So Green Day is running around masquerading as this band called Foxboro Hot Tubs. Good for them. Blink 182 did it, why can’t they? (Interesting… Foxboro… Box Car… whatever)

As a pleasant surprise, you can download their CD off their website and it is even in DRM-Free MP3 format. It’s encoded at 320k bit rate no less! I applaud their decision and figured I would put my money where my mouth is and reward them with my support.

That’s where the nightmare begins. Apparently, they partnered with this service called Neurotic Media. Clicking on “buy cd” takes you to a second website, foxborohottubsdownload.com, which I assume is pointed at NM’s servers. The checkout process feels like something from 1998 and asks for information not required for checkout like my date of birth. Well, what the heck, I love Green Day, like the songs I’ve heard so far, let’s do it.

However, I would not ever do this again and I wouldn’t recommend anyone else either.

Did you know that you have to agree to a terms of service to purchase the CD? The terms of service talk about recurring billing fees and I must cancel the service to prevent this. What the heck? I thought I was just downloading a CD. Why do I need to agree to a terms of service to buy songs?! Ridiculous.

After purchasing the cd, the download is not straight forward. The client, which is terrible at best, that attempts to install itself does not work! It turns out it is a Java web start application. Now I know Java and I know it is possible to have a JWS application that not only works, but offers great integration with the operating system. And I know it is possible to do this on a Mac. This is not the fault of technology. Three times I tried to open the it, each time it does one of two things, the Java window shows nothing or it shows nothing and a dialog appears saying there was an error starting the download. Finally, after hunting around on the site for my order history the client starts up and actually shows the songs to download. This is good because I was now searching for the contact information to GET MY MONEY BACK.

Now that the download client started up, it has downloaded three songs. The rest have all failed and are stuck on “retrying…” Great, so I have three songs for 10 bucks. How cool is that? Reloading the client doesn’t work either. They just fail and fail and fail. Half the time the client fails, the other time, “download failed.”

During all of this, there is no easy way to get ahold of any one via phone and there is no contact information on the site. It doesn’t give warm fuzzies buying from someone that you can’t even contact via phone, let alone email when you have problems. I dug around and found the FAQ link at the bottom helpful. While it does not provide any help for my problem or any way to contact people, it does reside on a different server: neuroticmedia.com. This is the first I have heard of these charlatans. I go directly to their website hoping to find a support contact and luckily they do provide that.

To Neurotic Media’s credit, a human answered the phone after only a few rings. She asked me my operating system and the browser I was using. She left me on hold for a brief minute and came back that she would refund my account for the songs I was unable to download. No hassle there. Apparently, they just don’t support Mac users.

The problem is, I want the album. I don’t want my money back. What would be better would be for Foxboro Hot Tubs to have my money, me to have their music *and* have a good experience with that trade. No such luck.

A little later, I received an email from NM’s customer service contact. (Likely as a result of my phone call) Again, that is fantastic, the only redeeming feature of NM. But to add insult to injury, the message confirms that the refund will be processed in 48 hours and in the meantime I can:

“You may want to try reinstalling Java before trying again:
http://www.java.com/en/download/index.jsp”

Reinstalling Java?! Are you serious? Yep, and their IT department is just as naive, as well.

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