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Pye’s First Major Issue with Adobe Creative Cloud

By Pye Jirsa on May 15th 2014

My Initial Thoughts on Adobe CC

When Adobe announced Creative Cloud, I understood the purpose and how the new direction could actually be a really good thing.

For our studio, we need current versions of Adobe software and we were spending a lot of money with each upgrade. So having a smaller monthly amount to have access to the latest and greatest was actually a welcome package. That is, until tonight when the Adobe CC login servers went down.

Tonight’s Service Outage

I don’t want to make this an overly harsh article. Up until now, I have had no issues with Adobe Creative Cloud. Well, actually, that isn’t true.

The only issue I have had is that on occasion I am using my Adobe apps offline while traveling. It can be quite frustrating when the Creative Cloud app decides that you need to “re-login” when you have no internet service. In those moments I have to scramble to get my computer online, just so I can re-verify my licenses.

But, I have dealt with that issue silently up until now. Tonight on the other hand is another story. Tonight, the Adobe Creative Cloud login servers apparently are having issues, and it just so happens that tonight my Creative Cloud App asked me to login to re-verify my license. The result? Well, as you can see, I get a nice error message shown below.


The result? Well, I can’t use Photoshop or Premiere which are the two apps that I currently need. Not only do I currently need these apps, I am actually working on a client deliverable that is due tomorrow where I NEED to use Photoshop and Premiere. So, it’s time to transfer to a backup machine running CS6 or another copy of CC (where hopefully it is still logged in).

In the meanwhile, I had a fruitless conversation with customer support.

My Conversation with Adobe Customer Support

As soon as the chat window for customer support opened, Snigdha pasted a message that is experiencing an outage. I knew she wouldn’t be able to help fix that problem, but I was hoping she may be able to direct me to some sort of offline backdoor solution to temporarily use the apps offline. That apparently wasn’t possible. You can see the chat and full text below.


Hi, we are currently helping other customers in line ahead of you. We’ll be with you as soon as possible.

While you wait, you can try our community forums where experts are online 24/7.

You are now chatting with ‘Snigdha’

Snigdha: Hello! Welcome to Adobe Customer Service.

Payam Jirsa: Hi

Snigdha: Hi Payam .

Snigdha: We are sorry but and related services are experiencing a login based outage. Our apologies for the inconvenience and request you to check back after a few hours as our IT/Web team is working on this.

Payam Jirsa: This is kinda crazy

Snigdha: Our IT team is working on that issue. Hopefully it will be fixed within few hours. I am very sorry for the inconvenience.

Payam Jirsa: I need my applications available now for work

Payam Jirsa: and I can’t even use them

Snigdha: I am sorry that the applications are down currently hence we are unable to check the information, I request you to please contact us back after 24 hours so that we will be able to assist you better.

Snigdha: I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that may have caused to you.

Snigdha: I really appreciate your patience in this regard.

Payam Jirsa: So Adobe has no solution to use apps offline when this occurs?

Payam Jirsa: Seems crazy to not be able to use software we are subscribed to

Payam Jirsa: Is there any way to get the application to load offline?

Snigdha: I am sorry, you please check back after 24 hours.

Snigdha: Thank you for contacting Adobe. We are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Goodbye!

Why is This Even an Issue? No Temporary Offline Mode?

So, what’s the conclusion? Well, I am stuck here at 1AM not able to finish a client deliverable that I will need to complete by tomorrow night. Hopefully, in a few hours the issue will be solved, and I will be able to complete this project in time for delivery. If not, we fortunately have other computers around the office with CS6 and CC subscriptions which hopefully are still logged in. Just in case, I am currently transferring my 500GB project just in case. Though the transfer itself will require a couple hours itself.

All-in-all, I found this issue to be rather silly. Creative Cloud subscribers are monthly paying customers. Shouldn’t we be able to use applications we are paying for in moments like this, or while traveling without internet?

There is a solution so simple it makes me wonder, “Adobe, why is this even an issue that needs to be solved?”

Why can’t we simply have a “work offline” mode when Creative Cloud is unable to verify the subscription that would allow the user some sort of 24-48 hour grace period? If traveling and Creative Cloud needs to verify my license, having 1-2 days to get myself to an internet connection, while still being able to use my apps would be a life saver.

Not to mention, when Adobe themselves have technical issues like this one, having a 24-48 hour “work offline” grace period would make major problems like this become non-issues.

Instead, I am stuck here waiting to be able to work. Fortunately, I happen to have other machines in the studio with CC and CS6, so currently I am transferring my work in order to keep on working. But, it is time consuming, and it seems crazy to even have to do this as a paying customer. The only good news is that I did just complete an article with all of this spare time =). However, I do wonder just how many professionals out there are currently stuck without another machine and license to fall back on?

My Request to Adobe

Dear Adobe, we as photographers support your company and the amazing pieces of software that enable us to create our work and art. Hence, we are subscribers and proponents of your products, including Creative Cloud.

However, as loyal customers, we feel like we are being ignored. We have pleaded and begged for Lightroom to run more efficiently, to be able to utilize advanced system resources to boost performance, etc. We have reached out to you to help in R&D and future development to help make better products. Yet it seems like nothing has changed, and we continue to be ignored.

On top of everything, right now, we are unable to even use an application that we are paying for. Please, help us by listening and supporting us customers, especially those of us who have been so fiercely loyal to Adobe throughout the years.

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Founding Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography and SLR Lounge.

Follow my updates on Facebook and my latest work on Instagram both under username @pyejirsa.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Robert Mansfield

    Hey… Pye… what about now that all the CC products where updated to 2014 release… any more issues?
    Where you able to update your computers?
    Can you still finish your jobs? Can you provide some insight on Adobe CC?

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  2. Janne

    If you are an annual subscriber, only one re-verification is needed at the time of renewal of the subscription – period.

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  3. Jim Berton

    It doesn’t matter whether you are a pro or a hobbyist…….you need it when you need it…and you are paying for it. It gets old re-booting and reloading apps. That’s the common response from their lousy tech support. I use lightroom the most, so i went out and bought it, even though i am paying for it on a subscription…and i am having no problems with it. CC is their excuse to not fix anything…when the new releases before CC came along…if adobe had this lousy service…it would affect the number of people who upgrade. Now, with CC, they are getting our money and they really don’t have to do a thing..just throw us a few bones every now and then. if we get tired of their crap, we cancel our subscription, but we lose the whole program. At work we have multiple copies (6) of CS6…and i have convinced them to never go to the CC subscription.

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  4. Kiel

    While I understand this is a TERRIBLE issue, I think this is akin to the question of “why have multiple memory cards” or “why carry 2 camera bodies?” – to be ready for the worst case scenario.

    For Adobe CC it was pretty evident that it would be login / verification issues when there’s no internet or Adobe CC has an server/login issue. Now, I recognize for some machines having TWO versions of Adobe PS could be overkill and leave very little room for other stuff, but if you’re going to pay $800 or more for a back-up camera body to make sure you get the shot, paying ONCE for a bare bones Adobe elements or Adobe CS5 as a back-up in case of CC issues might be a good idea if you have deadlines and are moving around to different locations a lot.

    The main problem with my suggestion is that Adobe is essentially phasing out all non-CC services, so getting CS5 or anything earlier is becoming harder and harder. That said, there are other services you could purchase as a back-up alternate for the “worst case scenarios” with CC.

    This issue you’re having is actually why I haven’t jumped onto CC yet. I don’t do a lot of work on the run, but I don’t like being handcuffed to the internet to do my job / edits. Though I do like the idea of it, so I will eventually migrate, but not until my next machine build.

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    • Kiel

      Sorry also I recognize that certain newer machines won’t be able to install or use CS5 or CS4 etc. Which is when the alternate software would also come into play.

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  5. Jim Berton

    I have been paying for the photoshop/lightroom subscription for 6 months now and i don’t even have CC loaded. After spending over 11 hours with their inept tech support, i gave up and will finish paying the monthly subscription until my year is up and then cancel. i love photoshop but i literally hate adobe. lucky enough my day job has photoshop, so i use it there. I have 4 different machines that they could load it on, but no luck.

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  6. tom

    Maybe just pay fr it, and then crack it so you can be legal, but work offline.

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    • wjp

      I think that would violate both the license agreement and the DMCA. So while you would be up and running, and you would have paid for the service; you would likely not “be legal”.

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  7. John

    I agree Pye. For a company like Adobe that created “Content Aware” can surely figure out a way to make sure this doesn’t happen in the future.

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  8. Lamar

    There is no need for uncivil comments. We all have opinions and some people including myself have had similar problems. The post lets users know they are not alone experiencing these problems, points out the need for better customer service from Adobe and responders have suggested tweaks to they should seriously consider to the CC service.

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  9. Randal Queen

    Think if your hard drive was also on the Cloud, like some systems today. An attack by the wrong individuals at the wrong time, and like the PS3 network which was down for weeks, one could not only risk not getting the Adobe app they need, but everything they need. As a systems admin who went through the Blade way of thinking (bad system), I have never liked the Cloud as a place for anything besides backups. And using Time Warner as my ISP, I can’t trust them not being up and they are known to go down. I understand you were saving from expensive upgrades, but now this. Sorry to hear. Hope you work it out for both you and the client. And that they are gracious clients at that. Everything looks good on paper till you have to have a network that can back it up. No system is flawless.

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  10. Kristoffer Cox

    Long live CS6!!!

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  11. Jim Peterson

    I have had repeated problems with CC (mostly related to installing updates, but now also with working when not connected to the internet) ever since I first subscribed nearly a year ago. And Adobe’s technical service absolutely STINKS!!! They have wasted dozens of hours of my time, repeatedly walking me through “shot in the dark” fixes that don’t don’t fix anything and sometimes make things worse. Their CC model is a massive technical and customer service failure and a monstrous disservice to their customers. If a viable alternative to Photoshop appears on the market, I will switch to it in a heartbeat.

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  12. Magnus Nyborg

    I have mixed emotions about Adobe CC. On one hand, it curbs piracy in a efficient way. On the other hand, the price goes up when you look at it long term. It also adds the biproduct of problems like this. As a full-time student for years, I have been using Adobe software since 2005. Once Adobe CC was released, I finally had the chance of getting the entire Adobe-range at an affordable price. Having legitimate software and getting updates constantly feel great, and once I start making money on this the price is not a problem either.

    Still, CC should be (and obviously is) a fullworthy replacement for the CS-series. I think they sufficiently have done that; until now. They should be more clear on licensing in the Adobe CC app – maybe have a button that allows you to update license manually, and check the amount of days until you have to go online again; like spotify does with their offline-users. If you subscribe annualy, some someone posted earlier, 99 days should be sufficient for the most of us.

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    • Adam

      I’m actually not sure it does curb piracy in an efficient way.

      In this case if Pye had pirated the software he’d be working now blissfully unaware of Adobe’s problems.

      So the new licensing system makes the official product inferior to the pirated one…

      (to be clear I’m not advocating piracy)

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  13. Andreas (Vader) Hohl

    Here is a suggestion to get Adobe’s attention with federal help behind you. Simply buy 1 share of Adobe stock. This makes you a shareholder. Then contact Adobe as a shareholder. If they do not respond, then simply notify the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) about how a company that you own shares of doesn’t respond to a shareholder’s inquiry. This usually turns up the heat real quickly. :)

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  14. Joe

    It is the old story of a dog walking on its hind legs: its not that it does it very well, but that it does it at all.
    Like the guy falling off the Empire State Building: people heard him say, as he went by each floor, “so far, so good.”
    What is surprising is that there is absolutely nothing on no notice, no words of comfort…
    Obviously, I will have to re-think my Cloud-based computer “model,” as the “clouds” have darkened.

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  15. randyb

    Turn off your wifi and then open the app, it worked of me using Muse. I originally had the same problem.

    Hope that helps.

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  16. Michael Rapp

    Face it: Big companies only listen when money’s doing the talking. I’m really interested in how many lawsuits for damages will be rolling Adobe’s way.
    A cheap way way for a temporary fix of this issue would be a kind of temporary licence code, handed out by a human hotline agent on the phone.
    Now, in itself, I have nothing huge against the whole cc concept, except for my wish to buy out of your contract and retain your current version for x dollars. Where I have my issues is that my software needs to phone home, so you have to have www. This sucks in principle and is prone to problems. As seen.
    The other issue is that they need to have and store my credit card info, no way of PayPal or any other way of payment.
    Anyone remember the Sony incident a couple of months back? A gazillion card numbers got lifted from their server, and it really burns me that I have to husstle because they can’t get a grip on their data security.
    The model in itself is not bad, but it’s current implementation has room for improvement.

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  17. Charles Putnam

    It’s not just you. PC World just reported that it’s a system wide issue. Hope Adobe learns from this snafu.

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  18. Troy

    So my InDesign CC picked yesterday to start screwing up – of course in the middle of a project that was by EOD to the client. I managed to hobble through and finish it, though not as well as I would have liked. After investigating the issue, I found Adobe’s advice was to re-install the app. So naturally it was my luck to uninstall the app on the day when the whole freaking thing blows up. Now I’m just praying it will take the client a couple of days to send me revisions, as I have NO WAY of downloading the program I’m paying a subscription for.

    And of course when I contact customer support I get the “I’m sorry, our service is down. Please try back in two hours,” line. This was my biggest fear with the subscription system…argh!

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  19. Mary

    My creative cloud version of photoshop after this event happened has a pop up window that says I need to update my trial version with a serial number. I never installed a trial version. I am not able to use my photoshop at all. I had a deadline on a job at 7pm PST and Adobe says I am SOL until the system is back up. Apparently they are not able to log in and fix anything or check on anything. So, telling my client they have to wait until the morning, and yet it still is not up and running. So much for, purchase Adobe CC, it will work when not online. Yeah, right!!!!

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  20. Lukas

    Everybody who pirated didn’t have a problem at all, I suppose.
    Just like with DRM, paying customers get shafted.

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    • ROBERT

      Yay. Way to go Jack Sparrow…. (PIRATE in case you didn’t catch it)

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  21. Neil Waybright

    This is my greatest fear with the CC model. I hope Adobe does something about this, but as consumers we may have to take matters into our own hands. Call them to task at conferences, encourage people not to move over until the address the issues, and end the end, if they cause you economic damages, there are additional routes available to you.

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  22. Teresa

    This is exactly why I hesitated to get CC, when I need my apps, I need them. Now I know they need to find a fix before I even consider it :(

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  23. Dave Block

    Great post. This has always been one of my biggest concerns with CC – sorry that your lottery number came up when you had a client deliverable.

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  24. Helen

    I have had similar problems with CC running on Windows (but never running on a Mac) but have always been able to relbuild the license data file if online or run in trial mode if offline at the time the license corruption. Then I just ran in trial mode until I could get an internet connection. Not ideal, but never disastrous.

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  25. Allison

    Adobe CC was a load of garbage to begin with.
    I definitely understand it’s appeal to large businesses, but as a full-time student who has other things to worry about, I’m going to stick with my boxed versions of CS6.

    Nothing I need to worry about other than opening the program.

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  26. Herm Tjioe

    You just articulated what i’ve been saying all along . The chink in the armor of Adobe’s cloud service model. Please have updates to this mess.

    I have been steadfastly avoiding CC so far.

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  27. Brad

    You need to post this to the Adobe feedback forums. They def read the posts there. The other day a senior programmer responded to one of my comments there.

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    • SRID

      Except you can’t post to the forums because they are all down as well as you can’t sign in!

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  28. Gregory

    I have found that every time an a program gets an update I have to re-log into CC… and then when CC get’s updated I have to re-log into every program, which is just annoying.

    I could be wrong… but didn’t/doesn’t Adobe (and most companies) have trial periods for programs that lock after 30 days after installing/using? I don’t recall ever having to login to anything during that period to use a trial, so why can’t the same principal be applied to CC?

    Give me some sort of token, cookie or whatever that updates monthly on login or something of that nature.

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  29. Lynn Salt

    Thank you for posting. I am having the same problem and thought I was going crazy because my login wouldnt work! I feared that this would happen with the Cloud, now for those of us using it and dependent on fonts etc, we’re stuck. hope it gets fixed soon……

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  30. Adam

    This was inevitable once they went to the subscription model.

    I refused to buy into the CC model because I, like most wildlife photographers, spend weeks at a time in Africa far away from internet access. I’ll be sticking with my boxed versions.

    Obviously the urban hipsters at Adobe have no idea what its like in the real world.

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  31. Matthew Saville

    From the very beginning of the concept I have thought that it would be much better if Adobe could offer yearly subscriptions, or even multi-year subscriptions, so that we could purchase a license that more closely resembles what we have been used to for all the past years.

    Even if I have internet access, I prefer to keep my computers “off the grid” for day to day work. Admittedly, partly for silly, principle “big brother” / NSA related reasons. But still, I should be able to do whatever I want right? Oh well…


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  32. Manuela

    You CAN work offline with the Creative Cloud – 30 days if you are a monthly subscriber, 99 days if you are an annual subscriber. Here’s an excerpt of Adobe’s FAQ:
    An Internet connection is required the first time you install and license your desktop apps, but you can use the apps in offline mode with a valid software license. The desktop apps will attempt to validate your software licenses every 30 days.
    For annual members, you can use the apps for up to 99 days in offline mode. Month-to-month members can use the software for up to 30 days in offline mode.

    I think you were just very unfortunate that the Creative Cloud needed to verify your license right at that moment when the servers experienced issues.

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    • Pye

      Those offline mode days don’t appear to “restart” after you validate. Previously, I remember it would allow me to work offline when it required a validation or in a “trial mode” if I remember right. Now, it doesn’t allow me to work in any sort of “trial” or “temporary offline mode.” We are annual subscribers. The problem is that when it needs to validate, if there is no sort of “trial or offline mode” for at least a 24-48 hour period, issues like their servers going down become major problems for working professionals. I have had plenty of times when this re-verification happens during travel. If Adobe has an option or button, allowing me to “re-verify” before going on a trip, or if it would re-verify everytime an active connection is detected. This wouldn’t have been a problem. My work machine is online 24/7. It just so happens that when the re-verification happened on its own timeline, the Adobe servers are down. Were it constantly re-verifying, then the 30 days or 99 day offline would never come up, and service outages like this would go unnoticed.

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    • Adam

      Bottom line is Pye may miss a client deadline because of Adobe licensing restrictions. Clients don’t care what’s in a FAQ and nor should they.

      It was obvious from the start that situations like this were going to happen and will keep happening.

      Wouldn’t have CC for free – CS6 works no matter where I am and my output depends on me, not Adobe’s servers.

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    • Mary

      Manuela, I have to disagree. I have to validate my subscription, every time I try to open up Photoshop CC. Not just once, every time. Maybe your one of the lucky ones. I am an annual subscriber and this annoys me. Also, every time I call Adobe customer service, they are so not helpful and know very little about the program.

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    • George

      Mary, there must be some kind of issue with your Photoshop as what Manuela is saying is very much true. Like Pye has mentioned I believe it has its fallbacks but it definitely doesn’t require you to validate it every time you boot.

      Customer support is reliable, if the person you are talking to doesn’t seem to understand your issue or doesn’t really give a solution, ask to talk to someone that does.

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    • fotosiamo

      Sometimes the reason why it asks you to validate multiple times is because the license has been used on more than two computers. I think I solved this by making sure the Adobe CC license has deactivated on the computers that I no longer use my CC license on. Now, I have it on two computers and have not been asked to log in in a long time.

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  33. Alexander Rambow

    I Would rather appreciate if it updated every time you are online. Or at least an “Update Licence Now” Button if you know you are going to travel and have no Internet for some days. Cant be that hard to Create a Solution like this.

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  34. Jens

    As an IT-Professional I saw this one coming when they first announced Creative Cloud, and I have voiced my opinion on software going that route whenever I saw a problematic model.

    However large corporations like Adobe, Microsoft, Google etc. are perfectly capable of being blissfully ignorant to any complaints if they wish. The only pressure point on them is a huge fall in revenue (or likely hood of it happening)…

    Basically, if a large enough usergroup of Photographers, Designers etc. where to abandon CC with the message that you need the ability to be offline and so had to find alternatives, they might not feel forced to listen…

    So your message is far more important to get out to your colleagues than to Adobe, so you can apply a united pressure.

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    • Jens

      *they might not feel forced to listen

      Was meant to say: they might feel forced to listen

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  35. marco r

    Unfortunatly i have not run into this problem but i assure you if we did we could lose clients over it.

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