Apple: “Talk to our lawyers”

August 23, 2011 § 6 Comments

In a follow-up of the previous post, I’m not getting any further. The apps that I’ve bought in the Belgian store are lost. It seems normal to support that if you buy music or apps, that this is not attributed solely to a person, but to that person in combination with where he lives.
This effectively means that the iOS apps that I’ve bought cannot be updated anymore unless I pay again in the UK.
Apple support stopped dealing with it, suggesting that I seek legal advice:

Dear Mike,

My name is V*****. W*** is not in the office at the moment but asked that I take care of your account.

I apologize for any inconvenience you have experienced regarding updating apps from your account since changing the country of your iTunes account. Please note that content purchased in the iTunes Store is country specific with respect to the Terms of Sale and Service for iTunes.

I am not Apple’s legal representative and thus cannot address your claim regarding the legality of this issue. Any additional emails from you regarding this issue will not receive a response from iTunes Store Customer Support.

If you need further assistance regarding this issue, please contact your legal advisor, who may contact Apple’s litigation department on your behalf.

Thank you for your patience and understanding, Mike.


I have been looking at the Terms of Sale and Service for iTunes, and personally haven’t found anything in there stating that what I buy in Belgium must stay in Belgium but I’ll reread this document.

If any of you have legal advice or have contacts who could provide me with legal advice, please do so.


§ 6 Responses to Apple: “Talk to our lawyers”

  • mikereys says:

    iTunes is de aanbieder van de Dienst die u toestaat een licentie voor digitale content (“iTunes Producten”) te kopen of te huren, uitsluitend voor eindgebruik, onder de voorwaarden beschreven in deze Overeenkomst. iTunes is niet de aanbieder van de iTunes applicatie of van de iPad, iPod of iPhone.



    De Dienst is alleen in België voor u beschikbaar. U stemt ermee in de Dienst niet buiten deze locatie te gebruiken of trachten te gebruiken. iTunes kan technische middelen toepassen om na te gaan of u zich aan deze bepaling houdt.

    —-> Overeenkomst licentie is met aanbieder app

    So this means that I have a license for the apps with the makers of the app, not the reseller.

  • Alex says:

    If you’ve bought an item in MediaMarkt in Germany and in breaks, you probably won’t be able to change it or get it fixed in a MediaMarkt in Belgium. Same thing goes for Apple store. You can bring your purchased items with you where ever you want, but if you want to fix it in another country you can’t. MediaMarkt goes with your geographical location, Apple store goes with the geographical location of the bank that issued your credit card.

    But what you could, and should, do is to change back to Belgium for your current Apple ID, that will fix your updating problem for the already purchased items. Then create a new Apple ID with your English address for your purchases in the Brittish Apple Store for purchases there. This is what I did when I moved because of this very reason. So I now have two accounts, which is rather annoying when you update a handful of apps at once and have to sign in and out of the different stores. But hey, it works.

    • mikereys says:

      There’s a slight nuance in there that I have a contract with the people whom I buy something from. If I buy a Microsoft license for my computer, and I move to Germany, I’m entitled to the latest Microsoft updates.

      What’s more: the things I purchased via the Belgian Store cannot be re-purchased via the UK store!

      What’s more, I cannot change to Belgium as my credit card from Belgium is linked to a UK address and fails to validate.

      • Alex says:

        I see your point, and I agree. But it doesn’t make the comparison less valid 😉

        You can’t validate a credit card with an address in another country than in that which the card is from. But you can fake an address in that country and validate it. So you can use your old address, or a friend’s, or a bogus one. In short, the bank’s address to you doesn’t need to match the address in your Apple ID.

        But I read about your story in lesoir’s bip-forum, and they claim your apps were deleted when you switched countries. Was that a misinterpretation? Because when I read what you’ve written it seems like “only” the updates are no longer available.

  • mikereys says:

    I’m not sure the comparison is valid, but leave that to interpretation for now.

    The validation of a credit card is based on the address linked with that card. I changed my home address with Dexia, so the address linked to my Belgian Visa card is my UK address. There’s the issue. I cannot enter a UK address in the Belgian store.
    Personally, I’m very much against faking or cheating as I work in the software industry and think that things should happen fairly.
    And there’s an interesting comparison as companies or individuals who buy software once from all the companies that I’ve worked for until now allow the owners of the licenses to move the licenses between countries. E.g. The database licenses acquired by Fortis can be used at BNP Paribas in France as long as BNP Paribas can prove the link with Fortis (rest assured that they can). That is even true if these licenses were acquired via a third party reseller.
    So personally, I don’t see any differences apart from the fact that the reseller in this case (itunes) has a monopoly on the distribution.

    The bip forum wasn’t entirely right about the deletion, but I’m sure that within a year my apps will be so outdated that I might as well delete them (knowing that I cannot re-purchase them from itunes uk).

    • Alex says:

      The validation is based on the address you claim is linked to the card. I have a credit card from a bank in country A, that bank has my address in country B in their records (that is, my card is linked to the address in country B). But when I add this address in my Apple ID, it’s not validated because the address isn’t in the same country as the bank that issued my card – despite the fact that this is the address linked to the card. So I just added my mother’s address – that my bank has never had – and it works.

      So, you can solve the problem by entering a Belgian address. But then you need an additional Apple ID if you want to access the brittish app store…

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