to £160+ in some places like Apple's store at the time)

    I've also bought a couple of tracks from Itunes as I could not find on any other download service but I do think 79p per track is steep.

    However, I really feel sorry for the dipstciks that are so blinded by their love of jobs that they cant see he's robbing them blind.

    "A fool and his/money are soon parted'

    Golden rule for shopping anyware on t'internet: never use a debit card if you have access to your own credit card, that way, they can screw over the card company who have huge legal teams and large cash warchest to punich offenders and your hard earned is safe until your bill comes in.

  30. TeeCee Gold badge
    Jobs Horns

    ...and the issue is?

    So, Apple have produced something that looks like a good idea in an attractive package, but's proved to be an overpriced rehash of something everyone else has been doing for years.

    I suppose the bloody sun came up this morning as well.

  31. Gordon Pryra

    @Webster Phreaky

    Are you purposely misunderstanding what, to me, is a very easily understandable post?

    You sound like the normal Fan-Boy ™ , never argue the point when you can change the subject!!

    I like the bit about his spelling, brings back memories of WoW forum trolls

  32. Steve Mann

    @ "Webster Phreaky"

    Oh Webster, you obvious pseudonym you, he wasn't saying the Apple "pay before you go" system was free on other phones, he was saying that e-mail service in general is. And he's right.

    Perhaps a little less Hysterical Promac Appleboost (the high-energy drink recommended by Steve Jobs) and a little more elapsed time between reading and replying is in order?

    You might also want to check that dictionary you're so enamoured of for a proper spelling of "Freaky".

  33. Mark SPLINTER


    hmmm what's more retarded, buying consumer electronics in their first year of release? or going on the register to tell apple users that they should use the products YOU like instead of what THEY like?

    I dunno, i reckon both those things are pretty retarded. And I just made it worse by coming on here to point that out. Gah.

  34. N

    I daresay that...

    They will get their money back,

    Unlike the thousands of fools who bought into the Microsoft Windows Vista 'trial'

  35. Fred Goldstein

    There's a word for it

    Americans do have debit cards, though they're less common than credit cards. Indeed there has been controversy over when stores can use "signature debit" (looks a lot like credit) vs. "PIN debit" (looks like ATMs), when the fees differ.

    Anyway, there's an American radio show, "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me", that combines quiz questions on the week's news with comedy. One of its features is the Listener Limerick Challenge, wherein the lucky listener who gets to go on the show by phone is asked to fill in the last word of a limerick.

    An Englishman once was bereft

    That his wallet was missing some heft.

    "Free" trial from Apple

    is something this chap will

    More likely say really was ___

  36. James Wilson

    Just Use Single Transaction Virtual Credit Card Numbers

    Many credit cards now allow you to create a virtual credit card number which is limited to a specific number of charges, a specific amount of $ and/or a specific amount of time. Then they can't charge more than you specify or after a date you specify. Just because you give them a credit card number doesn't mean they now can use it any time they want for any amount they want.

  37. xjy

    Gibbering, screaming monkeys

    It's this chip-on-the-shoulder pull-em-down crowd of gibbering, screaming, shit-throwing monkeys that keeps the English gutter (sorry, sewer) press alive and splashing. Hard-hitting but accurate criticism is good, this kind of pretentious bandwagon stoning is crap. The treatment handed out by the press and their hangers-on to Sven-Goran as England manager and to the England team as a whole is symptomatic.

    So Apple fucked up. Snafu time. They've been kicked in the teeth for it by hard-hitting but accurate criticism. But the stinking FUD-crud hurled Apple's way for decades now is finally coming back to the gobs that spewed it out - and long may it stick in their throats!!

    (Mine's the flame with the coat attached, ta!)

  38. Matt Bridge-Wilkinson


    Yup £121 taken, sadly for me my account only had £100 in it, as I dont use it and figured I could cover the £59 if I decided to stick with it. No doubt overdraft charges etc for being overdrawn...

    Thanks apple, i expected more from you.

  39. Al
    Paris Hilton

    "Your ignorance is not Apple's mistake"

    You have to love it. Apple zealouts pride themselves on everything being so simple and easy to use, yet using a debit card instead of a credit card is a reason for punters to make a 2-month interest-free loan to Apple? Zealouts are very scary people....

  40. Colin Morris
    Paris Hilton

    Re: The arrogance!

    <quote>Wow! And he can't even spell 'cheque' correctly!</quote>

    .. I believe that is how they spell cheque in the good 'ol U,S of A.

    Poor old Paris was probably laughed at in school because she spelt it 'cheque'.....

  41. Guy

    Debit Cards

    You state that 'Debit cards are less widely used in the US' I've not bothered looking up anything like hard facts about this (That would ruin the truthiness of my claims), but I would have to say that their about the same.

    I realise the US is a very large place, and I haven't been out to the more rural areas, so I suppose it's possible that as a percentage of population their less widely used, but even if that was the case, they are used pretty much EVERYWHERE ELSE. Everyone I know uses a debit card (Probably have a credit card as well, gotta get those bonus points you know)

    So for that to be put up as some kind of excuse doesn't work for me, I would imagine you'll be hard pressed to find more than 5 apple employees in the US that don't have a debit card (I'm feeling brave, I'll include all the teenage trendy types that work in the stores as well)

  42. Bloodwin
    Jobs Halo

    Old news....

    Actually if you read any of the mac sites you will know that his is old news and that Apple are already investigating. They have already given an extra month free to those affected by the dodgy mobile me launch. They have admitted there was a problem and compensated their customers just like any half decent company would.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    Way for apple to add those numbers to their revenue report, and forget to subtract the part where they give the money back.

    It is not unknown for apple to practice creative accounting when reporting sales of various things.

  44. Darren B

    Apple, the new 419ers?

    These 419ers are getting smarter, Was there a promise of millions if you signed up for the service? Using card services to scam the money, genius!

  45. dave
    Jobs Halo

    I just got some free .me love from Apple

    As a long time .Mac user I just got an unsolicited mail telling me they are giving me a free month extra subscription because of all the switchover to .me hassles.

    Apart from losing the iCards, the MobileMe web apps look OK and seem to work, so I'm happy. Methinks Steve Jobs will have a very sore foot from all the Apple ass he must be kicking...

  46. Philip
    Jobs Halo

    Irrational hate

    God the venom! It can only be the El Reg Winbois, whipped up by their knowing hack masters. Positively Pavlovian.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £121 - How'd they work that out?

    It's £59 for a year, so that's like.. two a bit years?

    As for pre-authorising debit cards by taking cash out your account - hopefully a slap is on its way.

    Tetsugaku-San - that's screwed, have you tried ringing for support, if you've only just switched you should have free support. Mine seems about normal and I get:

    Software crashes: Check, more than 1.1.4, none since moving to the new firmware (5A347).

    Mobileme won't push from phone: That works fine for me, should work

    Buggy app software: 3rd party? Check.

    Slow keyboard: That's bust, mine's immediate

    Random fast forwards: Bust, unless your screen's unlocked and it's happening by accident. I don't get this.

    Shocking battery life: Check (2 days based on my normal usage)

    Crippled Bluetooth: Check

    Broken MM website: Bust, works for me.

    Mark Daniels: You can use all the free services on an iPhone too, it's not tied to MM (Yahoo Mail also has push IMAP).

  48. Dazza

    @ Webster Phreaky

    >> So, this 120 quid, is this on top of the network charges for airtime/ download megs ?

    >It has absolutely nothing to do with network charges - it's for separate service. Do some research!

    See the '?' at the end of his sentance, that generally means that the preceding sentance was asking a question - as was the case this time - not a statement. It might be worth you turning your fanboi-o-tron down a couple of notches and taking a deep breath before posting...


  49. Jason Clery

    @Kevin O'Byrne

    " mail appear to come from"

    if you have your own domain and control of your mx records, you can move it to gmail. It stays and sends as your domain, has IMAP and POP

  50. bob

    Debit is used as credit on the web in america.

    *sigh* in america , most peoples "check" cards function as credit cards. not debit. so if you order something online, you have to punch up your 16 digit card number and supply the billing address and everything. dual function. splitting hairs, i know.

    jacket because apple likes to fleece people for updates.

  51. Michael

    pot, meet kettle.

    "<snip> Or maybe you're just a troll."

    Thus spake the Anonymous Coward...

  52. Tim J
    Thumb Down

    @Ron Eve and others - re Card pre-authorisation

    "Flames aplenty. Facts a few" said Ron. Well, it might have helped his case if he'd been a bit more clued up himself - indeed, there appears to be widespread confusion here so let's introduce some facts...

    What appears to have happened in the case of MobileMe is that Apple has *pre-authorised* cards for the sum of £121 - a pre-authorisation is not the same as the money actually being taken, instead what happens is that the bank or credit card company reserves the requested amount - a typical application of this happening is when you book into a hotel the system will ringfence a certain sum as a deposit, and anything up to that sum can then be charged onto that account if you then do a runner (even if you cancel your card). On a less dramatic level, it can help to ensure that a hotel customer will have enough dosh in their account/ enough credit available to actually pay the bill when they leave (though this isn't a guarantee as other offline transactions may have subsequently been billed to the account, but let's keep it simple!).

    What Apple and countless other companies do is utilise this facility for a different purpose - that of ensuring that the card details submitted by users (or potential customers) are valid, and - as the article states - they do this by pre-authorising the card for an amount "typically the equivalent of one US dollar ($1USD)" (the text from the MobileMe T&C's actually just uses the word "authorization" but I'm certain that what they actually do is a pre-authorisation - they're just keeping the language simple so as not to get too technical).

    Or at least Apple should have pre-authorised the cards for US$1 - however it appears that they've managed to pre-authorise them for £121 - which at around US$240, somewhat more than the promised US$1.

    This thus means that people who used debit cards can't get access to that £121 in their bank account, whilst credit card users will find that £121 of their available credit has disappeared. A potential problem for both sets of people, though debit card users are more likely to end up in trouble because of this if they don't have a lot of slack with regards to their bank account (i.e. no overdraft facility, or just as likely not enough of an overdraft left!). This could mean that direct debit payments get returned, which may well lead to charges being imposed by both the bank and the company collecting the payment.

    In essence, Apple (or indeed anyone) screwing up like this entails some of their customers getting screwed up, and as such it's a surefire way to royally piss people off.

    But hold on, its not Apple's fault, it's their customers fault... apparently.

  53. Brian Whittle
    Jobs Horns


    What ever you thing of Mac PCs one thing is for sure Apple rape their customers on everything

  54. Paul

    Mobile me tried to bill me over £1000...

    I had a call from the credit card fraud team at my bank at the weekend. Turns out that Apple attempted to bill me £120... the actual cost of £60 of the service...six times.... the upgrade to a family pack cost of £30.....about 30 times....

    ...and I still didn't get my upgrade.

    The email I had from Apple promised another email with an explanation within the week which I haven't seen yet.

    To be fair in 20 years to using Apple personally and professionally this is the only real screw-up I have had, but as screw-ups go, it's pretty messy.

    Free service would be an nice apology. But I'd settle for an explanation and an actual apology from someone with some seniority.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo


    Someone accused Webster of being an Apple fanboy.

    And they did it an not-taking-the-piss way.

    Was that Satan ski-ing past my window, on his way to the late shift?

  56. c
    Jobs Halo


    More evidence that apple are basically evil. Much much worse than MS/IBM/any of the technology incumbents.

    the halo because compared to steve jobs SB is an angel....

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    what a sh*t name!

    'mobile me!' sounds like a request to have a cellphone inserted into one's orifice.

  58. Graham Lockley

    Hold the front page !

    In breaking news today, Webster Phreaky was seriously accused of being an Appletard.

    Also, four strange looking guys on horses were spotted asking the way to the Whitehouse.

  59. Neoc

    Two comments:

    Firstly, for our American brethrens, please be aware that most of us outside of the US-of-A have had access to Credit Cards, Debit Cards *and* (as of about a decade ago) this new-fangled Credit-Card-linked-to-a-Debit-account. I have, for example, a Visa Debit card. In other words, it acts for all intents and purposes like a Credit card as far as vendors are concerned but only accesses funds I actually have in my Debit account. Quite popular in Oz and the banks here are now issuing them in preference to normal Debit cards.

    Secondly, if Apple has published information saying the charge that will be taken out of your account is US$1, then they *are* in breach and you can go to your bank and file a fraud claim. *Especially* if you used a credit card or a MC-Debit/VS-Debit card. Either way, it will now be up to Apple to prove that you authorised *that amount*. And since, apparently, they did not require you to click on an "i agree" screen specifying *that amount* they will have a hard time defending it. Once a few hundred people complain and the banks start having to refund the money, Apple might notice the (large) fines being laid upon its account.

    IANAL, YMMV, I just know about this 'cause I had to use it against a company which *did* try this little trick on me. They rely on the "sheeple" mentally and hope few people will raise the point with the relevant authorities.

  60. Grant Mitchell

    @Mark Daniels

    > So, this 120 quid, is this on top of the network charges for airtime/ download megs ?

    Erm, no, that's a mistake... didn't you read the article. Mobile Me is 60ukp.

    >then they steal 120 quid for an email service that, frankly, is free on almost every other phone I can think of.

    Actually, Vodafone, for example, charged me 15ukp/month for push email. BIS (Blackberry Internet Service) service wasn't free from any providers when I last looked (though that may have changed recently). As has been stated there are free options you can use (Y!).

    Apple have been pretty good at fixing mistakes in my experience. I got a years free Mobile Me when queuing at the Apple store for my phone as an apology for the delay (as well as a continuous supply of caffeine ;) ). I got an email this week as well apologising for the launch teething issues giving me another free month.

    I thought that was pretty good service myself.

  61. Someone

    Re: @Ron Eve and others - re Card pre-authorisation

    “…it's a surefire way to royally piss people off.”

    One would hope that Apple will provide any necessary compensation, without too much fuss. I hope they’ll accept something like copies of bank statements and utility bills that link up with the MobileMe account and show the charges cause by Apple’s error(s). Although, obviously, if you’re claiming a very large amount, this isn’t going to work.

    You may be able to convince your card issuer that there was no proper authorisation for the amount that was ring fenced. However, as you’re not contesting that the Continuous Payment Authority as a whole is invalid, just a specific amount, issuers may be unwilling to investigate. Even where any bank charges are reversed, this won’t cover consequential damage – charges imposed by other companies failing to collect their payments.

    The alternative to Apple willingly helping their customers would be Apple’s customers having to take Apple to court to recover losses. This would make the PR problem a whole lot worse.

  62. sleepy

    it's just a cockup

    a cockup, pure and simple. No corporate intention to steal from you or manipulate you; no intention to pre-authorize the service cost; simply a need to confirm that it's a current card in good standing. This unrelated charge is simply a massive software bug; it appears that no entry appears in Apple's accounts for the charge. Such a basic bug that they don't even know who they've charged. Incompetent; not evil. Unlike, for example, Dell, Apple don't charge your card when you order hardware either, they charge when it ships.

  63. Matt Bridge-Wilkinson
    Jobs Horns

    Free push email

    If you want push email use mail2web its free and does work.

    Im not an apple fan boy but I do like my iphone.

    I should thank Apple, because they annoyed me so much with this, I looked elsewhere, and found a free push solution.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    How exactly do you get your head get around the cognitive dissonance of stating (with no obvious irony) in the same posting that:

    1. Steve jobs [doesn't] charg[e] a fair price for a decent product, oh no.

    2. You own a iPod Nano

    3. You have bought several tracks from iTunes

    So your iPod (purchased through some route) was a fair price and is a decent product because it connects to your stereo.

    And iTunes is a decent product (if not a fair price) because it has tracks you can't get elsewhere.

    Paris, because she's also having trouble figuring this one out...

    I'm still puzzled as to why Apple didn't outsource the whole thing to Google for a branded product. Google definitely *can* deliver the goods in terms of infrastructure and probably would have been happy to tout their handling of Apple's highest-profile launch in years. Some negotiation around revenue and advertising features would probably have delivered something for nearly everyone (as long as you didn't mind having your email reamed by Google, of course).

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Try 6 x £121

    I've been hit 6 times. I've had to tell the bank that it was fraudulent activity on my card because of the unusual amount. I'd have understood if it was the £59 yearly fee, but £121! Nightmare!

    Waiting to get a call from Apple Support to sort this mess out.


  66. tony trolle

    running the tapes

    has some one been running the BACS tapes program twice? and add 2.5% sales tax ?

    8.25% in Cupertino odd.

  67. Nathan Boal
    Jobs Halo

    Apple responds - Apologises, fixes problem and offers 30 day extension

    "Apple is now offering those affected an additional 30 days to their trial service above and beyond the original 30 day extension for the rocky transition. As a result, affected users will get a total of 120 days of free trial MobileMe service before they are required to start their subscription."


  68. heystoopid


    As Nelson Muntz would say about the Cupertino Pirates in the Apple La La isle "Ha! Ha!"

    Very nice line of fraud Apple is doing !

  69. Pierre

    @ Nathan Boal

    "Apple responds - Apologises, fixes problem and offers 30 day extension "

    30 free days for being locked out of the account sounds OK. 30 free days for bank-related snafu, potential overdraft charges and/or bad credit reports seems a bit, hem, ridiculous. £121 can be a lot, especially when charged 6 times or more as reported by previous comments.

    Also, about Webster Phreaky, I noticed a change in his attitude for a while now, seems he's going postal on Linux now and not on Apple anymore, I guess it says all on who is MS real competitor now (and who isn't anymore). If I were Jobs, I'd be very worried by Mr Phreaky's target change.

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