My disaster upgrade to LastPass Premium18 Mar 2021
LastPass has started pushing its free users towards a paid premium subscription. The way they do this is by only allowing the free version for 1 platform, e.g. only your laptop or only your mobile phone. This was announced by LastPass/LogMeIn on their blog last February, which caused somewhat of a backlash.
I’ve been a happy LastPass (free) user for the last 7-8 years, using it simultaneously on all my mobile and desktop/laptop devices. This means that my LastPass account contains ALL MY PASSWORDS AND CREDIT CARDS. The service it delivers is valuable, and that’s why I decided: when the day comes, I will pay for it. That day was today (April 18). My mobile LastPass app finally told me: lose functionality or upgrade to the premium version (3$/month). I selected ‘upgrade’. What followed was a complete sh*t show that could have been a disaster.
My upgrade experience
The payment experience itself was flawless (thanks to Apple Pay): 2 clicks, and it was done. After the payment went through, I am sent back to the LastPass app, and my LastPass account/wallet is completely empty. All my passwords are gone. I double-check: I am still logged in to the same account, and it is empty.
I choke on my coffee, sprint to my laptop and switch off its Wi-Fi to prevent it from syncing. Upon inspection, all password information was still present locally. I initiate an (encrypted) export, in the hope that it does not require an online connection (no, it doesn’t). The export goes through, and I save an encrypted CSV to my disk. Calamity averted.
If I had not been close to a laptop/desktop machine with my LastPass account installed, it would have been a disaster, because 1) I need my mobile password manager multiple times a day and 2) I would not have been able to take a backup . Imagine being abroad (that was a thing before 2020) and losing all your passwords.
After the emergency backup, I started investigating further. I can still log in on the LastPass website, and my passwords are still there. It seems to be an app sync problem. I log out of the app, and log in again: still the same, no passwords.
After disaster upgrade, disaster support
Surely the LastPass ‘priority tech support’ for paid customers can help me out? (Spoiler: there is no priority tech support. It’s the same support site for everyone.)
Let me introduce you to LastPass support: it may tell you “Type your question here, or browse topics below to view answers or reach a support agent.”, but it actually means
“Type your question here, and get an answer to another -hopefully slightly related- question, or browse topics below or … no, that’s it, those are the only options.”
There is no way to submit a question, or email, or call someone. Whatever you type in the search field, the only thing you get are answers to other questions, but you can’t reach a human. I’m sure this saves on support costs, but it’s also a dark pattern.
I also tried the “Virtual Agent” pop-up, but it is equally useless. (The answer to “all my passwords have disappeared” was “This is how you do a backup”, which should have been “first you travel back in time and take a backup”)
Out of curiosity, I checked for other people’s experiences and Trustpilot gives LastPass 1,5 stars out of 5.
Three hours after my paid upgrade, my app suddenly synced and got all the passwords back. No idea if this was a bug that was fixed, or if this is by design.
- take regular (encrypted) backups of your password managers
- avoid LastPass. I am switching to 1Password.
- I now have a paid 1-year subscription for an app that’s useless, and no recourse for support. Any ideas how to get my money back?