Why Does Spotify Keep Ripping People Off?

Categories: Fiesta!, WTF

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.

See also:
-Crotching Whiskey at the Justin Bieber Concert and Getting Thrown Out: A Review
-The 15 Most Ridiculous Band Promo Photos Ever
-The Ten Worst Music Tattoos Ever

Follow RFT Music on Twitter or Facebook. But go with Twitter. Facebook blows.

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19 comments
Emily Barklage
Emily Barklage

I've never had a problem and I only pay $4.99/month

reginawilkerson
reginawilkerson

So with 40 pages of complaints...and about 25 complaints per page....that brings the total to about 1,000...so let's even give you 5,000 complaints...that's out of 5,000,000 users...which, if my math is right, is about .001% of the total users. And for this we get a painfully dull diatribe?  Move on people...nothing to see here. 

mommiesnotright
mommiesnotright

Why pay for spotify when you can stream for free? Who cares if there is a commercial every now & then, still better than the radio :)

Laura Inlow
Laura Inlow

It's a shame you guys have had this experience, but I still think you're probably in the minority. Sure, you can go online and find plenty of people who have had the same problem, but people don't spend a lot of time on those forums unless they're angry because they have something to complain about. My husband has had premium since it has been available in the U.S. and we love it. $9.99 is a sweet deal for unlimited music including streaming on multiple mobile devices (we use it on at least 4 and just share that account). Anyway, it's still cheaper than what it costs to purchase one CD a month, even if you get charged twice (again, not cool, but also not the end of the world).

Craig Mitchell
Craig Mitchell

I just checked my bank history and I haven't been double charged. At least not in the last 2 months.

Raymond
Raymond

This is seriously one of the most uninteresting pieces of crap I have ever read on this site. What next...the time you tried to return christmas lights to Target in June? No one gives a shit.

Sonny Whitson
Sonny Whitson

Glad it's not just me that has had this problem. Oddly enough, I get charged at separate times of the month. Last month was the 9th and 19th. This month was the 3rd and 6th.

smdrpepper
smdrpepper

Useless program, never ONCE has it worked right.

tonypatti
tonypatti

Spotify is all about capitalization, as many internet companies are. You simply can't trust any of them with a credit card unless you have some idea that they will provide you with adequate service before you sign up. 

The best test is never to subscribe to anything that doesn't provide you with a customer service phone number you can check out. 

Unlike coolbutz here, I find spotify and pandora to be loathsome examples of the decline in music appreciation in our culture. In a world drowning in an overabundance of music, they simply add to the noise and encourage us to listen to music shallowly, without ever really listening in depth, to more music than any culture has ever had to deal with before. 

CoolButtz
CoolButtz

I had the same problem with being double charged on spotify when I first got it... They refunded my money within like 2 days. Since then, I have had no problems... I have found so many bands through this service and listened to a lot of older stuff, that I never had the money to go out and buy just to check out... Its nice to be able to listen to stuff  a few times before I go to the record store and purchase it... 99% of the stuff I find on spotify that I love, I tend to try and find when I go to the record store. It is also a great tool to have at parties and gatherings. I back spotify, to me, it helps a lot of music to be heard... If people are bitching about $9.99 per month, then they've got bigger problems. My 2 cents.

Andrew Bohler
Andrew Bohler

I will never put anything I create on Spotify

matt_frederick
matt_frederick

It's really interesting to read about Spotify from the consumer's end of things.  Spotify seems pretty lousy on the customer service side, eh?  Well, I think that it's because Spotify isn't in it for consumer revenue:

"Why are they in business at all? 

The answer is capital, which is what Pandora and Spotify have and what they generate. These aren't record companies-- they don't make records, or anything else; apparently not even income. They exist to attract speculative capital. And for those who have a claim to ownership of that capital, they are earning millions-- in 2012, Pandora's executives sold $63 million of personal stock in the company. Or as Spotify's CEO Daniel Ek has put it, "The question of when we'll be profitable actually feels irrelevant. Our focus is all on growth. That is priority one, two, three, four and five."

Growth of the music business? I think not. Daniel Ek means growth of his company, i.e., its capitalization."

reginawilkerson
reginawilkerson

@tonypatti I dare you to listen when you are high....you'll suddenly find it oh-so-not loathsome! Air Supply on demand? HELLS YES!

reginawilkerson
reginawilkerson

@Andrew Bohler Take a stand, bro! I'm sure you'll go far!

matt_frederick
matt_frederick

Yes, businesses are supposed to make money.  This particular business makes its money by attracting speculative capital.  Customer service isn't a high priority for it.  I'm neither a hater nor am I hating. 

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