Digital River: Easy To Download From, Impossible To Reach

Digital software downloads! Fast. Convenient. But sometimes, it can’t compare with having a physical disc and a printed product key sitting in front of you. That’s what Daniel’s roommate learned when he tried to download Windows 7 from Digital River.

My roommate purchased the digital download of Windows 7 using the $30 education pricing from Microsoft’s partner, Digital River. All went well with the purchase, and he received a confirmation email containing his purchase details. Since he doesn’t have a printer, he wrote out all of the information from the email, including the product key, onto a piece of paper. He then went ahead and installed Windows 7.

The install went fine until he reached the product activation screen, which is when things took a turn for the worse. He put in the product key that he copied down and the installer rejected it. He checked and double checked what he typed in VS what he wrote down, but he couldn’t get it to accept the code. Also, since his computer was stuck in the installation phase, he couldn’t access the original email. (His email program was set to delete the messages off of the server)

He borrowed my computer and went back to the page where he purchased the license figuring that the order confirmation/download page should have the product key. He input his information and got an “access denied” message from the server. So he found another place to login to get to the order confirmation page, input his information, and got the same error.

He then decided to try to contact Digital River. He clicked on contact us and was presented with an email form. He decided that he would rather call them, but couldn’t find a number anywhere on the site. So I did some Googlling and found an 800 number that just gave a busy tone. While I was Googling, I found another Consumerist article about Digital River that included a reference to So he went to, input his information, and this time it displayed an order confirmation page with a download link, but alas, no product key.

Since I couldn’t seem to find a phone number, he decided to go ahead and use the email contact form. He input his information into it, wrote that his product key wasn’t working, clicked submit, and got the same “Access Denied” page that he got before.

At this point, I remembered that Google finance often lists phone numbers for companies, so I looked on Google finance, found a number, and called it, only to be greeted with “Thank you for calling Digital River, we are closed right now”. At this point, I started laughing because Digital River obviously didn’t want to be contacted.

Determined, my roommate did some further Googling, managed to find an entire forum dedicated to bashing Digital River, which listed a phone number for them. He called the number, waited on hold for around 10 minutes, and was connected to an overseas representative who wasn’t very enthusiastic to help him. She gave him the code, he inputted it, it worked, and now he has Windows 7. The whole ordeal took over 2 hours, which is at least 1 hour and 50 minutes too long.

He now never wants to buy anything from Digital River again, although I’m sure when the next version of Windows comes out he’ll be forced to.

Nice detective work finding that phone number. Lesson learned: Have a printer for the product key, or forward your e-mail to someone who does.

That number, in case you might need it, is 952-253-1234.

Hey, Digital River, Try Reading Your Customer Service Email

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