Academic Superstore — software purchase - customer service
I placed an order for Parallels software on 2/10/2020. On the order page, purchase eligibility is noted, and in this case, both faculty and students are eligible for discounted pricing (the same eligibility is listed as of 2/23/2020). Verification of eligibility is only done when an order is placed.
After I placed my order I was taken to a page to verify my eligibility. The page asked for documentation; there were a few ways to authenticate. I choose the option for a current pay stub, an option on the list for faculty. I am a full-time college professor; I have been using the student/faculty version of the software for years. As my pay stub did not list my job title, I sent over an employment verification document from Equifax, something my HR department provides for work verifications. After sending these documents, I noted I received an email asking for verification documentation from their customer service team. I replied directly (as suggested in the email if help was needed) and in the email, I noted that I had sent the documentation and to advise if additional info was needed. I sent this email from my University email account.
02/13/2020 (3 days later) - I received the following generic email: "Just confirming that we got your request. We're on it. "
02/13/2020 (about 10 min after prior) - I received a generic email: "msoden commented: Please find below the only acceptable forms of proof ... Pay Stub (cross out confidential information)" with additional info and a list of other acceptable documents to verify eligibility to purchase. I also did this with my .edu university email account, as with prior emails sent.
02/13/2020 (about 15 min after email) - I sent a direct email to the customer service rep with an attachment of my current check stub.
02/14/2020 - After 24 hours of no reply, I resent pay stub attachment and an email asking for a follow-up on my order.
02/15/2020 - Another 24 hours later, I received the following email: "We apologize for the delay in answering your help request. Unfortunately our support team is experiencing a higher volume than normal. Our team is working hard to get to your ticket as quickly as possible. Thanks for your patience, we'll be in contact soon."
02/18/2020 - Received an email with the subject line: Order with Academic Superstore is Canceled". No additional info was added. I replied an inquired why it was canceled.
02/18/202 (about 15 minutes later) - I received a generic email stating: "msoden commented: It is a student edition. Must provide one of the eligibility documents below as proof of student status..." In this case, only student eligibility info was available.
2/18/2020 (about an hour later) - I sent an email to their customer service team stating how dissatisfied I was with their service. I shared how their service was very slow, my order was canceled after providing documents they requested, and little details were made available. I also noted how I was disappointed for what appeared to be their error. I included screenshots from their own website, which clearly states I was eligible to purchase the product at a discounted price and that my info was sent multiple times as requested.
2/19/2020 (about 24 hours after I sent my email above) - I received a generic confirmation of email receipt: "We apologize for the delay in answering your help request. Unfortunately our support team is experiencing a higher volume than normal. Our team is working hard to get to your ticket as quickly as possible. Thanks for your patience..."
As of the time of this review on 2/23/2020, I have received no additional followup. When I log into my account on their website, I can see the order has been canceled. On my eligibility page, there is a note that documents have been received, but my eligibility is not listed. This would mean if I want to purchase something else, I would need to go through the same, very long process, and who knows what would happen. I also note that the software is listed as student and faculty; at this point, I am not sure if faculty can purchase as my questions were never answered.
In the end, I will purchase the software directly from the vendor. It is slightly more expensive, but at least I will get it in minutes, versus not knowing for days if I will get it or not. This company advertises some great prices on software for faculty and students. However, their customer support is horrible; customers will have no idea if the order will process or not, and it could take a week or even longer to find out, one way or another.