Saturday, June 16, 2012

Adventures with Adobe Customer Support

We just purchased Adobe CS6 Production Premium through a reseller, and they sent us an Adobe Software License Certificate with the Serial Number for the package. We were told to download the software from Adobe’s site.

I logged into Adobe’s website, and figured that the first thing I would do is add the software to the list of products we had registered. (I also thought that this section would provide a link for downloading the software.) I went to the “My Products & Services” page, clicked the button to add software, entered the serial number … and it told me it was an invalid serial number.

After some time wondering about what to do next, and reading three FAQ documents that covered invalid serial numbers - they seemed to be linked in a never-ending circle - I connected to the Online Chat to ask them what to do. This turned out to be a confusing and somewhat frustrating adventure.

The following is an edited transcript; I have inserted some commentary to let you know what I was thinking as it progressed. The entire conversation - with many long pauses between - took about 30 minutes:

Thank you for choosing Adobe. A representative will be with you shortly. Your estimated wait time is 0 minute(s) and 2 second(s) or longer as there are 1 customer(s) in line ahead of you.
You are now chatting with Assistant 1:.
Assistant 1: _Hi Michael.Thank you for contacting Adobe chat support. I have received your query. Please allow me a moment to review the details of your request._

[We went back and forth about the serial number and order number details while he looked into things]

Assistant 1: _What is the exact error message that you see on your screen._
Michael: I went to "My products and services" and clicked on Register new products and I get "Please enter a valid serial number" after entering the number above..

[It was at this point - about ten minutes into the process - that it occurred to me that maybe I should just download the trial and try putting the serial number into that, rather than register the serial number, so I tried to suggest that…]

Michael: Should I download the trial and then try entering the serial number into that?
Assistant 1: I see that this is a technical issue. I'll need to transfer this chat to the technical support team so that this issue is resolved in this first contact itself.
Michael: OK

[Meanwhile, I went and started downloading the trial, which was going to take some considerable time…]

Please wait while I transfer the chat to the appropriate group.
You are now chatting with Assistant 2:
Assistant 2: Hello. Welcome to Adobe Technical Support.
Assistant 2: I have received your query. Please allow me a moment to verify your account and to review the details of your request.
Michael: OK
Assistant 2: As I understand you are trying to install the product and getting error Invalid Serial Number. Am I correct?
Michael: Yes. Except that I hadn't downloaded it (I'm downloading the trial version right now) I started out trying to enter the serial number in to the Register new products section and it gave me an invalid serial number
Michael: I'm now downloading the trial to see if it will accept the serial number

[In his defense, I think I wasn’t as clear about the order of things and where the error occurred as I might have been, and he may have misunderstood what was going on, though this didn’t occur to me until later when I re-read this]

Assistant 2: Thank you for the information.
Assistant 2: I will be glad to check and help you with the issue.
Assistant 2: May I have the serial number of the product?
Assistant 2: Thank you for the Serial Number.
Michael: We bought from a reseller who sent us an adobe "Software License Certificate" in a PDF file
Assistant 2: May I know the name of the product as on the screen where you are entering the serial number?
Michael: Production Premium CS6
Assistant 2: Okay.
Assistant 2: Please navigate to MAC HD>Library>Application Support>Adobe>Adobe PCD>Caps folder.

[This is where things get really interesting, because I was installing on a new machine with Lion installed, and Lion no longer - by default - displays the Macintosh HD as an item in the Finder. I’m still mostly using 10.6, which doesn’t have that “feature.” I remembered reading about that, but couldn’t remember how to get there…]

Michael: Ahh, this machine has Lion and doesn't display the Mac HD...I'm not sure how to get to the Library on this
Assistant 2: Please navigate to your main Mac hard disk.

[I have to admit, I was a little surprised he didn’t know that Lion didn’t do this too. Meanwhile, I’m doing a Google search…]

Michael: Give me a second. I have to Google to find out how to access that
Assistant 2: May I have your permission to connect to your computer remotely and try to solve the problem while you watch?
Michael: It's okay, I've found it (had to "Open Enclosing Folder"" from the Applications folder)

[I was kind of pleased about solving that issue…]

Assistant 2: Are you able to locate the Caps folder?

[I go to the place he suggests, and there’s nothing there. At this point I’m certain that what I need to do is install the software]

Michael: I get to here MAC HD>Library>Application Support>Adobe> and there's no Adobe PCD folder. I think I'm going to have to wait until the download finishes and contact you again
Assistant 2: Michael, the issue is not with the installer files.
Assistant 2: May I have your permission to connect to your computer remotely and try to solve the problem while you watch?

[I spent several minutes trying to decide what to do. The download still had another 30 minutes to go, and I did feel uncomfortable giving someone access to the computer]

Michael: I'm not comfortable with doing that at this time. I think I'm going to have to go back to the reseller. Thanks

[He did then ask if there was anything else I needed help with…]

And I did finish the download, enter the serial number into the trial software successfully, and then register the software!

I post this not because I’m annoyed; I actually solved my problem, so the call was, in a sense, successful, even if I diagnosed the problem myself. Rather, I’m sort of surprised that other people haven’t done the same thing, and that the registration process works the way it does; rejecting serial numbers not first loaded into software. I’m also surprised that the Adobe tech support people aren’t aware of this. And also that they don’t know about how Lion works (though I didn’t really, either.)

But at least the problem is solved…

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