August 27, 2015

Customer Service from Acronis

Last month, my computer developed a serious hard drive problem. I was planning on buying a new computer anyway, so I did that and have been working at copying files and re-installing programs that were on my old machine. This has been a royal pain, but it has given me an excuse to do some reorganizing and pruning. Not every program installed on my old computer proved to be useful, for example, so I haven’t bothered to install all my old programs on my new computer.

I have always been concerned about being able to recover from hard drive failures, and have had to deal with such an event more than once. The first Windows PC I ever owned was equipped with a tape drive on which I backed up my system every night. Backups have become more difficult as hard drives grew in capacity, however. I now have three external hard drives and still may not have found the perfect software to protect my files.

My latest external hard drive is from Western Digital. It came with a WD software package that seems so-so at best, as well as a stripped-down version of Acronis’s True Image. True Image seemed very promising, so I decided to purchase the full version. Because I had the WD version of True Image, I was able to purchase True Image 2015 at a discounted price of about $30.

Acronis logo
Of course, when I abandoned my old computer, I needed to install True Image on my new one. This seemed straightforward, as I had the installation file that had been downloaded on the old computer and the serial number (i.e., product code) obtained from my old Outlook file. When I tried to install True Image 2015 and entered the serial number, however, I was told that this was an “upgrade” serial number and that I would need the serial number from the software that qualified me for the upgrade.

I hadn’t anticipated this problem, so I uninstalled the program I had just installed and proceeded to execute the installation program for the WD version of True Image. The installation failed with a cryptic error indication that gave me no clue as to what to do next. Perplexed, I went to the Acronis Web site and initiated a chat session with tech support. I began by writing a description of how I tried to install the software and how I had been unable to complete installation of the WD version after I deleted the full, but un-activated, version. Here is a transcript of my chat session:
Dillu: Hello! Thank you for contacting Acronis Customer Central. My name is Dillu and I will be glad to assist you. Please allow me 3-4 minutes to review your message. If you already have an existing case number on this issue, please let me know. Otherwise, I will create a new case and provide you the case number.
Dillu: Thank you for your patience.
Dillu: The case number for your reference is 02525117.
You: OK
Dillu: You are unable to install Acronis True Image 2015 upgrade as due to no base version available. Am I correct?
You: Right. And when I try to install the base version, the installation fails. I have the screen open asking for the old s/n.
Dillu: Since, the key purchased is an upgrade you will not be able to complete the installation process.
Dillu: You will have to install WD version on the PC first and then install Acronis True Image 2015.
You: OK, why can't I do that. [sic] I am beginning to feel cheated out of my money here.
Dillu: Do not misunderstand. You were offered an upgrade price and allowed to install Acronis True Image 2015 Upgrade because you had WD version of Acronis app running on the PC.
Dillu: You may again install WD version if you are using a WD drive on the PC now and continue installation.
You: But the installation program FAILS.
Dillu: I would like to draw your attention to one of our support policies.  Technical Support is only free for the first 30 days from the date of purchase/registration through "Email" and "Chat" media only. Post which support is a paid service.
I can troubleshoot and help you. However, you will have will need an incident ($20.00).
Dillu: Your license has expired the initial 30 days free technical support period.
You: Never mind. I will remember never to recommend your software to my IT clients.
Dillu: I am sorry, Lionel.
Dillu: You may refer to the link below to purchase Pay Per Incident for further assistance:
http://kb.acronis.com/content/2703
You: Go to hell.
Dillu: My apologies again.
Dillu: Thank you for contacting Acronis Customer Central. You have a blessed ahead.

This interchange occurred on August 25. I had registered the software on June 26. The next day, I received the following e-mail message:

*** Please do not change the subject line of this email; otherwise, your response will not be received. ***  
Hello Lionel,
Thank you for contacting Acronis Customer Central. My name is Dillu. 
This is a follow-up email post chat conversation we had earlier today.
You were unable to install Acronis True Image 2015 upgrade as due to no base version available. My sincere apologies as I could not assist when contacted due to support limitations. 
As informed, Technical Support is only free for the first 30 days from the date of purchase/registration through "Email" and "Chat" media only. Post which support is a paid service. 
Your license had exceeded 30 days. You may contact WD to get the latest installer (if using a WD disk on the PC) install it and then using Acronis True Image 2015. You may refer to the link below to purchase Pay Per Incident ($20.00) for further assistance: 
http://kb.acronis.com/content/2703  
This case is closed. You may also visit (www.kb.acronis.com) for any product based articles search and (www.acronis.com) to check out our latest releases.
--
Best regards,
Dillu Singh
Support Engineer
Acronis Customer Central 
For common issues with known solutions please refer to our Knowledge Base at http://kb.acronis.com 

You can always find the latest status of this case in your account at https://www.acronis.com/my/cases 

Our mission is to create Customer success. Our Management Team welcomes your feedback on how we can improve the overall support we provide to you. Please send your comments, suggestions, or concerns to managers@acronis.com
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Two things were galling about this interchange. First, if I were going to be charged for support, why wasn’t I told that at the beginning of the chat. Had I known immediately that any actual assistance was going to cost $20, I would have ended the conversation and continued on my own. More irritating, however, was the fact that Acronis would not help with a simple installation problem occasioned by a change of computers, something that I’m sure happens all the time. Acronis’s attitude was in contrast to other companies (e.g., Core FTP and MakeMusic, Inc.) that cheerfully provided me with missing product codes for software I purchased years ago.

Having received no help at all from Acronis, I searched through the True Image help file. This seemed promising, as it explained how to transfer the software license from one computer to another. The instructions were rather elliptical, however, but they gave me hope that, if I installed the software on another computer, I could transfer the license to my new machine. By this time, I realized that I had to install the WD version before installing the full version. I did this on another computer and, sure enough, I was not asked for an earlier serial number. I was told that I had exceeded the number of licenses I had purchased (i.e., one) and allowed me to move the license from my old (dead) computer to the one on which I just installed True Image. So far so good.

Alas, there seemed to be no way to initiate such a license transfer from my new computer. It was time to look for not-so-simple solutions. Almost certainly, I could not install the WD version of the Acronis software because of entries in the Windows Registry. I uninstalled the full version of True Image and took a look at the Registry. True Image had left a lot of junk in the Registry, and it wasn’t clear what needed to be removed to allow me to install the WD version. The most likely culprit seemed to be HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Acronis. I exported that for safekeeping and deleted the key. The trick worked. I installed the WD version, then the full version, and entered the serial number. I was then able to transfer the single license to my new computer from the one on which I had earlier installed True Image.

Doing this myself cost me many hours, but I saved $20 and my dignity and sense of consumer justice. Actually, I am not sure that Dillu was going to solve my problem anyway.

I had noticed that my version of True Image 2015 had been replaced with True Image 2016. When I checked the Acronis Web site, however, I discovered that I had to have purchased my software on July 9 or later, but I had registered my copy on June 26. Screwed again by Acronis. Of course, it wasn’t clear that the 2016 software was a major improvement over the previous version. The Web site does not really explain why one might prefer the new version.

So, is True Image any good? Actually, I have no idea. I only created a backup once and was unable to retrieve it. Customer and technical reviews seem very positive. Unfortunately, customer support is, at best, heartless, however.

1 comment:

  1. OK! That is software I won't be buying. I actually use a chron job that causes FileZilla to copy critical files to my Joomla website, and then Akeeba backup to move an image of those files to my cloud space. It took a while to work this out, but it works, FileZilla is free, akeeba is excellent and their support is world renowned among Joomla, Wordpress,and other cms web designers.

    ReplyDelete

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