Rage against the machine

Sometimes there are large corporations we have to deal with and sometimes they screw up, give terrible customer service and are accountable to no one. What do we do then? Complain on blogs, I guess. Let me give you a broad picture of what it’s like to deal with the Adobe Corporation.

Two weeks ago I upgraded from Creative Suite 3 to Creative Suite 5.5. That was an $840 upgrade. I ordered the boxed version. Unfortunately when you order that, you don’t get the serial numbers until they arrive. Of course, my 30-day trial of the new software had just expired that day. So basically I would be without the main software I use for a few days. That’s not possible with our schedule right now.

So I call Adobe customer support, conveniently located in another country, and asked if I could cancel that order and just order the download version to get the serial number immediately.

“Of course,” the guy says, “The old order is canceled, was not charged to your account and now you may order the new one.”

So I order the download copy. Fast forward a day later and I get an email to let me know my boxed copy had shipped. I check my account and sure enough I have been charged $840 twice. I’m not sure about you, but that’s a little more than inconvenient for me.

I call Adobe support again, also, still conveniently located in another country.

“Sorry, sir, I canceled it in one of our systems, but not both, so it went through anyway.”

“Obviously,” I say, trying to keep my irritation under control, “But, I’d like my money back now.”

“Sorry, sir, you have to wait until you get the boxed copy, call us back with the serial number so we can cancel it, then wait 3-5 days.”

“That’s unacceptable,” I say, “I need the money back now. You guys screwed up and I shouldn’t have to pay for it.”

“I can upgrade this to a Tier 2 support status and you’ll get a call from a Tier 2 representative. They might be able to help.”


Fast forward a few hours. The phone rings. “Hello, sir. This call is to let you know your case has been escalated to a Tier 2 level and you will receive a call tomorrow morning from a representative.”

“Seriously?” I ask.

“Yes, sir.”


Fast forward to the next morning. No call.

Fast forward to the next afternoon. The box arrives. I call with the serial number.

“Thanks for the call, sir. Your refund will now be expedited in 3 to 5 days.”

I wait 7 business days. Still no refund. I call back today.

“Sorry sir, we forgot to generate a something something report. We’re doing that now and you will get your refund in 3 to 5 days.”

“Since you guys screwed up again, I’d like it faster. Let me speak with your boss.”

Fast forward another 20 minutes.

“Hi, I’m a supervisor.”

“Hi, I’d like my refund faster than 3 to 5 days.”

“3 to 5 days? We can only do 5 to 7 days.”

“Wait, what? But the last guy said 3 to 5 days.”

“Did he give you a 100% guarantee?”

“What the hell is wrong with your company?”

“Nothing, sir, I assure you.”

“Must just be the people then.”

So I sit on hold for hours now through this process. My blood pressure is through the roof every time I speak with them. I don’t normally cuss or yell. I’ve cussed and yelled. And I still don’t have my $840.

I guess we will see if it ever happens.

UPDATE: This was e-mailed to me letting me know they had closed my case (for the third time): “Your credit card will be refunded within ten business days. Your issuing bank often requires an additional two to three weeks to apply the credit to your account.”



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