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The Bit Bucket (Greg Low): IDisposable

Ramblings of Greg Low (SQL Server MVP, MCM and Microsoft RD) - SQL Down Under

An update on using Rosetta Stone: Studio now isn't very useful and is not great value as an add-on option

I had a surprisingly large number of responses from my previous posting about learning Chinese. An update for those considering Rosetta Stone (www.rosettastone.com) for Chinese, Spanish or any other language that they offer:

I had to renew my "Studio" subscription today and it's now a much worse deal than it was.

It's now $75 for 6 months for Studio sessions.

  • Online classes used to be 45 mins. Recently they reduced them to 20 mins. Given how often people have connection issues, etc. that 20 mins can disappear very quickly.
  • They've also reduced the number you can attend. You used to be able to have 2 scheduled at any point in time. Now they limit you to 2 "group sessions" per month during the period. (You can pay for additional private sessions).

The combination of these two changes now makes it much less useful. Two x 20 min sessions per month is an almost meaningless amount of practice.

They also now automatically change you to auto-renew when you subscribe. They tell you where to remove this auto-renewal but the first 4 or 5 times that I went into that screen, no such option appeared. Later, an option did appear and I used it.

Overall, things just aren't what they used to be at Rosetta Stone. It's now pretty hard to recommend the Studio option where it was a no-brainer before.

FURTHER UPDATE: <sigh>

Even after I renewed, I could not even connect to their "new" service. Although the system processed the renewal, it still tells me it's expired. My online chat person "Siva S" tells me that the problem is that I've purchased all 5 levels of the program. I can't wait till they explain to me how making an extra purchase from them stops me from logging on. Siva told me that they had "renewed" the program. I'd have to speak to Customer Care; they aren't available and then disconnected himself. Impressive (not).

Their website is now full of issues too. It insists that my billing address is in the USA, even though it pretends to accept changes to it.

Overall, it's gone from something that could be recommended (with some limitations) to now being an app to avoid. That's a pity as I liked much of it before.

Published Wednesday, November 28, 2012 7:20 PM by Greg Low

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Don M said:

Hello,

I, too, am very unhappy about the changes of Rosetta Studio. I just had to renew my subscription today, unaware of the change in the amount of times you can do a group session, and I have to say that I would NOT have renewed had I known of the changes...

The change from 50 minute to 25 minute sessions was bittersweet, but this new change from unlimited sessions to just TWO PER MONTH is downright ridiculous! After my current cycle is done, I will no longer be a customer of Rosetta Stone unless they change back to the previous format.

And the auto-renew thing is so incredibly sneaky... What's worse is that even if you sign up for 6-months for $75.00, when that cycle ends, it won't renew at the rate of $12.5/month, but it will go to $25/month!!! Soooo sneaky this Rosetta Stone...  

Incredibly unhappy. If anybody is reading this now and considering of Rosetta Stone, my verdict for you is NOT RECOMMENDABLE! Stay away!

December 12, 2012 2:33 PM
 

Greg Low said:

I got up at 5am today to attend their "chat" session where they wanted feedback about the Studio changes.

That was a complete waste of time. It was a session that just pushed the line that said the changes were to make it quicker for you to get access to the group sessions and to let you have two instead of one. But they are now much slower and you previously could have unlimited sessions, but could only prebook two.

In the "chat" session, they just avoided all the hard questions.

What's worse, is that they pretended to care. With any of the obvious things that could go wrong with this, they just said "just call us and we'll make it right". However, they don't publish a phone number. I've been to the support "chat" page. They could not answer the questions, said they'd escalated it and that someone would contact me within 24 to 48 hours, but of course no-one ever did do so.

I can only imagine that they've had some sort of change in the company and they've suddenly got very greedy. That's ok for those signing up now but for everyone that was signed up before and understood how it worked, the changes are quite appalling.

While I'd have recommended them in the past (with reservations), there's no way I could recommend their current program or the way that they do business now.

December 13, 2012 5:07 PM
 

Mike said:

I too got scammed.  Really, two 25 minute sessions a month for $25 with 3 other people, technical problems and static!  However, I complained and got a refund.  There is no way I'll ever buy Rosetta Stone again.  It's a massive waste of money.  Other programs can teach you just as much or more in less time, for less money and are more entertaining.  The only reason I had Rosetta Stone was for the studio sessions.

December 31, 2012 9:34 AM
 

Paul said:

I dumped the program too.  Too bad.  I really enjoyed learning Spanish with them.  I will miss it.

February 6, 2013 11:38 AM
 

Dave said:

I just finished all three levels of Korean that they offer.  I am also disappointed with the studio session changes however, with my three months of free online access, I appear to be limited to four 25 minute sessions per month, not two as other commenters have said.  Did RS change their policy?

I don't know.  More helpful than the Studio Sessions, I spend most of my online time with their Picari game playing solo which is their flashcard game; I find the game a great review tool and a great way to determine which words I've already forgotten.  I still like RS and would buy it again.  But I never enjoyed the studio sessions as much as others did.

March 18, 2013 10:17 PM
 

Ginny said:

I just finished my first Studio Session and I HATED it! The teacher (native Spanish speaking) seemed haughty and impatient, even to the point of embarrassing me in front of the other two students. I do enjoy the lessons but I'm never going to do the Studio Session thing again...just too much stress. Instead, I'll go to a nice authentic Mexican restaurant and chat it up with the waiters. Will probably learn more that way, anyway.  :)

January 30, 2014 4:43 PM
 

Greg Low said:

Yep, I decided to stop using Studio. It was no longer a good product.

In terms of the teachers though, I'd suggest trying again. With the Chinese ones, one or two were excellent, a few were ok, and some were not good. I recall the worst one looked like she really couldn't bother being there and was bored out of her brain. She was lounging all over the desk and her water bottle and basically just got the students to talk to each other only. I've seen that a few times.

But the worst part of the short sessions is there are frequent audio / video problems and too much of the 20 mins can just disappear.

And yes, Dave, after lots of complaints they changed to four per month but I also found it was very difficult to schedule them. I then tried purchasing a block of ten private ones but that was even harder to schedule. For example, no individual time slots were ever within the next two weeks, only group times.

January 30, 2014 5:44 PM

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