“Attorneys Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Write”
I enjoy renting movies through iTunes, but I couldn’t get a recent choice to download. When Apple billed me for the rental, I clicked “report a problem” and pled my case. They emailed promptly with a promise to refund the rental fee, which was good. But the email’s wording and tone put me off, which wasn’t.
Though my rep turned out to be likable and competent once allowed to speak for herself, the offending initial email read like a legal boilerplate. I especially didn’t care for, “After reviewing the circumstances of your case, we determined that issuing you a refund for your rental ... is an appropriate exception to the iTunes Store Terms and Conditions, which state that all sales are final.”
There were three things in that sentence that I disliked:
1. Use of the word “sale” in “all sales are final.” Perhaps a “sale” took place in the strict legal sense, but not from this consumer’s point of view, since nothing was delivered.
2. An “appropriate exception”? Gee. Big of them to let me squeak by.
3. When you’re trying to make a customer happy is no time to invoke Terms and Conditions. Save that for lawsuits. Now, perhaps deep in the bowels of Apple dwells an attorney who requires a line about Terms and Conditions. Fine. Don’t let the attorney write it. Here is my suggested rewrite, sure to win over the sourest complainer: “Our legal folks want me to remind everyone that our Terms and Conditions say something about all sales being final, but policy shmolicy. I’m on your side on this one, and I’ll make sure you get a refund.” Same content, but it comes across as going to bat for the customer.
The RESPONSE Agency will not send Apple a bill for the above rewrite. After reviewing the circumstances of their case, we determined that waiving our customary rewriting fee is an appropriate exception to our Terms and Conditions, which state that we don’t work for free.