Simple problem leads to another Adobe headache

What should have been a simple phone call ends up in insults, frustration -- and finally a happy resolution

Richard was reading Art's recent gripe about Adobe tech support and saw a glimmer of hope for getting his own Adobe headache cured. He writes:

I have a copy of Adobe Elements 7. I purchased it at Costco this past summer. It never ran well on my computer. But the last straw came when none of the tools would work in the editor area. I removed the program from my computer with the intention of re-installing it -- for the third time -- but I could not find my install CD. I downloaded a version from Adobe's site thinking I could just input my serial number.

[ For more tales of Adobe agitation, see "Escalating into a complete tech support breakdown" | Frustrated by your tech support? You're not alone. Get answers in InfoWorld's Gripe Line newsletter. ]

That plan didn't work as the downloaded version would not accept his serial number, so Richard called Adobe technical support and that's when he got a headache. "I spoke to someone named Irene in India," he says. "She put me through some tortuous pain for two hours because she had never heard of Costco. After she made some heavy insinuations that I had stolen the software, I terminated the discussion and contacted technical support online instead."

The online support group states that it will at least acknowledge your support request within four hours. A week later -- as he was writing to Gripe Line -- Richard had heard nothing.

All I'm seeking here is an activation number so I can use the downloaded version of Elements 7, which works much better than the version of the product I purchased. This version does not support my higher-resolution screen well, but I am working through it. However, I have only a 30-day lifespan to obtain this serial number before this program stops working. You seem to have some good luck in getting resolution at the Gripe Line, so I'm hoping you can help me.

I forwarded Richard's letter to Adobe, but by that time someone at Adobe had already contacted Richard and offered to replace his original media with a fresh CD. But just to be sure, Adobe's customer support team escalated his issue for me and called him again to find out if everything was working. "Richard says that that the new media we shipped to him works a lot better than the one he originally purchased," they told me. "In addition, we've provided him with a free copy of Premiere Elements 7.0 and several additional options to contact customer service for any further inquiries."

The support team admitted, "The customer support and escalation process, in this case, was definitely not up to our high standards. We appreciate Richard's patience and understanding and will be using his feedback to help improve our processes going forward."

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