Three weeks ago Adobe Systems announced that they were laying off 600 people -- about 8% of their workforce -- because sales of their new CS4 software was not meeting estimates.
I made personal note of these layoffs because I have been trying without success to buy Adobe's software and have found the company to be one the least customer friendly businesses on the planet. Here's a copy of a letter of complaint that I have been holding to send to their CEO on December 24th:
December 24, 2008
Shantanu Narayen, President
Adobe Systems Incorporated
345 Park Avenue
San Jose, CA 95110-2704
This letter is written to call your attention to policies and procedures that have undermined my confidence in your company and irritated me to the point of exasperation. Frankly, I do not understand why your company insists on making it so difficult for customers to purchase your software.
On November 20, 2008 I attempted to purchase an academic version of the Adobe CS4 Master Suite. I filed the necessary paperwork and authorized a charge of $999.00 on my credit card and then had to wait for my academic credentials to be approved.
That evening I talked to my son about this purchase and he advised me that I really should purchase the full version of Adobe CS4 Master Suite in order to be able to take advantage of discounts on future upgrades.
On November 21, 2008 I received confirmation that my academic version had been approved and that it was available for download. I did not download any software. I called Adobe customer service and your agent confirmed that I needed the full version if I wished to receive a discount on future upgrades. I advised your agent that I wanted to pay the difference between the academic version and the full version and then be able to download the full version. He advised me that he was unable to upgrade my purchase. He also stated that he was unable to cancel the order for my academic version on that date and that I should try to cancel the academic order and then purchase the full version after November 24th.
Since November 24th I have contacted agents with your customer service on at least three additional occasions and have spoken to a customer service supervisor once. On two different occasions I have faxed statements to your offices swearing that I will destroy the academic version of the software that I never downloaded and have never had in my possession. Agents from your office have confirmed that they have received my faxes but they insist that they cannot give me a credit on my credit card. Instead, I must wait for a check with nothing but a promise that it will be mailed in three or four weeks.
Every time that I have spoken to your customer service agents I have informed them that I do not want a refund check, nor do I want a charge credit. All I want is to pay the difference between the academic version and the full version and then download the full version. All of your agents as well as your customer service supervisor have advised me that that is impossible. I find it incomprehensible that your company makes it so difficult for customers to pay an additional $1500.00 for your product.
I have been trying to resolve this problem for more than a month now. I still do not have any software in my possession. I still do not have a charge credit or a refund. For more than a month, your company has tied up $999.00 of my money and my credit.
I have a question I wish you would answer. If you were in my place, why should I continue to do business with your company?
Dr. Bruce Prescott
Customer ID Number : 170243379
Customer Service Case: 201526534
Cc: Dr. Charles M. Geschke, Co-Chair of the Board of Directors
Dr. John E. Warnock, Co-Chair of the Board of Directors
Brandon Bailey, Mercury News