Customer Service or Customer fail?

Bought a copy of SketchBook Pro from Autodesk a week ago. I’m very happy with the software (and even bough the version on the iPad as well).

I did not realize there was a new version coming out (version 6) to replace the 5.5 version (there was no pre-announcement on the website, it was just released and announced). I see the announcement for version 6 so figure well, since we bought it a week ago we should just be able to upgrade.

Nope.

Have to pay $30 for the upgrade (the software is $60 so 50% for a new version which is okay for a major upgrade I suppose). Talking to the Twitter *customer care* account, they tell me that rather than giving me a free upgrade or key for the new version (which seems like a simple solution) I should return the software for a full refund then purchase the new v6 product instead.

Wait, what?

I just bought the 5.5 version a week ago. Now I have to go through the process to get a refund *then* turn around and buy the 6.0 version.

Looking over the website the minimum steps I’m going to have to do is:

  1. Submit a request for a refund by contacting support through a form (or if I want to call overseas, no thanks)
  2. Wait for a LOD (letter of destruction) to be emailed to me
  3. Follow the instructions in the letter (not really sure what this entails but I assume “delete all copies of the software” or something like that)
  4. Submit the letter back to them (yeah, really)
  5. Wait for someone to validate my submission
  6. Once validated they begin the process of crediting my purchase (which takes about 3-5 days)

At that point once I get my refund I can turn around and buy version 6 of the software. For the *exact* same price as I paid for the previous version.

This is a seriously broken customer service model IMHO. They have a 30 day return policy so why not a 30 day upgrade policy? I guess since they don’t have it and a company as big as Autodesk this isn’t something that is easy to implement, I’m screwed and have to go through the process of all this to get my refund to rebuy the new version of the software. Why can’t they just give me a key for version 6 to plug in and they can work out the logistics of the upgrade?

Am I being picky here or am I justified in expecting that I should be able to get the upgrade for free (without the nonsense of returning and re-buying the software). While I understand they might not have the facilities in place to support this model, it’s pretty common in the software industry. So maybe they should consider supporting it? Or supporting their customers and not making them jump through hoops. The twitter responses from the customer “care” account are all very generic. “Thank you for taking the time to give us feedback… blah blah blah”.

Not a happy customer right now but don’t think I have much choice.

P.S. Need to start the process now because if step 5 isn’t done within the 30 days (not step 1) you’re screwed.

Sigh.

Update: The chap running the @AutodeskCare Twitter account (where it’s manned 24 hours by people) came through and provided the upgrade without all the red tape. I’m glad it’s resolved and happy that they’re looking to improve their process as a result of it so others might not fall into this trap. I’ll post a follow up on this shortly. Good job Autodesk!