A Negative Review of the My Well Planned Day Software

NOTE: On 9/13/2013 I updated the My Well Planned Day Saga in a post you can find here.  This post that you will read below was originally written and published in January of of 2013.

About a year ago Home Education Family Association, announced that they were developing FABULOUS new web based software for planning just about everything in your life!  Not only could you keep track of lesson plans and grades but it’d be fantastic for field trip planning, memory keeping, meal planning, grocery shopping, chores, to-dos, and just about everything else a busy homeschooling family needs to juggle.  There would be mobile apps that worked offline that you could sync with the program and all members of your family could have their own log-ins so they could be responsible for their own lives.

I love using technology to make life easy and I had experienced other top notch products this company provides.  I admit that I was excited!  There was an Alpha testing period from April to May and the Beta release came June 1.  The subscription to the program is $65 however if you bought during the Beta period you’d save $25 on your first and second year.  The full release was scheduled for August. That sounded like a reasonable discount to put up with some bugs for 2 or 3 months.

My husband has developed software systems for a major company.  I asked him his definition of a product in Beta and the role of a Beta Tester. This is what he said…. a program that is complete and finished but may experience errors and bugs.  A Beta tester uses the program and discovers and reports on those bugs for the company.

Once I gained access to the program I discovered it was only partially developed.   For example, we did not even have a working calendar.  How you use planning software without a calendar is beyond me.  Once a calendar become available… many months into the process it was lacking key features such as the ability to repeat events.  But I guess I’m getting ahead of myself.

During this time the company provided us frequent updates via email, their website, and their Facebook page.  We had access to biweekly webinars that taught us how to use the program and provided us information about when we could expect anticipated updates.  Updates came regularly… weekly at first if I recall but then biweekly.   They set up a system on their website to inform us of what updates had occurred recently and when and what updates to expect in the coming weeks.

In July it became clear to me they wouldn’t have everything they promised by release date in August.  I briefly reconsidered my decision to buy in early, but really I was stuck already.  I was outside of my 30 day window to ask for a refund.    August came and they started charging full price despite the lack of promised features and numerous bugs.

August brought a few more updates, but communication began to slow.  There wasn’t much news on the Facebook page and they stopped updating the website.  September began and I started using the program in earnest as this is the beginning of our school year.  I spent HOURS entering software and lesson plans for my two children.  I noticed there were a lot of comments on the Facebook page.  Many people had questions about how to use the program.  Some had glitches I didn’t.  I had glitches others didn’t.  They announced a new forum for users would be made available before the end of the month.  That forum has yet to appear to this date.

The Facebook page had become a place for users to ask questions of each other and the company.  People would ask for advice about how to get the most out of features and how to work around bugs.  Some people were frustrated as progress had slowed and glitches were slow to be resolved.  In my opinion the tone from users was strong yet respectful.  Suddenly all user questions were being deleted from the page.  We were no longer allowed to post technical questions.  It took a minimum of two days for a response from IT.  I had found through my own emailing that often times the response either didn’t answer my questions or they simply responded by indicating they were aware of the issue with no information on when it’d be fixed.  So I’d email a week later and ask again and I’d get the same response.

At this point, now into October… so many features were still missing.  Those features we had didn’t work properly.  News on the website hadn’t been updated since July.  Promised weekly updates on the Facebook page never materialized.  When editing assignments they might be doubled or tripled.  Some were randomly deleted.  Curriculum would disappear.  The calendar couldn’t accept recurring appointments. You couldn’t access information about the grades you had entered or your attendance records.  There was no app for mobile devices.  Many of these features they had been promised back in July or August would be coming in just a week or two. I could go on.

Then the people from Home Education Family Association began to ban customers from their Facebook page if they asked too many questions or complained just a little too much.  I was never banned but a dear friend was.  I was so outraged for her.  From my point of view she had done absolutely nothing wrong.  She asked the company why they hadn’t provided the program they had promised and what they were going to do about it.  She wrote to the company and asked for an explanation for her banned status.  The response was even more depressing.  In a nutshell the company viewed the program as superior to anything else on the market even in the state it was in.  They thought we should all be grateful for the Beta period discount.  They didn’t think they owed their customers anything.  Eventually my friend pushed for a refund despite her purchase being more than 30 days old and threatened to call her credit card company in order dispute the charge.  She did get her money back and she was asked not to purchase anything from Home Education Family Association again.

It was at about this time that I discovered another product and shifted my homeschooling planning away from My Well Planned day.   However, I have continued to keep a very close eye as I still, in my heart of hearts, want this software to be everything it can be.  I’d love to love it as I did early on.  In fact I loved it so much that there is a quote from me endorsing it right on the home page for the software.  How I wish I could remove it.

So it is now January.  Just before Christmas the company announced that they had hired new developers.  We’d see improvements soon.  That was a month ago… no improvements yet.  Interestingly, in the month since they stopped mentioning the software on the software fan page.  All posts are related to homeschooling and organizing.  You’d never know it was a fan page for a software.  Customers began asking via the Facebook page when we’d see improvements or bug fixes… as of last check you still couldn’t create a report card or attendance reports.  The program was still multiplying assignments, deleting them, or moving them years out on the calendar.  To-do lists were disappearing. Drop down menus do not work for everyone. Calendar events don’t post correctly when changing the date. The app isn’t an app but really mobile web versions which means most information like assignment details, are not available off line.  etc etc. etc.   The company indicated we’d see improvements at the beginning of February.  Then they secured their Facebook page in a manner that prevents customers from posting questions.  They directed us to the email.  Customers tried to share in the comments links to Facebook groups that were created so that we can help each other with this program and those links were also deleted.  Unfortunately a simple question can take 2 days (or longer over weekends) to get answered and users report that often times they never get a response at all or it continues to be a vague… we’ll look into it… kind of response and then nothing.

This company does a terrible job responding to criticism.  Instead of humbly admitting the program is at least flawed and that they haven’t achieved their own expectations, asking for forgiveness, and making things right… they ignore their own promises, blame their customers, shut off modes of feedback and communication, prevent customers from helping each other, and they cover up their issues.  They continue to sell this at full price every day.

Now you know the truth!  I’d avoid this software, and perhaps this company, like the plague.

NOTE Again: On 9/13/2013 I updated the My Well Planned Day Saga in a post you can find here.

 

Comments

  1. Totally agree! I, too, have continued to check I on their FB page, etc. and was amazed they had completely taken down the ability for fans to comment. I have basically abandoned the company altogether and will not renew my subscription to their magazine. I now use Homeschool Helper for iPad. Wonderful!

  2. No WONDER the link to “purchase software” on the regular website is broken! I’m glad I found this review! Is the other product you discovered the above mentioned Homeschool Helper? I wish I could find a program that does all the things Well Planned Day says it does. :-/

    • Yes! The other product is Homeschool Helper App. I’m getting a review together for it very soon. The link to that is http://www.homeschoolhelperapp.com/ I just can’t say enough good things about it. Not sure why you aren’t able to purchase the Well Planned Day. I just clicked through all of their links and they appear to work. Good luck with whatever your decision might be!

  3. Thank you for your review. I was wondering why all of the reviews I have found have mentioned ‘a learning curve’ and were all given away to bloggers to review. Everything seemed a little cleansed for a new software claiming to do so much, plus only ‘published’ reviews listed on website and no public help forum, another ‘red flag’. I have been a beta tester before for software for Laridian bible software and Better Homes and Garden, as well as other smaller companies. I have never once been charged money to be a beta tester–this was my red flag for this one. I have used their notebook planners (wonderful, but not very portable). A functional app is a necessity, especially at this pricepoint. Too bad…it sounded too good to be true. Homeschool helper looks like it has an Android version; going to check it out.

  4. Annabel C. says:

    I was just trying to download this software. I could not figure out why the link to download was not working…now I know it’s not my pop-up-blocker malfunctioning 🙂

    I’m glad I found this review. I’ll stick to the hard copy for this year.

  5. Very interesting review. I started as a beta tester when it was free for a year but it was so buggy I never used it. I was looking at it again this year because I see they are now advertising for a launch of new software. I just purchased Olly homeschool app for mac. So far I like it! I had not heard of homeschool helper. Going to check that out too!

  6. Wow! I just spent $40 for my Olly homeschool app….but homeschool helper is only $5!! Amazing! Unfortunately, I don’t have an ipad to myself yet. Hubby does but it goes with him to work.

  7. Thanks for this- I’ve been hearing a lot of negative stuff about this company being rude, and not open to criticism. I’ll keep the word going!
    Thanks again.

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