Shame on you Adobe Bad Customer Service Is Inexcusable

Shame on you Adobe  Bad Customer Service Is Inexcusable

The measure of a company’s mindset towards its customers is usually revealed by how good their customer service is ñ if the customer is valued, then customer service is stellar. But if there’s disdain for the customer, then service suffers.

Others here have written about United Airline’s  abysmal customer service and 1-800-CONTACTS terrific customer service. And while situations and customer service responses can vary, I’ve recently had a very bad experience with Adobe.

Here’s the scenario

Admittedly, I mistakenly purchased the wrong product. I wanted to purchase Dreamweaver CS4 as a download, so we could upgrade one work station to the most recent version. So I jumped to the store, scanned the products, noticed an option for an upgrade version…and thought, hey, I have dozen’s of licenses that seem to qualify…so I clicked “buy now” and began my download.

Perhaps the quirky, annoying Flash-based store and stupid download process should have been my first clue. Really Adobe? You employ a Java Applet to facilitate downloading? With all the technology available you choose this option ñ an option that requires me to authenticate the running of the app with “full access” ñ something I’m not comfortable doing with a download - but was forced to OK to proceed. This, after your “download screen” had already pissed me off, because when I pressed the download button - nothing happened. Then I refreshed the screen and it kicked me out of the page. Strike one.

Anyway, I digress. So I finally navigate the cumbersome download process. Click install….type in the serial number…and blam….it asks me to provide a qualifying product serial number? I think this odd…since CS3 is running, it should have found Dreamweaver CS3….then I notice the list/menu doesn’t provide that as a choice. It lists Dreamweaver 8, MX, 2004. Ok….no worries, I’ve invested thousands of dollars over the years and have all of these versions and their serial numbers. So I start typing them. One by one they’re denied, and my blood pressure starts to rise.

Now I’m thinking something is wrong. So I call technical support. I’ll give them kudos here…I didn’t wait long…only about 2 minutes until I was speaking with a person. This person politely informs me that I can’t use one of my many “suite” or “studio” licenses to upgrade a single application. I find this silly and express my opinion as I go on to explain that I’ve invested thousands with Adobe (and Macromedia) and think it’s unfair. I understand that their suites offer a bundled discount and can appreciate why they don’t allow you to upgrade the applications individually - but I explain gruffly that it seems ludicrous that I can’t utilize one of my prior “studio” bundles from Macromedia for the upgrade. These existed before Adobe bought Macromedia, and really have no value to most anymore. That, and I’d appreciate some latitude since I’ve bought/upgraded CS1, CS2, CS3. My reasoning and pleas have no effect. Strike two.

I angrily hang up the phone, frustrated beyond belief. So I calm down and attempt an online chat with sales support. Needless to say this goes no better. Again and again, they simply explain I can’t upgrade a single app based upon a suite. OK…I succumb and realize I’m not getting anywhere. So I end my chat and telephone support. Because now that I’ve accepted I have to purchase the full application, I’ve gone online to my account to “return my purchase” that I made no more than 45 minutes ago…but I’m having a new problem.

I can’t return it yet. Why? Because they haven’t charged me yet. And here’s where it gets very bad. A large technology company ñ a leader in their industry ñ can’t simply cancel an order until after they’ve charged my credit card? That’s absurd! So I offer another option. OK…let me pay the difference and either change the serial number to work with the full application or send me a new serial number? Nope. Can’t do that either. In fact, they can’t do anything until after my credit card is charged. I tell them I don’t want my credit card charged. The long and short answer…too bad. Strike three.

So I hang up and sit fuming for a little while. Then I file a compliant ticket regarding my purchase with Adobe, contact my credit card company to dispute the charge, and have Elaine call Adobe to see if she can get anywhere with them…since at this moment, I want to charter a flight to California and start busting heads.

The moral of the story

Well it’s two-fold really. First, make sure you read the eligibility requirements more carefully before you purchase. As I admitted at the start of this post…it’s was my fault for not doing this. But second, Adobe and similar companies should treat their long-time customers better. I don’t think my suggestions that they cancel my order before they charge me or that they charge me the difference and send me a new serial number were unreasonable. We author web applications…it may have involved a few check boxes and a delete button perhaps. Instead, they left one of their long-time customers pissed off and reeling from their poor customer service. And suffered my rants on Facebook and Twitter, and now on this blog.

And as I’ve stated on this and elsewhere, this disdain and inflexibility reminds me of Quark in the 90s, when they too thought they were untouchable. When they thought they had the creative industry locked up. True, everyone used Quark, but everyone hated them because of their terrible customer service and draconian licensing. Well, it seems Adobe has developed a similar attitude regarding their customers - at least by my recent interaction, that’s the impression I’m left with. It’s unacceptable. And Adobe should be ashamed and be careful. Continue to alienate their long-time customer,s and they’ll suffer the same mass exodus Quark suffered once a better alternative appears. And frankly, Dreamweaver is not what it used to be, so they should be concerned.

Nov 07, 2009

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There are 3 comments for this entry. Leave a comment below »

I can just agree it is very bad. I was trying to get a Chat. But you have to wait for a long time, ANd then when somebody writes you there is no acustic message. So when I looked in two minutes later it was closes because "i was no reacting" --- after waiting 20 minutes. Do they really want me to stay looking at the chat window for 20 minutes? It's ridicolous.

Feb 26, 2015

Do not sign up for any services with this company! The renew your services without telling you and then you have to pay a 'FEE' if you want to cancel! Very disappointing a company so big has such horrible customer service! I'll never touch anything that has anything to do with Adobe again!

Jan Hulswit
Aug 22, 2014

Adobe Customer Service is beyond bad. It's Horrible... ahhh ugh! Ok.. well let me be precise as I do not want to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Here is the latest of a servies of examples of "mis-guided" customer service. I am using the word mis-guided because I belive the "intent" of the customer service personnel is meant as a "good" service but for us American's... it is a waste.

Why is it a waste? Because of the amount of time it takes to get any "straight and precise" answer! The process is "deep" in time consuming date request to get to the answer. we go. I was looking for a solution that would allow me to "process" the "data" within an html web form and have it populate a .pdf "pre-made" questionnaire.

After speaking with the Customer Sales person they definitly stated that the Adobe product would do this and talked me into signing up for the Cloud. Ok.. it is an annual service that cost $29.99 per month and you are locked into a contracto with a 50% penalty after 30 days.

He added that I could find tutorials on YOUTube and on Adobe TV that would train me this process.

The only thing that went rather quickly was his taking my credit card information. For the rest it was multiple request to put me on hold. In all the initial inquiry and purchase took over an hour!

Then, after the initial purchase I attempted to find the training information that I had been "lead" to belive existed. It did not.. but I had to verify this by ..guess what? Calling Adobe again. they have to very my information, in all.. it took 49 minutes to get to the point of stating I want my money back. Guess what? I could not and they could not process my request for 24 hours.

I called back again... 45 minutes on hold to get the process completed! What is my time worth? About $150.00 per hour. Do they care... no... They must all sit in a training room and practice saying things like... " I am sorry Sir" and " I apologize". There were so many times that I asked question and got a reply where the reply was so detached from the flow of the conversation that I asked multiple times... " Am I not speaking English?"

Ok.. so finally I got an email regarding my purchase. I saved the email. It reads my subscription has be "down graded." Further more it states nothing about my refund or the cancellation of the order. (remember after 30 days you get stuck with six months at $29.99 per month)

I had to call again.. and guess what.. it is stupid.. Call and ask for a supervisor. Good luck there... Here is the good news. I finally have an email address for complaints.. or so they say. Here goes... .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

And just for the giggles... I have not received the email cancellation notice.

I have spent, literally several thousands of dollars on Adobe products that are too complex. Adobe may abandon a product and leave you high and dry. My advice. Stay away and look for another solution.

They sell lots of glitter and ########. They get you on the glitter and glamor of the sales pitch. There are lots of ideas and products that Adobe has put out only to have left those in the Cloud in a cloud of dismay and hardship.

I will not spend another dime with Adobe unless they refund me my money and make good on the time they waisted. And this is just one of many stories that I have documented with Adobe.

Steve V
Dec 11, 2012

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