Elegant Themes – Is Their Beauty Lacking Tech Support Smarts?

Anyone who looks at Elegant Themes will attest to their graphic sumptuousness. Also, their purchase terms are excellent. But could this be causing problems with their tech support?

Only Skin Deep

I reported a problem that I found in their Simple Press theme that I found upon updating WordPress to 3.3.1. It was a problem with their dropdown menu. Not a major problem – one that only occurs when logged into the WordPress admin. I was just reporting it for the most part, and pointed out that someone whose site has significant logged-in user functionality could find this to be a real problem.

The forum staffer asked for a link, which I provided. In the meantime, others chimed in with the same problem. Days later, the tech said that she looked at my site, and that it worked fine. I guess she didn’t read my post, unless she somehow psychically ascertained my log-in credentials.

Elegant Themes Support Trending Downwards?

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? Does Anybody Really Care?

Throughout the thread, I’ve tried to be polite and patient, while trying to convey that it would be nice to get a status on the problem, and that users may not be happy if they are ignored. I’d link to the thread to show you, except that it’s paid members-only – you have to log in with their somewhat awkward forum interface. So much time has passed with nothing that I decided to write this.

So the problem will apparently languish, with no follow-up or status. And I will question whether or not to renew my membership.

Does It Hurt If You Do That? Then Don’t Do That

I had asked a question about a problem before, and did get an answer that worked, but it was a hack solution, not a code fix, and they made it clear that they didn’t consider it important enough to fix the script. I actually found another way to fix the problem myself in the end.

Paid support is an interesting phenomenon. I’ve found that it’s often brusque but responsive, and usually effective. Forums for scripts having only free support seem more chatty and friendly. I chalk that up to small paid support staffs who need to move as fast as they can. But I think Elegant’s support staff may be too small to handle all the themes they must support. And if Nick is the only coder, I could be waiting for a very long time for a fix, it it happens at all.

Waiting For Codeau

Maybe they’d disagree, or maybe not. Or maybe something else is wrong. Maybe other Elegant themes have really serious problems, and they’re going cuckoo. I wouldn’t know, because they aren’t saying anything.

On their Support and Updates page, there are a couple of notable lines:

  • Always Up To Date
  • Timely Support

O…….K. On their homepage, they say “Unparalleled Support’. By a technicality, you could say this is true. It’s not paralleled, because no other company has their exact flavor of Support Mediocrity! I’m thinking they could make more money by having a value-added package: if you pay an extra 10 bucks a year, they’ll give you even worse support! Nick, take note!

This is about what I got when I asked for support from Elegant Themes, a big bottle of nuthin'!
This is about what I got when I asked for support from Elegant Themes, a big bottle of nuthin’!

Update, 1/28/12

I finally got another reply after a few days. They asked for log-in credentials. I responded that I’d rather not give those out unless absolutely necessary, but that maybe someone else in the thread might want to. I added that if I were on tech support, I’d try replicating the problem on my own system. They didn’t take the broad, obvious hint. Another reply came, saying, ‘OK, can I have a screenshot?’ Pretty funny, as a screenshot of a dropdown doesn’t show that clicking on a menu item does nothing. I almost wonder if the tech is not a native English speaker, as communication is definitely not happening here. That said, of course plenty of non-native English speakers do fantastically well in every phase of communication. Apparently not in this case. It almost sounds like an autoresponder. I finally gave up trying to explain, and didn’t reply. To them, I’m guessing that this means “yay, done, move on to the next problem”. Oh well.

Today I did notice that there was an update to my theme! And when I went to find the changelog, I saw that one item was a change to the Superfish delay, which sounded like it could relate to my dropdown issue. I installed the theme update. At first, my dropdowns were entirely removed, even though the Elegant Theme setting said that they were on. A few re-saves and refreshes later, my dropdowns returned. At first, they were clickable while logged into admin. But then upon trying several links, the problem of “unclickableness” returned. So no real fix. BUZZKILL! I have seen similar problems with other dropdown menus, where if you try to look at many dropdown links in quick succession, they just stop working. It’s as if the menu runs out of gas, and I’m thinking that it’s a JQuery memory leak or something like that.

Note to Self

From the outside, based on my experience, Elegant Themes doesn’t view tech support as a big priority. Theme updates do occur, but slowly, as they have many themes to support, and not enough coders. If a change is made, no blog announcement or anything like that (maybe they think it’s bad publicity). At least there was a notice in WordPress admin, but you won’t know that unless you log into admin.

On the forum, if they do post a fix, it’s often a code hack you can do, but may not fix the underlying problem. I ding them for this, too. I’ve already removed the link to Elegant Themes from the footer of one site I built.

But I’m pretty sure that suddenly I will actually hear from them when it comes time to renew my membership! They’re pretty funny! I should point out that any system or business can have problems like this. And if they had communicated with me effectively, I would have been more tolerant, and wouldn’t have bothered writing all this. Communication may be their downfall. At least they look extremely cute!

You Can Pay Me Now, AND Pay Me Later!

Even their attractive price isn’t necessarily a great deal in all cases. Let’s say you buy a theme, and build your site successfully with it, and you’re lucky enough not to have any problems for a whole year! (Yeah, I know, work with me for a second!) You don’t bother with all the other themes because you’re a busy person, and your site is working. Then next year WordPress makes a significant change, so you really need your theme updated. So you re-up and pay $39 again, because otherwise, no update for you. So your site works for the rest of the year. And the next year, you pay another $39, and so on.

Now compare that to a similar Genesis theme scenario. You buy a Genesis theme for $80, and build your site. The same update in WordPress comes up in year 2, and you need the theme update. No Extra Charge! Your updates are for life. So if you’re a low maintenance customer, by year 2 Elegant Themes price has caught up to yours, and will continue to cost more every year. And just for fun, you might want to try a different Genesis theme – just pay about 20 bucks for a new one with a repeat customer discount! And that theme will also have updates for life.

NOTE: as predicted, I got a rare email from them when my membership was up for renewal. Did I renew? Oh sure, and then I donated 3 million dollars. πŸ˜‰ NO, OF COURSE NOT! Does Nick care? I doubt it.



  1. Hi David
    I’m hearing your problem loud and clear. I am (was) a prospective website template / theme buyer and started out looking for a cute boutique website template to save money. I started on http://www.templatemonster.com. As it turns out, when you google them or complaints about them suddenly there are a number of complaints and even associations with other similar template sites offering some kind of website template business but that people have deep issues and complaints with.

    The red flags are typically that 1. the templates are hard to load, or have lacking codes, or they didn’t get it to a number of other things and 2.) the support “team” is horrible, if you get any support that is actually not first grade responses or who actually understand what you are asking, in other words tech questions from techie buyers are hard for support to understand and respond to appropriately, and 3). they don’t speak english and you cannot communicate with anyone but by email and no location is posted anywhere on the site – because they are overseas somewhere hiding out, it seems.

    I have found that complaints have been made most profoundly by template buyers who are newbies at coding for websites but also by techie’s who know code and actually blow the whistle that these templates seem bogus and also having problems with support issues. I have read that templatemonster and their other associated or unassociated many other similar sites have taken templates, tweeked them and are selling them as their own template work.

    My guess is that some unscrupulous people are praying on those of us looking for legitimate website templates, whether they are frauds, schemes or otherwise. The MO is the same at each template site though and all the red flags are raised. It’s a shame because trying to find out who of them are actually legit is hard to tell without a lot of legwork and honestly I have just come across a few. If you did a little legwork on what I am telling you about here, you will see what I am talking about.

    If I were a website savvy person I would post a site like you have but have more info to warn others about the trappings of website template sites. Stay away from them. If you notice there are a weird number of Nick Roach or Elegant themes support sites totally promoting his site/work. Every now and then you see a few bad remarks then bombarded by tons of others saying how great they are. The poster icon pics always look fake somehow almost as if they were made up or something. It just doesn’t feel right. I hope that you will see what I mean. Otherwise, I’m with you….you weren’t imagining bad things, you were right on!


    1. Hi Diana,
      Interesting thoughts, thanks. Template Monster is a clearinghouse for scads of theme developers, so support and quality will definitely vary. Some developers there do have great themes and great support. But if I were looking for something like that, I think Themeforest is a better bet, because number of purchases and ratings are much more visible.

      Elegant themes is different because it’s just one developer, as far as I know. They are extremely popular, and there stuff is gorgeous-looking, and mostly excellent quality. But when you’ve tested as many themes, frameworks, and companies as I have, you see the flaws, too.

      Finally, one should be aware that for any tech support issue, you’re more likely to see complaints than praise, because people that are happy don’t typically speak up. So my view doesn’t necessarily reflect the majority of customers, but I thought it would be worthwhile to give a mild warning about Elegant’s support. It’s OK, but not as good as many other firms.


  2. You’re not alone. I think the only reason more people don’t complain is that they don’t have enough tech savvy to know it’s not them, it’s the theme. If you never really try hard to finish your site, or if it’s not mission-critical, it’s some hobby site or if you’re tech-handicapped, you’ll see a pretty site and get distracted by bells and whistles. But the lack of support can make the themes unusable, which is a waste of money and REALLY frustrating when you have a REALLY good looking, yet 3/4 finished, sort of working site. Not professional. He’d be better off to charge for tech support separately or something.


    1. Pat,
      Those are very good points. I don’t want to shout to the rafters or start some kind of Occupy Elegant movement or anything, but it certainly was frustrating. I’m a developer, and can usually solve any site-related problem, but now and then one needs some assistance.

      Yeah, maybe some kind of tiered support, sort of a 2nd level thing. Then he’d have to hire more bodies. It’s got to be hard when you’re just one guy. Like most developers (including me), I’m guessing that staff management is not his strong point. I will say this – the price is nice. My colleague has just bought into a Woo Themes subscription, and that is significant money! Of course, you can charge that off as you get jobs using it, but it’s not a trivial amount. So I may continue my subscription just to have access to all that pretty stuff cheaply. πŸ™‚

      If one has any serious customization planned, it’s really important to have access to a geekie developer. Many newbies now are buying various tricked-out WordPress premium systems hoping to “framework” their way out of knowing CSS or PHP, but at some point, they nearly all fail, even if the framework is working perfectly. Every whizbang new framework lauds their ability to customize absolutely everything! But in reality, you can’t anticipate everything, and I see evidence of that every day on the job. Elegant isn’t exactly a framework (it has few hooks, if any, which I consider a framework requirement!), though it does allow a fair amount of customization, so I’m really digressing a bit here.


  3. Thanks for your post, Dave. I purchased Elegant Themes ($89 for Developer Pkg) and am extremely disappointed. Their support solutions are, as you say, mostly hacks, not serious solutions.

    What I’ve noticed is that the support team, instead of looking at the problem site, ask things like, “do you still need help?” when it’s obvious to me that they do still need help. This just makes the problem last longer for the paying customer. If they would just take a few seconds at the site in question, they would see the problem and save a lot of time – even their own. Their responses are often childish, as well. I have canceled my subscription and will do my best to learn how to fix their problems.

    I purchased Weaver II Pro for a one-time cost of $49. No recurring fees and the interface is much more advanced. Although I’m comfortable coding in the .css file, this saves me time. The only problem is that their mobile version isn’t truly responsive, but I plan to learn about responsive design on my own, so I don’t have to rely on others so much. I haven’t had to ask for help on the forums, so I cannot attest to their support, yet.

    If you find a theme developer that you truly like, I would love to see a post about it.

    Thanks for affirming that it’s not me, but them πŸ˜‰


    1. Hi Lynn,
      I gather that you’re more of a designer person than I am, and your perspective is very interesting. Because I’m not a designer, my original reason for going with Elegant was that I would have a lot of instant designs I could use if need be. I didn’t opt for the Developer package, because I figured I could make edits to all those graphics as needed without needing the PSD’s. The designs are very pretty-looking.

      If someone were simply looking for a WordPress programming framework, I would not really recommend Elegant, because of the reasons you stated, and because although their programming is good, all their themes have such a strong “point of view” that I’d just have to tear stuff down to get what I’m typically asked to build. AFAIK it’s just one guy coding the themes, Nick, so to paraphrase a song, “whatever Nick wants, that’s what we get!” That’s another thing… they don’t share much info about the company. So though I’m a customer, I have no idea who’s who, or know much of anything about them. That may be by design. So Genesis, which I use, is killer for someone who likes writing code, and Thesis is pretty good, too.

      For instance, I don’t need access to Google fonts in a framework’s admin, I just go to the Google fonts site and grab code for any font I like in about one minute. I hear anecdotal comments that Thesis is better than Genesis for type display, but I’ve used both systems, and the only difference I see is that Thesis has an interface for Google fonts. So no, Thesis doesn’t display type better in any way that I can see. I’d guess that people are thinking “Gee, lots of fonts built-in, yay!”, and they simply don’t want to write CSS. Both of those systems can display type equally well, one’s just a tiny bit more manual than the other for setting it up.

      I’d never heard of Weaver before. I peeked at it, and it looks nice. As long as it’s not like Dreamweaver, it’s probably fine. πŸ™‚ btw, the owner should probably write some server code that will forward his older links to the new site, I think. I ended up reading out-of-date stuff at first, which is linked to from Google. πŸ™‚ Anyway, if I were a designer looking to build sites without a programmer/developer type like me, I’d probably go with something like that, or maybe Headway or one of the others that automagically generate a lot of stuff for you. In fact, I’ve seen stuff on Themeforest super-loaded with goodies like that, although the licenses are quite expensive.

      Woo Themes are pretty nice looking, although they have so much code that they may run somewhat slowly, and if you, as the programmer, need to find something, you may need to look through a lot more script files than you’d find in a leaner and meaner theme. I’m just building a site with WooCommerce and it’s going fairly well, especially after I found their hooks and filters documentation. They still write too much CSS that I have to override; that’s the way the visual fanatics roll, I think. πŸ™‚

      But the bottom line is that if the support isn’t working for you, you’re right to move on!

      Good luck! Dave


  4. It’s a year later to the date of your post, and they haven’t changed. I found your post doing a search for reviews about Elegant Themes support.

    I just picked up my first Elegant Theme yesterday, also SimplePress. I am figuring out most things on my own or by doing some searches. But this morning I asked two separate questions. For one, I got the “first grade” response, “You just need bigger images.”

    For the other, which was focused on different possible aspects of formatting the quote differently on the homepage, I get back no answer at all except, “Please, create separate posts for each question and we’ll assist you.” The question I asked was layered but simple, about one issue and related.

    I’ve seen that response, “Please, create separate posts for each question and we’ll assist you” throughout the forum. I wonder if the person responding doesn’t even read the question if it’s more than a one-sentence question.

    Admittedly venting.


  5. Hi,

    I am a newbie and trying to finish my site. I am fast becoming an Elegant Themes hater!!!

    They advertize how it is so easy to use their themes and the FEATURES page goes on and on about how many controls, toggles, etc. are included. What I have found is that almost every text formatting, from bolding, color and font, to alignment, size choices etc, needs to have CSS code added to the style sheet. NO WHERE on their site did it tell me I needed to know how to make changes to my style sheet or my PHP files. NO WHERE! It was suppose to be all just toggles and menus.

    To save a simple thing like background color requires you do that in two different places… why? It makes no sense and drives up the frustration level.

    Even a simple thing like a list of what image sizes are for various areas on any given theme are not published anywhere.

    Their support people are arrogant, sarcastic at times in their answers, and tend to give you code for your style sheet that causes other problems you didn’t even have before you pasted in their code.

    Pretty themes that my work if use them as is. But that is not what most people expect based on their web site and the many blogger write ups. Just check out the most used themes and they have tens of thousands of posts. The Corporation them is approaching 20,000!

    ET is definitely not elegant!


    1. Tom,
      Very sorry to hear that. Your experience was clearly worse than mine.

      I develop custom themes for a living, and most of my work is based on the excellent Genesis framework, but I still like to keep an eye on what else is out there. So I had an Elegant theme as my own homepage, but I replaced it, and also let my Elegant Themes subscription lapse after my bad experiences above.

      The WordPress theme market is SO competitive now that companies will say all kinds of things to win a customer. Their homepage mentions “Unparalleled Support”, and yes, I suppose it’s true in the sense that it’s worse than some other companies! That’s part of the reason I wrote this article about the possible pitfalls of buying a Themeforest theme. Although I’m talking about Themeforest there, much of it could apply to Elegant Themes.

      I do feel that their price is actually too low for them to maintain quality AND provide excellent support. Of course, if they did decide to raise prices now, they’d probably have a mass revolt. I’m pretty sure they know this, so they’re just hoping to keep their heads down and hope that the complains will just go away. [hands over ears, “la la la la la!”] They won’t! The simplest reason for that is that there are more people who want WordPress sites, but don’t have tech skills, and can’t afford to hire even a reasonably-priced developer like me.

      I had hoped to use their themes for clients who didn’t already have a design scheme in mind. But that didn’t pan out. As you say, if you want to take what they give without alterations, that might work. But many do want to change something. And I think their themes are great for super visual sites, like for photographers, but less so for sites that aren’t as frou frou. The sites I build are usually more business-oriented, so it just never came up. For instance, nearly every theme has a big landing page style, and lots of people don’t need or want that.



  6. Here’s my review of Elegant Themes-I’ve been using Elegant Themes for about a month and have been really disappointed so far. Elegant Themes ‘support’ forum is a joke and I’d agree with alot of the comments here. The responses are often second rate and sometimes I’ve felt they’ve completely taken the p****!

    For eample I was asked to private message a member of the support forum with my log in details in order to look at a problem I had that had remained unsolved for days. I immediately replied only to find he had gone offline. I never did get a response. This has happened 3 times so far with different members from the ET team.

    I have a clients site that is live, some of the photos do not fit their borders. I’ve been waiting for support for 3 days. Today I received a ‘helpful’ reply to ask where the problem was even though I supplied the URL in my first post and its pretty obvious where the problem is if they’d bothered to take a look. Will I now be waiting another 3 days for a response?

    I can’t let clients down this badly so I’ll be looking for a new theme. It’s a shame as they are quite nice looking themes if you can get them to work!


  7. Indra,
    I’m sorry to hear that. Your support experience was about the same as mine. In today’s social media world, you’d think that Nick (or someone?) would be out there addressing people’s concerns. He could do this via Twitter, or via the blog. No – those are used only for product release announcements – AFAIK, he never addresses complaints there, or even on the forum. Very strange. I envision him plugging his ears and loudly singing “la la la!”, hoping that we’ll all just go away.

    I think the only thing that would get him to actually say and do something about poor tech support would be a mass customer revolt. I’ve already quit, of course. I think that for now, the cheapness of their plan saves him. And that’s unfortunate for the existing customers, and for those who may unwittingly become customers, enticed by sunny praise from affiliate marketers.


  8. Just read this, getting myself into a state trying to (once again) get their Chameleon theme (plus have tried one or two others) slider to work. Nothing I do makes it even appear on the site. I am not a coder and have very little html/css experience so wouldn’t ever dare try fix this myself – and I didn’t think I should have to with their templates, how wrong was I?!?!?

    I tried to post a question into their support forum but could not even find a way to do that. Maybe I am just very dumb…

    Add to that, several times during the night I have tried to log into my account (it seems you get thrown out very quickly if you are inactive) but it is a bit of a hit and miss if the log in page accepts my login details (I know they are correct), I even got a new password emailed to me which I changed back to the old one and then was able to log in – or I should say keep logging in – for a while until I gave up (it’s 1.10am in the UK at the moment and got to go to work in the morning).

    Having reading all your comments, I am now sure it’s not just me but I need to give up with them and move on to a better provider. One that allows me to use font size people can actually read!

    Why are all these review sites singing their praises?!?!?


  9. Kati,
    That sounds dreadful. Sorry to hear that. We’ve seen a wide variety of problems here, ranging all the way from the newbie to the hardcore developer.

    What’s kind of sad is this – every theme provider, great or not, has customers with problems. But companies that do strive to help people, that actually give good customer service, still end up with happy clients.

    Your comments remind me how even logging into their “member area” was a pain, and even if you got in, if you happened to go to a non-member page on their site, you get logged out of the member area. Mamma mia!

    Since it’s not support that’s working well, I think these are the things that keep them going:
    – the price is cheap.
    – the affiliate program induces glowing “reviews”.
    – the themes are pretty to look at.
    – the developer stays completely silent, and that’s better than making public gaffes, I guess.

    With no other recourse, we just need to keep complaining publicly. They supposedly offer a refund, I wonder if anyone has gotten one? Maybe somebody with time on their hands will make a site like “ElegantThemesSuck.com” that would gain more traction.


  10. Hello Dave,
    i just come here as i was doing some research at internet as i want to get good coded, easy-to-use theme for my food/recipe site.
    First i buy theme from Themeforest which looks really nice at first glance but causing me only troubles and w3c validator gives me over 90 errors with it, i was waiting for support response for over 2 week and i gived up.
    Then i buy one of SoloPress themes but i got another problems with it and after 1 big topic ( with replies inside ) i gived up and they lend me my money back.

    Now i’m a person who cant afford to hire any webmaster or coder some sort as i don’t have any advertises on my site and i’, not getting any money with it, plus i have totally 0 experience or knowledge about CSS/PhP/HTML and such things. ( I just moved from Blogger to my own WP installation ) i also have no one to ask besides internet forums where every ansver includes knowledge about coding or webmastering which is totally useless for me.

    I really dont want anything too complicated to distract my readers from recipes i’m posting, do you maybe can lend me a hand and give some hint which premium theme developers to choose ?

    I was thinking even about Genesis ( with Metro skin ) or Thesis but i really don’t know if person with 0 skills as me can do anything with them.

    At end sorry for my english i’m totally not native speaker and i learend it all by myself with dictionary in my hand.



    1. Dzie? dobry, Joanna,
      I’m sorry, I don’t speak Polish, although I like Polish people and food! πŸ™‚ You have a difficult question, and I’m not sure about the answer.

      It’s difficult because if your site needs anything complicated, some coding may help, but I see you can’t afford a coder. There may be some language difficulties, too, if your English isn’t great. But maybe for you, Elegant Themes might be fine. Their price is excellent, and you have many themes to choose from. Maybe if one theme doesn’t work for your recipes, you can ask for support – sometimes their support is OK. And if that’s not good, at least you could try a different theme.

      I hope that helps a little. Do widzenia, Dave


  11. Sorry but i can’t edit my post :/

    Reason i was posting here is because my reserach was about ET as some ppl point me they are really easy to use and have great support, but after few days of research i see opposite , sadly.


  12. Thank you for an asver Dave,
    you Polish is just fine πŸ™‚
    Ill try ET then and see how its goes, at least they have 30 days to get my money back.

    The world of own site looks easy at first glance but when reality hits common user as me its become one big obstacle.

    Thank you again


  13. Joanna,
    You’re welcome, I’m glad to help! What you’re saying is true – making your own site is very possible, but if you need to customize, then some geek knowledge might be needed, or money to hire some. I wrote another article on this blog about how Themeforest themes are very impressive, but some buyers might still need more geek help.



  14. Hey Dave,
    i want to really thank you again, i think a lot and i decided to hire some company to rebuild my site for me.
    I found one with good rep here and i actually can afford them so i now will get my site rebuild and working on Thesis 2.0 + nice skin.
    Thank you again


  15. Joanna,
    I’m happy to hear that! I know and have used Thesis 1.8, but not Thesis 2, which is totally different. I hope that goes well for you!


  16. Hi, Dave,

    Thanks so much for this blog post and your mentioning the refund option — I had completely overlooked it and feel so much better about making this bad purchase. Does that even sound right?

    I have to build a site for my group and I bought into their whole developer package about 2 weeks ago. The last time I built a blog/website was my own about 2-3 years ago, and when I volunteered to build this, I thought I’d done this before and yadda… boy, have things changed in 2 years!

    I was looking for a quick set-up with little or no coding. Elegant Themes looked like it could be uploaded, unpacked and voila!! Gorgeous!

    I picked one question to ask (I’ve been figuring out the rest myself) and the ball got dropped by 2 people, with the third telling me there would be a fix in the next version of my theme. I could have gotten more hunting the techie forums as I did that place — and I trolled their little forum looking for the right answer. Nothing.

    DO NOT feel bad if people are coming here having their say about a bad experience. There is nowhere else to do it — people are just writing up reviews off a template (pun intended) or it’s scratch-back. I don’t feel bad about Nick being the only developer and poor him — he made promises on deliverables and he took my money when I believed there would be SUPPORT. There is none. Not for the “new at theming? just upload! with support!” meme he’s pushing on his site.

    People don’t have time to complain. I doubt all those 170K people are happy. If Nick can’t deliver, Nick shouldn’t make promises he can’t keep.

    (yes, I’m upset).


  17. Hi,
    I hope you do get your refund. I am glad that people can speak their minds here. I wrote this post quite awhile ago, and it’s really come back to life lately. This tells me that things are getting worse, not better.

    I’m beginning to feel like my purpose will be to send people to other theme companies, and I’m happy to do that. And I don’t even get a commission for doing that unless someone follows one of my Genesis affiliate links. πŸ™‚ I’ve worked with themes from quite a few companies, and quality varies a whole lot.

    I’m with you, Nick is not getting a very important job done – supporting his customers. He needs to hire better help. He’s not talking, but to me it looks like he has volunteers on the forum that don’t really know a whole lot. So he either can’t manage, or maybe he doesn’t have the cash to hire top-notch people. I’d vote for the former.


  18. I feel the need to voice my displeasure with Elegant Themes, as well. Hopefully, this will prevent more people from experiencing the same pain and suffering in the future. Simply put, their support is horrible. I made the mistake of allowing them access to my site to diagnose an issue and they have made a total mess of it. Luckily, I made a back up prior to giving them access but save yourself the hassle and steer clear of Elegant Themes.


  19. Teeeerrrible support from ET.
    Their new version of the eStore theme broke the featured slider, making my site look ridiculous. And guess what? no answer from their support.
    If you’re planning to subscribe on Elegant Themes, think twice.


  20. Hi again Dave
    Sorry for long silence, I have been very busy. To catch up from the last post, someone at ET managed to get the slider work but NOT the way they say you should be able to do it. The solution was to use recent posts on home page (and I wanted a static page), there didn’t seem to be any other way to do it.

    I have had a couple of other niggles but have stuck with them since have paid for the themes and didn’t want to start learning another one. But I recently started a new site and have been mostly working on the images until today when I realised that all text that is not in bold is not showing on pages. I have de-activated all plugins, searched though their support tickets and just posted a support ticket of my own.

    I think I made a mistake of not abandoning them when I realised how cumbersome it was to work with their themes and how customer hit and miss their support is. Or maybe should set up a site β€œElegantThemesSuck.com” (using ET theme!); people should understand that their membership might be cheap but you get what you are paying for and at least they could make an informed decision before they buy which I feel wasn’t the case when I got it.

    Also, I wanted to see if anyone had any recommendations for another provider?

    Thanks for your support



  21. By the way, thanks for mentioning the refund as I think will ask for my money back since I can’t do what I should be able to do with the sites. Not holding my breath but worth a go, after I see what they say about this current problem.



  22. Someone replied very quickly and asked me to go to Epanel and add p{color: #000000;} in the css custom editor. Pretty odd as another site where I use the same template doesn’t have the same problem and the css editor is empty.


  23. Kati,
    Glad you got some help for your site. As for other theme providers, that’s a very tricky question, even though I know tons of them. That’s because each one will work for a different type of user, and I don’t know your skill level or plans at all.

    WordPress has gained huge popularity, and invariably, that means many beginners. If beginners don’t know CSS or PHP at all, they’re generally in for some grief, frankly. I have been suggesting Headway to people who want to attempt to make sites without touching any code, but it’s more expensive, and I know that when I build themes and sites, I almost always write at least some code, no matter how good and complete the theme is.



  24. I’ve not had the same sort of issues, but I am annoyed that I asked them a question about a theme I wanted to use only to receive this reply:

    You will need to register and complete your payment in order to have access to our support.

    Sorry, but I think that’s an appalling reply to someone enquiring about technical aspects of one of their products. They did actually give me a response – of sorts – to my issue, but it was so incredibly vague (like we’re going to begrudgingly help you but we’re going to make damn sure you know how reluctant we are), but that information was all but useless.

    I imagine if I sign up they’ll be far more forthcoming.


    1. Stuart,
      Isn’t that weird! Not only unpleasant, but bad salesmanship. By having a brief conversation with you, they might have made a sale!


  25. Another very unhappy customer of Elegant Themes.

    Back on 15 May 2013 I paid for the Developers License at over $100.

    A few days ago I was thinking I could really do with redesigning my copywriting website to give it a new fresh look and feel.

    Logged into the Elegant Themes membership area, selected the Magnificent theme and clicked on Download. Guess what? Nothing happened. The download link to the Magnificent theme was as dead as a doornail.

    All it did upon clicking on it was to send me around in a loop where I was asked to log in again. I do so. And try again. Same problem. So I tried another download button to another theme to see if this was affecting all of the themes on offer. Not once did one of the download links work. Every single one just sent me back round the loop where I was asked to sign / log in again.

    Next, I tried the download links to the Plugins on offer. Same problem again. By now almightily exasperated I posted up on the ‘Support’ forum my problem. One or two other individuals had similarly experienced the same identical problem. in other words, we’ve all paid good money for something which doesn’t work at all.

    In the end born from sheer frustration, I asked on the support forum for a full refund. I was asked to email directly via an email address provided. Only I wasn’t actually provided with an email address to write to, to request my full refund. I was given instead another URL to visit which information contained on that page, contained no email address at all.

    Several posts and pm messages later and emails going off to the original email address when I signed up with Paypal, I receive the message not just once but three times to visit again the same URL as provided above to email my complaint directly.

    Of course with no email address provided via the URL given out, I’m still back to square one and I’m still waiting for my money to be refunded to me.

    It seems to me they’re happy to take your money but when it comes to delivering the service which has been paid for, well, there’s nothing there whatsoever.

    I still cannot download one single theme, so the question naturally arises, what have I given my money to you guys for when in return I’ve received diddly fat squat?

    The ‘Support’ Forum similarly is next to useless, about as much use to me so far as a bucket load of armpits. “We only deal with support related issues, not refund requests they stated. Well, what do you think this ruddy well is if it’s not a support related question?

    I think it’s time to contact the FTC and submit a complaint there.

    Out of 10 my score for Elegant Themes? -10. And that’s a compliment. In short, they’re absolutely bloody rubbish. Sure the themes look fantastic but if I cannot download one single theme, what use are they to me?

    I’m disgusted with Elegant Themes to say the very least!

    Beware the Elegant Themes scam! They’re just online thieves.

    Mark Andrews


  26. Hi Dave, Thank you for sharing your experience with Elegant Themes. I wish I had discovered your post before paying for the developer theme on July 1.
    Their “support” is a joke. If you ask a question the response is generally, rather than an answer, in the form of an inane question revealing that they have not looked at the question asked. There were problems on two of the themes I attempted to use.

    I e-mailed several posts with screenshots of their portfolio page on their gleam demo. The page included a slide show at the bottom of the page with a full screen image projected in the background. The first response was sent back with a link to a page that is non existent on their demo site and I was asked if this was what I was trying to create? Sending another e-mail I explicitly gave them directions how to access to the page on their demo site. I received a question back asking if I still had a question?? really!! For the third or fourth time repeated how to access their demo page and explicitly asked for directions on how to recreate this page on my site…..there has been absolutely no response to the post on the ticket I submitted or to the private e-mails I have sent. (I posted this to the forum site and sent an e-mail to customer support on their web page).

    So…..out of frustration, since I am under the 30 day full refund period I requested a full refund 2 days ago explaining my frustration regarding their lack of customer support. I received a response and I was told that Vlad had helped me. My response was that he should publish the answer he thinks I was given so others could profit. Ha, Ha!

    I wrote another e-mail yesterday requesting full refund. I was told I would not receive an answer unless I signed into my customer account. I could not log into my account…strange!!! ( I wonder if there is some ip blocking so I used another computer and logged in So I could post another request for a full refund. The response received was that my request is being reviewed and would try to be answered within 24 hours. Obviously Mark Andrews and I have received the same run around.

    I have seen other requests for refunds on this site telling customers to e-mail the billing department!!! There is no e-mail address for a billing department

    I will therefore have to take more time to make a complaint to the Better Business Bureau which I believe they belong to, make a complaint to Pay Pal and the credit card company I use for our paypal account.

    Thank you again for your original post as hopefully others will read them and not have to experience the frustrations that all in this post have expressed.


    1. Pat,
      Wow, that’s really nasty. I’m afraid this type of experience is getting more common – the responses here are more frequent than ever! Their tech support really is pitiful. And wow, even the classic customer service runaround – I was lucky enough to dodge that one. And just like you, the only time I ever heard from them was when it was time to re-up. Mo money, mo money, mo money!

      The credit card protest is a great idea if they are dishonest with their refund policy. As long as you’re contesting a credit card purchase (as opposed to a debit card), you have a great chance of success.

      I help out on the Studiopress (Genesis) forum very frequently. I will often give detailed instructions, bits of code, anecdotes about my experiences, etc. People are often nice enough to thank me profusely! And guess what I get paid? Bubkes!! For those of you who aren’t from New York, that means zilch, zero, nada. I do it because I love the software, meet interesting people, and like to help out. I’m not sure what these Elegant theme robots are getting paid, or why they even do it. It’s certainly not because they enjoy helping anyone, as far as I can tell.

      I had a guy ask me the other day for some help with his WordPress business. I took one look at his homepage and instantly knew that it was an Elegant Theme. I suppose “ET” would take that as flattery. I took it as evidence that this guy needed to hire someone to fix their busted theme due to lack of tech support. πŸ™‚



  27. In June 2013, I bought the Elegant Themes Developers Package. At first, I was excited to develop and design using their plethora of themes available. The first two months were great, I developed a few websites using a few of their themes, the designs were great. Their templates were not too complicated and their CSS wasn’t too sphagetti code written. I actually liked working with the themes. But then came the update to WordPress from 3.5 to 3.6. I had updated WordPress to 3.6 and all my plugins. The only last part was updating my Elegant Themes. I had tried logging into my Elegant Themes login but it failed stating my “Account Was Not Active”. I emailed support@elegantthemes.com and received an email a day later stating my account was now active. I tried logging into my account but it still failed. I have been trying to access my Developers Login for a few days but still can’t login. WTF!!! I wrote an email stating I would like to resolve over the phone, but they just email back and forth like it is a friggin game to them.
    I had explained to them that I needed to access my account and get the updated themes and I would file a small claims against them since I am losing daily revenue on a few of my business websites.
    If I would have read the reviews and support on the different theme developers, I wouldn’t have chosen Elegant Themes. There is nothing elegant about the themes unless you want headaches from your future customer websites. I would stay away from these guys. From this experience I would have chosen to pay more for a theme but get the best customer support.
    Recently, I bought “BackUp Buddy” WordPress plugin and had an issue and they responded immediately and took care of me, thanks iThemes, your awesome!
    Jack, Los Angeles, CA


    1. Wow, Jack,
      Yeah, they just don’t get it. I used to think that they’d get by on their cute looks, but I can’t even stand the way they look anymore. It’s stuck in a time-warp. If you don’t care for that one “look”, you might as well forget it.

      I think customer service is just universally going down the toilet. My favorite system, Genesis, has decent support, they are better than many firms. But I will admit that even they won’t always go the extra mile. None of the principals are talking, but I would guess that this is what is happening with the main theme companies: they are depending too much on volunteer support. And we all know that volunteer support, while just wonderful in principle, tends to be haphazard. The amazing thing to me is that they are just shrugging their shoulders and saying, well, screw ’em if they don’t like our support. I see angry people on all the forums, and little or no effort to ameliorate the situations.

      Woo Themes are now so big that when they had an enormous customer revolt about how crappy their service was, they did actually take some steps to start caring, and hired more people. They even publicly admitted they screwed up, and it takes some maturity to do that. So although I don’t have unalloyed admiration for them, I give them props for that. Other companies are, amazingly, not taking note.

      Just imagine Nick of Elegant Themes, or Mr. Pugnacious himself, Chris Pearson of Thesis, actually apologizing for anything. In your dreams.

      I think part of the problem boils down to something very simple. If great technicians are running a company, they have little or no ability in customer service. They’re just not interested. I’m sure you can think of techies who are brilliant but should not be allowed to talk to humans at all. So they are unconcerned with petty little things like customer service. They don’t want to cough up their hard-earned money, so they just say, hey, we’ll just get some people to do it for free, and we’ll have mo money, mo money, mo money!


  28. Hi all

    Just an update to my posts last year.

    I finally gave up on Elegant Themes as there were problems after problems. Now building my site with a free Customizr (by Nicolas Guillaume/Themes and co) template which I have found really great to use and the support is so much better for this free template than ET ever had. Just do a Google and see for yourself (btw, I am totally unrelated/unaffiliated to them so this is a genuine view of mine).

    Unfortunately I used ET skin for a small charity site (a very very simple one) and the problems are now showing there as well, eg Gallery page is not giving any option to choose categories so wrong images are showing and there seems to be no way to use this page option…

    My advice (I am not a developer so am someone who can’t spend hours changing and correcting the code – not that I would want to even if I could) is: STAY WELL CLEAR. The designs may look pretty and they are cheap but there is a reason for the latter. I found the support slow and terse, lacking in any real will to help, and often the suggested remedies include coding. These made trying to manage the site really stressful for me.

    Hope this helps if you are considering paying for ET. Good luck to those who are still stuggling with them.




    1. Kati,
      I’m glad you’re doing better with Customizr. I occasionally look for free themes that don’t suck, and Customizr also made my list of good ones. And if you’re not going to get quality support anyway, why not save money and use a free theme. πŸ™‚

      What you’re saying brings up another important point – no matter how good a paid (or free) theme is, if you’re not a developer, you could have some trouble. If any advertising tells you that you can do Anything You Want without web developer skills, they’re simply lying.


  29. Recently, I purchased the basic package for Elegant Themes and tried out a few themes. I found their theme dashboard to be quite unintuitive, leading me to conclude that it would be more direct to simply code a child theme or modify a WordPress theme.

    When I requested a refund under their 30-day refund policy, their system responded that I’d hear from support within 24 hours. *** Radio silence. *** So, I wrote back asking if they planned to process my refund request. Their reply: “You have been refunded.” Their graceless reply ensures that I’ll never consider their product in the future.


    1. Mark,
      I hear you. At least you got a refund. Curiously, I guess Nick’s business strategy is working, for him if not for his customers: offer a lot for a low price, attract the innocent person by having lovely graphics, and don’t spend a penny on tech support. Although all of us have had a bad time, they’re still selling briskly. Yay?



  30. Nothing is more frustrating than unresponsive support! That’s what refunds and chargebacks are for, though πŸ™‚


    1. Right you are, Fred!

      These days their entire business seems to be built on Divi. People just loves them some Divi. πŸ˜‰

      Ironically, these days I’ve developed a sideline repairing and modifying Divi. People come to me because of course their Oh-So-Perfect theme often requires code changes to make it do what people want it to do, despite their sales promises. Hey, I’ll take the money and run.

      I do swear a bit, because their dense thicket of bloated CSS takes some excavation to override! I’ve also found places where they’ve hijacked the normal WordPress functions, so regular mods to WordPress code actually won’t work. It’s a fascinating mountain of spaghetti!



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