Why Does Spotify Keep Ripping People Off?
When asked about the user-submitted web contact form, for example, Graham said that he could not discuss the internal workings of Spotify's customer support.
So I turned the conversation to the Spotify support forums, where moderators converse with users seeking help on issues ranging from playlist syncing to billing inquiries. For almost every question, moderators instruct users to submit web contact forms to reach a customer support rep. Then when users complain about receiving only an automated reply, the moderators instruct them to reply to those "no-reply" emails in order to reach an agent. Confusing, right?
I asked Graham if those extra steps were necessary just to get in touch with a representative. He said he didn't know.
What happens when your account is deleted, I went on. Does Spotify hold onto your credit card information?
"We don't really discuss that," Graham said. "Suffice it to say there is a very secure method and anybody's payment is kept at the highest security imaginable."
One thing is clear: Spotify is doing something wrong. Search the word "refund" on the forums and you'll find 40 pages of related threads, with complaints about being charged for free trials, as well as duplicate charges, like my own.
Of course, Spotify isn't the first web-based subscription service to mishandle billing complaints. In 2003, AOL settled with the Federal Trade Commission over charges of unfair business practices, which included billing AOL Internet subscribers after they requested to cancel their account and failing to properly execute account closures.
The video above is hilarious, but also frustrating. Substitute Spotify for AOL, and the fact that you'll be haggling over email rather than the phone, and the frustrated user on the other end could be any one of us.