Adobe’s Horrible Customer Service: It’s Bad!

creative cloud logoThe worst customer service experience I ever received, just happened. It’s still fresh in my mind and like the stench of rotted fish, I can’t get the smell out of my head. Frankly, I’m still pissed. Two weeks ago, I received a shock when reviewing my business credit card bill. I noticed charges from an allegedly reputable company you probably never heard of called Adobe.

Granted, this whole drama could have been avoided if I had been vigilant and reviewed my statement monthly but allow me to continue so this nightmare can unfold. 

It turns out Adobe has been charging me recurring monthly fees for a service I canceled 3 months ago during a trial period for “Adobe Stock.” The only reason I tried Adobe Stock was because of an email offer they sent for a FREE TRIAL. In the email, they described that my credit card would be charged the $30 monthly fee but a credit would be applied several days later. I checked and they credited the account, as promised. As the end of the trial period drew near, I canceled the service, well before the specified period. In typical Adobe fashion, I had to complete a survey asking me why I was canceling the service. I answered the questions truthfully. I simply had no need for the service. That was in October.

So imagine my surprise to find that charges for this service began again in November, December and January! These charges totaled $90!

I wasn’t happy but I assumed a quick phone call would resolve the issue. Wrong!
I should have known what to expect from this logo that Adobe uses for it’s Creative Cloud prouduct: Just look at it. Doesn’t it look like a snake that’s eating itself? Creative Clusterf$#@* is more like it.
creative cloud icon

When I called Adobe’s customer service number, I was connected to Roslin, an obviously outsourced, off-shore employee with a difficult but mostly understandable accent. She explained that she “could see that I had canceled the service” and she was happy to credit my for $30 for the inconvenience. I had the call on speaker phone and my wife was in the room. I said, “Excuse me, but did you just say that you can see that I canceled the service?” She said, “Yes.” I said, “OK, so if I canceled the service in October and I was billed from November through today, I should be receiving a credit of $90.00. Not $30.00.” Then she said, “I am only authorized to credit your account $30.00.” While this made me furious, I should say here, that I did not lose my temper, yell or be rude. This poor woman is not the source of my problem, she’s actually there to help. Yelling at her doesn’t help anyone. So, after a slow and methodical re-explanation of the problem, a swift and distinct rise in my pulse rate and blood pressure, and what seemed like 20 minutes or more on the phone, I realized she wasn’t going to be of any help. So, I requested to speak to a supervisor.

After a few minutes on hold, the same woman returned to the line and informed me she had been authorized to refund the full amount. I said, “Thank you but just to confirm, you will be crediting my account for $90.00, correct?” She said, “Yes. we will issue a credit to you of $90.00.” I said thank you and hung up feeling like I just spent an eternity trying to resolve what seemed like a pretty simple problem. Roslin, then gave me a ticket number of 0217605199.

But then I received a confirmation of a $30.00 credit. …Uhm, no.

So, I called Adobe back and this time, I wasn’t too happy. Still, I wasn’t rude, either. I spoke with Ahmid or Ahmed. (It turned out to be Amit.) It was basically a carbon copy of the experience I had the day before. When I said that I was not happy about being promised a full refund only to receive a partial refund I was once again told, “I am only authorized to offer a credit for $30.00. Before I could request one, I found myself on hold and transferred to a supervisor. Apparently, these customer services agents are used to escalating calls to supervisors. Another 20 minutes of explanation and more time on hold. Finally the supervisor, named Sahil, explained to me, “you already received a $30 credit in January.” (He was referring to yesterday’s unacceptable credit of what should have been $90.)  I stopped him at that point and explained that if a credit was issued, I have no record of it on my account yet and that even if it was credited, it is not the amount owed to me. I requested that he calculate the dollars charged to my card. Then I asked him to calculate the charges I would have been charged without “Adobe Stock.” Then I asked him to tell me the total dollar amount that had been charged to me for only Adobe stock. His reply, “$90.00 sir.” So then I asked him this, “If you were overcharged by $90.00 and Adobe only offered you $30.00 back, would you be upset by this?” “Oh, yes. Yes sir, I would be very mad.” I said, “So then you understand that I am not happy right now and this $30 credit is unacceptable.” I was issued a new ticket #0217641662.

Then out of sheer curiosity I asked him, “do you see the cancellation of Adobe Stock on account?” “Um, no sir. You did not cancel this account.” Again, I chose not to yell. Oh, I wanted to. It’s clear that Adobe, a once proud maker of useful software products has either thrown in the towel or allowed a crew of thieves and scalawags to represent them. Wow, how the mighty have fallen. But I decided,instead, to let the entire universe know about this incident. My experience is probably not unique and the only way Adobe will ever know that it’s brand is being damaged is to tell every living soul on the planet until Adobe acknowledges the issue and refunds my money!

I received another request to be placed on hold and after several minutes, Sahil returned with a new “ticket number” and said I would hear from Adobe within 2 business days. This is not a resolution mind you but another delay which mostly likely result in another phone call and possibly two phone calls and ultimately the cancellation of ALL of my business dealings with Adobe. I have been a customer of theirs for nearly 20 years. If you think that is important, you are wrong.

48 business hours have passed and there has been no resolution, no contact and I’m back on the phone, on hold for another 20 minutes. The person who who answers this time informs me he has no authority to credit an account for more than $30 so I tell him. I am not interested in repeating my story more than once today. Can you please transfer me to the person with the authority to credit my account for the full $90 I have requested and have been promised? He says if you will provide a ticket number I will look into the matter. Again, I inform him that he cannot help me and to transfer the call to someone with the authority to correct this problem. He tells me he must have the ticket number, essentially refusing to transfer the call. He places me on hold to “review the notes.”

During this time, my wife informs me that Adobe credited my account for $30 and then charged me $9.99 on the same day. This means, in fact, they did not even credit the $30 as promised but instead gave me a $20 credit when they owed me $90. Either these people have no basic math skills or they are in fact, thieves and liars. I’m inclined to believe the latter. 
The ponderous business model of a silo in the form of an off-shore, third party entity as a viable customer service solution is severely flawed. These people are incentivized to deny service (and credits) to the very customers who pay for Adobe software. How sad a business model is that? Punish the people who support them the most? Who is in charge at Adobe…? The Marquis De Sade?

Forget all the flowery prose and discussions of flawed business models. I want my $%&* MONEY, ADOBE.

Eventually, the man returns to the line to say that because he is overseas, he will have to have someone contact me by phone the following day. Of course! We set a specific time which, as I type, has already passed. I fully expected that Adobe would not contact me, just as they refused to acknowledge my concerns, my credits and the terrible math by which the do their accounting. I was not disappointed. NOBODY CONTACTED ME.

I should have accepted defeat right then and there. I don’t need the stress. But it’s the principle of the thing I can’t let go of.  So, I started an online CHAT session with Adobe Customer Service later that morning.  What a mistake!!

I explained my situation to someone named Dipen. I methodically laid out my experience and Dipen confirmed that my “Trial of Adobe Stock Expired In October.” I typed, please confirm if expired means canceled. He responded, “Your trial of Adobe Stock expired in October.” I asked again, Was it canceled or expired? No response. I typed, “DIPEN, YOU ARE MAKING ME VERY ANGRY.” He typed, “I’m sorry for the inconvenience.”

Apparently it’s just me. I just don’t understand the language at Adobe.
Expired and canceled mean two different things or the same thing, depending on the wind direction and day of the week. So does “Inconvenience.”
What inconvenience really means is, “We’re going to rob you blind and you’re never going to be able to get to the bottom of it.” THIS ISN’T CUSTOMER SERVICE, it’s a smoke screen – a deflector shield designed to destroy and deflect all but the most determined individuals.Now that I’ve told you who I am, I asked DIPEN to have someone of authority from Adobe contact me at once.

He neglected to ask for my contact number then asked if there was anything else he could help with. I ended the chat.

After a number of negative tweets about ADOBE, I received multiple replies from Adobe Customer Service’s twitter account. They honestly wanted me to handled the reiteration of my troubles in 140 characters or less. So, after that went nowhere (well, they did confirm I still had my Photoshop account).

That evening, I had a good hearty laugh with my wife over the whole situation while imitating the voices of the people I spoke with and making my face turn a number of shades of red. Come to think of it, maybe that could be an ad campaign for Adobe… Red faced people with exploding heads! I have only lost $60 American dollars (using Adobe Math) and all desire to speak with anyone at Adobe again.

In every conversation with Adobe representatives, each of them told me, “We don’t charge you for FREE Trials.” But each of them also said that “I changed my account to the Adobe Stock Plan.” Each time I told them I made no such change, they sat silent and refused to confirm my cancellation of the services.

The next morning, my wife tells me she received a phone call from ADOBE!!! How the hell… I provided them my cell phone number not once but during almost every contact. They couldn’t call that number but they did look up a phone number for me and called that? Does this mean this story has a happy ending? No. It means that Adobe exhausted all the effort they were going to extend. They called my house, spoke to my wife – who gave them the right number to call – but they didn’t call it.

Instead, days went by and I received an email from Amit one of the first few people I spoke with. Amit’s email says that he is “Unable to offer any further refund but as a courtesy, a gesture of goodwill,” he will offer me one free month of service.

What a joke! The trouble is, they’re not kidding. BE CAREFUL with companies that promise great customer service. It’s code for, “You’re going to NEED customer service. And good luck getting it from us…”
Thank you, Adobe. You’ve stolen my money, wasted my time and made me feel completely stupid for supporting you.

There’s only one thing left to do when a company that you thought had your back tries to reach around and grab you by the balls. Say Goodbye Adobe here’s to 20 years of customer loyalty, right back atcha!

Adobe's steaming dung heapP.S. While I wish I could claim credit for this clever rendition of the logo, I merely searched the webs for creative cloud logo and this steaming dung heap came up. Clearly I’m not the only person who wishes Adobe would clean up after their mess.

For Logan Neill

Yesterday, I received word that Logan Neill passed away. Although I was aware of his health concerns, I never expected him to leave us so swiftly, as like many things in life, I had taken his presence on the planet for granted and assumed he would bull-through as he had always seemed to do. Logan leaves behind his son George, daughter Sally and their respective families and a stadium full of friends who’s lives were all enriched through knowing Logan. For those of my friends who not lucky enough to know him, He was a force. A presence. He loved music and he loved to laugh. He especially loved to share these loves and he made a lasting impression on me. Logan was indeed, legendary.

I first met Logan many years ago and we became fast friends over our common bond of music and our broadcast radio endeavors. Logan and his lovely wife Susan Ford Neil, hosted a regular bluegrass and acoustic music show on the local community radio station, WMNF in Tampa, Florida and I was working as a producer on the Lionel show at WFLA, also in Tampa.

His dry wit and sardonic sense of humor was the hallmark of our every interaction. Soon he introduced me to Susan Ford Neill who struck me as being as beautiful on the outside as she was as a person.  Their children, both amazing kids – have since grown into amazing people. It was clear to me that Logan was able to attract, nurture and surround himself with amazing, interesting, diverse and beautiful people and I considered myself lucky to be among them for a brief moment in time.

As time went on and our friendship grew, he asked me to sit in with them on the “Traffic Jam show” allowing me to pick and play music from my eclectic tastes.  He entrusted me to host the show alone whenever he and Susan needed time to accomplish other things within the musical community.  It was an honor for me and a gift he shared so easily.

Knowing of my “rabid fandom” of Tony Rice, legendary guitarist, Logan arranged an opportunity for me to not only meet the man but run sound for a concert he was doing in St. Petersburg. It was an honor and I’ll never forget that whole experience. Logan just grinned that wry grin of his at me, knowing full well what he was doing.

When he and Susan began booking acts and doing shows at the State Theater in St. Petersburg, he invited me to bar tend there. What that did for me was introduce me to an amazing array of my musical idols. I met and shook hands with many of my favorite musicians. I shared beers with a few more and I got to have my photograph taken with James Cotton, the man who inspired me to learn to play blues harmonica!  I was introduced to acts I never heard of and most of all, I was able to make a few extra bucks and that was extremely helpful. I could have never had the experiences, the highlights I had in my life without Logan Neil.

During the days at the State Theater, a guitarist named John Gorka came through. I had just become aware of him and loved his way of telling a story through song. After his show, we spoke briefly and I ran out the next day to buy all of his music. He played a song during his set that always stuck with me.  It summed up the experience of working with Logan and Susan at the state theater so perfectly. I would always think of Logan when this song played and when I heard that Logan passed away, the song played again in my head. Thank you John. And thank you Logan. You are legend.