Apple’s .Mac: You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave

2 months ago I received a Gmail account. 1 GB free, no need for .Mac, Apple’s email/storage/Sync/everything solution.

So I thought I’d cancel. Nice try. You can’t cancel!

First thing you find when you look for a place to actually send a message to a real live person behind the .Mac service is that Apple doesn’t want to talk to you. Apple really, really, really doesn’t want to talk to you.

(But they do want your money.)

You go to .Mac’s home page. Log in. Click the Home icon in the top menu bar, then click Support in the left menu bar, browse through the list of forums and self-help FAQ lists. You finally find Account Questions at the bottom of the page (of course). Then you find lots of FAQs and “common questions” … and again, at the bottom of the page, a feedback form to send in your question or support request.

Never, anywhere, is a phone number where you can just call someone who works for the company that you paid $150 to for an online service and resolve an issue immediately.

You’d almost have to wonder if Apple has taken a page or two from the AOL book when it comes to cancellations.

But it gets worse.

Two months ago, when I had decided to not renew my .Mac, I had gone into my account details, had to re-log in for some reason, and when I got there, looked for Credit Card info. I got to a page that looks like this:

Credit Card Info

I had unchecked the box, submitted the page, and left, thinking I had done all I needed to do. But then I received an interesting email just a few days ago:

Dear John,

Thank you for renewing your .Mac membership! Your account has been renewed until October 08, 2005 EDT.

Welcome to another year with .Mac!

If you forgot your .Mac password, click here.

Apple respects your privacy.
Information regarding your personal information can be viewed at

What! I thought I had unchecked the auto-renew checkbox! I immediately went back to the page where I had (to the best of my knowledge) unchecked the box, and played around with it again.

See that checkbox in the image above? It will not uncheck. It refuses to uncheck. It is uncheckable. Why? Because the first thing I did here was try to erase my credit card information. And the page will not allow that. Nor will it allow a bogus credit card number, such as 4444 3333 2222 1111, which is the the standard credit card number used for testing.

So you have to put a correct CC number in. And when I did that? I automatically renewed my account.

Account renewed, wanted or not!

So now I’m stuck with the support request in to cancel an account that I tried to cancel months ago. Because, of course, replying to the email from .Mac support that gave me the welcome news that I had just spent $150 without knowing it, was useless.

Thank you for contacting

.Mac does not provide technical support via email. If you are seeking
technical assistance with your .Mac account, see the online support options
listed below.

Full .Mac members can access a wide range of Web-based support services and
features, including online Help, the AppleCare Knowledge Base, and online
discussion forums moderated by Apple and exclusively for .Mac members. You
can review all of your support options at

Trial members have access to the online Help and the public discussion forum
that includes tips and suggestions from the .Mac community. The public
discussion forums can be found at

Best regards,
.Mac Support Staff

This is, you see, the .Mac Support email address.

I think I need a training bra ….

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