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ShawnAllan's picture
131 pencils

Adobe Customer Service Sucks

Sure you may get a friendly voice now and then, but they are utterly helpless.
Let me tell you my story...

Here's how it all started. I needed InDesign 2.0 to work on some files for a client of mine... Figuring it was time for an upgrade anyways, I went online and purchased it.... er - uh tried to purchase it.

It seems CS 2.0 was not available, but 2.3 would be available in about a month. but I could pre-order it and in the meantime download the 30-day demo.


I pre-ordered Creative Suite 2.3... It was supposed to become available Nov. 8, which it did, just barely, very close to midnight. By this time my InDesign & Illustrator demo has expired... I continued saving my files in 2.x standard, because after all, I'll have it November 8.

November 8th comes, I downloaded all of the files, a few thousand megs, and started the installation process.

When it prompted me for a serial number, I type it in... "Not A Valid Serial Number".


Oh, I must need my previous SN because it's an upgrade, right? wrong?

Okay, still not working, I'll call customer service, they'll straighten this whole thing out in a minute...

That's where my pain started.

I sat on hold, then I sat on hold some more, then I was connected, then transferred to another department... on hold more, and then... disconnected.

Okay, now I'm worried. I jump on line to customer service... I go in circles around the website. Everytime I click on anything of interest to my case, I end up literally back where I started. I miraculously find a link to create a web case. So, I open a web case... I Type out my problem, and am told that the target solution time is 24 hours. Okay great! I jot down my case number and go on with my life.

Many hours later, I goto check on my Web Case... Only I CAN'T FIND IT!
There are no links in the support menu, no place to search case numbers, it's not under my account! It seems that the web case option only appears if the stars align, and you jump through a few hoops!

So I take my case number and call customer service again. I think this time I'll get right through, because, after all, now I've got a case number. I follow the phone menu prompts and enter my case number. "Case number not recognized... please hold"... Which I did for about 20 minutes. Finally a voice! All my problems will be solved!

Here's kind of how it went...

"Hello Can I get your name... number... customer number.... address... social security number...."

"Case number?... Our web case numbers don't work with our phone system, I'll get you a new case number, and a customer number"

(numbers are exchanged)

"What can i do for you today? Oh, no problem, I can send your serial number *again*"

again? huh?

"Still not working huh? Okay, I'll put you through to someone who can get you reserialized"

(sounds sort of orwellian, don't you think).

We go through the rounds again, I give the new person, my case number and customer service number... Then I explain my whole story again (which apparently is not in my case yet!?).

"Hello Can I get your name... number... customer number.... address... social security number...."

"Okay, Here is your adobe acrobat serial number..."

(I read it off to her, as I already have that one and it's working fine)

"Here is your dreamweaver number..."

(same thing, already have dreamweaver number, it's working fine)

"Well, what number do you need then?... Creative Suite, I'll have to send you to someone who can do that... hold please"

At this point I manage to remain hopeful. I still think that the next person will rattle off a number and I'll be back in business....

"Hello Can I get your name... number... customer number.... address... social security number...."

"What can I help you with today"

I explain yet again...

"Sir, this appears to be a recognized problem, we are working on it and we'll email you a new number a soon as we have the problem solved"

"No I can't tell you exactly when, but we are working on it. In the meantime let me give you your case number and customer number"

I take my numbers again, and hand up.

My blood is boiling. I've waisted the better part of a day trying to get through to someone. It's a recognized problem. Send me an email, call me, post it on your website, let me know so I don't spin my wheels all day trying to get a number!

Okay, Day 2...

Search through my browser history, to find the Customer Support Portal (as browsing through my history is the only way to find what your need quickly on the adobe website)... No answer yet on line. No email yet either. I'm going to call again, and see if they've got an answer as to when this will be fixed....

I call Customer Service, enter my latest phone case number and again the automated voice says "Case number not recognized... please hold" ARRRGHGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

I hang up, redial and enter my customer number... miraculously it's recognized. Then I sit on hold again 10-20-30 minutes later, a voice.

"Hello Can I get your name... number... customer number.... address... social security number...."

"Thank you for verifying that information what can I help you with today?"

I offer my case number, nobody seems to want it. I explain my problem again, explain that it's now a known issue... all I really want now is a date of when I can get a serial number.

"Okay let me see what I can do..."

"Okay, Shawn, I've got someone here who can help you... please hang on the line for them okay..."

"Hello Can I get your name... number... customer number.... address... social security number...."

"Thank you for verifying that information what can I help you with today?"

"Serial number? You didn't get one? Oh It's not valid?"

"Let me go see what I can find out..."

"It seems this is a recognized problem, and we are working on it..."

"No I can't tell you when you'll get it, I can only tell you that we're working on it"

"Thank you for choosing Adobe"


Has anyone else experience this from Adobe?

Official feedback from Adobe posted by admin:
Are you having difficulty getting your issue resolved with Adobe Support? If so, contact @Adobe_Care on Twitter to voice your feedback and get further assistance.

Commenting on this Forum topic is closed.

sidesey's picture
280 pencils

Similar to my experience last year.... i think it took about a week to get sorted. Basically my serial no. would not work for the upgrade so i had to go through a complicated back route into cs2 if i recall correctly. I was so close to cancelling my order, but it finally worked.... i dread the next upgrade though... hope you get it sorted, drink got my through my ordeal!!!!!!

Adobeagentsr's picture
1 pencil


I have logged in here tonight to really get a insight on how Adobe Professionals truly feel about when calling in. I am a unknown Agent. I've been with the company for 4 years. I've listen to a lot of issues that you've inexperienced. I hope you don't take this as excuesses for the expierence you've had, what I hope this does is give you a insight of what us Adobe Agents go threw on a daily bases.

I have a background in CS and Sales. I've been working in customer service past 10 years from different companies but, for every company has a policy and my expirence is that working at Adobe each policy feels like working in a box.

As a Adobe Agent what I can say for myself I truly want to offer the world, and bend any rule I can while listen to your concern and empathize with the other person on the phone.

Now you must understand though from a company stand point is we are here to make money but commit loyalty to our loyal customers. But as you know right now in the past 15-20 years warez aka: Piracy has broken the bridge between companies and customers and has created lack of trust. As you know Adobe has been in the computer business since in the latter 70's and during this time we had the trust between company - customers. After we've had piracy taking over the industry we've had to take the steps and measures necessary. I know that it isn't your fault but you've become the middle man in this interception.

To close:

All that I can say is that it is my personal goal if you happen to stumble into me when you call that you allow me to provide you the best customer service and sales expierence to resolve for your customer service issue. I am sorry that you've lost that personal feeling between small company and trust to big enterprise. I hope we can bring back big enterprise back to good value customer service.

Thank you for listening and reading....

Anonymous's picture

first, i am hard of hearing and it is almost impossible for me to understand english spoken as a 2nd language. i wish there was a back up plan for people with this issue. second, i have been trying to obtain a replacment serial number so that i can install cs4 as upgrade. yes, i lost the # for cs3.

i called adobe and finally got someone to understand my plight. they did not get back with me after the promised 10 days, so i called again. i was told that the case had been closed after emailing me and calling repeatedly. i have a phone recorder, and caller ID and i assure you that no one called. i re-checked my email and trash and no one sent ANY messages. Lies do not promote customer loyalty.

i then find out the case was "closed" because my secretary placed the order so the recept i sent has her name, not mine. guess what, although i provided the name of the person who placed the order without prompting, they have opened another file to look into this. they will email me when they have a solution- RIGHT!!!

this type of customer service will inevitably open the door to a competitor, amd i like others will celebrate

willcre's picture
4 pencils

So you trying to say that adobe no longer trust their own customer? In fact you are not explaining anything. if that the case why don't move to open source product. they are much cheaper. sometimes free...
In open source product, customer mostly pay for customer service. If they don't need customer service, they don't need to pay.
Unfortunately, the image of big company always has bad customer service.

jenrenninger's picture
1 pencil

I posted this to the adobe forum thread listed in these posts somewhere.. thought I might as well add it in here too:

On September 25 I pre-ordered an upgrade for Photoshop cs4. I checked the upgrade options, noticed that my Photoshop cs2 was listed, entered in my credit card info and waited a response. I received an email that said my download would be available sometime in October.

Yesterday, I received an email saying my download was available with a link to the location. I quickly downloaded the PS4 only to find that my previous serial number was not valid. After about half and hour on the phone with (a very very nice) customer service person we realized the problem was my previous version. It was part of Creative Suite cs2 and not a stand- alone. I was a little annoyed, since there is no mention of that being an issue on the store page at all. I mean really, that sentence should probably be listed on the available upgrades page. Not such a big deal though, so I just decided to return the PS4 and order Creative Suite CS4 instead. I'll probably use all the programs a little, Photoshop just happens to be my main workhorse.

SO, I went to the on-line store and ordered Creative suite CS4. Entered in all my info again and what happened? Nothing. The processing info just seemed to spin and spin and spin. After 7 minutes I closed the window and went back to the shop page. I tried the entire process again using paypal. Again with the spinning. At this point I'd been either on the phone with Adobe, downloading product (the failed PS4), or staring at a spinning ball for nearly 4 hours. I had to get to work.

Later that night I went back to try to purchase the Suite again. Same thing happened. hours later I gave up again and went to bed.

Now comes the morning: I call as soon as customer service is open and reach another super nice person. I told him what happened, mentioned that I needed to download PS ASAP, and wanted copies of the discs as well. He arranged everything as a volume licensing order and said I would have my download at some point today. I gave him all my numbers and he went to ring me up only to find my card was declined. As he was telling me my card was declined I was receiving a call on my other line from fraud services from my card. The Adobe CS guy held while I found out that all the unprocessed attempts from Adobe had placed my c-card in fraud alert! Needless to say the Adobe CS guy patiently waited while I cleared it up.

I finally got the order put through and could go back to work and wait for my email to download my software. An hour later the email arrives, with a link to the licensing site where I can download my software. I immediately go, log in, only to find I have NO SOFTWARE LISTED. I call Customer support and receive the only unpleasant person I've talked to this entire time. He tells me it takes three days and there is nothing he can do for me.

Will I get my software? who can say. My return isn't even listed for the PS4 and I emailed and faxed a LOD form. I have to say this. I love Adobe products. At this time they are the backbone of my industry. And I will continue to use them until another option appears. Also, nearly all of the customer service people I talked with tried very hard to fix my situation. I honestly don't think the problem lies with the support staff. It seems to me that everything is just so poorly planned and poorly described that customers feel disrespected by the company. It certainly doesn't instill a sense of loyalty.

I'll finish with this little note: I've used adobe and Apple products since 1991 and have been happy with the products from both companies. There is one very large difference between the 2 though. Apple customer service is amazing. Not just the staff, but the way they support the support staff. Answers are quickly found and solutions are proactive and immediate. IN other words: THEY have the infrastructure in place to make their support staff effective and actually helpful. I will continue to use their products because the products are good AND as a company they seem to care about their consumers. Even if a comparable product came along I would stick with Apple because my experience has been so positive over the years. Now, adobe is a completely different story: If another company came along that made comparable software I would jump ship in a second. I have to say I've never had to jump through so many hoops to buy a product before, and none of it was pleasant. It's a shame really.

After all, adobe obviously doesn't care about my business. And in the long hall isn't that what makes or breaks a company? Loyalty.. from both sides of the fence.

10thWay's picture
47 pencils

I still don't kmow why are we all buying software off this company...

Brochure Printing by 10th Way

Bgman100's picture
5 pencils

I'll keep this short, but I tried to get online customer service because one of the cd's became defective while I was trying to reinstall Creative Suite CS. When I tried to open a "web case" I needed a serial number for the product I was having trouble with. When I entered it, it said that it was invalid. I tried again, and again and no luck. So I have yet to be able to tell them about my problem because I can't get to the next step without a valid serial number. It's frustrating.

mutantcorp's picture
7 pencils

The worst customer support I have ever experienced at Adobe
Having worked in Customer relations/technical support for a few years now as well as running my little production company I have learned to treat people as human beings and to take their frustrations, limitations and issues into account then find a way to help them. I did not see much evidence of this at Adobe today although my problem was supposedly solved I still had to languish on hold from 8am est to 2:54 est.

The problem, I want to transfer Macromedia Flash MX 2004 to a Macintosh G5 Quad Xeon which I recently purchased because of the Mac's legendary advances in the field animation and entertainment. Ideally Flash should run just fine on a Mac. At 8am I attempted to install Flash MX 2004 on my Mac. I was given an error it has been registered too many times. I called the number that was given a number to call. The woman who answered told me to call the general customer support line and they could help me. However, they do not open until 8am CST aka noon.

At noon I called again and spoke to a very exasperated gentleman named Anthony who told me I need to speak to the lisencing department and gave me the original number that my software had prompted me. He attempted to transfer me but was unable to and I called the line direct. There I spoke to a woman who sounded Hindu I believe her name was Lila. She told me someone from customer support, the same people who transfered me would provide me with a number that will work on my Macintosh. She refused to transfer or confrence me in with the customer support line and basicly blew me off.

Now armed with the statement that I was told I will receive a new authorization number I called back held for another hour and spoke to a gentleman named Dan. He was very apologetic and laughed and told me the number was not operating system specific and warm transferred me to a fellow named Anton who had no idea what was going on and told me I could not install Flash on the Macintosh and hinted that I would have to purchase a new copy of Flash to run it on the type of machine it was designed for. At that point I became quite angry and demanded to speak to his supervisor. At that time he put me on hold for 15 minutes to find a supervisor. He came back and told me that no one was avalable to speak to me and I would receive a call back. I opted to hold and was put on hold for another 20 minutes when Anton told me that someone would have to call me back.

That was when my girlfriend called to say hello and told me not to be fooled I need to call them back. After another 40minutes of holding I spoke to a woman named Krystal who listened and then advised me there was nothing she could do. At that time I demanded to speak to a supervisor again. She found a gentleman named Joe. Joe advised me the number is operating system specific. However, I will receive a call or an email within 3 business days with a new code. Four days pass with no contact at all. So I call back demanding to speak to a supervisor.

The young lady I spoke to did not want to give me to a supervisor but offered to help. After some time I finally got her to admit that she could not help me but kept offering to help me needlessly. When I finally spoke to a supervisor he told me he would call me back the next day. I have not received a call at this time and I just got an email stating my case has been solved. Now I'm stuck in the endless web loop. I really hope that Apple or someone with some customer service savy buy Adobe quickly. This is simply pathetic.

ShawnAllan's picture
131 pencils

Mutant Corp... I hear you loud and clear. The original reason I posted this, was because I couldn't find any other channel to vent my frustrations... However, If we can get enough creatives posting experience on websites like this... who knows?! Maybe adobe ears will perk up and listen.

ShawnAllan's picture
131 pencils

Well, last week I went around in circles, talked to customer service, then technical support then back to customer service. I then spoke to a new supervisor who, miraculously, was able to give me a proper serial number (5 days of waiting.)

Boy am I glad I didn't wait for my original webcase to be solved... below is the actual email that started my troubles, and the response that came today, almost a full two weeks later (not to mention they've answered a completely different question than I had asked)

Downloaded CS 2.3 upgrade. There was not a proper serial number included
in my confirmation email. In place of a proper number was the cryptic command "Contact Customer Service". I've also tried using my old CS Serial #. Nothing works. Please help.

Thank you for contacting Adobe Customer Service.
We understand that you would like to know where you could find your
Serial Number for your product.
While we are glad to help, you can obtain information more quickly in
the future by searching our knowledgebase for information on this topic
and others such as trial software, upgrades, and licensing:
Here are some places to look for your Adobe-branded product serial
Single-user boxed product:
On a sticker affixed on the paper or plastic sleeve of your CD-ROM
Single-user download product:
You can find the number by logging into your membership
account. The serial number is located on the download screen under your
Volume license or server product:
The serial number or PAC code for a volume license or server product is
located on your licensing account page. Login information is sent to the
contact person on your account.
You can find information on how to locate your Macromedia-branded
product serial number here:
If you cannot find your serial number in any of these places, please
contact our customer service team at 800-833-6687 for assistance.
For your records, your customer ID number is 133909632. The customer ID
number is the easiest way for us to access your account in our database.
In the future, please reference this number when you contact Adobe.
For more information on Adobe® products or services please visit us at: or contact Adobe customer services at 1 (800)
833-6687. Customer Service Representatives are available 6:00am-8:00pm
PST, 7 days a week.
Best Regards,
Jessica D.
Adobe Customer Service


mutantcorp's picture
7 pencils

Better Business Beuro

The Better Business Bureau®
Serving San Francisco, Oakland, and Northern Coastal California
1000 Broadway Suite 625
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 844-2000

Adobe Systems Inc
601 Townsend St
San Francisco, CA 94103-4907
Telephone: (415) 832-2000

The BBB reports on members and non-members. If a company is a member of the BBB, it is stated in this report

BBB Definition:

report - A summary of activity reflected in a company's BBB file. Includes basic business background, BBB membership information, and Bureau complaint activity over the previous three years. Also reports may include any known government actions, advertising issues or other information that results from activity conducted by the BBB.


File Open Date: December 2003
TOB Classification: Computer Software Publishers & Developers
BBB Membership: This company is not a member.

The Bureau has requested basic information from this company. The Bureau has not received a response. Without this information, the Bureau may not have current information concerning such things as the company's management or its nature of business.

Customer Experience

Based on BBB files, this company has an unsatisfactory record

BBB Definition:

unsatisfactory record - A company has an "unsatisfactory business performance record" with the Bureau is based on the experiences reflected in BBB files. This file condition results when the company has failed to resolve or respond to complaints, repeatedly failed to respond or resolve issues in a timely manner, failed to resolve the underlying issues for a pattern

BBB Definition:

pattern - More than 2 complaints involving the same allegations usually within 12 months that are significant in relation to the company's size and volume of business.

of complaints, failed to honor their commitment to mediate or arbitrate disputes or honor mediated agreements or arbitrated decisions, failed to substantiate, modify or discontinue false advertising claims that are challenged by the BBB, or failed to discontinue unauthorized use of the BBB name and logo, a Federally protected trademark.

with the Bureau due to unanswered complaints. The company has resolved

BBB Definition:

resolved - The company resolved the complaint issues.

some complaints presented by the Bureau, however, the Bureau did not receive a response to other complaints.

When considering complaint information, please take into account the company's size and volume of transactions, and understand that the nature of complaints and a firm's responses to them are often more important than the number of complaints.

The Bureau processed a total of 4 complaints about this company in the last 36 months, our standard reporting period. Of the total of 4 complaints closed in 36 months, 0 were closed in the last year.
Advertising Issues

BBB Definition:

Advertising Issues - Claims alleging print or electronic media advertised claims or practices misrepresent the service or product offer.

No Response

BBB Definition:

No Response - The company failed to respond to the complaint.

1 - Company failed to respond to the BBB to resolve or address the complaint issues.

Contract Issues

BBB Definition:

Contract Issues - Claim of alleged failure to honor contract or agreement, work performed without authorization, or invalid contract.


BBB Definition:

Resolved - The company resolved the complaint issues.

1 - Company addressed the complaint issues. The consumer failed to acknowledge acceptance to the BBB.

Sales Practice Issues

BBB Definition:

Sales Practice Issues - Claims of alleged sales presentations made in person or by telephone that contain misrepresentations of the product or service, high pressure sales practices, failure to disclose key conditions of the offer, and verbal representations not consistent with written contractual terms or agreements.


BBB Definition:

Resolved - The company resolved the complaint issues.

1 - Company resolved the complaint issues. The consumer acknowledged acceptance to the BBB.

Refund or Exchange Issues

BBB Definition:

Refund or Exchange Issues - Claim of alleged failure to honor company policy or verbal commitment to provide refunds, exchanges, or credit for products or services.

No Response

BBB Definition:

No Response - The company failed to respond to the complaint.

1 - Company failed to respond to the BBB to resolve or address the complaint issues.

Report as of November 21, 2006
Copyright© 2006 Better Business Bureau®, Inc.

BBB reports may not be reproduced for sales or promotional purposes.

The information in this report has either been provided by the company or has been compiled by the Bureau from other reliable sources.

As a matter of policy, the Better Business Bureau does not endorse any product, service or company. BBB reports generally cover a three-year reporting period, and are provided solely to assist you in exercising your own best judgment. Information contained in this report is believed reliable but not guaranteed as to accuracy. Reports are subject to change at any time.

sanpabloguy's picture
2 pencils

I am having a very similar issue with Acrobat 7. For the past 8 months, I keep getting an error message requiring me to re-activate the product. Finally, I (not Adobe's Activation group or their Customer Service group) found the fix in Adobe's own knowledgebase - it fit my situation exactly - exact same error message for Acrobat 7.0 on a single user EULA.

Customer service said it only applied to RAID arrays - not what the knowledgebase says. Then they said it only applies to distributions over a corporate network. Finally, they see it my way. But suddenly CS can't give me the patch (even though their own knowledgebase article says that it's CS that gives out the patch). I have to go back to Activcation.

Activation has to kick it "upstairs" and get approval and can email me the patch in 48-72 hours. Do they have any idea how much downtime that is?

I am writing to their VP of customer service in San Jose. After 2 hours on the phone this past weekend (probably 12-14 hours in the past six months) over this one problem and no patch yet, I am beyond frustrated.

If there were an option to Adobe, I would switch to it right now. I haven't been this frustrated since Office 95. Ack!


mutantcorp's picture
7 pencils

please share the contact info.

sanpabloguy's picture
2 pencils

Actually, this is really getting strange.

Here is the phone number for Adobe's worldwide headquarters in San Jose, CA: 408/536-6000.

It would be interesting of a couple of different folks would call and see what they tell you and post back. Here's what I got in two different calls:

Call 1: There was no immediate info on a Customer Service Manager or VP. The operator had to talk with her supervisor. She then told me to address it to "Lambert Walsh, VP of Customer Service". But a Google search of Lambert Walsh shows he was a VP at McAfee and there's nothing on him since 2005. There's no one named Walsh or Lambert in the list of executives for Adobe. Doesn't mean it's not true - just suspicious. And nothing shows up in a Google or Zoominfo search related to Adobe. Hmmmm.

Call 2 - The woman (a different one than Call 1) said that there is no "customer service manager listed in the headquarters office". But, "if you send a letter addressed to Customer Service, it will be forwarded to Seattle where they handle those things." Uh huh. She asked if she could take down my info and I declined.

Also, check out the executive profiles at

Take your pick and write a letter (notice the lack of anyone obviously in charge of CS for single end-users; they seem to have "corporate" covered). Adobe Systems, Inc. headquarters address is

345 Park Avenue
San Jose, CA 95110-2704

Today, I went online to open a customer service case (just making sure I did everything necessary before writing). The registration info for my Adobe product is no longer listed in My Account (it was listed on Sunday when I called). Fortunately, I have receipts and records. Thank goodness for Gmail (sometimes, so far).


Fenchurch's picture
1 pencil

I don't intend to speak as "the voice of Adobe" here, nor would I want to. As one who is familiar with the company, I can tell you that it's no picnic being employed at a place that's so disorganized. One has to wonder what the corporate headquaters is thinking-- the "new improved database" that we were recently assigned does little but crash and when the computer goes, the "new improved phone system" which is linked to it dies, too. Of course, managers say "take calls the best you can!", which is easier said than done when there's no database to look up customer information in and no way to appropriately transfer calls. We also now have the joyous task of informing customers who want to renew their tech support contracts that the ones they purchased last year for $159 now go for a whopping $1200. Since there's practically no support for free products like Reader or downloadable trials, a lot of people get left in the lurch when they encounter simple, everyday product issues that may require technical know-how. Don't get me started on photoshop album starter 3...

Please know that not every agent from Adobe is totally ignorant or uncaring. The policies there are rigid and unevenly enforced and a lot of people struggle to do the best they can.

Flub-Dub's picture

this is a total mess.
if you purchased the product and you got the original activation codes,
why not go illegal, and use any key you can find on the net.
i mean, whats the harm? they already got your money and they are not fixing a basic problem. i mean it seems fair to me to solve your problem the best way you can.

also, might this mess be related to the acquisition of macromedia?
there's always a period of confusion when merging teams, databases and support from the two companies.

always outnumbered, never outgunned

rch27's picture
1 pencil

I worked for a trade shop in Denver for 31 years and retired in 2002. I took care of the computers and knew most of the people in Adobe support in the 80's and early 90's. They had the best support available; bar none. I didn't deal with them much from the mid 90's until I retired because I could fix most problems on my own. After I retired on 02 the last thing I wanted to do was work on a computer. Last month I was looking for something to do and decided I need a new computer so I purchased a new Intel iMac. I installed Photoshop 7.0 and Freehand 10 and tried to install Illustator 10 but the Vise installer just quit. I called my buddies in Denver and they told me the installer looks for the old Illlustrator pref and if it doesn't find it, quits; but support can email you a .prefPane file which is a workaround. I called support and after 2 hrs. 14min. of being shuffled between CS and support I finally got a tech who informed me that they do not support Illustator 10 unless you have a service contract. As a registered owner of Photoshop, Illustrator, Freehand Graphics Studio, Acrobat, Pagemaker, Dimensions, and $6500 of fonts I expected more. I am teaching a Photoshop class at the local college next year and will have nothing good to say about Adobe support!

stapel's picture
40 pencils

My dongle wasn't working. I was a little bit angry. :-)

Josef Stapel

walkingstick's picture
4 pencils

The thing is, years ago I was so excited when InDesign came out. (actually bought out by Adobe) Because finally we had a company with great support that we could turn to. Quark's customer support was horrendous. Adobe's was great. But now Adobe seems to be right where Quark was. (Is maybe, I don't use their product anymore). Quark was the monopoly for years and years, so they didn't have to have great support. Unfortunately I think Adobe now has that opinion.

Canadian Telecom Cameron's picture
1 pencil

Hello Designers, while I am not technically one of you I do empathize deeply with your Adobe pain. Being on hold with them for the past two hours has given me time to read this grocery list of crimes against humanity.

My company bought me Acrobat Professional 8. Simple stuff. The trial version is working fine but I've run in to similar serial number recognition problems, long hold times, incompetent customer service people and some strange discrepancy as to whether my purchase is a volume or retail order, the details of which I will spare you. Thank you for providing this forum, I had no idea the level of crap I was in for. I tend to blame myself out of habit, I won't make that mistake with Adobe.

I'm with Flub Dub on this! What recourse could Adobe possibly have if I use an illegally hacked copy of their software, when I've already paid for a legitimate one? This seems like a company with it's ass on fire. The only down sides that I can see to getting a copy from an alternative source are that a) it kind of lets them off the hook and b) the chance of picking up some unwanted software along with it. Frankly, neither of those things bothers me as much as the thought of continued time wasted.

10thWay's picture
47 pencils

I can only sympatize. I had a edsimilar encounter with Adobe's cust. service. At one point I had both photoshop CS3 and CS4 installed on my PC.
I had a re-draw issue with the brush tool when using my wacom cintiq in ps cs4, the circle representing the diameter of the brush would brake and display only partially. At the same time, this issue would not be present when using ps cs3 on the same machine.
I called Adobe and explain them the issue, the first thing they did was to blame wacom...
I explained them that the issue would only display in ps cs4 not in ps cs3 so it couldn't possibly be the tablet.
They did not reply for a couple of days, then came back triumphantly! WE KNOW WHAT IT IS! IT'S THE NVIDIA DRIVERS FOR YOUR GRAPHIC CARD THAT ARE OUT OF DATE!! they said...
Ok I said, and proceeded to update all nvidia drivers, nothing, the issue was still there...
Mailed them back, this time I suggested that it was a bug in cs4 and that they should offer some kind of discount on the price I paid and that they should get their tech team to look into this.
They answered that it wasn't an issue with ps cs4, but instead, it was Nvidia's fault and I should keep on updating my nvidia drivers until the issue would magically resolve itself (STILL UN-RESOLVED BY THE WAY)


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clanmesa's picture
1 pencil

I spent $300 for the Solution Expert support plan. I haven't been able to connect to the phone number I received for my plan for the last few days. Hold, hold, hold. Hold, hold, hold some more. Disconnect. Call back. Hold, hold, hold. When I *have* been able to connect, 80% of the time, I've gotten a curt techie who is unable to help. I've been using Macs since 1983 and been in graphic design for 35 years. I've used Quark, etc. I'm no newbie, but sometimes things happen and I need to get help from the horse's mouth.

Now, I find out that Adobe is changing its support hours for my expensive plan. Nice:

This notice is addressed to Adobe Expert Support customers in North America who have an active Adobe Expert Support Program Service Agreement with a commencement date of January 1, 2006 or later. The current Adobe Expert phone support hours, Monday through Friday 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time and Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time are changing. Starting January 1, 2007, you may contact Adobe Expert phone support Monday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Alternatively, you may submit support inquiries via our new customer support portal at 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Guess what I won't be signing up for when it comes time to renew? That's $300 I'll be able to spend on something else. Like designers only work from 6am to 5pm M-F...and as we can see from some of the posts here, submitting a support ticket online with Adobe is like screaming your problem into the ether.

Then again, they can afford to be so arrogant and clueless. They're pretty much the only game in town. They already bought up most of their competition. I hope Quark is watching its back.

And if I'm only having problems in Adobe, then why do I need to set up a new Administrator user account? Yeah, like I want to reset up all the settings already in place in my current user account because my Adobe software is acting funky. And don't even get me started on Bridge...

EmmGeeIMage's picture
1 pencil

I recently had purchased "Audition 2.0" from adobe. I thought it would be similar to thier former 1.5, but a few minor changes. This was not the case. I found that the way Audition saves "wav" files is a floating type of wav, that CANNOT be turned/converted" to MP3, s I need for radio station automation. I also found that it was hard to read, and does not meet ADA compliance for persons with sight problems. On Decmeber 1st, I had opened a webcase with them. Heard nothing back, contrary to thier "within 48 hour busness hours" disclaimeron thier site. Now I am out $350 plus taxes, not to mention my potential reputation for making deadlines.

By the way, chatting to Customer Service Reps online is never availible, when I log onto Adobe. It says 9AM to 5PM (pacific) . Strange to have those hours for several world-known programs, some professional "standards", used on so many computers, potentially billions. Same exact hours for phone support

By the way, Wav's open alot slower, in General, theses took 10 minuts to open gain in any other adobe program, to re-record for mp3 conversion. Luckily, work had another adobe program.

I think the way things are going and what I'm reading, maybe adobe needs alittle legal action. I'm glad I am not alone in being displeased. They are definitely breakin either a lemon law here (illegal in Ohio), breaking a slaes law, or breaching a contract. If that's what they are doing, Legal action needs to take place FOR EVERY INFRINGMENT that I see on here. That's probably the only way things will change.

I told them in an e-mail that I would not be quiet, if unsatisfied with the result. I am clearly not being quiet. As a broadcaster, it's my job not to be!

AdobeCS's picture
2 pencils

its kind of sad how all of you have wasted time complaining about adobe's customer service. first of all, you all need to realize that the person who answers on the other end of that phone line and says,"thank you for calling adobe, can i get your name?"
is a person just like you. they have feelings too. they arent trying to all as one make your day a living hell, they arent trying to see how many people they can transfer you to before you hang up, they are if anything not listening. you have to realize that every different person you talk to is a completely different person than the last and has different levels of communication and patience. you also have to realize that they WILL treat you how YOU treat them. if your an asshole as soon as they come on the phone, and all you have to say is that youve been on hold for 45 minutes, and youve been transferred 4 times then what do you expect them to say? they know that theres a long hold time, they hear about it over 100 times a day. adobe is constantly trying to keep up with the amount of people that are calling in each day. did you know adove reader is downloaded over 1million times a day? do you know how many of the people who are downloading it arent able to install and use it on their own? LOTS. so what do you think they do? they call adobe. they are busy, they are exhausted, and they are broken. broken spirited by all the assholes that call in to tell them that they suck at their job, that they have poor training, and that they are idiots. you dont know this person, youve never met them, and you do not know even the first thing about them besides their name that they gave you at the start of the call. if you come on the phone and work with them and LET them help you they will. if you are nice, and you give them a chance they will be patient with you, and do EVERYTHING in their power to get your problem solved. yes, your problem may cause you to need another department but is it their fault that they arent in the department you need? no. is it their fault that you didnt register your serial number, and that YOU! lost it. if you do not register your serial number they dont have a record of it. if you register it under the right information and not some junkmail email address that you never remember then if you lose your serial number then its YOUR fault. keep your shit together, and realize that Adobe's Csutomer service is what YOU make it. they are people too.

Thanks For Calling Adobe.

ReidDesigns's picture
1283 pencils

Oh c'mon! I've had issues up the WAZOO with Adobe CS2 and especially with that monster they call Version Cue, but rather than be reactionary to your view I'll just say this: If your product sucks then ALL the CSR's in the world will not be able to help! Adobe has become bloatware and since they acquired Macromedia, and I still think that Illustrator 8 was the BEST version of Illustrator ever! That being said has anyone EVER tried using Adobe Stock Photography?

"Try not, Do! or do not, there is no try."

sbasilio's picture
1 pencil

You have to be kidding. Really. I have been trying to solve issues with CS 2.3 installation since April 2007 and here are some of the problems I have been facing with Adobe Customer Support:

1. My Support over the Phone Customer ID # and Case # are not recognized on the phone.
2. My web case is answered with a blank file.
3. When I finally receive an answer to my web case that actually has some content, it lists an incorrect phone number for Tech Support.
4. Phone Support: after spending 49 minutes with a CSR, not counting the time I spent on hold, he decides to email me the remaining directions to manually unistall Adobe CS. Well, the email I received only had a link to a WIKIPEDIA page that explains the meaning of the word null.

Now, those problems happened over only two days (Friday and Monday). If I decided to write about all the problems I had with Adobe over the course of the last two months, it would probably take me a couple of days.

Honestly, would you say that that is a decent customer support? How happy would you feel having to spend your time on hold on the phone and dealing with such a level of disorganization while your projects pile up?

mutantcorp's picture
7 pencils

First off my primary job is technical support for a fortune 500 company and at my company we fire people who have the attitude that you just displayed. I have been doing tech support for just over 5 years and at my company we keep very good records of the issues of our callers and we call them back before we close out their case. Our motto is one call does it all. We respect our customers.

I do not develop the software we use. I support it but when there is a problem and someone calls me I find a way to fix it because THAT IS MY JOB! If I cannot fix it I find someone who can. If it cannot be fixed we find a workaround. YES I get people screaming at me. YES I have bad days some days I even get in the car and scream for a moment just to let the tention out and go on my merry way. However, I do not whine about it and I do not complain about it.

Due to this issue with Adobe I lost a client and when you are a freelancer that is a big deal. Since then I have done everything possible to avoid using any Adobe product beacause I no longer trust Adobe as a company and I do not call their tech support because my problem was NEVER solved. Most of the time Apple has software that does the same job better and when I have a problem Apple's tech support is top knotch.


Living Adobe Free since 2006

mutantcorp's picture
7 pencils

"is it their fault that you didnt register your serial number, and that YOU! lost it."

Obviously you did not read my original post as I did buy and register my software. The MX series must be registered to work longer than a week. My issue was simply that a large flood came into my home and destroyed my pc. I purchased a MAC and wanted to install the software I paid for on the computer I purchased. After 2 days of bing on the phone a total of 16 hours just waiting on hold my calls were closed the moment I hung up. That is an issue.

10thWay's picture
47 pencils

I hope I'm wrong AdobeCS but by your user name and the way you defend Adobe I guess you work for them.
What makes you think that I have been rude to Adbe staff?
And by the way, you are calling your own customers assholes on a public forum. That really epitomizes it for me.

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ShawnAllan's picture
131 pencils


"Is it their fault that you didnt register your serial number, and that YOU! lost it."

Clearly you must be from Adobe Customer service, you do not understand the problem... Adobe supplied serial numbers when they shipped CS2, It's just that many of them did not work.

I've never had complaints with Apple's CSR... Even my cell phone provider who I've had to call too often, has been reasonably responsive.

I am always patient and understanding with phone support, I speak to them as people... however, as the mouth piece of a company, they have to also be the ear piece. CS reps needs to listen and take note when people have real issues, and not just assume operator error.

AdobeCS's picture
2 pencils

i do agree, some people dont help customers to the best of their abilities, but i myself am one of the few that does. everyone that comes through my phone i help as much as possible. like someone else said above about the tools adobe gives us...yeah. their a joke. when customers tell us something has happened that needs to be fixed or somethings not working right then i tell a supervisor. ofcoarse just like everything else once the information is passed on, its just that. passed on. theres no telling what they will do with the info. theres no telling if they will even ever mention the issue again. once i do the best job i can do with the tools i have and within the policies that allow me to keep my job and pay the rent, the issue is sent to another department, or another agent so HOPEFULLY they can continue the hard work i did to get what the customer needs done, done. honestly, the post i did before i was just frustrated. alot of customers are friendly (ofcoarse there are a few who are quite the opposite) and i do what i can to the best of my ability, but i do have to follow adobe's rules as well, and i cant do magic.theres customers that it would be so easy to take down their email address or phone number and just contact them privately but like i said, just like anyone else i have rent to pay. if it were up to me there would be ALOT of changes to adobe. we as customer service agents recently were able to submit emails about what we would change, and i DID tell them as many things as i could that from a day to day basis i have customers calling in about and could easily be helped. a shame they limited us to a 2000 letter box. needless to say i used every letter i could, and even spelled some words wrong just to fit them.
one thing though to everyone who reads this...
please! if you buy adobe's software, please, please, PLEASE! register your software! everyday i have to tell dozens of people that theres nothing i can do. they didnt register their software, and theres nothing i can do. if i had access to serial numbers for them, i would be more than happy to give them to them. it honestly breaks my heart telling someone that they will have to buy their software over again. adobe's software isnt cheap either. to those people if they read this. im sorry, i wish i could just give you a serial number...but i cant. please forgive me.

on a brighter note...
CS3 coming soon!

Thanks For Calling Adobe.

robb1072's picture
1 pencil

I recently had a bad experience with Adobe CS with an issue that should've been simple to handle. The company I work for provided me with a new computer, which included Adobe Acrobat Standard. The IT guy who installed it neglected to transfer activation from my old computer, so I called Adobe support to transfer it myself. The Adobe CSR I talked to had a very rude, condescending tone. She talked down to me, and wasn't pleasant at all, despite the fact that I wasn't rude to her. I simply needed to transfer activation, but she told me that two computers already had Acrobat installed and I was trying to install on a third computer, so she couldn't do it! Well yes...two computers already had it installed b/c I was transferring from my old computer to the new one! If the CSR had read Adobe's knowledge base about this problem, she would have known that this issue is documented and it simply means the activation wasn't tranferred before the customer installed the product on the new computer. I'm sure this is a very common occurence. Instead of recognizing this and providing me with an authorization code so I could be on my way, she was rude, talked down to me, and treated me like a criminal.

I simply thanked her for all her "nice help," and hung up. I called back in, got a nice person, and the issue was resolved in less than 5 minutes.

This experience doesn't mean all Adobe CSRs are bad of course. However, one bad apple like the girl I talked to can go far to diminishing a company's good reputation. There was no excuse for her behavior. People like her are burned out on their job and need to quit. I worked on the phones at Dell tech support and I know what's it's like dealing with "challenging" customers. Point is, when you are so burned out that you are an asshole to the customer from the word go, then it's time to quit your CSR job, go get your college degree, and move on to a career that might make you happy.

ShawnAllan's picture
131 pencils

Adobe is shitting on your head again!

My Initial post in this forum related to a CS2.3 Upgrade.
*less than six months ago*.

Now to upgrade to CS3 — and hopefully much more stable software,
I have yet to successfully quit from a CS2.3 program, always needs a force quit — Adobe wants me to spend ANOTHER $600.

I tried to call adobe, not one phone number, or menu option resulted in a human voice.

Smorgan82's picture
1 pencil

I am currently dealing with pretty much the same deal. I did ask for the refund and the proceeded to dick me around. Dammit if I wanted that I would ask my husband not some perfect stranger. I am currently going to there corporate office in Seattle, planning to talk to as many people as I can there. I am also sending an email to each corporate person I can about the situation. I am sick of computer companies thinking that they can rip off people. I am glad to see that other people have had simular experiences, but I am so sorry you guys had to deal with it. I do feel for everyone. I wish everyone the best of luck and anyone who knows someone or anything that might help me in my sitaution please email me. eval(unescape('%64%6f%63%75%6d%65%6e%74%2e%77%72%69%74%65%28%27%3c%61%20%68%72%65%66%3d%22%6d%61%69%6c%74%6f%3a%6e%6f%72%74%68%65%72%6e%73%77%65%65%74%68%65%61%72%74%37%39%40%79%61%68%6f%6f%2e%63%6f%6d%22%3e%6e%6f%72%74%68%65%72%6e%73%77%65%65%74%68%65%61%72%74%37%39%40%79%61%68%6f%6f%2e%63%6f%6d%3c%2f%61%3e%27%29%3b'))

lettermansgap's picture
1 pencil

I have been purchasing Macromedia/Adobe software as downloads rather than as disks for the past 6 years. I find it significantly more convenient than buying disks at a store.

For some reason, Adobe doesn't want to sell me software through their site anymore. I say, "For some reason" because the error message I get from the site is not correct. The site says my address information does not match that of my credit card. I've called my credit card company who told me that they are verfiing my card to Adobe.

The site said to call customer support. So after trying a second credit card and numerous variants of my address. I gave them a call.

The CSR who arrived on the phone (after 1:15 on hold - I had to drop the call and call back once) was nice. I could feel his pain as he tried to help me. All he could do is mail me disks. He didn't actually have anything to do with supporting the site. Nor did it appear that my problem would be addressed by anyone.

That seemed a bit dumb to me. I didn't want disks. I want to keep doing what I have been doing for six years.

I decided to call a different number. I'm in Canada so I tried the Canadian office. I got put throught to someone in corporate sales.

He tried to escalate my issue for me. He put me in touch with another guy who got me to send him a description of my issue. Two weeks and 3 "any progress" emails later, I haven't heard anything back.

Now time for a different approach. I had my business partner make the purchase using his account. He's on a PC. Maybe this would make the difference. At first, it seemed like it did. The transaction went through. Success! But the very next message after saying that the transaction was verified said that they were reviewing our order. The next day they emailed us to say they couldn't complete our order.

Time to start over again. I tried making the purchase myself again. It didn't work again. So I created a web case. THE NEXT DAY I received a reply. They said, "I understand that you are experiencing credit card issues as you
want to purchase Upgrade version of CS3 that is in your cart.

Your order for Educational version of Production Studio Premium and
Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional has been approved."

What? They understood that I am trying to upgrade to CS3 so they approved a purchase for an Educational version of Production Studio Premium and
Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional.

I still don't have my upgrade.

The sad part is, no one else seems to be in the business of creating tools for web designers anymore. If anyone out there is interested. There's a market for it. A market CRAVING attention.

SteveP's picture
1 pencil

I bought Photoshop elements from Sams Club on Saturday.

Tried to install it on Sunday but it didn't like the Serial Number on the label on the box.

Was happy to find they had Customer service on a Sunday but disappointed to find that a simple issue needed Tech support - only on Monday.

Called Tech support yesterday but they were unable to advise without me in front of my Notebook.

They said they operated until 5pm Pacific time so I called 25 mintues before then and listened some awful music for 25 mintues before I gave up.

This sounds as though it should be a simple issue but now after 3 phone calls and not able to install the product I wonder if there is a product that has reasonable editing capability so I can take my product back to Sams as it seems Adobe doesn't care about customers.


mutantcorp's picture
7 pencils

Mac or PC? You can try Gimp but honestly it is not as good. However, it is similar plus Gimp is freeware. Apple has a series of products similar and if you have a problem their tech support is top knotch. This is why so many people are converting to Mac.

reboba's picture
2 pencils

To me it was not just the holding that was so irritating, but the attitude of the service people was a comedy! Extremely rude and sarcastic. My wife finally found their corporate tele # and corp address - it was buried in their source code! Swear! Here it is (our letter has been drafted):
345 Park Avenue
San Jose, Ca. 95110
Phone: 408.536.6000
I wish there was another game in town as far as competition for these people.

Desjo's picture
1 pencil

I won't bore you with all the details, but I have been trying to resolve an issue since May 1st and I have gotten nothing but lip service from Adobe Customer service. They have $1050 hostage and they cannot seem to find it. Everything is in "process." I have tracking numbers from Fed ex for a return etc., but they just tell me to be patient. It's coming to the point that I will have to take legal action soon and here is the rub - I NEVER get any e-mails confirming anything from Adobe. I have no real records except for some scanned jpegs of internal order documents that one nice customer service rep e-mailed me from her own account. I have tried to resolve this, but I think its a policy that their protocol is to just claim their "e-mail system" doesn't match my anti spam software - of which I have none. (I'm good at hitting the delete key) If I didn't rely on their software so much I would never do business with them again - but I do love their products and I've never had any techical issues. It's too bad they don't empower their customer service reps more. I'll let you know how it turns out - I've been "escalated" and have been promised a call from a "supervisor" within 24 hours - which to me means 3-4 days if I'm lucky. We'll see.

momoflakes's picture
12 pencils

Good to hear all of this. I thought I was the only one going crazy with Adobe. My situation is (since it's still ongoing) that I bought a used copy of CS Production Premium from someone. Legit educational version. Go to install it, then to activate... oh no! 'Too Many Activations!' So I tell the original owner, it's no longer installed on their systems, and they call Adobe first. He was told by Adobe I was the one to get this fixed. So my turn to call. On the first call, I got disconnected. On the second call, I get a lady named Grace. She tells me to call customer service, and that she cannot help me. So I call customer service 3 times, and finally on the third time, I got a very nice lady. She told me about the 'transfer of ownership process.' I go to the Adobe website to d/l the form, but the link is broken. Time to call again! So I call again, and another lady e-mailed me the form. Too bad it was a Europe and Africa form, not a U.S. one. My blood begins to boil more and more. So I do some research, trying to find the U.S. form, I find it, and lo and behold, I find something that the Adobe reps were oblivious about. Educational versions can't go through 'transfers of activation.' I would have faxed it in, and nothing would have happened. After a while, I call Adobe one... last... time... And I get a nice filipino-sounding man, who was willing to just give me an authorization code, since he saw my history of calling for the product. Too bad I uninstalled it a day before. So I install it again, call again, and I get Grace, the lady who had never helped me, except for making me mad. She told me I had called way too many times about this product and refused to transfer me or give me any further assistance, she even accused me of changing my story every time I called. She finally transferred me to customer service, where I get another filipino-sounding man, and thank God for him! He was the only one to help at all, he confirmed to me that the 'transfer of ownership' would not work, I confirmed I knew the previous owner by proving I knew their registration info, and he told me to call the original owner and have them call the activation hotline and clear all activation and registry information. I probably could have told myself that, but it was the most help I had in weeks. There is at least one helpful person at Adobe, and you'll be lucky if you get him. If the original owners can't get this cleared, a refund is already in the works, and I'll most definitely switch to Avid or Final Cut Editing systems. As much as I'm absolutely hooked on Adobe, it's not worth the trouble if anything went wrong. Thanks a lot, Adobe customer service.

JimD's picture
2626 pencils

I wish I could say I feel your pain, but I purchased a "Design Bundle" directly from Adobe back in the days before "CS" came out. I have also purchased all my upgrades directly and I've never had a problem with any part of the process.

Unfortunately, when you deal with human beings, you are going to have miscommunications. When you deal with software companies, you're going to feel the effects of low profit margins via overseas "support staff."

I'm sure Adobe would love to sell all their wares over the internet exclusively. This would have the effect of freeing up a ton of support people because they wouldn't have to man a sales phone. Unfortunately, the net-using world hasn't completely gone broadband just yet so it simply isn't an option for everyone.

If for one have no desire to buy a full creative suite over the internet. If I'm spending that kind of money, I want commercially created DVDs, instruction manuals and I certainly don't want to spend hours downloading files only to have their server take a crap with only 2MBs left to finish the download...

As far as the serial number problems and the poor customer service regarding those matters - that's just unacceptable. It's too bad our customer service experiences with the product are so drastically different from the actual user experience with the software itself.

Visit Creative Guy for graphics and Mac OS tips, tricks, tutorials and commentary

Visit The Graphic Mac for graphics and Mac OS tips, reviews, tutorials and discussion.

mutantcorp's picture
7 pencils

That was the strangest part. They are not oversees. These are American's who are guilty of these crimes.

maryo's picture
1 pencil

Well here's my sad tale of Adobe-related woe.

I recently bought an upgrade version of Dreamweaver CS3. Then I found out that I am not allowed to upgrade to Dreamweaver from Studio MX. It did not say this anywhere on the website when I purchased the product by the way. But I though, oh well, if I don't qualify I'll just get credit for useless upgrade I downloaded and pay for the full version. Well guess what. Adobe has no way for you to do that.

So I started a web case and explained my problem. They said I had to "return" my upgrade version. They e-mail me a "letter of destruction" which I sign and e-mail back. I then get an e-mail back saying I didn't attach the "letter of destruction" to my e-mail. Well yes I did, but I try again. THREE times they accuse me of this. On the fourth try they finally admit they received the letter.

They then say, however, that they cannot process the return because they must have a phone case to "attach" it to. A web case isn't good enough. So I call customer service. THREE times I finally reach a rep after a long time on hold, start to tell them my story, and three times I am disconnected in the middle of the conversation.

I have no idea if any of them actually tried to create the phone case before they hung up on me. Perhaps the grand plan is to stall you until the 30 day return period is up? Keep in mind I was more than willing (and made it clear to everyone I spoke to) that I was more than willing to purchase a full version - I just wanted them to take the useless upgrade version back first! AARRRGGHHH!!

LOL - thanks for listening to me vent. Good luck everyone with your issues. I'll be trying again tomorrow.


AZ Artist's picture
3 pencils

I found (on another forum) an email address: eval(unescape('%64%6f%63%75%6d%65%6e%74%2e%77%72%69%74%65%28%27%3c%61%20%68%72%65%66%3d%22%6d%61%69%6c%74%6f%3a%61%64%62%65%63%61%72%65%40%61%64%6f%62%65%2e%63%6f%6d%22%3e%61%64%62%65%63%61%72%65%40%61%64%6f%62%65%2e%63%6f%6d%3c%2f%61%3e%27%29%3b')) (not a typo-this is the correct email address) and wrote them about my 3-month wait for a refund. The next day I got a response, promising my refund and "as a gesture of goodwill" Adobe was sending me the full version of Dreamweaver CS4 and a new serial number to activate it.
I got the software today, and when I get the refund check, this issue will be resolved.

HOWEVER, if it weren't for forums, I never would have found this email address, and there is no excuse for this horrible customer service.
Hope you got your refund Mary - I'm still waiting after THREE MONTHS for my refund for an upgrade of Dreamweaver (from Studio 8 to CS4) which I found was an "ineligible" upgrade only after I bought it from the online store (no mention of that ineligibility on the store site - it's "buried" somewhere else in Adobe's website). I was initially told I'd get my refund credit to my Visa card "in about 5 days". HA! I've waited over two hours on hold with India customer service, told I can't speak to a supervisor or to anyone who speaks standard English, been disconnected, had my online case closed by Adobe without resolution (I reopened it). I was also told initially (after Adobe deactivated my CS4 upgrade serial number) to go back online and purchase the full version. I declined, thank goodness, telling the salesperson I would wait to get my refund first.

I'm turning this back to my VISA card (Bank of America) and see if I can get a refund through them since Adobe seems unwilling to refund my $199.

I've been an Adobe customer since 1990 and have spent thousands of dollars on their software (page layout/illustration/image editing/fonts/website and video). I'm actively looking now for any other software by any other company. Unless Adobe makes a quantum leap forward in customer support/service, I'm done with them.

Amybeader's picture
6 pencils

Ow. Sympathies to everyone who has had to go around and around with Adobe's CS. I have a slightly different but related tale.

I bought a Macbook Pro and also bought CS2.3 anticipating the upgrade to CS3. I was watching Adobe's site for the launch of CS3. Right about the time of the launch (by launch I am talking about their big on-line show in April) and for a week or two after, when you went to their site to look at upgrade paths, there were several possibilities, based on which version you had. In the case of CS2.3, there was a $440 upgrade (because you already had Acrobat 8, and Dreamweaver, although Dreamweaver is upgraded to integrate better, supposedly). I still wasn't quite ready to order the upgrade.

Okay, a week or two passed, I went and checked the site periodically (oh, I should also mention that there was a brief period right around the launch that gave you a FREE upgrade, but you had to have purchased CS2.3 within a month of the launch, and I was about 10 days too early!) still thinking I will do the upgrade. Well, suddenly the upgrade page NO LONGER SHOWS THE $440 ugrade from CS 2.3! Instead, it's $595 from CS1.X and 2.X. So what has happened?

I end up calling customer service. I enquire about this change. Well, actually I had to call a couple of times, the first time I was on hold for nearly an hour and just couldn't stay on the line any longer. So I called back again, get through, get transferred to a very nice gentleman (I wish I had noted his name because he was definitely a contrast to these horror stories!) He listens to what I am telling him. He tells me he believes me, and he's checking the product matrix (their internal list of products and upgrades). Ah-hah! That $440 upgrade is still in their product matrix, even though it's no longer on the site. So he tells me I need my serial number (just the main one) from my CS 2.3 purchase. I have the box right in front of me. He's going to connect me with Sales, and he will not hang up until he knows I'm connected.

This actually works! He verifies (so I can hear him) that I am now talking with Sales. He tells the sales person what is going on, I say thank you, he hangs up and the sales person requests my serial number, verifies it's good. I give him my credit number and he verifies the upgrade will be shipped.

About a week later I get it. I had to be somewhat persistant, I am glad I had checked things out on the website and noted the info. I got what I wanted, without too much pain, BUT I find it VERY INTERESTING that Adobe had that less expensive upgrade listed for less than a month, and then took it off the website. If I had not seen it earlier, I would not have known to ask, and would have paid an extra $150 I didn't need to!


kyao888's picture
11 pencils

Most of these large software companies have the same attitude towards support. They spend millions advertising and little for customer support. It is ridiculous how most of them dont even speak English. I just bought the CS3 and after one whole day of trying to install the POS I picked the phone and called support. It took me another day to be on the phone with them and figure out why the darn thing will not install. Well...finally I got to talk to one of the developers and he asked me to change a one line of code in my install file and Voila! it installed like a breeze. I wish they are all somewhat experienced...or at least speak the damn proper language.

Preface Media, Inc.

GrAcUc79's picture
98 pencils

Anyone who had customer service issues should try this website You can post your complaints / compliments / suggestions / questions about pretty much any major company.

I had a issue with an airline company and had no success being reimbursed when I called their 800 number. Within few business days of posting my compaint on this website I was reimbursed.

I would defintely post your complaints on this site and hopefully your issues can be resolved.

twanda55's picture
1 pencil

This has gotten ugly, I never thought I would find customer service worse than my last landlord. Dear god, I mean, I though this kind of thing only existed in movies, but its so REAL!!
There has to be a better way, we are creative people and we have our dignity, let's think of a way to make them do it right. A petition, letters to the editor....perhaps a moderate scaled riot would work?
Adobe will not be remembered for revolutionizing the world of software but for discovering a rare new form of torture and oppression. I've never been so close to suicide as I was after the last call, where I listened to the hold music to the point of mental exhauston.
This is worse than a band that insults its fans.
I can't help thinking that this might actually be a symptom of someting ominous in the future for us...
They aren't just abusing the consumer trust but torturing their customer service representative by not supplying them with the tools to do their job and then heaving them on the front line facing justifiably irate customers, then grabbing a daquari and sitting back to watch to bloody results.
These are sick, sick people we are dealing with.

There, I've said my piece, I don't feel quite so ravaged, helpless and alone in the world, for now...until I muster for the next charge into every consumer's worst nightmare. God forbid I actually want to use the product I paid for..

garyf's picture
1 pencil

I paid for an upgrade to Adobe's ColdFusion software and despite several phone calls I still haven't received the serial numbers (I don't need discs or boxes). They keep telling me that someone will get back to me or that it takes several days for them to place the order. The customer service people fail to grasp how frustrating it is for a customer to have to keep calling them up to ask the same thing over and over.

More to the point, if you have paid for a product the company has a legal obligation to deliver it. We're talking about $6,000 worth of upgraded software ($15K if bought from scratch). This is not the first time I've experienced terrible customer service from Adobe. It's a real shame that Adobe UK don't have a UK based department who can deal with these issues. I keep getting transferred to Holland or some other country. This is shameful behaviour for a company the size of Adobe.

ShawnAllan's picture
131 pencils

Wow. I started this thread because I was looking for a place to vent. It looks as though so were a lot of other people. I want to thank everyone who continues to write. Adobe cannot continue to operate in this fashion, your very words are capable of creating the winds of change.

cma01's picture
1 pencil

One of the most frustrating things about dealing with large companies is the complete disconnect you often find between one department to the next. One hand doesn’t know what the other is doing as the saying goes.

Some of the most annoying offenders are retailers with online, store and mail order sales. The last time I bought anything at JcPenney was a nightmare. There was a sale in the store; however, they were out of the particular item that I wanted. I was told to order it online. When I did, I was told that the sale did not apply to online items.

Senior management, I realize that you want to track your “channels;” however, I as the customer could really care less about how your income statement is organized. If you have a product that I want, I just want to buy it, at the lowest price available at the time. When I do pricing research, it should be between stores. It is ridiculous to have to price between channels at the same company.

However you would think, being a technology company, Adobe would have its act together. Sadly, this is not the case.

If you are in the creative industry, it is pretty much a given that you will be using an Adobe product. Since its purchase of Macromedia in 2005, it has the market cornered in the print and web design industries.

I use Adobe programs. I am not a high volume customer. I only upgrade when I really need to. But then I am not a high maintenance customer either. If I have an issue with one of the programs, I can usually find a resolution by researching it online.

However, I decided it was time to upgrade to Creative Suite 3. I was really interested in seeing the integration between the original Adobe and Macromedia products.

On January 3rd, 2008, I went online to and ordered the upgrade. It was $599 for Creative Suite 3 Design Premium. A hefty chunk for an upgrade, but they are great programs and I had a discount code for 10 percent off.
I added the products to my card, applied the discount code and was thrilled to see that the 10 percent applied to the hard copy manual I was buying as well. Now that I think about it, if you are spending that much money on a software program, don’t you think they could at least include a hard copy of the instruction manual?

I entered my credit card number and placed the order. Problem. The amount charged did not reflect the discount.

I thought, “This should be an easy fix. I’ll just call the 800 customer service number displayed on every page.” This is minutes after the order was placed.
I called and reached the phone sales number and talked to a very nice lady who said that she couldn’t cancel the original order for me, but she would place a new one with the discount and then transfer me to another department who would cancel it.

I asked if I would be charged for both orders, to which she replied no. She said that the credit card was not charged until the order was shipped and that it took 24 to 48 hours to be in the “system.” So I placed the second order, which was exactly the same as the first, received the discount and was transferred to the next CS operator.

This second customer service department appeared to be an oversees call center. I explained the situation and said that I wanted to cancel the first online order. The CS rep said that the first order would not display in the “system” for 24 hours and I needed to call back the next morning to cancel it. I asked again if I would be billed twice and was again told no, the card wasn’t charged until the order was shipped and the first order wasn’t in the “system” yet.

This was in a 26 minute phone call on January 3rd initiated at 1:46 pm CST.
That evening I was checking my online bank statement and saw that both orders had been charged to my account, the first order for $685 and the second with the discount for $623. I called the 800 number listed on the charge. The customer service representative was very nice; however, said that there was nothing that they could do to help me and since it was at 10 pm, there was no one that they could transfer me to. She did not understand why the order had billed already because it was still showing as “pending” in the system, but she couldn’t cancel it and refund it.

She gave me yet another 800 number to call in the morning to cancel the order and said that yes, they would be able to refund the charge. I asked her to put a note or flag on the order so that both would not be shipped, and she said that she would.

So the next morning I called the customer service number I was given. I explained the whole situation and asked for the order to be canceled and the charge from the first order to be refunded. Then I was told that I had to wait until I received the order, call them back, give them the serial numbers from the discs on the duplicate order and then, only then, would they refund the charge on my credit card.

At this point, I got angry. I followed their “process,” went through all the phone transfers, and was told repeatedly that, “No, both orders would not be billed” and “Yes, the first order would be canceled.”

So I was transferred to a “supervisor.” I was told again that was the “process” and there was nothing that he could do and there was no one else I could talk to.

I called the corporate office in California and was transferred to a “Customer Care Specialist” after explaining the situation. He said that the customer service person was correct and that was the only way they could refund the “return.”

I said that I didn’t want the two orders, all I wanted was the discount on one. It was not a “return,” because I specifically said that I did not want the first one shipped. There was an error in the initial order.

I asked him, “Adobe is a multibillion dollar company (2.75 billion in revenue in 2005). You are telling me that this company, a company that produces software that ecommerce sites are built on, can’t even do an order correction?” No.

I told him it was completely ridiculous to me that a company the size of Adobe could not correct an order, particularly when the charge hadn’t even gone through. Mom and Pop shops running ecommerce sites on open source software can do that and Adobe can’t?

He again said that he had to have the serial numbers to do a “return.”
First, charges through a credit card processor have nothing to do with a company’s internal controls. I have one myself and my merchant account could not care less how I track those payments and orders. There is no reason that a credit could not have been issued for that initial order even if the order itself could not be modified (again ridiculous).

Second, I had been told over and over again that I could cancel that first order, and what is more, that it would not be billed.

He said, “As soon as the order is placed it is processed. There is nothing I can do about it.”

I told him, “Now you are lying to me because I was told several times that it wasn’t billed until it was shipped and it wasn’t even in the system for 24 hours.”

At this point he hung up on me.

And where am I left. I am left with an additional $685 charge on my account. I will have to wait 7 to 10 days to receive the TWO identical orders. Then I will have to call “customer service” again to do a “return” that will most likely take another week before my money is refunded. All over a $60 discount that was not credited on the first order.

To those ordering Adobe products, all I can say is be careful, document every exchange, and if you run into an issue, set aside a day to sit on the phone. If I had done a little bit of research ahead of time on Adobe customer complaints, I would have had known to be wary.

To the Adobe management:
You may think you have a stranglehold on the creative, design and development industries. However, no one is ever too big to fall.

Carla Alvarez
Legacy Marketing Services

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

I've had the same runaround from Musician's Friend and Aetna Insurance. Service is the lowest priority for most companies these days. There's no money in it, according to the bean counters and execs.


Powerpoint is not a design application
My latest web design work

ReidDesigns's picture
1283 pencils

. . . because its us customers who pay salaries and keep them in business right? LOL.

I've had SO many years of dealing with monopolies here in T&T that my threshold for BS is a bit higher! lol

"Try not, Do! or do not, there is no try."

WhatToDo's picture
1 pencil

Okay so i reckon at this point just about everybody who has read down this far in Shawn's post pretty much agrees that all is not happy in Adobe-customerland; and has not been for a long time. In fact according to RCH27 who has been using their products for 23 years, it has not been good since the mid to late 90's. He says he used to "know" most of the engineers through that time, who can remember the people they talk to there now?
I think it is pretty clear that we cannot blame the person on the phone, although they are the ones we take it out on as they represent the stupid, confusing policies that we are upset with. As least we should know this if Adobeagentsr and CS agent (after he got off his high horse and admitted he was trying the best he could and would rather change MANY things if he could) are to be trusted, which I have no reason to believe they can't.

What I don't agree with is AgentCS saying it was "kind of sad how all of you have wasted time complaining about adobe customer service" and I agree with twanda55 that maybe we should form and support group, not for our mutual self pity aspirations, but to actual make things better.

I live in Singapore and am in process of taking my photography and other art work to a second profession, I called the Customer Service number because I wanted to talk to someone about the advantages I would get from CS3 vs the product i am using today, and to know if extended was really going to give me any additional benefits to what I know I want to do at least now.
So I called the phone number for Customer Service in Hong Kong, yeah no local number in Singapore so I had to pay long distance for this "wonderful experience". Upon passing over all my information, twice, to two different people in the same department (I called a second time just to make sure the first person really was not able to help me); I got to find out that even though I wanted to spend a little over $1000 USD with them, my questions were to technical for both agents, and both told me all that information was on their website..... That was it, just "go to our website".... The funniest thing was when I asked “what web address?”, meaning, "okay dude if I was able to find the right information on the website myself first I probably wouldn't be talking to you right now, what is the exact url I should type in to take me to this conrincopia of online information that will answer the exact question I just asked you"; I got back both times ""... Like no shit, where do you think I got your phone number from?
So I eventually found a few more resources after trying harder on the website myself, but still don't have all the information I wanted to make my decision, but have a far better impression of what life will be like after purchasing when I want help.

I probably will but the CS3 and Lightroom they seem to be the best out there on the market, and I can't find enough evidence that the 3D elements of Extended will give; but one thing I now have plenty of evidence on is that I want the service to be better.

I think that all of you would rather that to be the case also, and have other things to blog about rather than how Adobe Sucks. Right?

So here's the question, if you could change 1 thing at adobe customer service what would it be? Just one thing, not the laundry list of ALLLLLLLL the things that we should change; if they made one change now what should it be?

Once we know this we tell Adobe, tell Lambert Walsh, who is their World Wide Vice President of Customer Care.
(I guess one sad reality that sticks out from sanpabloguy's research is that Adobe as a company does not think high enough of Customer Care to have it listed among the VPs they have on their corporate site)

Now I know not everyone who reads this will post anything, hey it is the less committal thing to do.
After all it could fail, we could do this and nothing will change, but I can guarantee if we do not do this, nothing will change.

dxg's picture
1 pencil

Well, after having the audacity to enquire from Adobe as to where my copy of CS3 had got to after ordering it on 26 January, and being told "someone might call me back" to let me know and "there is no complaints procedure", I thought an email to Matt Thompson would be in order.

This is the response I got:

Thanks for reaching out to me. I am sorry about the customer
exrperience that you have been going through. Lambert Walsh
is responsible for our customer care team. He will follow up with you.

Nothing says "we care about our customers" than a stock response (complete with spelling mistake) to a non-person after charging your credit card and singularly failing to Perform. If they weren't the only option in the market, me and my money would have walked long ago...

rabbers's picture
1 pencil


Sorry, joined this community after finding this post - just so I could have a rant at how totally inadequate and disjointed Adobe customer services is - who ever heads up this particular aspect of Adobe should be sacked !! Appauling performance - should be ashamed of yourselves...

1. Ordered a new version of Acrobat professional 8 online.. ok so far, fairly simple process..

2. Realized I had actually ordered the wrong version - my error. Not a problem I thought I'll just cancel the order on the website.... after trawling the website for half an hour to find this option ? - not available... I'll phone them instead

3. I phone the number listed on the website. Eventually after 30 mins of listening to music. I get to talk to a real person (well sort of - the language barrier presented a bit of a problem !!) - I am prompted for my customer number - which i duly reel off - not recognised - punches a few more keys - still not recognised. Eventually after giving my DNA sequence they manage to track me down. After 5 mins of questioning we eventually track down the order in question. Can I cancel it then or change the order to the correct product version (PC instead of MAC) ? - "no" - "what do you mean?" - "my manager will have to do that for you - will escalate it" - what about refunding my credit card "again - my manager will have to authorise that" OK - Can I order the correct version whilst I am on the phone - "No" - "Why not?" - "you'll have to order it online" - "OK". I am given a new customer number ??
3. So safe in the knowledge that my order has been canceled, I then braveley go online and order the correct version...All goes well

4. ...Until the following monday a package appears on my desk. Sure enough its the product I canceled..

5. Repeat step 3. This time I type customer number into phone system - safe in the knowledge that this must be ok, not recognised. Again Eventually get through to a real person.. What is your customer number (I am reading this from the invoice sent with the product that I thought I had cancelled) - not recognised. (At this stage I'm think ff sake - who writes these shitty systems for Adobe).. So we try the order number from the invoice - not recognised - I'm getting exasperated now and quite short with the poor guy on the phone "Why don't any of your systems appear to work" - "they do sir, this is just a glitch"..
Eventually we realize that the order number on the email confirmation and the order number on the invoice are completeley different; also the customer number on the invoice conveniently has the first character missing - of course why would you want the order number to actually refer to the order all the way through the system - thats just too simple !!. After about 15 mins we manage to scrape together the information required to return the product and get a refund - this now becomes my problem as I have to pay the postage cost for an order that I cancelled over a week ago - and of course if for any reason it does not return to the depot - i do not get a refund !!! nice one.

When I actually enquired as to why my order was not cancelled in the first place as requested. The answer was "because i ordered it online - the system processed it too quickly" ?? "But it was not despatched until 3 days after that" - "I dodn't know sir it should have been cancelled".... Aggghhhh - Its now ten days later i still do not have a refund for the software I returned - I'm not sure if I have the energy to chase this up again..

ADOBE your customer service is Sh1t...Please do something about it!!

Psychkill's picture
6 pencils

Hi, i was with Adobe before as one of their tech people and I read what you posted and it really sucks big time. By the way, are you from the US? 'coz Adobe US customer service is different from Adobe Asia Pacific and Australia. I'ts a very simple procedure...for cancelled purchases, revoke the serial number...send customer the LOD then give the refund. I dont think they need assistance of their manager to process the refund. :)

ShawnAllan's picture
131 pencils


Glad you could join us. Sorry you had too.

I'm wondering if anyone knows how to get this forum into adobes hands?

3dogmama's picture
1990 pencils

I have the link to this thread locked and loaded in Adobe's customer feedback. Give me the cue and I'll fire it off.


"Art -- the one achievement of Man which has made the long trip up from all fours seem well advised." - James Thurber

mbennett2's picture
425 pencils

Just ordered a CS3 upgrade. I'm sure everything will go smoothly though...

cobralyn's picture
6 pencils

I know this post is kinda late, but I'm hoping to be of help. I have read the whole thread and I am really really glad to see all your posts, reactions, commendations etc. I became part of Adobe Customer service. Honestly, as an agent here seeing both point of views, I understand how frustrated you are because some of the company policies suck. However, we agents cant also do anything about it. We are trying to do all the best that we can to assist you, and we've also done everything to raise all of the possible concerns that may rise upon the continuous cycle of upgradign softwares. Unfortunately, some of 'em are also left unnoticed. Anyways, I'll be giving some tips so you wont have to go topsey-turvey everytime you call customer service.

1)When you purchase online, please take down all of the transaction numbers that will be provided to you, like order #, tracking # etc.
(I think I've seen it in one of the posts)

2) Try loggin in to our customer support portal to address some of your concerns if ever you are having a hard time over the phone.

Again, please take note of your case #s etc.

3) In case you are prompted to put in your case #'s, please disregard that and just choose the option that would directly route you to an agent. Once you're able to speak to one, then you can provide your reference #s.

4) Please read and understand the difference between the products. These might provide you confusions etc since some of them sound alike.

These are just some tips which might help you everytime you have to deal with adobe.

I'll have to end it here for the meantime.

***By the way, I would just like to clarify: not all agents are rude. Hopefully, you land to a very nice agent that can assist you with your concern.


natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

I'm perturbed that there are so many gosh darn variations of product. Why do we need Professional and Standard? Why not just CS? I understand it from Adobe's perspective, more money, but I don't understand it from a customer perspective. It's friggin confusing.

And hopefully Apple and Adobe will get their head's together. I'm tired of seeing all the issues with regard to compatibility issues with Leopard and CS3. Makes me want to wait YEARS before buying the latest software.

Powerpoint is not a design application

MattysMom's picture
2 pencils

So...yes Adobe has TERRIBLE customer service. But I had to file a complaint with the California Department of Consumer Affairs!!!!!

I had the two software packages to qualify for the lowest upgrade cost for the Mater Collection! Plus I own/purchased CS3 Web Pro late last year before Mater Collection was available.

So...the deal is that they deduct the cost of the CS3 Web Pro upgrade since half of Master Collection has that software already. NO ONE told me that when I orderd Master Collection was preorder on June 9. I needed Premier by the end of the week. I called again on June 13 and they said he would re-place the order so I could get 3.0 instead of waiting for 3.3. (their web site said NOTHING anywhere that the collections were pre-order either.

So...guess what I was actually charged $664.50 MORE on the second order than the first. I have spent HOURS on the phone with them and dozens of customer service people and STILL no refund. Plus they want to refund me LESS than the orginal Order Confirmation.

HOW CAN ANY COMPANY get away with taking my money (an amount I NEVER authorized) and then THEY arbitrarily decide how much to give back and when (I was told maybe in the next 10 days...which will be TWO MONTHS from the initial order...oh did I mention that they were giving me free shipping because I couldn't get the first sales person to understand that they were suposed to deduct the CS3 Web Pro upgrade cost from the Collection upgrade cost...and it took almost an hour to get there, but she was sooooo apologetic.).

I would HATE for anyone else to be over charged for their software packages/upgrades. I strongly suspect that others have been over charged!!!! But I have no hope, at this point of getting the proper refund, let alone when I will get the price THEY want to refund me.

I have owned Illlustrator since 1989 (illustrator 88 on Mac system 6) and Photoshop since 2.0...and Pagemaker and Flash since they were owned by other companies....they SURE do not care, and that is very distressing.

plugz's picture
1245 pencils

And this is why God invented torrent sites. ;)

ReidDesigns's picture
1283 pencils

You didn't just SAY that!

in Will Smith voice: "Ohhhh HEEEEEllllllll NO!"

"Try not, Do! or do not, there is no try."

plugz's picture
1245 pencils
ReidDesigns's picture
1283 pencils

Advocate piracy. . .you're off the map laddie! Here be MONSTERS! lol!

"Try not, Do! or do not, there is no try."

plugz's picture
1245 pencils
dgdo's picture
1 pencil

If anyone has ordered this product with physical media, don't bother trying to install from the DVD. The idiots in manufacturing put the 1.0 bits on the 1.3 media. As you might expect, the serial numbers on the media case don't match the bits on the DVDs, so you get the dreaded "Invalid Serial Number" message. After 2 hours of looking at the install yesterday, I called Activation Support, was routed to Customer Support, then to Technical Support (after almost an hour on hold). The technical clearly was working from a defined procedure, but not matter how many times I told him that it looked like a manufacturing problem, he just kept to the script, which I followed along with. 3 hours latter, I'm back where I started. Finally downloaded the evaluation version, which does contain the right bits.

I figure Adobe Support is totally useless, so I'm going to try to reach the Product Manager in the morning. (sigh!)

This isn't the first time I have experienced Adobe's incompetent support team. Don't know why I continue to support them with my hard earned dollars.

KrullCat's picture
3 pencils

Wow, totally crazy. And now begins the quest for my refund.
I originally ordered the Adobe Master Collection. Along with all the
associated Discs and manuals and the box etc. I wanted the hard copy
of everything I ordered and payed for.

So instead of receiving the Master Collection I get:
Design Premium, 3.0 ???
Web Standard, 3.0 ???

To the tune of over $3,400.00! in charges no less.
My first call to Adobe Customer Service gets me this Email response.
Thank you for contacting Adobe Customer Service.

Regarding your recent request for a refund, we are unable to process
your request without a valid proof of purchase. Please review the
requirements for a valid proof of purchase below.

What Qualifies as Valid Proof of Purchase?
·A copy of the sales receipt from an Authorized Adobe Reseller that
shows the product and version purchased, purchase price and the order
date. Purchase Orders do not qualify as Proof of Purchase.

·A copy of the shipping invoice from an Adobe Reseller that lists the
end-user information, the product and version purchased, purchase price
and the order date.

Also, Please Fax Letter of Software Destruction which can be obtained at

Customer ID Number: xxxxxxxxx
Customer Service Case: xxxxxxxxx

Please fax your Proof of Purchase to 1-800-955-1610. Please include your
case number. Once the required documentation has been received, your
case will be re-opened.

For more information on Adobe® products or services please visit us at:
or contact Adobe customer services at 1 (800) 833-6687. Customer Service
Representatives are available 6:00am-8:00pm PT, 7 days a week.

Ok apparently they have no record of my Purchase???
How the heck is THAT possible. So I both FAX and EMAIL a copy
of the sales receipt. E-Mail by the way is at eval(unescape('%64%6f%63%75%6d%65%6e%74%2e%77%72%69%74%65%28%27%3c%61%20%68%72%65%66%3d%22%6d%61%69%6c%74%6f%3a%72%65%71%75%65%73%74%65%64%2d%64%6f%63%75%6d%65%6e%74%40%61%64%6f%62%65%2e%63%6f%6d%22%3e%72%65%71%75%65%73%74%65%64%2d%64%6f%63%75%6d%65%6e%74%40%61%64%6f%62%65%2e%63%6f%6d%3c%2f%61%3e%27%29%3b'))

At this point there is NO way I am destroying the discs or anything
that came in the mail. Absolutely NO way! CYA if you know what I mean.

I call Customer service back and get a different person, they tell me
know that I have to return the software and all of it's original
packaging back to:

Adobe Systems Inc.
C/O JVC Disc America Co.
2750 Barrett Lakes Blvd.
Bldg. 2
Kennesaw GA 30144-4915

Along with the case number attached to the address on the label.

Whew, glad I didn't burn up that software!!

So I send it back via courier with a signature required request.
I check up on the delivery with the online tracking system.
Once the package is delivered I call Customer Service back.

After going through the old name number and Customer ID protocol
for the 4th or 5th time at this point I'm placed on hold for nearly 30
minutes. I am asked to once again provide a Proof of Purchase and
I decide to send a scanned copy of the courier delivery slip along
with it this time.

"Thank you for holding sir we will be sending you an email confirmation
within the next day or so."

Ok, here's what I get in my email box the next day.
Thank you for contacting Adobe Customer Service.

Due to the Support Portal being closed on weekends, we were unable to
respond to your e-mail. We sincerely regret any inconvenience this may
have caused and appreciate your patience.

With regard to your indirect return request, I regret to inform
you that the Express post courier delivery slip was not attached to this
incoming e-mail. Please resend the delivery slip and the Proof of
Purchase (POP) to process your request.

Adobe accepts the following items as legitimate Proof of Purchase:

An Adobe direct order number

A sales receipt or shipping invoice from a reseller that lists the
following information:

Reseller name and address
Your contact information
Product and version purchased
Order date
Purchase price

If the document you received with your purchase does not include all of
these items, please contact the reseller to obtain a formal receipt for
your item. Resellers should be able to provide this on request.

We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your

For your records, your customer ID number is xxxxxxxxx. The customer ID
number is the easiest way for us to access your account in our database.
In future, please provide this number when you contact Adobe. Your case
number is xxxxxxxxxxx.

The Web Support Portal Representatives are available from Monday
to Friday. For your convenience, on weekends we have a dedicated phone
support for Customer Service related queries. Please feel free to
contact our phone support at 1 (800) 833-6687 from 6:00am-8:00pm PT, 7
days a week.

Best Regards,
Now go figure.
I have sent my Proof of Purchase 4 times already! How many email copies could they possibly need?
Now this process has been going on for nearly a full month!!!

Back and forth between customer service and back. Call after call,
waiting patiently. Adamantly stuck to that annoying on hold music.
This is $3,400.00 Were talking about here not just a couple of hundred
dollars. Then I get hit with this email:
Thank you for contacting Adobe Customer Service.

We respectfully decline your request for a refund.

[REASON] : Your request exceeds Adobe’s 30-day money back guarantee

Customer ID number: xxxxxxxx
Customer Service Case: xxxxxxxx

For more information on Adobe® products or services please visit us at:
or contact Adobe customer services at 1 (800) 833-6687. Customer Service
Representatives are available 6:00am-8:00pm PST, 7 days a week.

Best Regards,
Are you freaking kidding me!??? These are the same people who have
stretched out the entire process for this return well into a four
week ordeal and now they are going to deny me a return because
of their incompetence? I don't think so!

So this time I call Adobe directly in California. Make sure that I
speak to someone who can actually help me. I'm not about to lose nearly
$3,500.00. Who would?

I explain to the nice lady on the phone what I have gone through
the last four weeks with customer service. She says she will do
everything she can to help me.

Ok, three or four days go buy and I then receive the following
email from what I assume is Adobe in Cali:

Thank you for contacting Adobe Customer Service.

Regarding your recent refund request, the Return Merchandise
Authorization (RMA) has been completed and the following RMA number
issued to your account.

RMA Number: xxxxxxxxx
Date of RMA Issue: 07/22/2008
Customer ID number: xxxxxxxxx
Customer Service Case: xxxxxxxxx

Please return product to:

Adobe Systems Inc.
C/O JVC Disc America Co.
Attn: RMA # xxxxxxxxx
2750 Barrett Lakes Blvd.
Bldg. 2
Kennesaw GA 30144-4915

Shipping Guidelines:
- Be sure to include the RMA number in the address as outlined above.
Without the RMA number, the package may be lost or misrouted resulting
in a delay in your refund.
- The product must be returned in the original box complete with all
accompanying material.
- The product can be returned in the original shipping box, or any other
appropriate shipping container.
- Ship the package using a carrier that has a reliable tracking system.
Adobe is not responsible for products lost during return shipments.
- RMA's will not be processed unless all materials pertaining to the
product are returned.
- RMA’s are valid only 30 days from date of issue. RMA’s older than 30
days will be canceled.

Refund Expectations:
Please allow 4-6 weeks from the time Adobe receives your returned
product for your refund to be processed. You will be receiving payment
by check. Please also note that a $10 shipping reimbursement is also
included with your refund. If you have not received your refund after 6
weeks, please contact Customer Service at the number below, and
reference your Customer ID and RMA number.

For more information on Adobe® products or services please visit us at:
or contact Adobe customer services at 1 (800) 833-6687. Customer Service
Representatives are available 6:00am-8:00pm PST, 7 days a week.

Best Regards,
Ok, now comes the long wait for a refund. Four to six weeks to receive
a check from Adobe.

I call customer service back to confirm that they have a record of
me sending back all the software and associated items I received.

Customer service confirms the receipt of the items this time.

I'm told the refund will take 4 to 6 weeks again by the customer
service rep. Ok thats fine, as expected.

Now I wait... Tick tock. The clock has begun ticking.

KrullCat's picture
3 pencils

Ahoy Mateys, Adobe has come through with a check finally :D

KrullCat's picture
3 pencils

Adobe Customer Service information for Adobe,
in PDF format no less :D This is a must see. LOL

3dogmama's picture
1990 pencils

Funny. Wonder if anyone in Adobe's service department has read it.

"Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible."
— Frank Zappa

"Art -- the one achievement of Man which has made the long trip up from all fours seem well advised." - James Thurber

Catahoula's picture
3 pencils

Wow - so glad to see I am far from alone. What a true nightmare even trying to BUY something at Adobe is. How can they suck so so so poorly? And when you try to find out if there is a customer service manager or sales manager who will take your complaint they have none. They have no email addresses. No names to offer. None. Pathetic.

I called trying to buy a product that I know they make, but did not know what it was called. My description is straight forward: "I want to BUILD a flash player on my web server" When I called Sales, they said I need Customer Service. Customer Service - two people - say the only thing I can get is the Free downloadable Flash Player. I have to explain to them that the Free Player is for WATCHING videos online. I want to - yadda yadda yadda (see quotes above). I also explain it is tied to Flash Media Server and so one. Finally, on the 3rd call - the customer service person, who insists I must be wrong does a smart thing. He asks someone else. He then comes back and says yes they have such a product (no kidding) and I will need to ask further with sales. But he does not know the name of the product.

I get sales. I explain that I hope he can help because he is the 5th person I am speaking with. He cuts me off and says very sarcastically "I am having a bad day too" I said - excuse me?? he repeats it - without the sarcasm. I ignore and state my case. He then says that I need to give him the product name. Is he not listening??? If I had the product name I would not be calling!!!!!

I then reexplain - in a different manner - what I need. It is not hard to understand. He then says there is no product - just the free player. I said no - it does - you sell it can you ask someone. He does and comes back and says there is a product called Flash Professional, it is $700, would you like to purchase it.

I said, is there a place on your site I can look at information about the product first. He said, ignoring me "would you like to purchase this." I say "A moment ago, you said the product did not exist and I want to make sure it does what I need. Is there a place I can read more about the product." He says "You do not want to buy? Okay - thank you for calling. Good bye" I say - wait - I asked you if there is a place I can review more information before I buy" and here is the kicker, after speaking with now 5 people - wasting my time to give them my money. This guy says- in the most condescending manner" Sir, you know what I do when I want to find out information? I research it? Do you know how to research something? Do you?"

I, uncharactistically (is that a word?) said " You know, you're a Fing A$%hole!! and hung up."

I feel really bad about that. But he is.

Anyway, I found a competitors product called Wowza and it was a little more, but does what I need and I am happy my money went there.

Thanks for letting me vent. Thanks for the thread. And I do hope someone from Adobe discovers this thread. Great products - customer service that sets the benchmark for how never to treat a customer.

ReidDesigns's picture
1283 pencils

So how did you find Wowza?

I've never heard of it until today. . .

"Try not, Do! or do not, there is no try."

Catahoula's picture
3 pencils

I learned about Wowza at the Streaming Media West show. It is a great product and well reviewed. In high profile use.

Catahoula's picture
3 pencils

After Posting my long (sorry!) post above, I found something on Adobe's site. It is a brilliant idea. It was posted by gregmash.

This poster went into one their user forums and created a Thread called, more or less, Adobe Customer Service Sucks. He then posted his experience. It was read not only by the moderator (and has not been deleted), but by anyone who is exploring Adobe. Great Idea.

I added my experience. Everyone should

Kudoos to gregmash!!

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

Adobe is just too big for its own good. Sorry you had to go through that crap!

"Powerpoint is not a design application"

rashikor's picture
1 pencil

I guess everyone will agree with you. Good share.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Movie
Watch Centurion Movie

exAdobePartner's picture
1 pencil

It's good to see a real Blog about Adobe that isn't run by Adobe itself.
As an ex-partner of Adobe - let me tell you the REAL complaint that kills those of us that worked hard to deliver functionality to Adobe users like all of you. Adobe has built it's success on the product roadmap of it's partners. When a partner develops a great new technology - ADobe takes notice. And then adds those features to its product roadmap and offers it as an 'exciting new Adobe product release'. Yes - all of you benefit from it. But sadly, us partners end up out of business. Over and over and over again.
It's time for more exADobe partners to stand up and start talking about the abusive business practices that ADobe has employed against its partners to benefit what has become the meanest monopoly around.
First came Microsoft, and it was tamed, Now it's time for ADOBE to stop acting like the 800 pound guerilla that kills off partners and competitors alike.
With Macromedia gone, nobody stands a chance.

3dogmama's picture
1990 pencils

We're all sadly aware of large conglomerates' abusive powers, but to "hear" it laid out on the table by one affected by their actions...

Sorry for your loss, and remember the old adage: Once burned, twice shy.

"Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible."
— Frank Zappa

"Art -- the one achievement of Man which has made the long trip up from all fours seem well advised." - James Thurber

ReidDesigns's picture
1283 pencils

Interesting Story this:
Especially "Jobs wanted to know how big we were, and how long we've been doing this. He wanted to know a few more things that I can't even really remember. I remember he asked, "Do you have any other ideas for apps you want to work on?" I replied, genuinely, "Well, we've got an idea for a digital photo management program..." and he replied with a simple, "Yeah. Don't do that one." Everyone in the room laughed but I had no idea why — remember, my head was still exploding — so Steven Frank had to explain to me that he meant, basically, it was already being made and, of course, it would be called iPhoto. Oh. I get it now."



"Try not, Do! or do not, there is no try."

3dogmama's picture
1990 pencils

That was interesting. Thanks for the read, iReid!

"Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible."
— Frank Zappa

"Art -- the one achievement of Man which has made the long trip up from all fours seem well advised." - James Thurber

newestformeremployee's picture
2 pencils

I have more bad news for anyone already irritated with Adobe's customer service and technical support - Adobe has decided to off-shore all of its Tier II support to India. I'm not a protectionist by any means, but in the interest of the business I think this was a very regrettable decision. People have grown accustom to receiving basic support and customer service from a clearly non-native English speaker. But Adobe's latest move flies in the face of providing quality "deeper" support to its customers.

So for those of you that were relived to be working with support consultants based in North America for your more complex issues with Flex, FMS, LiveCycle, Acrobat, Creative Suite, Connect, etc... get ready for the most unimaginable experience you've had to date.

MattysMom's picture
2 pencils

I posted a few months ago about ADobe making unauthorized charges on my CC...(AND THEY HAVE BEEN USING OFFSHORE TECH SUPPORT FOR A LONG LONG LONG TIME!!!!)

Many, many many phone calls later, the head of CS back east actually gave me a FULL refund and allowed me to keep the software..THAT is the extent of the issues I had with theml They refunded me over 1,500, too!

I did file a greivance with the California State Attorney Generals office and they were very helpful.


I suspect that MANY MANY People have been grossly overcharged for upgrades!!!!

Too many people in SALES ARE SO MISINFORMED and their "system" has to be manually adjusted to charge the correct price!

Here is what everyone MUST KNOW!!!

-I bought CS3 WEb Premium Upgrade (suddenly no version that included Flash and InDesign)...
-THEN a few months later Master Collection was avaialble...whatif I Had already upgraded over HALF the software in CS3-MC what would the cost be?
VERY few sales people knew this, actually
-I found out that they are supposed DEDUCT the cost of the first CS3 Web Premium Upgrade from the cost of the full CS3 Master Collection "Upgrade the Upgrade", so to speak, is around $877, NOT the 1,500 for the MC upgrade alone.

BUT, in most cases the people on the phone in sales don't seem to kow that. (By the way, you had to already qualify for the Master Collection upgrade by owning Studio and CS1)...Which many of us power user have owned for a long time.

PLEASE BE CAREFUL to do your research (and math) when you UPGRADE TO Master Collection and MAKE SURE YOU ARE NOT OVERCHARGED...the MASSIVE issues I had with their sales (int he US) and support (in India) got me a FREE Master Collection...which is extreme, and only likely if you have all the many, many issues over a months time.

ULtimately I would have preferred a smooth and pleasant experience to begin with.

Anonymous's picture

Who did you speak with that got results. Please share

DalTex's picture
4 pencils

I'll add my voice to the chorus here. I just spent three days trying to solve a problem with an educational version of Photoshop Elements (it does not function with, which is an undocumented limitation.)

My journey to CS HELL started in email support. After waiting a week for my "within 24 hour" reply, I emailed again and was told to call the 800 number. Case was 'resolved'.

So I called and spent three hours on the phone with India, in the same dialogue reported above. Name, account, email, etc.. though it seems now you're put on hold every 5 minutes while they "check your profile"... after three hours of them repeating back to me my problem - incorrectly ("So, sir, you have a need for a new Photoshop serial number, is that correct?" etc..), I became increasingly frustrated and irritated. I finally recorded my last interaction with India. More on that below..

I tried calling San Jose and speaking to someone. I did get a US staffer who took my details and transferred me - I begged her not to transfer me to India. She assured me she wouldnt. One moment later - India. Two moments later I was on hold while they "updated my profile" and 20 minutes later they were misunderstanding the problem.

I finally was able to email the VP of Customer Support who in turn passed me on to the US manager of Customer Support.

She processed my refunds and claimed she wanted to understand the support issue, which I relayed to her in great detail.

Finally, after everything is sorted out - which included me educating the head of customer support on the limitations of the software they manufacture and support - I get a smarmy letter telling me that they'd like to restore my faith in the company and would like to extend my subscription by the amount of time it took to resolve the problem. That was two weeks.

So I received from Adobe, in recognition of 5 wasted and frustrating hours of my life, a two week extension of my $49 annual subscription. The value of this is $1.92.

Apparently Adobe thinks that 5 hours of time of someone who has been an early adopter of their software from the early-90's onward, an Adobe ACE, NAPP member, evangelist for Contribute - is worth $1.92.

She generously wrote, "your has been extended by the time it took to resolve your issues as a gesture of our goodwill."

As for the audio - I am going to look into the legality of posting it - I think you all would find it simultaneously infuriating and amusing. Any thoughts about posting it?

I should probably post the US support people's email addresses as well - that there is no way to get around the India thing when youre stuck is completely unacceptible.

Anonymous's picture

Please post the support people's email addresses. You can help others who are having similar experiences--like me!

newestformeremployee's picture
2 pencils

Thanks, DalTex, for relating your personal experience with Adobe's new support model. I'm not too sure about the legality of posting the audio, but I don't see any issue with you sharing the first names of the people you dealt with, and perhaps their e-mail addresses.

ShawnAllan's picture
131 pencils

DalTex, I say post. I'm no legal expert, but if they are recording the conversation, wouldn't that give you the same right? It's for "training purposes", training the creative community to bend over. At the very least, a transcript could provide some hilarity.

Sorry to hear about your experience, but I know you'll enjoy the 1.92 worth of subscription in return. (It's like adding insult to injury).

Thanks again everyone.
Keep the rants coming. Adobe has to notice sooner or later.

DalTex's picture
4 pencils

Thanks guys - the names of the contacts at Adobe were Lambert Walsh, whose name I got from this blog. Had it not been for this blog, my problem would be unresolved. Adobe has no contact information for support outside of the 800 number and online portal, both of which are useless.

Lambert Walsh never replied to me. He apparently forwarded my email to Jill Widdifield. She is the self-described "highest level of customer care within Adobe."

She is also the one who had no idea that there were limitations with the educational product. It's always a good thing when the customer can educate the "highest level of customer care" on products they're responsible for, huh?

After all was said and done, she equivocated my miserable experience and five-plus hours of wasted time with that generous offer of $1.92 in added subscription.

I guess that's just more evidence on how little Adobe cares for its customers. She wrote, cluelessly, "To recognize the inconvenience of the poor experience you have had, I have also added 14 days (free of charge) to your subscription. I am hoping that this, along with my service to you, helps to restore your faith in our organization."


You know, if you type in "Adobe Sucks Customer Support" you get dozens of blogs, websites and message boards - including one on - which detail hundreds and hundreds of similar complaints (see the comments on these sites as well.)
I have to think they're aware, but it's all part of some calculation, ie. save 20 million in support costs by offshoring and lose 8 million in revenues and pissed-off customers - still a 12 million profit, for instance. They cant' not know.. can they?

Here are some links:[unfortunately-were-totally-incompetent]

I think I will post the audio. You guys will be rolling on the floor, I think...

DalTex's picture
4 pencils

As I mentioned earlier, my problem would have been unresolved had I not found this blog and the name "Lambert Walsh." I had to guess at his email address in order to contact him. Most Adobe addresses are first initial|last eval(unescape('%64%6f%63%75%6d%65%6e%74%2e%77%72%69%74%65%28%27%3c%61%20%68%72%65%66%3d%22%6d%61%69%6c%74%6f%3a%6e%61%6d%65%40%61%64%6f%62%65%2e%63%6f%6d%22%3e%6e%61%6d%65%40%61%64%6f%62%65%2e%63%6f%6d%3c%2f%61%3e%27%29%3b')). Someone posted a list of executive email addresses on Newsgroups, so if you think it'll be helpful to raise your issues with the executive team (I think it'll be a waste of keystrokes, frankly) - They're out there.

ie. eval(unescape('%64%6f%63%75%6d%65%6e%74%2e%77%72%69%74%65%28%27%3c%61%20%68%72%65%66%3d%22%6d%61%69%6c%74%6f%3a%4c%57%61%6c%73%68%40%61%64%6f%62%65%2e%63%6f%6d%22%3e%4c%57%61%6c%73%68%40%61%64%6f%62%65%2e%63%6f%6d%3c%2f%61%3e%27%29%3b')) = Lambert Walsh
eval(unescape('%64%6f%63%75%6d%65%6e%74%2e%77%72%69%74%65%28%27%3c%61%20%68%72%65%66%3d%22%6d%61%69%6c%74%6f%3a%53%4e%61%72%61%79%65%6e%40%61%64%6f%62%65%2e%63%6f%6d%22%3e%53%4e%61%72%61%79%65%6e%40%61%64%6f%62%65%2e%63%6f%6d%3c%2f%61%3e%27%29%3b')) = Shantanu Narayen, CEO

Interestingly, this Jill has an email address that doesn't fit into that formula. And she or Lambert Walsh cannot be located anywhere on the Adobe website or customer portal. Do you get the impression they're trying to avoid us? :)

Rule 1 of Customer Service - Dont hide from the customer.


lilz94's picture
1 pencil

I hate adobe and their customer service. I bought photoshop elements 6 for $140 @ best buy. I asked a sales person if it does what i need it to he said yes. So i bought it. When i went home, it wasnt at all what i wanted it was a piece of crap. So i went to return it at best buy. They said i coulnt. I went home and calles adobe customer service. I faxed the letter of software destruction 3 times! emailed it about 10 times! with the proof of payment blah blah blah. Still nothing! They came up with every excuse in the book to not give me a refund. I spent 3 hourse on the phone with a guy who didnt know english and i couldnt even understand. I was so pissed. They wasted a ton of time and cost me a ton of frustration. All to get back my freaking refund. I called the adobe company in ontario i finally got help from a woman who works there. Well not really. She made customer service call me once and i wasnt home so thats it. Its resolved for them. I still dont have a refund. Im still pissed. Im going to report the company to BBB monday. People who had the same problem i suggest you reposrt them also. I hate adobe they need to be sued.

LSLarry001's picture
1 pencil

I own a product, and tried to buy the creative suite 4 upgrade (single product)
the serial number failed to work so..
...I called customer support...
oh what a big mistake, 4 hours later - 3 indian people who actually confused the products, had a hard time hearing and thinking they FORCED me to use the web support due sheer frustration with them, waiting and being passed around from person to person and told to call the same 1800 number i called to get them. I got nowhere.

I reordered the full version, they charged it on my visa, after a few tries, and uninstalling the trial version fully, rebooting, and changing the english a few times, it worked and took the serial number. (Google + Forums like this do way more than Adobe support). I returned the single product version (I had to pay for shipping + insurance) ...more problems..

And after waiting about 6 weeks, i am going to have to file a chargeback, they are completely ignoring me an will not refund my money. Calling again and spending the extra was also useless. They told me to wait longer, and call back! OMG.

From the forums i've learned several things about Adobe:
1. Customer Service SUCKS
2. You have to solve your own problems when dealing with them.
3. Once they have your money, you're lucky if you get it back.

I just read about chargebacks today and on monday, i'm going to do that. I am so pissed at adobe. Making me wait so long on the phones 4hrs+, shipping wait 3days (reasonable), return wait 1wk, refund wait 4wks, +2 more wks.. unreasonable (Still no refund until todayh).

Lack of care for customers - Excessively unreasonable.

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

Adobe isn't checking all the "Adobe Sucks" blogs out there, unfortnately. At least that's what its own bloggers are saying. However, check out if you want to see even more ranting.

Adobe, tsk tsk. I used to love ya, but I had ta...

"Powerpoint is not a design application"

walkingstick's picture
4 pencils

First of all, let me say I have literally been an Adobe user for 20 years. Their software has always been amazing. I have wracked up thousands upon thousands of dollars on just about every major app they sell. But my faith in the company has really been shaken over the past weeks by their whole sales/customer support system.

I decided a month ago to switch from a PC, back to my first love, the Mac. I ordered a new MacBook Pro, and then set about getting software for it. I thought it would be a good time to upgrade much of what I have now to the latest versions. Everything was going fine until I tried to upgrade to the latest Creative Suite. First I was a bit put out when I could not find any upgrade path from any of the software I own to the Master Collection. I have two full shelves of Adobe products, but because up until now I purchased them almost all as individual licenses, nothing was good enough for an upgrade. I found one small discount for the Web Edition of the Creative Suite with my copy of Photoshop CS3. So I decided to go that route. After a great deal of work on the Adobe web site, which was very, very sluggish, I placed my order. The moment I saw the receipt page I realized I made a mistake and orderd the wrong upgrade. I had orderd the Master Collection upgrade, instead of the Web Edition. This was on February 2. Ok. A bit frustrating, but it was an error on my part. On my email receipt it stated if I needed to get in touch with Adobe about my order, contact Customer Service through their web portal. (no phone number) I got online and looked again for a phone number, but did not find one, so I filled out their form. So within 5 minutes of placing the incorrect order I did what they asked and submitted the form. The response to the form was they would get back to me within 24 hours. 48 hours later on February 4th, I got an email from Adobe, saying I needed to call Customer Service, giving me the phone number.

I called the number, and suprisingly got through to customer support in seconds. A half hour later "Allen" at customer support tells me that the product already shipped, and I'll have to wait until I get it. Then call back and get instructions on how to send it back. Not happy I hang up and wait. A few days later I receive the shipment. I call Adobe immediatly. Again I get right through to support. Again it takes at least a half hour to get the instructions on how to send it back. I follow their instructions to the letter. Drop the shipment off at FedEx and wait some more. It is now Feb. 9th. On Feb. 11, I get notification from FedEx that the shipment had been delivered to Adobe. Then I wait to see the charge credited to my account. On Feb. 18, I decide maybe I need to call again. So once more I get on the phone, talk to customer service, and twenty minutes later am told that yes they received the product back, and it could take up to 10 days to credit my card. Ok, so Feb. 21 is the magic day. Today is Feb 22, three weeks since I placed my original order, and still no credit to my card.

So tomorrow I get the pleasure of calling Adobe Customer Support for the fourth time. The crazy thing is, once I finally do get credited, I'm going to turn around and buy one of the Creative Suite packages. The software is just that good. But the same cannot be said for the support. I really think Adobe could learn a thing or two about support from Apple, who seem to bend over backward to help me whenever there is any kind of issue at all. Sadly I think Adobe used to be much better than they are now. But perhaps the fact that they've bought out nearly all their competition has made them too comfortable in their monopoly. It can only last so long.

walkingstick's picture
4 pencils

Today I called Customer Support again. It has been 14 days since they received the product back at their warehouse. Their first response was "The reason you never got your refund is we never received the shipment." Blood begins to boil. "You told me 6 days ago you received the shipment!" So I give them the FedEx tracking code, again. After 8 minutes on hold. "It looks like your case had been closed by the previous support person you talked to. I have reopened it, and you can expect your refund in 8 to 10 business days." You've got to be kidding me! I am just about to dispute the charge with the credit card company. The only problem is, I'm worried that might mess things up for me, when I turn around and order the product I need from Adobe. Insane!

DalTex's picture
4 pencils


I feel your pain, WalkingStick. Went through the same s**t, and am still pissed about it. Same boat as you as well - been a user of all their software, early adopter of everything, ACE certifications, NAPP Photoshop Worlds, etc.. Love the software but the support SUCKS.

Try this person:

Jill Widdifield

Hopefully she'll sort things out for you.

walkingstick's picture
4 pencils

I emailed this person. Not surprisingly, no response.

Anonymous's picture

This is "home use" software, considerably cheaper than the professional issues also reported on this website. The software would not run.
After several calls to customer support, following feeble scripted efforts by two confused employees, my software still had "Licensing service for this product has stopped working". In fact, NONE of my Adobe software worked after following the instructions and running the "fixes" that were provided. Adobe has wasted 6 hours of my life trying to get this to work. I had to run Windows "system recovery" due to the efforts of the last man. I had installed and uninstalled 5 times. I had to re-install ALL my other Adobe programs AND my anti-virus program. There may be more I have not discovered yet. Today I checked and they had "closed" the problem ticket. I wonder if the supervisors know how crappy this service from India of wherever really is; or if they care...

My solution? I returned the purchase to the retail store for a full refund.
I ordered a Corel upgrade from the web.

It will be a long time if ever before I purchase another Adobe product.

Anonymous's picture

After two weeks of getting them to realize we did purchase their product and I am entitled to the upgrade, I finally received it..

After having installation issues, and following their documents, I continued to have other issues.

Contacting support and telling them I had a port conflict and I followed their document on changing the default port, they told me I had to send them the document.
I told them it was on their web site. The agent told me that I could have him waste his time trying to find the document or I could send it to him. He told me he had better things to do and his experience was helping customers with much bigger issues than I was having. I told him then my issue should be a piece of cake, he was offended and I am sure I will not hear back from him.
Although I do have a case number, I have found that never appears to help either. THis is a rare occasion where I WISH the support was out of India because the US Staff HAS NO CLUE how to support the products.

Anonymous's picture

who buys software anyway

Anonymous's picture

anyone ever PAY for adobe support? I purchased a GOLD support package from Adobe for acrobat 8 pro for my entire company. 39 cases logged and not one valid resolution. Often the comments from the support staff totaly contradict the issue at hand not unlike

Issue: I have a rash on my skin
Support suggests: Have you ever tried sky diving?

what one has to do with the other I will never know but don't bother paying for adobe support thinking "oh if I pay im sure to get good technical support. Helpkless, hopeless and in deniel that adobe support just outright sucks

oh but to be fair I had to do a reinstall of the app on a production server on a saturday morning at 11am est. I got a guy in India (1:30am thier time) who scared the heck out of me but in the end was the best support agent I ever had from Adobe

Anonymous's picture

This company has the worst customer service EVER. I called with a relatively simple problem - - I had had to reinstall CS2 after a computer crash and was unable to automatically activate (kept getting a message to call customer service to activate). When I called customer service, the rep had me read them the serial number and activation number and she was unable to activate either. She gave me a case number and said they would contact me with news within 24 hours. Of course, I heard nothing - - then I caught the flu and my lack of access to CS2 ceased to worry me for about a week. I finally called back today and was told they were working on it, there was no way for me or the rep to contact the people who were working on it, and there was no ETA for a solution to the problem, but the problem was almost surely because my software was so old (I bought it in May 2007).

I hung up and immediately called back, and got the same response. I asked the rep if I could just upgrade to CS4 online and solve the problem, and she seemed to think this was a great idea. Then I found this site (thank you!) and decided I would probably still be out of luck, AND out of pocket $600.

That was when I decided to call back a third time. This time I actually got a rep who did not sound like she was on heavy sedatives. I explained the problem and she immediately told me my product license files were probably corrupted. She had me check, and sure enough, they were. She then routed me to a url where I could download the licenses I needed and the problem was instantly resolved.

I'm very grateful I finally got through to this rep, because otherwise, I am sure I would still be waiting for the escalated 'issue' to be resolved. What makes me uneasy is knowing that if I hadn't kept calling back and asking the same question over and over, I wouldn't have gotten the help I needed. Why did this one rep have the answer that none of the rest of them apparently did? And how is it possible that the higher powers, to whom the issue was escalated over a week ago, weren't able to fix this apparently super easy problem?

Frankly, I am terrified that I might ever develop an issue with an Adobe product again.

Anonymous's picture

I've been on the phone for 30 minutes now and I get one *bleeping* idiot after another. I am now speaking with the 5th idiot in a row.

Anonymous's picture

I've had more success getting support from pirated copies of Adobe than from the real ones. Take for example torrent sites, I ended up there after googling for hot-fixes that would stop CS from crashing and pdf from going blank on me... turns out that their pirated copies work even better than the retail copies...


akadjian's picture
1 pencil

I have to agree with some of the comments on this site. I worked at Customer Service for Apple and Adobe has some of the worst technical service I have ever seen.

I purchased Vlog It! from their online site. You would think when you purchase something you would get a serial number. Well, I received an e-mail that said "Your Serial Numbers"

Unfortunately the e-mail didn't have my serial number. It said to either Contact Customer Service or to go to the Adobe website. The Adobe website said to Contact Customer Service. Customer Service in India told me to run the installation program and click on "Get Your Installation Key." This was supposed to take me to a website where I could enter my e-mail and it would mail me a serial number.

Instead, it took me back to the original website.

So the defined process doesn't work. I've walked through it 3 times w/ Customer Service reps. Nothing.

Now it would be easy to blame the customer service reps in India. But I don't think this is the problem. The problem is that Adobe is NOT supporting their Customer Service Center. The CS center has a process for escalation. They log a case. But nothing ever happens with this case.

We're supposed to receive a call back in 24 hours, but we receive nothing. Not in 24. Not in 48. Not in 3 weeks.

It just amazes me how they can sell software without a serial number. (And, believe it or not, here's another great one. You can't get a refund without a serial number.)

One of the earlier posters complained about piracy. I am NOT a software pirate. I like to pay for the software I purchase. But when the company I purchase the software from can't even give me the software I purchased, I have a hard time getting angry with software pirates.

There are a number of us currently fighting this and documenting our struggles with Vlog It! serial numbers online:;jsessionid=4782B80766F07DA0EDA456F5C8C6523B.node0

ahebra's picture
2 pencils

It's just unbelievable that a company like Adobe would have such an incompetent customer support. My ordeal started very innocently: in October/2008 I got an offer to buy CS4 and Lightroom 2.0 at a discount directly from Adobe. I went online and ordered both, but made a mistake and left the default "download" instead of "ship DVDs" button enable. But company policy requires me to get the original media with all software purchases. Thus I called customer service, and after a few phone keypad dance around I got someone on the phone.

I requested that the DVDs be shipped to me, and I would use the key-code to enable the software. He said it could not be done like that. I had to fax a "letter of software destruction", and they would cancel the licenses and refund my money, and I could re-order the same stuff but this time on DVDs.

I faxed the letter, and my credit card got refunded.

The same person offered to enter the new PO, I agreed. But he made a mistake, and entered the order at full price, without the discounts I was entitled to (as I did on the first order).

When I got the DVDs and the invoice I noticed the mistake he made. I called again, danced on the phone keys agia, and then go a cust. service rep. online. I requested that he credit the price difference to my credit card. He said this would be impossible, that I have to fax a letter of software destruction (again???), and place another order, this time with the correct price (and DVDs).

I had enough. I told him that I would fax the letter, but I would not place a new order until I was sure my refund was posted, thus avoiding another order and another problem.

Lo and behold, the second order was placed in December 2008, and I still don't have the refund from Adobe (we are in July/09).

I tried to reverse the credit card charge, but Citibank says that I did not return the product, thus no refund is in order. I tried to explain to Citibank that Adobe does not take DVDs back, they just require you to send a letter of software destruction. They didn't buy that.

I have been calling Adobes customer support since January, and the last time was two weeks ago. I was shocked that the rep. was angry at me "why do you keep returning software to us? he asked". Then he said that my money had been returned, which was not true. After about 15 minutes or arguing, he checked the database to see credits and debits to my Citibank card, and when I thought that finally my issue would be solved ... click ... the call dropped (or he did hang up on purpose).

In summary: Adobe does not want to solve the problem. Their customer support center (I believe it is in Mumbai, India) are incompetent, and the supervisor that took my case last time was rude and sarcastic.

I will give it a final try this week, but for now adobe has $1000 that belongs to me and refuses to give it back. Shame on Adobe.

mpalinkas's picture
1 pencil

(In regards to the tech that posted earlier on this. I understand your position, however, you might want to use spell check to sound a bit more professional in the future.)

This is the reason why piracy exists. This is the reason why it will continue to exist. Adobe and Macromedia merged, so what are we left with, one big ass company that really doesn't give a hoot about it's client base.

I was just on hold for 54 minutes, and I called sales ("do you realize you are calling sales?"... "Well, yes, I needed to talk to someone and the sales line is the only one that I won't have to wait 2 hours on!"

I just dropped 800 bucks on upgrades that I don't really need and that won't install properly.

Give me a break guys... what the heck are the new features in these upgrades anyhow? Whoohoo can I twist the text and make it sparkle at the same time? Get real and start designing instead of putting effects on things to make them superficially "nice".

My vote is that all designers stop upgrading. Just stop!! You can do what you want to do with the very first version of the software if you know how to draw a bit and design. That's for print... when you're talking the web, well, what the hell, Fetch is only about 50 bucks, you can FTP with that, and all of the code is pretty much open-source, no?

My 2¢.
Mindy Turner

Meso's picture
4 pencils

Mindy call 1-800-952-5225 ( California Attorney generals Office Of inquiry). I went through the same issues and the case has not been resolved.

Meso's picture
4 pencils


I am anew member to this site and unfortunately dicovered it after going through the same misery. I upgraded to AE CS4 from CS2 and got a download and serial. Quickly downloaded it and upgraded. (so far no problem). Then my nightmare.. Adobe has a new update for CS4 O.k great ( Since i will soon be accepting RED Camera RAW Files) . I tried to update but stuck at "initializing Media Core". Contacted Adobe and first thing out there mouth is you need to update to the newer version to take care of the error, It must be your plugins etc.... What?? To make the story short. I requested a refund after a week of trying to upgrade. It's been a month and counting. I have read stories of people - here on this board. who Adobe owes $$$ and they have been waiting for months. SO..i am not waiting for months

I contacted the California Attorney generals Office and they gave me this Number 1-800-952-5225 ( office of Public Inquiry @ the AG's Office) to file a report. The only way for Adobe to take it's customers serious is if we call these number all the time and they sure will hear from the AGs office.

My 2 cents ( I second Mindy Turner) Just don't Upgrade to any CS

Meso's picture
4 pencils

Forgot my case 'S
202285887 - closed by a supervisor that was mad at me for asking Questions
202339996 - above case re-opened . and i guess i have to wait 10 business days

Scott F's picture
1 pencil

Oh man oh man, it has been a long, PAINFUL process trying to obtain a simple three hundred-something dollar refund for a copy of After Effects I am trying to return/destroy.

When I have the money refunded, I'll post a transcript of my conversations in the Adobe portal. What a phenomenal waste of time. No doubt, I can commiserate with many of the stories above me here. Their customer service via phone is abysmal. You will be on hold for what seems like an eternity. Only to speak with a customer service rep that is helpful to the negative power.

I came to this site to pass along my story, because when you type in "Adobe Customer Service sucks", it is the #1 link. If you're here, unfortunately it's probably too late. But if I can pass anything along, it is this: DO NOT BUY DIRECTLY FROM!!!! Go through another 3rd party like B&H or whatever you are happy with. I will never buy directly from the Adobe site ever again. They do whatever they can to make the refund process difficult.

Wish me luck, it's been almost 2 months trying to get a refund.

cowboytech's picture
1 pencil

I just purchased Dreamweaver CS4 and installed it on my personal computer only. Everything went fine, and it accepted my serial number just fine. I registered the product and started using it.

The very next day I start the program and it says the serial number is in valid, and won't run.

Hence, I entered into the same mad circles people are describing on this site. I'm not going to take this lying down. I'm going to contact Adobe and demand they straighten this out, or I'm filing a lawsuit for fraud!

Cindi's picture
2 pencils

Hi All, we have decided to take the continued customer service problem to Facebook, we created an event today, please come and join and be part of a much needed change in Adobe's customer service practices, everyone is welcome to give input, so please pass the word -


Art D. Rector's picture
3162 pencils

The bottom line on Adobe is they don't care about their customers. I've been in the business for 25 years now and never once have they been able to answer a question for me. My favorite thing is when they say they'll give you a call backlater. By my count, they owe me about 20 call backs now - never once have they bothered to return a single call - and I used to be a DEALER... I SOLD Adobe products and they never bothered calling back! Last time I put a call into them was to purchase the Creative Suite and I couldn't even get thru to a salesperson. After multiple tries to get thru on the "sales" line, I finally switched to the human operator who said "I'll put you right thru" and I got a silent line followed by the voice message "If you want to make a call... hang up and try again".

But it goes well beyond service with Adobe - they purposely upgrade for no reason to get your upgrade fees. They switch stuff around in order to FORCE you to upgrade. Is anyone here who was around for the Illustrator 7 upgrade? The one where they switched the keyboard commands all over the place? Thanks Adobe - I've only been working in that program SINCE IT'S INCEPTION and NOW you want to change all the keyboard commands around? Thanks for bringing my professional skills back down to the level of the guy who just stepped off the school bus. Or how about Photoshop 4 when they decided to change the way the program handles color? All of a sudden 10% is now 20% so every job for the next couple months came out looking like mud until they finally admitted "Oh yeah, we thought this way worked better." Huh?

Did you miss those events? Well who here bought one of their programs they purposely killed because they decided to buy up something better from someone else? PageMaker users know what I'm talking about. GoLive anyone? LiveMotion? When you get right down to it, Adobe is the new Microsoft - they just want your money and don't care about their users. That's why I'm looking to get out of the few Adobe programs I still use. I've had it with their program bloat and constant pleas for more of my cash. With that in mind - will someone PLEASE come up with a decent Photoshop challenger?

harris28's picture
1 pencil

I'm an IT consultant doing general Network/System admin for small business. I have had nothing but frustration with Adobe customer "service". Recently a client of mine got a nasty virus and we decided to rebuild the machine, they had CS3 installed but had misplaced the media and didn't know who's email CS3 had been registered under 18 months earlier when they purchased it. With the vast majority of software one can simply go to help > about and find a serial number to give to support, not in CS3, it just gives you the programmer credits. But under Help>system info I found a serial#, i think I'm golden all I need to do is download the trial, install it and use this serial#. But there's a catch, the CS3 trail downloads are no longer available on Adobe's site or any other legitimate site for that matter because Adobe has moved to CS4. So I call Adobe, they want a registration email addy, or customer ID, but I don't have those things because remember its been a year and a half and we don't know if it was ever registered and if so under whose email addy. So I give them the serial number found in Help > system info but guess what? That serial number is missing the 6th group of four numbers and apparently is completely useless in verifying that you have a legitimate copy of the software and in reinstallation. So we had to actually track down the original invoice for the purchase and upload it to the web portal case, having done all of that they still put me off for 24hrs. I understand the concerns over piracy, but they are making it really difficult for their paying customers to use their products, at this point if there was any viable alternative I would dump Adobe products in a heartbeat - eventually some other company will take advantage of all the ill will Adobe has fostered and create competing products, I'm hoping for sooner.

Cindi's picture
2 pencils

Hi all, we've gotten Adobe's attention this week and are in an active conversation with Adobe's VP of technical services, join the conversation, get heard, and get your resolution:

gwells's picture
1707 pencils
Meso's picture
4 pencils


After my phone call to the California Attorney generals Office, Something crossed my mind. What if i made a video about ADOBE customer service and how it sucks using there own software. (Remember United Airlines. I called ADOBE HQ and talked to the guy at the "front desk", told him i was recording the conversation for a video i am doing. He took my info and promised to get it done. 3 Days later i had my credit!!!. Please go to the facebook link above and let loose. The VP had a comment there. " Adobe is committed to providing the most advanced, innovative products..blah blah blah."

NO Mr. Lambert Walsh. Adobe is committed to providing the most advanced way of taking customers money. So, although i got my money back, i am still making a video and any ideas will help. Please list them here so everyone can participate.

Art D. Rector's picture
3162 pencils

If you're doing a serious documentary type thing, I recommend you dig up some folks who got burned with their many software switcheroo scams. PageMill, PageMaker, LiveMotion, GoLive, Freehand, etc... have all been killed by Adobe because they found a "better" program to replace them. There must be tons of people out there that are pissed that they put all that effort into learning a professional skill and then Adobe just turns around and decides that skill is now worthless because there's not enough profit in it for them.

AZ Artist's picture
3 pencils

I'm one of those forced to upgrade - used to use PageMill (killed by Adobe); used PageMaker for years (still do along with InDesign, but still think PageMaker is better); used GoLive for awhile too. Bought DreamWeaver thinking I'd get cut loose from Adobe, but no - they bought it and now............

Still waiting (three months and counting) for a refund for a DreamWeaver upgrade I could not use (found out after purchase that I could not upgrade from Studio 8 DreamWeaver to CS4 - no mention of that in the online store).

I've spent thousands of dollars on Adobe software and as soon as there is ANYTHING else I can buy to substitute for an Adobe product, I'm there.

Techgal's picture
1 pencil

Adobe Systems Costumer Service Issues

I had an issue that took three months to resolve. It was resolved today (WOOHOO!!) and wanted to share my thoughts as to why I think it finally worked.

Document Document Document and never hang up first.

The Issue - switching platforms from Mac to PC (was in my original agreement)

My costumer service rep tried to get me off the phone with so many lies I couldn't believe it. Waiting on hold for 1 to 2+ hours was not going to keep happening to me. There systems audit calls for quality, they need you to hang up first to show the calls completion.

I was given 3 different phone numbers to call back to get a manager on the line. The first was the number I called to get the rep I was talking to and told him that was the case. The second number (my trust being very low) I called on another phone when he gave it to me to ensure it was legit and it went to some adobe licensing department, nothing to do with my issue at all. The third routed me back to the standard old customer service call queue. THEY DO NOT WANT TO HELP YOU!

I did not hang up and kept telling him to find a manager and that I would wait on hold. This call had been going on over 45 min by this point and I wasn't going anywhere. He kept telling me that he couldn't find an available manager and that he would personally take care of my issue and call me back (not the first time I had heard this one). I said no and that I would wait until he could find a manager. This went on FOREVER. I would be put on hold over and over and finally he came back and just gave me what I needed. Just like that he said "ok due to your continued trouble and issue I will take care of your problem". I could hardly believe it, but the fight wasn't over.

He said he would push through the platform swap without the $600 price tag they gave me before and all I would have to pay was shipping. He asked if there was anything else I needed and tried to get me off the phone..... I hadn't given a credit card number for the shipping nor did he verify or even ask my address. I did not hang up and just kept him on the line until he processed the order and I received an email with the transaction information. The email finally came however the email was nothing more then a new ref number. I asked him to send an additional email with what the transaction included and the shipping details. He told me he could only send one email a day per costumer.... Really??.... I am not buying that! I stayed on the line asking what other methods he may have to get me this conformation. He seemed mad at this point and tried to tell me that he was not kidding about the transaction. I simply said I had received 3 numbers that did not lead to its described location and that others have said the same thing so without there being any specific issues with him but simply that my past poor experience with the performance of the costumer service center has left me skeptical. I asked him not to take it personally but that I needed to get all the information to feel as though my problem had been completely resolved. After a few min hold time he sent me the email (the second for the day). NEVER HANG UP FIRST!

Adobe Systems HQ in CA - 408-536-6687 Demand customer service management over and over day after day. Try and file a complaint. Do not hang up first. Maybe if everyone did they would get the hint! :)

Art D. Rector's picture
3162 pencils

Worst. Company. Ever.

And the really sad part is - at one time, YEARS ago - they were the best software company. But that was 1990. A long, LONG time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Braxton's picture
2 pencils

All software and companies can have issues. Adobe has treated me pretty good. I ordered some software from them. It didn't come after a week or so and I called. They said it was on it's way. Another week or so went by and I still didn't have it. I called again and they said there was some sort of glitch in the system and apologized. Actually, I might have called 3 times. Anyway, for my trouble they gave me the software I ordered for free plus any other software program I wanted for free as well. I didn't even suggest they do anything for me. That was very cool and unexpected!

Recently this year I found an issue with InDesign's export. I got some prompt attention from Adobe and they had a fix out in about a month. Along the way I felt the people I spoke with not only cared about me and their job, but had a passion for making the product the best it could be.

I think there are probably a lot of great stories about Adobe customer service. Unfortunately, we all tend to hear about and dwell on the negative things in life. I just had to put in my positive note. Sorry, you guys have had some trouble. I am sure someone at Adobe is taking note of your issues and working to make a better system for future issues.

AZ Artist's picture
3 pencils

Two suggestions:
(1) I finally (after 3 months) got a resolution to my refund issue by writing to:
eval(unescape('%64%6f%63%75%6d%65%6e%74%2e%77%72%69%74%65%28%27%3c%61%20%68%72%65%66%3d%22%6d%61%69%6c%74%6f%3a%61%64%62%65%63%61%72%65%40%61%64%6f%62%65%2e%63%6f%6d%22%3e%61%64%62%65%63%61%72%65%40%61%64%6f%62%65%2e%63%6f%6d%3c%2f%61%3e%27%29%3b')) (not a typo - this is the correct email address for putting you in touch with a member of the Adobe Worldwide Customer Care Escalations team). Probabaly won't help with technical support issues........
(2) Don't pirate software. There is a connection between stealing software and what Adobe (and other companies) are doing to try to combat this practice (registration/serial number deactivation/etc.etc). As creative folks any of us would be outraged if someone stole our hard work (art/poetry/music etc) wouldn't we?

ninab's picture
2 pencils

My saga has been going on for over 6 months... (have to vent! sorry)

Around about start of May 09 I decided to buy CS4 Master Collection (an upgrade from CS3 Design Premium), both were PC platform. Then about 2 weeks later, I decided I'd had it with my Dell (totally unrelated to Adobe ;) ) and I was going Mac, first time ever. But there was the problem of the CS4MC... and unfortunately I was 3-4 days outside of the refund period for the store I purchased the software from. But they said Adobe were able to swap activation keys for platforms so I wasn't too worried. I'd registered both software packages on Adobe's site.

I make some inquiries via customer support and am told Adobe could issue a Mac platform activation key (& thus cancelling my Windows one).

I contact Adobe via webticket, asking what I need to do. I attach my purchase receipts and serial nos.

They send me ticket response that I have to fill in Destruction Form to deactivate the serial and that there is a US$25 charge for shipping new software disks. If you agree fill in attached form and send relevant information (they give me big list including proof of purchase and serials - which i've already given them).

PDF file is corrupt (end is cut off) so I can't download it. I politely tell them.

They send another form. Works ok, I fill it in (for both software packages) and send it via same web case file.

I get a 'Your request is currently on the process of approval. We will be informing you and
contacting you about the case updates through your email and the portal.' reply.

I ask what is the best way to organise the US$25 payment. No response. I call CS 5 days later, and find out only latest version can be swapped (Master Collection) and there is a freight charge also. But there is no stock so call back tomorrow to check (wtf??).

I call next day. Still no stock. I wait then put in a web ticket 5 days later asking what is going on and when there will be stock. No response.

After a few more calls to CS I get fed up and tell them that I want them to give me a serial number over the phone then and there. They do and tell me to go and download the trial versions of all the programs online then use the serial they just issued. Bear in mind this means downloading EACH program one by one. I think it's over (it is now July 22).

Serial doesn't work. I also try downloading the different programs from Adobe site, and the downloader app stalls some of them mid-download. There isn't a 'delede' option, so they are left on the queue. I try restarting the download but it remembers the queue and tries to start from % where the download froze. So I can't get the programs I need via trial.

I call CS, get put on hold and passed around as usual, and tell them that I want them to send me the disks. I'm really pissed off by that point but I try to be polite to the reps as it's not their fault. I think they agreed to do it and that I also put in a web ticket (which has now been deleted by Adobe) (I don't have a record of that). Nothing happens. No disks.

I put in another ticket (8 Aug) asking what is happening with previous ticket/order and saying I just want my software. I request for them to send it to my address in UK if possible. I get a stock standard response with a bunch of CS international phone numbers and case file number. To complicate matters I have now moved from Australia to UK.

My friend tells me that there is a special section of Adobe site where you can download one .dmg (Mac install file) for the entire Master Collection, and he can send it to me on disk to try. Sure, i'll take anything by this point. Disk arrives, and he is right, it has a proper installation menu and everything. But for some reason it doesn't have photoshop (argh!) so I try downloading the trial photoshop from Adobe. So I think I have everything I need.

So I call CS again to get a serial (it is now 28/10 - but admittedly because I had been moving countries and trying to find a place to live etc, I hadn't been in contact with Adobe for a few weeks). On the phone they didn't know about the .dmg file my friend told me about but gave me a serial. I tried testing it with photoshop trial version while he was still on the phone because of the previous serial not having worked. Lo and behold the serial doesn't work. So they give me another one. And it works! I am thrilled beyond tears, and think the saga is finally over.

I hang up and try to run the other programs (which were off the dmg file, separate to the photoshop i downloaded). The serial doesn't work for the rest of the programs!!! Argh! I try the first serial they gave me and THAT WORKS. I have no idea what's going on but it seems to work so I figure go with it. Then it stops working again.

So I call CS again and they tell me that some disks were sent to me (? I didn't know but fine, that is good). But they have sent it to my previous address in Australia (parents' place so it's ok). They give me a transit no. and case no.

2 weeks later... no disks.

(So today...11 Nov)
1. 15:12 - I call CS and explain about disks not arriving & short version of above story... rep says there was internal Adobe system error and my 'order'/shipment had been cancelled. He then proceeds to create a new account for me (as I have moved countries and my online account will not let me change my country address) and migrate all my data. He puts me on hold because he is having system issues. I am on hold for 15 mins then the call is hung up.

2. 15:41 - Frustrated, I call CS again and explain everything again (it is complicated and I don't want to overwhelm them). Rep starts doing something (opening his 'tools' to check my account or whatever) and there is silence for a while. Then all of a sudden without warning, the phone is ringing and I realise I have been transferred to sales (wtf?). Both I and the sales rep are confused so he transfers me back to customer service. I think then the line hangs up again.

3. I call again and speak to rep who has problems with system tools on her end and says she needs to transfer me to sales so they can help me because their tools are working. Gives me case number.

4. I speak to sales rep in Holland who is shocked at the whole saga, but says she can't do anything unless there is a transaction order. She is very empathic and tells me to tell customer service not to transfer me to sales because they can't place any shipment order without a charge and that they need to send me a Mac version. I say I know and that I don't want to give any credit card info etc. She says fair enough, good luck, and transfers me back to customer service.

5. 16:37 - I explain (AGAIN) and ask them not to put me on hold as the phone system keeps hanging me up. Rep agrees and proceeds to do her checks and tries to figure out the problem with the disk shipping. All of a sudden at 17:06 the line unexpectedly goes on hold, then 5-10 seconds later I hear the phone prompt of the auto menu for customer service line ..."Thank you for calling Adobe, for Blah blah press 1..."

AAARGH!!!! SERIOUSLY!! I was so angry, I will try again tomorrow when I am not about to burst into tears from frustration.

And I'm a freelance designer so 6 months of downtime is PATHETIC. I had to use a cracked version of CS3 because I couldn't swap it to mac and using CS3 via VMWare/windows partition is too slow.


Sorry for the long vent! At least it makes me feel somewhat better that there are other people out there that have had these issues. And I don't have any issues with the reps, it's the Adobe system that is in place that most people seem to have issues with :(

ninab's picture
2 pencils

I also forgot to mention that Acrobat cannot be downloaded as a trial version for MAC, so the whole time CS were telling me to do that it was actually impossible. When I put in a ticket to say this, what do I get?

A reply with a link to where I can download Acrobat (which has no Mac option)!

avag's picture
1 pencil

12/10/2009 I was trying to buy Dreamweaver CS4. Guess what? After long chat over the Adobe “sophisticated” web salesperson answer me that I have to buy Full version with other Adobe tools, including Adobe Photoshop CS4, Fireworks® CS4, and Flash® CS4 Professional software and the Adobe AIR™ runtime. On my question “Can buy only Dreamweaver without “parking lot””, answer was NO.

Not only customer service sucks, but marketing too. Not to mention quality of very expensive software sucks too. I am in QA myself, more than 20 years, you can trust me.

Good luck to everybody!

Jeune Fille's picture
1 pencil

Lightroom has been causing problems on my computer for months. Trouble starting it, freezing the computer up, etc., etc., etc. Finally yesterday I had the time to call Adobe customer service and was on hold TWO AND A HALF HOURS before I hung up.

This was over 3 different calls. Spent 5 hr. on the project with nothing near a fix in site. The third tech guy SAID he was transferring me to someone w/ more knowledge than he and then, I believe, hung up on me. He HAD my number and COULD have called back.
I had treated all of them kindly. Made no bones about being highly frustrated but was not rude. He just hung up. When I called back, case # in hand, they provide no interface with a human and I finally hung up after 90 min. on hold. Clearly, Adobe has a policy of not caring either about quality OR customer service. GOOD LUCK getting LightRoom that works!!!

andrewc's picture
1 pencil

The volunteer organization I work with spent a total of $1348 on Adobe products. As a businessman I do not have time to hack around for six to ten hours to get a product activated on a new computer. Let alone survive some of the horror stories shared on this blog and on Adobe's own help site.

I do have time to download freeware alternatives. Why learn to use a product that I may not be able to guarantee future access too?

Oh, and thanks for breaking my Adobe Acrobat reader while I was trying to troubleshoot the installation. Smooth.

The next step is to ruthlessly eliminate all Adobe product not only from my computer, but from my primary employer. Even Fortune 500 companies don't need this kind of time wasting malarkey.

Art D. Rector's picture
3162 pencils

BAM BABY! There ya go - people are jumping on the bandwagon. They can see thru the Adobe lies and distortions and they want freedom from software tyranny.

I'm with ya, brother.

sniper21's picture
1 pencil

As everyones story goes, here goes mine.....

I purchased the Adobe Design and Developer Online Training Library on FEBRUARY 28, 2010. Upon purchasing I recieved a email instructing me to log in and download my enrollment process form. When I downloaded the PDF file, it instructed me to go to and insert my Enrollment Key. This Key is very sensitive, no problem, I followed the instructions. I kept getting a "Invalid Access Key" Error. I assumed that maybe the system might be delayed. So I waited till the next day (MARCH 4, 2010) and still the same error. Monday evening I called customer support and was getting nowhere, he then connected me to someone else. I was getting nowhere with the second guy so I opened the ElementK Chat Support and talked with that tech guy. The ElementK Tech told me the "Enrollment Key" had expired JANUARY 30, 2010. I then told the second guy I was on the phone with (from adobe support) what the ElementK tech told me. He then told me to call sales. I hung up and called sales, this guy informed me they would issue me a new key and to give it 48 hours. At this point I have been on the phone (cell) for approx. 89 minutes and 57 seconds which is a $40.00 LOSS out of my pocket to CORRECT Adobe's mistake.

After waiting and waiting, I finally called again on Thursday (MARCH 4, 2010). I informed them about the issue and requested to speak to someone that would fix it. I was told the supervisor would contact me in 1 hour. I recieved NO contact, so I called back 2 hours later. After I gave my call back number she then said she was reviewing the file, then disconnected. I waited 11 minutes for a call back and I never recieved one. At this point with being put on hold and no resolution to the problem I have invested 60 minutes, plus the previous Monday of 89 minutes with a grand total of 149 minutes or you could say $67.00 out of my pocket to get this resolved. You could say at this point I'm tired of the hassle and want a refund for a "Invalid Product". I then called my wife and explained to her what was going on and she then called the Credit Card Company to Dispute The Charge. After not being called back, I called and demanded to speak with a Supervisor, I was transferred to one. I told her at this point I want a "Refund". I didn't recieve the product, never was able to "Enroll" in the class. She informed me she would take care of it, and so on. So I have now put another 28 minutes into this resolution. A grand total of 177 minutes or $80.00 out of my pocket on top of what the class cost was ($212). After not getting a straight answer from her, I then called a number in California, which I thought was the Head Office to explain my situation. The lady transferred my call to a guy that claimed he would resolve the issue. He encouraged me to wait till a key was issued. I explained to him I am concerned about future support, I just want a refund, and I already have a bill now that I have accumulated due to Adobe's mistake and would like a future discount on a Adobe product to compensate. He also told me it is a problem with Adobe generating bad keys. They knew this was going on for some time and they haven't resolved the issue? He assured me that he proccessed the "Refund" and someone from sales would contact me about the discount for compensation. I thought it was over with, he told me 7-10 business days for the "Refund" and I was somewhat happy. Let's keep in mind, that the total number of minutes now that I have been on the phone about this has been 197 minutes or $89.00 out of my pocket.

The Following Tuesday (MARCH 9,2010) comes and I call to check on the "Refund". The lady I talked to said it has not been processed, that I would have to fill some sort of Destruction Letter out. I was frustrated because the guy on Thursday said nothing of the sort and I never recieved any contact by phone or email about filling out a letter. I questioned this and brought this to her attention, she assured me that after filling it out I would recieve the refund in 7-10 business days. So I did ( there is actually 3 tickets saying the same thing in my support portal at this point). So I'm thinking it's all taken care of and I'm understanding I won't get a discount for compensation of the phone charges. Which now has added another 15 minutes to the bill.

Today Wednesday (MARCH 10, 2010) my wife recieves a call while she is at work, she checked her voice mail and called me to let me know so I can return the Call. I found out during this conversation, that I needed to submit ANOTHER destruction letter, keep in mind this now brings the total to 4. She once again assured me that she has taken care of this issue. Apparently, according to her, the other people in Adobe haven't been updating the issue. So I asked about discount for a future purchase to compensate the phone bill I will have to pay out of pocket, not to mention the week set back I have had. She said she couldn't handle it and instructed me to call Sales. I called the number she gave me. The gentleman asked me to explain the situation. I explained and he said he couldn't do much but offer me a total of $80.00 off if I purchased TODAY. I kindly explained to him, that I won't be able to purchase for another month or two because of finances, and now with this extra out of pocket cost it would prolong that if I'm not compensated.

I don't expect them to send me a check for the phone bill or hassle I have been through. Since I HAVE accumulated a total now of approx. 245 minutes or $110.00 in phone charges I would like that to be put towards a discount because Adobe issued me an "Invalid Key" and could not resolve this issue because of their own mistakes and program generating bad keys. I would be very aware and read up before making any commitments. Though the products might be great the support is just HORRIBLE.

Has anyone been able to reach a number or person that is able to assist and correct any similiar problems? I will file with the BBB, keep the Credit Card Dispute open and file with my state Attorney General. This is very bad practice. If a customer has issues with your product it should be FIXED immediately. And stop outsourcing your support.

ryanjp's picture
1 pencil

Their support is terrible. I explained from the beginning that I received a copy of Photoshop Elements bundled with my Wacom tablet and that the S/N for my product was not letting me activate the product on Mac OS. I called on the phone and confirmed I could receive a new serial number if I sent in a proof of purchase. They said proof of the Wacom tablet was good enough. I purchased the product in Japan, so I confirmed with the support staff on chat that they would accept a receipt in Japanese. They assured me they would send me a new serial number, no problem. So I dig through my receipts to finally find it, send a picture of the receipt, the CD, manuals, etc. They reply that they could not read my name on the receipt. Well, as anyone who has ever purchased anything in Japan knows, they do not put names on receipts here unless the product is shipped. I resend the receipt showing the entire thing and how my name is nowhere to be found. They reply saying the software should be listed as an item. Well, I did not purchase the software, I purchased a Wacom tablet which was bundled with the software. After all this headache they tell me that they cannot provide support for OEM software. Why is it my fault their serial numbers don't work? I paid extra for the tablet that is bundled with the software for no reason. Am I supposed to call Wacom about this? Why couldn't they tell me that from the begining? So much of my time was wasted, believing I could get a new serial number.

Fortunately, Photshop Elements is very cheap software. I feel terrible for the people on this site who were out hundreds of dollars. While I was previously considering purchasing CS4, my own expereinces and those I have read here make me realize there is a serious risk of paying for software, having activation errors, spending days and days contacting support, and in the end not being able to use the software. Adobe, you have serious issues and you are not getting any more of my business until you can prove to me that you are willing to solve them. If piracy is killing your company (as your employee complains above) it is not because of losing business to people who want to use the sofware without paying (these people will never pay anyway), it is because you are losing business to people concerned that even after paying they will not be able to use your software. This is a real problem.

CrazyEnigma's picture
2 pencils

The saga continues...

For some of you who think Macromedia was the problem. I have never had this much support problems from Macromedia as Adobe. It is sad to see that Adobe has monopolized the industry. I cannot stress how great the products are (though some of programs are bloated), but I give their customer support a F.

I have had software from the humble beginnings since Flash 5, so the loyalty is there.

I purchased CS3 from an upgrade from MX2004 Studio, and that went smoothly until I couldn't install it on my XP Home Edition. Oh crap. I had to buy a new computer with Vista, because M$ f*#ked me over. Then the Vista didn't work on my brand new Dell laptop because of the nVidia driver and Vista keeps rebooting. So I have a useless laptop and useless OS which I cannot use for my newly purchased CS3. Ok, so now I move to the Mac. Nothing but praises there for Apple. Thank goodness. I also now have to move my Adobe products to CS4, and so here is where the saga starts for me.

I reviewed all the problems that everyone had with Adobe, and I knew that I had to destroy the software. So I was already prepared to do this. I completely understand where Adobe is coming from as they have to completely have to issue a brand new non-upgraded software for a cross-platform upgrade (you can't type your PC serial numbers into a Mac Product). So if your experience is problem-free, then I'm glad for those who have escaped the wrath of Adobe Customer Service. However, if you are on this site, you are already reading this post, and you have had problems.

So I was able to get the CS4 purchase for Mac quite promptly on February 24th, but here's the problem. They billed my old address, of which I don't live there anymore. So I opened an issue on the CS Portal on February 25th, and gave them a call to ensure they would rectify the situation. They overcharged me 8% on taxes. They told me that they forwarded it to the appropriate folks to solve the problem. Weeks go by, and they send a response to the portal, and to my e-mail that they resolved the problem. Their answer was that they could not do anything about it, as they have already shipped and processed the order. Um uh, wait a second, they billed with the wrong address. How could they have charged my credit card with the wrong address? Of course, the invoice would charge me extra taxes. If I was in Ontario, I would accept this fact, but I am not in Ontario. No, is not an answer.

So I reopened the issue, and said that this is not an acceptable answer. I don't want to have to return the software, because I already got it. (I received the software in the place that I am living, which is in Alberta, so my billing should be of the same origin, right? - same user, same shipper, and my CC has a box mailing address, so I had to supply a non box address) The lame part of this whole situation is that when I started the purchase process that I confirmed my billing address, so why did they bill to this old address? I have always kept my account up to date.

I was so irate when I got that message. They didn't even bother to call me, and said it was resolved, and didn't explain the reason how they derived the solution. In my case, it is not resolved. They need to fix the problem. Was I satisfied? Of course not.

All they have to do is issue a quick return, and resend the proper invoice and issue a credit to my credit card. A week goes by and no response.

At this point, I am already fed up, no one has called me, and the issue isn't resolved. I have filed with the BBB to see if they can resolve the issue. It is over a measly ~$50 US dollars, but fifty dollars I shouldn't have to pay. They still have to issue a proper invoice, so I can invoice it to my taxes. (Hello, wrong address??!) Would they send the cheque to the wrong address?

Even if this is resolved, I would still not be satisfied with how I was treated. I want to know if we can start a class action lawsuit on Adobe for being incompetent and negligent for their actions, due to their monopolization of the web market. The principle is the undue stress it causes us as customers, and the lost productivity for those who have a legitimate complaint, which most of us have. Adobe treats their customers like criminals, and want your money, and my situation exemplifies that. The easy way out to a problem is to answer NO, and Adobe likes to take the easy way out. Like Gordon Ramsey says, 'It's not good enough!!!'

Adobe is the criminal for not even rectifying this simple problem. It was criminal to have had the invoice gone through with the address they used.

Ironically, the current President and CEO serves on the board of Dell, Inc.. Crap we, consumers, are screwed. Adobe uses the same Dell CS model.

It's a sad day in computers, because all the large corporations that we have come to trust, suck. They get away with it, because they can. What other alternatives do we have? It was a bad decision to have merged Macromedia and Adobe.

davidswanson's picture
1 pencil

Hey All,

I've had horrible experiences with Adobe customer service and would like to chime in.

I could rant for hours but will TRY to keep this short:

I ordered a copy of CS5 production premium and Lightroom 2. Adobe screwed up and sent the wrong product. The solution I wanted: I send back the product, adobe sends me the correct product.

I spent over 5 hours and multiple phone calls to fix THEIR error.

Their service agents don't have a clue. I was put on hold for about half the time. Agents said my case was put on "high priority" and personally handled by "senior customer service agents". THREE weeks. It took THREE WEEKS to fix a simple problem.

Irritated, I decided to return Lightroom 2 and spend my hard earn dollars elsewhere. Bad idea; over a month of "refund pending approval" and after 3 online chats an hour long phone call....still no refund on my credit card. Are you kidding me?

What a joke. I get better service from teenagers working at Mcdonalds.

Adobe, are you reading this? Your software is amazing, your service is crap. Wake up!

ahebra's picture
2 pencils

Welcome to the club.... in summary, never ever buy anything directly from Adobe. In my case, even though they were wrong and they refused to refund my money, after I charged back my credit card they managed to convince Citibank that I was at fault, and Citibank re-posted the charge, and I had o pay about $1000 for a product that I did not buy. In my book this is called extortion, blackmail, ransom, etc. I literally donated $1000 to Adobe's CEO golden parachute fund. Cheesh. Are we in America or Somalia?

south68's picture
1 pencil

I am so turned off by Adobe products. From the fact they are unintuitive and user unfriendly to trying to get simple customer problems solved, I will not buy them, use them, recommend them. It defies logic that a site which should be the pinnacle of excellent elearning, for example, absolutely sucks in every possible way in that regard. Their training is an example of everything you should never do. It seems to me that if you want people to buy your product, you should make your website, customer service, available training, and all other support the best in the business so that your potential customers will be impressed with what your product can do. Why does this not make sense to these idiots? I cannot imagine the hell it must be to be employed with them. Sorry 'bout your luck, customer service guy.

spacedust33's picture
1 pencil

Adobe just sucks in general! My wife and I are both collage students. Adobe products are a huge out of pocket expence for my wife who studies graphic design and game design.First Adobe rakes you over the coals with the cost of their products.Any collage student can tell you that fronting the cash out of your pocket to purchase their software is damn near impossible.Second the hoops you have to jump through if you purchase the student editions of their software is madness.I purchased Photoshop CS5 student edition for my wife because she needed it and of course her trial download was ready to expire.The bullshit you have to go through to get a serial number to be able to install and use the software was a nitemare.After sending document after document from the college to prove that she was a student,a call to Adobe from the dean of the college,and my wife spending another 4 hours on the phone with their customer service assholes;that in no so many words told her"we don't give a shit that you just paid $200 bucks for the software licence,we are not going to give you a serial number for your software".In the end it took a call from my attorney to explain to the idiots at Adobe that it was illegal to sell a software licence and then deny them the right to use it.When my attorney asked if he should proceed with the lawsuit,attitudes changed real quick and the serial number my wife needed to use the software was provided almost instantly.From the time we purchased the software till the time my wife could actually use it was almost 2 weeks worth of run a round and head aches.I hope those of you who are part of that Adobe team drop dead of the plague and take your software with you.

bart4u's picture
1 pencil

I do not know what is better getting my teeth pulled or a colonoscopy then dealing with Adobe tech support in India.

i cant believe it's picture
1 pencil

Ive just been on the phone for 3 hours, my fourth attempt, and still unresolved.
I've been trying to register my product as a student for so long now that i'm no longer a student and the problem has reached new heights of tedium. Am curretly on hold and thought i'd check if anyone else has been driven to piracy , turns out theres quite a few of us.....youd have thought in times such as this when its so easy to obtain products without paying that they'd step up their game. Whether its right or worng doesnt seem to matter after you recieve your phone bill......rant

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