Music is one of Matt Resnisky’s lifelong passions. As a loyal Apple Customer, he had collected more than 20,000 songs over the years in his iTunes library, mostly from old CDs and some from the iTunes store. He also stored precious home videos of his two young daughters there, too. It was a lifetime of memories stored in a centralized location until it all vanished during a visit to the Apple Store at the Westfarms Mall in West Hartford
"I guess I should not have trusted an Apple genius with my memories,” Resnisky told the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters.
During a free technical help session at the Genius Bar, an employee was supposed to show Resnisky how to back up his songs and videos with a program called ‘Time Machine.’ Instead, Resnisky says the technician deleted nearly everything.
Resnisky said the Apple Genius ran a scan on a large file on his external hard drive, where his iTunes library music and videos were stored.
“He told me, ‘Well there's no indication that your Mac is utilizing anything from this file…that it must just be old files from your PC. In fact, it's not showing that you're using anything whatsoever. So can I go ahead and delete this?' And I said, ‘Well, are you sure it's not my music?’”
Resnisky said the Apple Genius assured him the file was not his music and video collection and deleted it permanently to make room for him to back up other files.
When Resnisky returned home and turned on his computer and hard drive, he says the music files were nowhere to be found.
“It wasn't finding the data for the music listed on there and I had a big a-ha moment,” Resnisky said. “I said, ‘Oh my gosh! I think my music is gone.’”
In a panic, Resnisky drove back to the Apple store begging the technicians for help.
“He's told me nothing we can do,” Resnisky recalled. “[They told me] when you signed the receipt you basically said that there was nothing, we're not responsible for any loss of data."
The Apple employee recovered a couple of hundred songs found in a separate file. Resnisky said the manager apologized but reiterated that once Resnisky left the store with his hardware, Apple was no longer legally accountable. The manager then handed him a $100 iTunes gift card.
That helps cover the 66 songs Resnisky purchased directly from iTunes, but he says the value of his collection of more than 20,000 songs is far greater.
Angry, he turned to Apple headquarters in California but says he got nowhere.
After the Troubleshooters’ repeated phone calls and emails to Apple's headquarters, a spokesperson checked into Resnisky's case but declined to comment. In an email, they simply referred NBC Connecticut to the iTunes Terms and Conditions. They offered nothing else, despite their customer's loss.
According to the Terms of Service, Apple is not responsible for any loss of data on personal property:
“..iTunes Eligible Content that you previously purchased may not be available for subsequent download at any given time, and Apple shall have no liability to you in such event,” the terms state.
“Once you download an item of iTunes Eligible Content, it is your responsibility not to lose, destroy, or damage it, and you may want to back it up,” the terms read.
However, to access and enjoy the music, customers must agree to the terms that pages and pages long.
“People should always read the terms and conditions of any sort of application that they get. You'll find usually in these terms and conditions that there are no guarantees that the data will be secure and forever be available"
Quinnipiac University digital content expert Rich Hanley urges if customers choose not to read the terms and conditions for a product, they should take their business elsewhere. If you choose to use a product like iTunes, protect yourself.
“Users need to understand that accountability starts with them. They need to make sure their data, photographs etc. are backed up, backed up securely on external drives as well as any of the cloud services that are now available at a reasonable cost," Hanley said.
Hanley recommends Amazon Cloud Player, Google Drive and Microsoft Sky Drive, which allow you to store large amounts of digital content on a remote server for a fee.
Resnisky, who runs marathons, is now listening to the same few songs on repeat. Apple is no longer music to his ears.
"I did have brand loyalty. I no longer have it,” Resnisky said with a sigh. “And it makes me understand that the little guy once again can get squashed by the big company.”