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Up until recently, I thought of Adobe as a company that was doing things right. For as long as I can remember, Photoshop has been the standard in image editing. Although the product has always been over priced, Adobe has usually had lite or introductory versions available for a reasonable cost. This has meant that professionals that make their living editing images day in and day out could take advantage of the power of the full version software while at the same time allowing casual users access to the basic tools suitable for most tasks.
For the last few years I had been testing and using alternatives to Photoshop such as paint.net and the Gimp as well as a number of others. For basic stuff, these alternatives are actually fairly good but to directly compare them to Photoshop is very much like comparing rocks to lizards. I had also been using a Ulead video editing suite that, although it was subject to a long list of bugs that never seemed to get fixed, was actually very nice to work with. When I upgraded to Windows 7 the Ulead product would not function, so I decided to take advantage of an offer from Adobe to get Photoshop and Premiere Elements with a great mail-in rebate.
I should have known I was in for a lot of pain and frustration right from the start. My first clue was trying to figure out how to order these products on the Adobe website. Here it is, 2010, and I couldn’t believe that a company of this size could have such a terribly designed shopping cart. To make it worse, their website is so slow that I was tempted to give up and drive to an office supply store to get the boxed versions. We were off to a bad start, but after about an hour or so I go through the ordering process and received an email confirming my order, my payment, and assigned validation keys.
I started downloading the software printed off the order confirmation and rebate form pepe8_ESD_rebate_ue.pdf. As the gigs were streaming down to my computer, I read through the rebate form, assembled the required information, filled out the forms. Here’s where I mention that I’m no newbie to online ordering and rebates. Not only have I been hosting and developing websites for over 12 years, I’ve ordered innumerable things online and submitted all sorts of rebate forms for everything from software to videocards. Before I was done with the forms Photoshop had downloaded and I then installed the software.
Over the next few days I found time to install Premiere Elements and was excited to give it a try; It didn’t take long for the disappointment to kick in. As soon as I installed the software and started to try and work with some video from my live performances I had recorded on my camcorder the problems began. Attempts to slice up bits of video were met with incredibly slow performance and the ocassional software crash. When I got far enough to start trying to put things together, the video quality would get strange and sometimes the audio would disappear. This seemed very strange as my laptop is a Core 2 Duo 2.13Ghz with 2GB RAM and a brand new Intel x25-m SSD drive with windows 7. The system boots in less than 30 seconds and even before I had upgraded it was the same system that I used to edit my music videos using Ulead Media Studio.
Next I finished off the rebate form, put the information together and mailed it off to the address on the rebate form and then I filed a support request with Adobe. That didn’t get me very far. They sent a long list of things to try, most of which I attempted, some of which was clearly pointless. Still having no success I uninstalled Premiere Elements from my laptop and tried it on my new i7 system with 6GB RAM and an SSD drive. On a system that ranks a 7.5 out of a possible 7.9 on the Windows Experience Index - there was no noticeable difference in performance or reliability.
Having only so many hours in a day, I elected to download a trial version of Corel VideoStudio. After installing the Corel software, I was able start over and get the same video work done without ANY problems or performance issues! Clearly the problem is not my machine, it’s Adobe.
Now the fun! Adobe claims that they never received a valid copy of my invoice. I got this stupid little “resubmit” card asking me to send an “original Adobe Proof of Purchast Tab 1″ but no explanation of what this is. I printed and included what they emailed me when I ordered the software. What else could I possibly have?
I see a phone number on the resubmit card and try calling the 866-599-3906 number to talk to someone about the problem. Well… I tried from my home phone, my cell phone and my skype phone and none of these lines could seem to connect to this phone number. Finally I decide to call the phone number on the Adobe website and talk to a “Michael” who listened to the problems and asks me to fill out an online support request. So I did.
In an attempt to be thorough I included as much information as I could. I explained the problem. I outlined what I had tried. I mentioned the conversation with Michael. I mention that the phone number isn’t working and that I did send the order details that Adobe sent me. Their response?
“For questions regarding the status of your rebate claim, visit
www.web-rebates.com/adobe or call 866-599-3906.”
Nice. I already explained that the phone number isn’t reachable. So I reply:
“"I tried calling the 866-599-3906 number from different phones and the number does not function or is not available from my area. I can’t even call the number on the card to discuss the problem!”
No response until today:
“Upon checking your order #ADxxxxxxxxx it was last Dec. 10, 2009 and I
regret to inform you that the it is no longer valid for a rebate because
the promo date started last September 23, 2009 and ended October 31,
Um… the form I sent in says “This rebate form is valid until October 31, 2010″
Last I checked, October comes way after March???
So that’s where it’s at right now. Premiere Elements is useless, my rebate is stuck in nowhere land, and their support system is useless. What a huge disappointment. I can certainly print off the order details again, but without clarification I have little faith that they’ll come through. And even with that, I have a piece of software that’s useless to me.
Consider this fair warning to anyone out there considering buying Adobe software. You may find it’s a lot more expensive than the price they charge your credit card.
——— March 19th UPDATE ———-
So today I get another reply asking me to cut the tab off the box and send that in.
Um… The rebate form I used states clearly on the top:
“Official Rebate Claim Form for Adobe.com
Electronic Software Delivery purchases only.”
Where am I supposed to cut this tab off of? I’m not liking the idea of taking a utility knife to my LED screen….
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