This is how +Spotify lost my business — and, worst of all, my respect.
A few weeks ago, I decided I was ready to upgrade my then beloved Spotify account to Premium service. After months of putting up with the ads, it was clear that hours of uninterrupted access to almost ubiquitous music from a more than adequate and ever-expanding library was worth more to me than the $10/mo. price tag. That moment —with the excitement of things to come— was the high point of my experience with Spotify. Once I attempted to use my credit card, it was all decidedly downhill from there.
You see, I use +American Express
for all my credit card purchases. (I only use Visa and MasterCard for debit cards.) Among other reasons, I’m loyal to AmEx because they are loyal to me as a customer. They went above and beyond to accomodate my stupidity when I mistakenly used the wrong checking account number to make a large payment towards my balance, even though the mixup resulted in payment coming in a week after the due date. No late fees, no stern letter with threats of objectionable credit reports. They even lifted the temporary hold that their system had automatically placed on my account following the bank’s refusal to honor payment. And all along the way, they treated me with respect and civility. “Hey, you’re only human. Mistakes happen to all of us,” said the customer rep., who by the way was the only person I needed to speak to in order to sort things out.
Needless to say, AmEx have a very loyal customer here, so I was more than elated to find that Spotify purports to accept my credit card of choice. Alas, this wasn’t really the case. As I attempted to add my credit card as a payment method, the Spotify website came back with a Decline
error, suggesting that American Express had declined the transaction. I double-, triple-, and quadruple-checked all the information I entered; still the same Declined
message. I contacted support, which sent me an email outlining the requirements a CC must fulfill in order to be used on Spotify, so I called AmEx to make sure my account met these requirements (it did). I wrote back to Spotify support with confirmation that everything was A-OK on the credit card front, and that’s when the experience started to get really
The details get a bit long and tiresome, but suffice it to say that Spotify support staff insisted over and over that the problem must
be that AmEx is rejecting the £0.01 authorization they make on the account to confirm it is a valid account, even in light of multiple emails from me explaining that this is not the case (both because I use the card with other online services who make these authorizations, and because an AmEx rep. confirmed to me that tiny charges and authorizations like that are not automatically rejected). At one point, the AmEx rep. (during our third
—and utterly unnecessary— service call) told me that at this point, the vendor’s course of action should be to contact the credit provider directly and sort the issue out, and not pester the customer with more inane back and forth that is clearly leading only to customer frustration (though he said it in non-snarky terms). Yet when I suggested to Spotify support staff that perhaps they could contact American Express directly, as the problem is clearly between them, they simply refused to do this. Which is odd, because one would expect that for Spotify to support AmEx payments, they must have a service contract with American Express. So why on Earth
would they not
want to contact their business partner to assist in getting my money into their pockets
, I will never know.
Spotify support dedicated every minute of the experience to shifting blame to everything but their own service. They blamed the browser, the credit card company, and myself, and refused —in multiple occasions— to attempt anything that might resolve the issue on their end. Their only course of action was telling me repeatedly that I or my credit card company must be doing something wrong, while ignoring all evidence to the fact that the issue seems to originate in their payments interface. They even contradicted themselves repeatedly, even in the same email, by stating that AmEx must be declining the £0.01 charge, while also stating there was no record on their logs that any attempt was being made to add a card to my account. So which is it?
After searching and finding multiple people (here: http://community.spotify.com/t5/Accounts-Subscriptions-and-Music/American-Express-payment-method-falsely-declining-card/m-p/30061/highlight/true#M4429
) are having the same issue (and, worse, finding that their claims are being met with the same ineptitude and refusal to acknowledge Spotify’s problem), I decided to check out the competition.
In the end, I chose +Rdio
, who took my money —using my beloved American Express card— in less than one fucking minute. I’ve enjoyed their premium service for a bit now and am looking forward to eventually purchasing a Sonos music system with which to enjoy Rdio’s music library (something I was planning to do with my Spotify account). Spotify attempted to placate me by offering me a month’s free service, showing that they still don’t get it: I don’t want a free fucking piece of candy, I want to be able to pay for a premium music streaming service. Yet, Spotify could sort out this problem tomorrow and offer me three months —nay, a year! two years!!— free service, and I wouldn’t accept, because they have been disrespectful, lazy and disingenuous, and why would I ever want to give people like that
my credit card information, let alone engage in a business relationship with them?