In the Pro Tools Expert Podcast 279 community member Alex Reverberi wrote in to share his experiences with some Pro Tools subscription issues he was having...
I would like to share my frustration with Avid Support and their subscription plans. 4 days ago for some unknown reason, the Avid billing system decided not to bill me and blocked my annual subscription (rental plan, which a pay $24.99 per month for) from being refreshed in my iLok, as you can imagine that brought my studio to a screeching halt. It took Avid 48 hours to resolve it, and 48 hours is a long time for a professional to be down. In fact, I ended up buying a copy of Logic so that I could run a tracking session in my private studio whilst waiting for Avid to fix their own billing issue.
I'm on the Yearly plan (set to auto-renewal), so every 30 days Avid charges my bank account and refreshes my subscription in my iLok for another 30 days. This month that didn't happen, Avid's billing system glitched, so I wasn't charged and so my subscription didn't refresh. The day this happened I made several attempts to contact Avid Support via phone but I couldn't get to speak to a human being, so ended up having to open a support ticket online. 2 days later when I finally got an answer from Avid, they put a temporary license on my account immediately whilst they tried to manually re trigger the billing system. 4 days laters everything was back to normal.
I picked up Logic as a backup is because I'm already pretty familiar with it and I didn't want to have to learn another piece of software in a very short time, I literally had only a few hours before the session was scheduled to come in, and on top of that it's actually a very commonly used platform amongst artists and producers here in Los Angeles so it's worth having anyway. I really wish Avid would give the subscribers an immediate way to contact support when account issues like these happen.
Alex thought all was well, but no, he wrote again to report that the issue had come back...
I contacted support and this time I was able to contact support via phone. One of the 2 support numbers listed on Avid website was telling me "this number is not accepting phone calls at this time" the other eventually got me into a queue for a live support tech. The tech was actually very good, he took control remotely of my desktop and discovered that there was another Pro Tools license that somehow ended up in the "hidden" tab of the iLok, which was most likely moved there by the previous tech for some unknown reason, and that's what was causing the issue the second time. Once that was moved onto the iLok the issue was solved.
In regard to the first problem, there's is assurance coming from Avid that it won't happen again, it was their automated billing system that caused the issue, and apparently, I was not the only person. On the DUC there are several people with the same issue.
Maybe I'm wrong to think so, but I do expect better from AVID, as much the big bulk of the major studios are on HD many of the same professionals use the Native version when working outside the major facilities, and when we need it, we need support fast. This is the first time in many many years that I felt the need to own something else besides Pro-Tools as a backup, and I think this same frustration is what is steering many people away from Pro-Tools. Thank you for listening to my rant, I really love your podcast guys, keep up the good work!
Alex, we agree that this was an unfortunate situation that you found yourself in. As you are a rental plan subscription it is our understanding that you effectively have a support plan and so you have access to support.
So I would always recommend that you log into your Avid Master Account and then use the Support links from there. Because Avid now has these support plans getting support outside of these plans is much more difficult which may explain some of the trouble you were having.
That said it is concerning that your Pro Tools system stopped working because of an issue with Avid's billing system. We can only hope that Avid will look at improving their systems as more and more people are using the rental option for Pro Tools, and the idea that a billing glitch could disable my Pro Tools system is a concern.
That said, we always recommend that anyone who is earning their living from Pro Tools should have a backup solution. With the Pro Tools rental option, you could always rent another copy Pro Tools for one month to get you back working. In my case, I have several options...
iLok Zero Downtime - I have zero downtime on my iLoks and keep a spare unused iLok in a drawer so that if an iLok fails I can use the zero downtime feature and be back up within 30 minutes.
Backup Boot Drive - I have SuperDuper cloning my boot drive every evening so that if my boot drive were to fail and can boot the system of the clone and be back up and working within minutes.
Backup Pro Tools System - I also own a MacBook Pro with Pro Tools 12HD installed on it primarily for working on the road, but if my Mac Pro were to fail then I could continue to work using my laptop system.