I’ve been a fairly happy user of Visual Studio over the years. For all it’s faults, I’d probably even go so far as to say it’s probably the best Microsoft product I’ve ever used – including their OS! But with 2022, we are not off to an auspicious start…
Typically, I’ve always bought the next major release as a standalone version (2013, 2017, 2019 etc) and activated with a Product Key. When VS 2022 came out, I was pretty excited and naturally assumed I could just buy a standalone copy again…
How wrong I was!
The whole sorry saga started back in November 2021 when we contacted one of our usual resellers and asked them for a quote. Initially there was some confusion because it only seemed possible to get the subscription version at the time but, after a lot of back and forth with the reseller, we eventually got a quote for the standalone version late in December. The ordering slipped into the New Year due to holidays and issues with the reseller.
When it came time to order, the reseller sent us a link to some videos explaining how to use “Microsoft Cloud Services”. I was a bit perplexed to find that we needed to watch 3 videos before we could order the software, but they assured me they were very short videos!
So, I got a cup of tea and sat down to watch the videos on “Setting up a new online services tenant” then “How to align an existing online services tenant” then “How to purchase online services” without any real idea what an “online services tenant” was, or why I needed one to just install Visual Studio. Then I thought… what the hell, why is this so complicated? Can’t I just buy this from the Microsoft Store?
So, after some digging, I found this link on the Microsoft Store, so I went ahead and added 10 copies to my basket. Job done! …or so I thought.
The Microsoft Store sent me an e-mail saying thank you for your order then, a few minutes later, another e-mail saying it had been cancelled! What?
So I tried again. This time of course, my bank flagged it as card fraud, having seen two big transactions with the same supplier. So I had to call them and get the card unblocked.
Then I tried again – third time lucky as they say! This time it seemed to go through OK. I got another order confirmation and, eventually, received an e-mail with an “Install” link for the software. However, this “Install” link just took me to the order page on Microsoft Store, with no way to download the software, no way to obtain the Product Keys and no way to activate it.
Two of us then spent 6 days on the ‘phone to Microsoft. We tried calling the Microsoft Store support, exploring every department available from their ‘phone menu. Everyone we spoke to was unable to help, and either put us on hold, redirected us to another department, or opened a ticket, only to close it later with a message to call the same number we had already tried 50+ times before. In many cases, the departments we were connected to were closed, and they simply disconnect you!
Although polite, literally nobody we spoke to at Microsoft seemed able to help us, they just bounced us around from one department to another.
We tried online chats, e-mails and creating support cases with various Microsoft teams, all to no avail. In the end, over a week later, we resorted to cancelling the order and asked them for a refund.
Now I am waiting for a refund to my credit card, which can apparently take 5-10 days.
I have since spoken to Microsoft Store support again, and they have suggested ordering 10 copies as 10 individual orders, rather than as a single order!
So, I have been trying to buy this software since November, and still don’t have it. It’s the most incredibly frustrating experience. I can’t think of any other business that we work with who could get away with this kind of service, it really is something to behold!