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Mixed experience with the Avid web store

I think it’s very common these days that we use web shops to purchase a variety of things. From home devices through tickets to software. This is a very easy and convenient way of shopping. Well, most of the time.

My colleague’s studio bought a new MacBook Pro for some utility work and they decided to buy a brand new Pro Tools 12 to do some easy editing, organising and recording on the field. As he did not have any experience with the Avid web store, he asked me for help. At that time I thought it’s going to take at least 5-10 minutes to buy a Pro Tools 12 perpetual license with annual upgrade plan.

And frankly, it shouldn’t take any longer than that.

The reality

However, things are seems to be more complicated than that. First shock was that we couldn’t choose a download only option, although they don’t need another iLok as they have some spare. Avid must ship the box it seems, of course with FedEx. So no low cost option here. Good morning, it’s 2016, we don’t need another box shipped to us. Even the web store claims that we need internet connection in order to be able to download the purchased software. Go figure, still need to pay them for the box they want to send you.

But the insurmountable problem was not that. We successfully finished to fill all the data, double-checked everything. At the final stage though, simply nothing happened. No confirmation, no email, no proof in the Avid master account, nothing. We thought nothing, but something actually happened. They charged the credit card.

So at this point we were sitting there without any proof of the purchase, without the money. Tried to stay positive, I thought it might take a minute or two to process everything. After an hour I thought that something is not right.

Fortunately they have multiple licenses so we could contact the customer support. As it turned out, something went wrong within their system, so even they couldn’t see any proof of the purchase.

We had to send our bank’s proof of the money transfer so the customer service can trace back what happened. I almost forgot to mention that this short story actually happened over two days. After that, silence. The third day Avid’s customer service acknowledged that they can see the money transfer, found the exact date, the credit card’s data, everything, but don’t know the reason why we didn’t get the license. We were politely asked them to give us the license we payed for. Well, it’s not that easy it seems. As for some reason the system completely lost all the data except the money, they cannot give us the license that easily.

The solution

So now the process is, they send back the money which would take 3-6 days. And after that we can retry, and hope for the best. And this is not a startup in a garage. This is Avid.

To be fair, the customer support was always very helpful, they tried everything and kept us in the loop.

The reason I decided to post this is not to have a rant online. It is because problems with the Avid web shop seems to be ubiquitous. From 10 of my fellow engineers 7 experienced some problem during their online shopping with Avid. I know probably most of the transactions are going fine, and personally I never had a problem until now. Still, for me it feels odd they need 4 or more days to figure out what happened, and even than they cannot simply make it right. I’m a big fan on online shopping but frankly this experience has been one the worst happened to me.

Compare this to my recent experiences with other companies. Since this case I bought 6 things online. Some download only stuff, software, e-books, and some stuff needs to be posted. All went without a hiccup, the items that has been sent to me are trackable, I know exactly when they will arrive (some of it already arrived).

Last update: Avid’s customer support really try to make this right, now they help the studio to go through a verified purchase so everything is going to be alright. Because of this I changed the post’s title, it was a much more caustic one, wouldn’t be fair after their efforts.