Very Unhappy Consumer - An Open Letter To The Company

Discussion in 'Parallels Desktop for Mac' started by stevertr, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. stevertr


    Good evening,

    I am an unhappy consumer trying to evaluate where to turn.
    My next step is to contact the Better Business Bureau and file a complaint.

    Early last week I received my new computer from Apple, along with my copy of Parallels Desktop for Mac.

    In attempting to load the software into my computer, I receive an error message that the Serial Number is invalid.

    Note this is the serial number printed on the CD Sleeve in which my software came.

    Not a problem, I’ll just contact support and get a new activation key. Good LUCK!

    Attempting to call the company is useless. There is nobody to talk to unless I pay $29.99 to talk to someone to activate the software I just purchased.

    No problem, I’ll just use the “free email support†option, or so I thought. To contact support, you need to fill in a support request form. The support request form required a VALID ACTIVATION KEY.

    I send a general email to That generates an autoresponder telling me that I need to use the Support Form...again, the form requires an activation key.

    Finally I send a general message using the “I don’t own the software yet†form on the support column, as this is the only one which doesn’t require a key. 2 days later, I receive a reply asking me to forward a screen shot of my attempting to install. Having no software that takes screen shots, I instead take a digital image showing my retail purchase, my receipt, and the activation key with my disc, and forward that to the support person who contacted me. No response.

    Attempted to send additional emails to them to follow up, and still no reply.

    So, it’s a very interesting system. I pay retail for the software directly from Apple.
    Apple doesn’t support it, and says to contact the company.

    The company doesn’t seem to have any desire to help with the install, so in the end, they’ve got my money, and I have a CD that I might as well use as a coaster. Something about that just doesn’t seem right.

    So...where do we go from here. What does the company plan to do to make this right, or do we need to find some other action to take?

    Can I at least get my money back if you’re unable to get me the activation key that I paid for??


    Steve Levine
  2. starant


    You think you've got it bad?

    Oh Steve! It's worse than you think! After hours of frustration, I've gotten this program to work at times. Problem is that whenever I've been foolish enough try installing an upgrade, it totally crashes the program. Can't get it up and running again. As you've noticed, the ladies and gentleman from this company do NOT respond to emails. Oh, I should mention, be glad that you didn't pay the $29.99 for "telephone support". You see, they require the money via credit card up front, but no phone number is actually provided to you. They are supposed to call you back! They sure as sh** didn't call me back! I had to file a complaint with Visa to get my money refunded--another time consuming endeavor. I think you should probably be glad you were unable to install--it would have only led to more aggravation and frustration. :mad:
  3. simplicity


  4. crag


  5. 1pauper1

    1pauper1 Bit Poster

    where do i get a copy of 2.5,3.0 is a disaster

    stupid me did not back-up my 2.5, and 3.0 is killing me.
    i bought mine online and deleted the .dmg for 2.5
    any know where i can get it?
  6. spectre

    spectre Parallels Team


    I understand your frustration, but let me clarify some things:

    stevertr, you have sent us an email on Monday, June, 11. A key has been sent to you on Tuesday, June, 12. Ticket number 163744.
    Although I didn't see any other requests you are mentioning. - I didn't see any of your tickets submitted to the order-support@ actually. Probably it's because you used another email address.

    starant, the phone number to call should be in the email you received. It's automated template response, so its unlikely that your email differed somehow. Although it's quite possible that email with the phone number was stopped by some spam filter. Well, anyway, considering that you didn't receive the phone support you need - I've issued a refund request for your order. It should hit your credit card in the 5 business days.

    1pauper1, here it the dmg - Desktop 3188 Mac en.dmg
  7. 1pauper1

    1pauper1 Bit Poster

    thank you spectre
  8. stevertr


    Thanks for the reply Spectre bur you are incorrect.
    I started contacting the company on June 4th. You may not have picked that up because it was sent from my son Daniel's computer, where were were installing the software.

    I received the following reply on June 6th.
    I responded within 30 minutes with the appropriate screen shots and proof of purchase, and never heard from them again.

    After scouring the website for an hour last night, I came upon the email address for the press relations guy Ben, who was kind enough to send me a Key last night, which I apprecite...but it should NOT be that hard, and as I told him, the world is filled with the skeletons of companies like this who had a good product but forgot that it's as much about service as it is snippets of code.

    The very nature of the company appears to me at least to be one of "grab the money" from the consumer and then hide behind walls of anonymity so the clients are left out in the cold.

    Just my observations of course.



    Begin forwarded message:

    From: "Parallels Customer Service via RT" <>
    Date: June 6, 2007 9:11:07 AM EDT
    Subject: [Parallels #159082] [Web Presale Question]: My key does not work*

    Hello Daniel,

    Please, send me a screenshot of your activation key where it was
    initially written on and the error message you get. *

    Best regards,
    Parallels Customer Service

  9. spectre

    spectre Parallels Team


    Thank you for the information.
    I'd like to excuse on Diana's behalf for such long wait time, it's not like we are ignoring the customers, just the number of support requests after 3.0 release has raised greatly with all this mess with keys, downloads, upgrades, etc. We are working as hard as we can, but still some requests may be left on-hold for quite a time. Problems with orders and keys always had top priority for us, as customers with such problems are unable to use the product they purchased at all, so we are trying to sort-out the current situation as soon as possible.
  10. stevertr


    Thanks Spectre.

    Certainly a very simple, zero cost to the company, solution, since you KNOW you're having problems with activation keys, would be to remove the requirement for an activation key on the website to start a support ticket.

    That couldn't take more than a moment to do, and would route such issues far quicker to the appropriate people.

    In fact, I would imagine that a simple email address on your website such as that would go to one individual who just emailed keys back would free up the support personnel and allow them to focus on legitimate support issues.

    Anyway...thanks for you reply.

  11. spectre

    spectre Parallels Team

    270 is exactly the address you are talking about :) It doesn't require to submit email from the website, it accepts direct emails. It's just the load on that mailbox currently is too high.
    Well, we are working on it.
  12. Leauki


    May I ask why Parallels even has two (or more?) incompatible licence key systems?

    I ran into this problem when I upgraded my copy of Parallels 2 which I bought the the Irish Apple store. The upgrade key for 3.0 worked but Parallels claimed my old key from the store was invalid. I also have a copy of Parallels that I ordered directly from and with that key it worked.

    Oddly enough the other upgrade key I had worked on my other computer without even asking for the previous Parallels 2 key! That's how I could upgrade two Parallels 2 installations even though one of them had an Irish/British key.

    What exactly is the reason for two incompatible licence key systems and do the benefits of the incompatibility outweigh all these idioctic problems users have now?

    I magine there was a meeting one day and one of your guys suddenly jumped up and down in his seat and said "I know, I know, let's have two incompatible sets of licence keys! That'll ennoy our users nicely.". And for some reason his advice was listened to and I think that was a mistake.
  13. spectre

    spectre Parallels Team


    I have no idea if such meeting has taken place, but the guy who jumped out really needs some spanking :)
    More seriously, the problem you are talking about happens because of our localization policy. Each localized version (US, UK, IT, GR, ES, FR) has its own set of keys and it's own key checking algorithm. So, basically, you had UK 2.5 version with corresponding UK key, but you installed US 3.0 upgrade over it. The 3.0 upgrade key was valid for the US version, but your UK 2.5 key for the upgrade validation - was not. Looks like you purchased other PD copy online with the US key, thats why you didn't encounter the same problem.
    We are already made PD 3.0 build 4128 compatible with both US and UK 2.5 keys, so in this case the problem is solved. Unfortunately the problem still exists for other localized versions. For other localizations there is only one option currently - to wait for your particular localized 3.0 version to be released by the local distributor. You can still email us at if you have any outstanding issues because of this keys' problems.
  14. guydavies


    Hey spectre. You need to announce in BIG LETTERS at the top of your forum that you did this in build 4128. I've been beating up on Diana because my 4124 installation wouldn't validate and I hadn't thought to bother trying again when I auto-updated to 4128. This would probably get a number of people straight off your backs.


  15. Floris


    I do get replies, they are canned responses and the same each time therefor. I keep giving my customer details, my key, etc. I get the same story in return, and it is bloody frustrating.

    I do not even get a staff member to CONFIRM if I am indeed eligible for the free upgrade, or WHEN I am supposed to get the key. For over a week I have been hearing 'a few days when it becomes available'. Isn't it available? The download page does not say it is beta, the download page doesn't say it is version 3.0 - it is just a build number, and I have been mailing since last week. 2 days have passed since then according to my calendar and your press release.

    If this continues I am quite disappointed in this.
  16. Floris


    To be honest, these different versions, different country builds, locale, etc

    That's not the customers problem, but the companies. The customer downloads the one dmg file from your web site and runs it. If there's a differense it should be a dropdown with different builds, or during upgrade pick the right source from the one .dmg file. Or simply have build in convert.
  17. wcontello


    screen shot

    FYI... the ability to take a screen shot is built into Mac OS X and Windows.

    On the mac, while in the Finder, you type the key combination <CMD + SHFT + 4> The cursor will change to a cross-hair and you enclose the target area. The Finder will save a picture (called "Picture 1.png", then the next is "Picture 2.png", then "Picture n.png" where n keeps counting up).

    On Windows you use < SHFT + Print Screen> then paste into an open document of your choice.
  18. OllyW


    The problem is not that there are different localised versions, it's that you allow people from these countries to buy upgrade keys which can only be used on the US version.

    There is absolutely no warning when you start to purchase the upgrade that is is only intended for US customers. Then, to rub salt into the wounds you are transfered to a payment page which is localised for your country with the correct currency. Worst of all you can still purchase these upgrades even after all the weekends problems. (see attachment)

    Also, on the UK Parallels boxed product, there are three prominent mentions of but only one tiny reference to in the small print on the bottom flap. This means you are most likely to search the Parallels web site when you are looking for the upgrade.

    All this means that loyal customers wishing to upgrade end up frustrated, your support staff who are already stretched to the limit with supporting the new software are bogged down trying to sort keys and the companies reputation takes an unnecessary battering.

    A couple of warning boxes on the ordering pages and the download pages would solve all this hassle and best of all wouldn't cost a penny.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 12, 2007
  19. guydavies


    Hi Olly,

    As spectre mentioned above, the upgrade key (from element 5) now works with the Avanquest UK version so long as you download build 4128. It is *not* a total solution for those unfortunate folks who have bought french, italian, german, etc 'localised' versions but it does work with both the US and UK versions.

    I can attest to this as a customer whose 2.x version was purchased through a reseller of Avanquest in the UK and who bought the early adopter upgrade to 3.x from the web.

    There certainly should be warnings for the non-english versions but I suspect that your testing would have gone to an english version.


  20. AndyB


    Just a quick note to say THANKYOU for releasing this version (I'm a UK customer)

    I'm still not happy with the whole regional licensing business (works so well for dvds doenst it?) but that aside may I just point out that I fell on this thread by chance - I had decided not to bother with any upgrades and was seriously contemplating fusion... please please put a proper news item or sticky on to point UK people to the upgrade.

    As for the install - all went swimmingly well, (xp bootcamp) so again thankyou.

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