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Audible.com Crosses the Line

Yesterday, Audible had a big sale where every book was $9.95. While purchasing audiobooks, I had no problems with their site. When I went to "My Library" to download the new books, the problems began.

At first, the downloads would simply fail silently. I went to the audible.com help page and saw a message about how they were experiencing long download times and that new activations weren't getting done. This wasn't my problem, but it was definitely related to downloading. I decided to call since my problem was actually different. I called, pressed #2 for technical support and received a busy signal. So much for that.

Their message said they thought they'd have the problem cleared up that evening, so I tried later. When I went back in, the larger files (type 3 and 4, better quality and the only kind that work worth a damn in the car is type 4) were simply not available. I *never* buy audiobooks that are not offerred in type 4 format, so this amounted to my books still not being available. I gave up and went to bed.

This morning, I was able to download two files. I need to download about eight. Audible.com was still having the same problems as yesterday. First, the type 4's failed silently, then they were simply not offerred. I decided to try calling again. When I went to their help page to get the number, I found that it was *not there* any longer and I found this message:

You'll note there is no phone number there. It used to be with the hours.

So, basically, "we hope you enjoy your weekend, we're violating our contract by not providing the stuff you paid for, you can't call us to complain, and by the way we're taking Monday off. Fuck you very much."

To say that I'm pissed off at them would be a huge understatement. They clearly have a problem that calls for immediate attention, and they are just leaving it to fester over the holiday weekend. There is no recognition here we, as customers, are even entitled to that which we've already purchased. Customer service doesn't come much worse than that, now does it?

I have an update on the situation here.

Posted by nicole at July 01, 2005 12:12 PM

Have you called your credit card company to block the charges? That's pretty appalling.

At the least they could have said something more helpful about either the problem or when its solution is going to be in place; even better would have been to credit you your money immediately; even better than that would be to credit you the money and give you the downloads anyway. These days, though, no company wants to announce bad news lest it upset shareholders. Are they public or private?

Posted by fedward at July 1, 2005 04:33 PM

That would only screw me over, ultimately.

Here's how audible works: You pay a fee and it gives you credits. The fee is charged at the beginning of the month, then you have until the next monthly renewal date to "purchase" your audiobooks.

You can download these or any of your old selections any time you like, in theory. In actual practice however, audible.com is overloaded, slow and messed up. This is a relatively new problem. I've had problems with them before, but they never persisted for more than a few hours. Right now, I still can't get type 4 files.

If I recinded my monthly charge, I'd get locked out of my account and lose access to all of my purchases over the last couple of years. Therefore, they really need to adhere to a higher standard of customer service. I have no recourse except to bitch on the blog.

Posted by Nicole at July 1, 2005 06:24 PM

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