Has anyone else had this issue? How was it resolved?
If you are a user of Adobe's "Creative Cloud" (CC), such as their Photography Plan which includes LR and Photoshop CC, or are considering being one, and/or thinking about not renewing your subscription, READ THIS!!.
About 18 months ago I switched to the Adobe CC Photography Plan, which at $9.99 p/m for Lightroom 6, Photoshop and some other cloud services, seemed like a good deal. It was! And so after a few months of experimenting with it, and to save the hassle of monthly billing, I switched to the annual plan ($131 or thereabouts inc. taxes). My old LR5 catalogues referencing 40,000+ images were updated to the new LR CC catalogues, which during the period of my subscription were updated further.
Well, over the last several months I have been becoming increasingly disenchanted with Adobe, their terrible customer service - which is mostly outsourced to India with all the inherent language, understanding and competency issues - and the fact that there are some really good alternatives for photographers out there which are very competitive in price, and in their capabilities - some might even say some are better! I now almost exclusively use Capture One or DXO OpticsPro 10 as my RAW converters for example (and I do find that they are better), and I have moved almost all my PP over to Affinity and One1 Photo 10 - they pretty much do everything I want to do with my work.
So about 3 weeks ago, when my subscription was about to renew, I made the decision to part company with this Adobe service and not to renew it. In preparation for this I went to the Adobe website HERE (which is under the "Learn & Support" page of the Adobe Lightroom CC Page) to see what might happen to my images. On this page I scrolled down to the Common Questions section and then down to the question "Can I access my images in Lightroom on desktop after my membership ends?" Here is the answer to that question: "Lightroom on desktop will continue to launch and allow access to your files after your membership ends. However, the Develop and Map modules are disabled. Also, after your membership ends, synchronization with Lightroom on mobile devices will no longer function”. - I have attached a screen capture of this question and answer to this post so you can see it for yourselves!
That was fine for me, as all I wanted to be able to do was to access my pp'd images and export them (in DNG or TIFF format) for use with other software as necessary. The original RAW files of course were outside LR and so I could always access them in unprocessed format. But it's the "finished images" with all the hours of work I had put into them, I needed access to. GREAT! WELL ....NOT EXACTLY!!
Armed with this answer I let my subscription expire - I received numerous "billing" emails telling me that my renewal billing had failed, even though I had made 3 phone calls to Adobe's Indian based customer support to again tell them I was not renewing and to please leave me alone ... and finally they did .. no more emails!
HOWEVER yesterday I set about beginning the work of exporting my finished images out of LR, however when I launched the DESKTOP version of LR I got an "Activation Failed" message, saying that I needed to activate Lightroom in order to launch it. I have attached a screen shot of this message to this post as well.
I tried "activating", but each time I did it wanted to charge my card with the $131! No, this was not the deal, as per what I have explained above.
So, at about 4pm my time yesterday, I initiated a chat session with Adobe to get this sorted out. Needless to say this proved totally useless as both Lightroom "specialists" I was passed to "Shubham" and "Chandan Kumar" only repeatedly told me that my subscription had expired and refused to even talk about the problem I had been having and which I repeatedly included in my chat messages. Here is an extract from the chat transcript:
Chandan Kumar: Hi Christopher.
Chandan Kumar: I am reviewing your issue. Please stay online and do not close the chat window or browser in order to ensure our chat session connectivity
Christopher Oldham: Ok
Chandan Kumar: I understand that your subscription got expired and you need to restart the plan and use the subscription. Right?
Christopher Oldham: NO - why doesn't anybody read my submission!!!! My plan has expired. I want to access my Lightroom and Photoshop Catalogues so that I can export the adjusted and post processed photographs into other applications. I understood that I could access my software after the subscription ended with limited functionality, which included the ability to do what I am asking about. However I am now unable to launch LR 6 etc, and access the catalogue. I need to do this
Chandan Kumar: Thank you for the information.
Chandan Kumar: Christopher, Let me explain.
Chandan Kumar: I see that subscription under your account is expired due to billing issue.
Chandan Kumar: I see that Adobe try to charge $131.03 but payment is not processed for your bank so I request you to contact bank and resolve the issue and place new order under your account so then you can able to use the application.
Chandan Kumar: Christopher, I see that in order to access the photography application you need to purchase photography subscription then you can able to access the application.
Christopher Oldham: PLEASE GIVE ME THE PHONE NUMBER - YOU CANNOT HELP ME
Chandan Kumar: Sure, let me assist you with phone support number.
Chandan Kumar: Please reach out to our Technical Support at 1-800-833-6687 between for Monday to Friday 5 AM to 7 PM PST for assistance.
The chat session took 34 mins (inc 5 mins wait time at the beginning to be connected) to get ... NOWHERE!
So, I immediately phoned the number Chandon had given me. I won't bore you with the details of that call, but suffice to say that the call LASTED 3 HRS AND 37 MINUTES and I was connected to no less than 7 representatives, including 2 Supervisors, who passed me from department to department and gave me conflicting information over and over again. Such as "Your trial expired on 27th July, and you only have 7 days after your trial ends to access your photographs" (NOTE: I didn't have a trial, I had a subscription for over 18 months!); "On May 9th, Adobe changed their policy and limited trials to 7 days, it is on the Adobe Blog" (Same NOTE as above!); "Once you end your subscription you cannot launch Lightroom again until you buy a new subscription" (NOTE: see the screenshot in this post from Adobe which contradicts this); "Your Login has changed and is no longer associated with this Adobe account" (NOTE: FALSE, my login has never changed and I can still login to my Adobe account!); "I think your desktop version of Lightroom must be corrupted, let me transfer you to the department that can fix that for you" AAHAAA, maybe we were getting somewhere! ... but NO!, I was directed to that department who just repeated more of the same things - if I wanted access to my images I would have to purchase a subscription.
Well it was after 7.30pm my time now, 3 1/2 hours into this fiasco and my patience was wearing thin. I finally insisted I speak to the highest level supervisor on the floor to get this sorted out. I was then connected to a lady who spoke very good English, and after reading the notes and listening to my request once more, she put me on hold for 5 minutes to "look into the matter". While on hold I heard my email go "ping" and I saw a message from Adobe Creative Cloud, subject "Your Account has been Credited". The message stated that I had been given a 7 day free trial of the CC Photography Plan!! She came back on the phone, and said she had arranged for me to have 7 "free days" to access my images and export them from my catalogue in any format of my choosing, after which trial I would have no further access to them. While still on the phone, I launched Lightroom CC and Photoshop respectively successfully. I thanked her for this "solution" for me, and asked her to convey to her Adobe superiors that this was in direct contravention of statements on the Adobe website - she said she would "refer it for discussion"!
So a total of 4hrs 11 minutes of contact with Adobe support finally ended with me having 7 more days in which to access my images - even though the Adobe Website says that there is no restriction for access, albeit with limited functionality!
I am now exporting all my images and saying goodbye to Adobe for ever! Thank goodness I never used their Cloud services for storage, as I cannot imagine what I would have to go through to get those images back. I never trust a 3rd party with the storage of my images anyway, unless they are duplicates.
I apologize for this very long post, but forewarned is forearmed in case you find yourselves in this position.
Cheers and Good Luck!