5 Years, 6 iPods, and $1495 Later, You Just Want One That Works

Last week, Reader Andrew CC’d us on this email to Steve Jobs:

Mr. Jobs –

My name is Andrew [redacted], and I am an Apple consumer, and have been one for my entire life. I’ve been consistently impressed with the computers produced by your company, but have been sadly disappointed by all of my experiences related to your iPods.

I purchased my first iPod, a 10GB second generation model, when it was announced in 2002. It lasted for nearly a year before a hard drive failure caused it to cease working. I decided that it must have been a user error that caused this, and went ahead and purchased a 10GB third generation model shortly thereafter.

This iPod barely managed to survive for another year, I faced issues once I hit the six month mark, but I decided to keep using it until it died altogether. It did die, right when the new fourth generation classic with click wheel was announced.

I bought this iPod with a bit of uncertainty, not sure whether or not it was a good investment. I decided to buy the 40GB model, deciding that perhaps the smaller hard drives in my other iPods were somehow causing them to cease functioning.

Believe it or not, this iPod stopped working as well, a few months after the iPod Shuffle was announced.

Frustrated with my experiences, but still happy overall with Apple, I purchased a 1GB first generation iPod Shuffle, disappointed that I was forced to use it, but happy to have a portable way to listen to my music.

After about a year and a half of full functionality, I bought a fourth generation 20GB iPod off of eBay, and was pleased when I received it and it functioned perfectly. I used my iPod Shuffle and my classic iPod for nearly a year, when they both stopped working while I was doing work overseas. Stuck in another country with hours of train rides ahead of me, without any way to listen to my music, was enough impetus for me to buy the brand-new iPod directly from Apple as soon as I got back to the States. As luck would have it, the iPod Classic was announced a few weeks before I flew home, and I bought the 80GB model.

The same day I received it, the iPod showed signs of a corrupted hard drive, flashing notifications that “this disk cannot be read or written to” when I tried to sync it with my iTunes. I had to head overseas for more work at that point, and left the iPod at home to take care of upon my return. In late November I was home again and called AppleCare, explaining the issue. The next day I received a box, and soon thereafter I sent it back to Apple. (See repair number [redacted]) After about a week, I was contacted and told that there was nothing wrong with my iPod. Assuming that the problem must have fixed itself, I eagerly awaited the return of my iPod. Once I received it, I began to sync it to my iTunes, and the same exact error appeared, accompanied by a hard reset on the iPod. This occurred each time I attempted to sync it. Figuring the issue must be with my computer, I borrowed a friend’s iPod, but it had no problem syncing with my music library.

Mr. Jobs, over the past five years I have owned six iPods and spent roughly $1495 on the five I purchased directly from Apple. That’s $299 per year on iPods alone. In that same amount of time I have owned one Apple desktop computer and two Apple laptops, all of which still function perfectly.

My work has me traveling around the world constantly, and being able to listen to my music or watch my videos is a beginning to become an unattainable luxury for me as opposed to a convenience. In the past I have enthusiastically endorsed Apple products to the scores of people I meet every week. My experiences with my iPods are beginning to make me question my loyalty.

Mr. Jobs, all I ask from you is one iPod that works. That’s all I want.

Thank you very much for your time.


Today, Andrew contacted us with the following update.

Consumerist –

Late last week week I CC’d you on an to Steve Jobs regarding my problems with iPods over the past several years. A few days after my email was sent, I was contacted by an Executive Customer Service rep who, after a few days of phone tag, got me to explicitly describe the malfunction of my current iPod. After about twenty minutes of going into explicit detail, I was told that Apple would get back to me before Monday.

Today I was emailed an article from their support site, along with a few general suggestions for idiots (i.e. “are you running the latest version of iTunes?” “did you try restoring your iPod?”). I was told to call one of the executive relations reps directly. Over the phone I had made it clear that I have been an Apple consumer for many years and am familiar with all their general troubleshooting, and have browsed the support articles already. I’ve attempted to call the number I was given many times, and the representative has been unable to be reached all day.

I’ll give her a couple more days before I email Jobs again. My experience thus far has proved that Apple’s “Executive Customer Relations” department is a joke.

Hope this helps, if you’re considering covering yet another Apple customer’s story.


Yikes, Andrew. That is a shocking amount of iPods. Maybe its time for um, another brand of mp3 player? We suggest that you keep persisting in your attempts to get your (latest) iPod repaired. If you send it back enough times you can play the “lemon” card. Anyone else have advice for Andrew?


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