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Mar 23, 2009 12:35 PM

MasterCook question.

I bought it and downloaded it early yesterday morning. When they sent my confirmation email there was no activation code in it, and no code for manual activiation. I have sent emails and had only one reply that asked for YET more info. Still haven't heard from them.
Has this happened to anyone else? Is their Support team really this bad, that they would not send an activation code like they promised? Should I cancel and get the heck out of it?
I wanted to spend hours yesterday playing with it and transferring some recipes. It's very frustrating! Is it just me?

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  1. Don't know if this helps, but it seems a lot of people on Amazon don't like their customer service either. If you get out of it, try Living Cookbook. Not recommending it though, as I just tried out their free trial.

    From Amazon review

    76 of 90 people found the following review helpful:
    1.0 out of 5 stars Very, Very Poor Customer Service, November 17, 2005
    By Dave Betker "dave" (Jacksonville, Florida) - See all my reviews
    I've been using MasterCook for quite a while now and while I find it pretty simple to use and fairly good for organizing recipes, their customer service stinks really badly.

    I've contacted them several times and never, not once, got a reply back. And one occasion was pretty traumatic. I "lost" a cookbook with over 500 recipes in it, many family heirlooms completely irreplaceable. MasterCook could see it but couldn't open it. I sent them at least a half dozen e-mails requesting help, but heard nothing, not even "we received your inquiry".

    I continue to use their product but now keep hard copy, handwritten versions of all the recipes I enter because I don't want to lose any more.

    2 Replies
    1. re: margshep

      Thanks so much - I was afraid I was being paranoid or something. I'd like to have a program like that, so we'll see what happens, I guess.

      1. re: margshep

        I don't know if this would help with your lost cookbook, but you might try:




      2. I've never bought the software as a download; always bought it in a store so I had the CD/DVD.

        I'm assuming you're talking about ValuSoft, the company that now puts out MC? Some About Us info:

        ValuSoft Headquarters
        3650 Chestnut Street North, Suite 101A
        Chaska, MN 55318-3011
        You can fax us at: (952) 442-7001

        According to Google, their phone # is: (952) 442-7000

        Maybe a phone call to their headquarters with your purchase confirmation info will give up some info? Mastercook is a really good recipe management program; I hope their poor online C/S wouldn't be a deterrent to using it (if you ever get that activation code, that is!)

        Good luck!

        6 Replies
        1. re: LindaWhit

          As Linda knows, I had the same problem. Took a couple of weeks or so to get a response. I had read on here that the company is not quick to respond. Now I have another problem: I haven't used it in a long time (since I set it up basically), so now I have to go back to the original info to reset it and use it again. So far, it hasn't been worth it,but in fairness, that goes on me. I've just been lazily using

          1. re: bayoucook

            Not sure what you mean by "reset it". Once it's installed, it's usable. Unless you never used an activation code they were supposed to have sent you.

            1. re: LindaWhit

              I did use the code, I used MC some, too. Then didn't use it for a couple of months or so. Went to sign in and it said I had to reactivate due to not using it.....

              1. re: bayoucook

                That's REALLY weird. You paid for it and downloaded it right? It wasn't a demo version? If you paid for it, it should be yours to use forever. Where did you get this from?

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  From the website, I'm pretty sure. I kept the emails so I'll try to find out.
                  I've had trouble with them since day one! I've done demos before, and this wasn't one.

                  1. re: bayoucook

                    That's really too bad. It is a good product - but I guess only when you buy it in a store, as I did.

        2. I have used Living Cookbook for several years now. I have found Lee Grainger, the author of LC to be very responsive to problems as well as criticism. You can use MC and Big Oven recipes in LC as well. I also think it is a better program than MC. They have a free trial as well.

          For me, one of the handy features is on the "Capture" tab of the "New Recipe" screen. You paste a recipe in from another source and highlight a section and have it automatically inserted into the appropriate section of the recipe. (i.e. Highlight the ingredients, click on the "ingerdients" button on the side.) No need to retype the entire recipe!

          1. I investigated many cookbook software companies before I decided on Cook'n. The software is superb as is their Support. I usually get an email response the same day, or, at very worst, the next day. Check out:

            1. Hi Bayou cook ,did you ever resolve this issue? I have been trying to contact them for 2 MONTHS, to no avail. I got on the phone with sales (in India!?) and the woman almost drove me to tears. I have over a thousand recipes locked up in Mastercook right now; all I want to do is get them and get the hell out.

              To anyone thinking about buying Mastercook: DO NOT! Horrible, horrible customer service. Such a joke.

              8 Replies
              1. re: dozienc

                dozienc, sorry to hear you had such poor service - I guess I've been super-lucky with my MasterCook! If you want to EMail me (see my profile) I can see if I can perhaps help you out! I'd be frustrated as anything to know there were so many recipes I couldn't get to!

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  I've been googling to solve a problem I've been having with MC, to no avail. I can only open recipes (in any cookbook) that have a photo. If there's no photo, I have to export to see it. Bizarre aye? Any thoughts?

                  1. re: GilbyEast

                    So you can't even open it to edit it? What version of MC do you have? (This is really weird, I've never had that problem.)

                    I was thinking if you could open it in edit format and paste a fake picture in there, maybe that would help.

                  2. re: LindaWhit

                    So here is the problem:

                    A former assistant (I am a cookbook author) downloaded the program from the valusoft website (I have the receipt) about 2 years ago. I used the program for about a year and a half to store countless recipes. After replacing the assistant, it went unused for a few months, but now I have a new assistant. When she decided to tackle the program, it came up that it needed re-activation. Well, the receipt did not include a serial #, so she emailed mastercook customer service for a manual activation key. They sent one (2 weeks later) that did not work. Then another (again, 2 weeks later) that did not work. After a 2 month long back and forth, I finally got on the phone with a sales rep in India, who preceded to give me multiple bad codes. When I asked to speak to a manager, I was mysteriously cut off. I wanted to cry.

                    So this is where I stand. I can't access my recipes, I can't get an accurate re-activation code, and I can't speak with anyone who has any idea what they are talking about. I think I need a therapist now more than tech support.

                    I really just want to get my recipes and get out. Any advice would be most helpful. Thanks for listening to my rant!

                    1. re: dozienc

                      I think this is why I've never had an issue with my version - I bought it at CompUSA (MasterCook Deluxe 9) vs. downloading the program from ValuSoft. Not sure if you checked their Tech Support link at ValuSoft's website:


                      I'm not sure what errors you're getting - a Runtime Error? And if you have Vista as your OS, it's not compatible. There are also many message board discussions that they list here that might be able to help:


                      I'm screwed if I ever get a new computer, as it's pretty obvious ValuSoft isn't being responsive to getting newer, more updated versions out there to be compatible with newer operating systems.

                      ETA: dozienc, did you see this page? If you have your receipt, or you know the EMail address it was sent to and the CC it went on, perhaps you can get your unlock code that way?

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        Hi Linda. As you know I had those same problems. Got mine from ValuSoft.
                        Hadn't used it in a few months and had to re-install. Now it wants a new activation code! They never sent the one that was to come with my invoice, so I had to use manual activation. God knows when I'll hear from them again and get my code and get back on it. May request a refund, or a CD version.


                        1. re: bayoucook

                          This is very odd that the download version requires use within a certain time period or another activation code is required...and THEN you don't get that code! Grrr...

                          I wonder if putting MC in your System Tray as an automatic start-up when you boot your PC would help? You don't *have* to go into the app, but wouldn't that "start-up" by powering up the software be considered a "use"? Just a thought...

                      2. re: dozienc

                        Don't freak out. I looked at my program files and all of my "collections" are in separate folders under backup" as well as in "My Collections". Buy another copy of MC and import them or get something other than MC. MC files should import.