https://www.duolingo.com/acutedeath

[Resolved] Duolingo Plus does not work as advertised, and my refund was refused.

Most recent update: All the problems I reported have been addressed. Duolingo Plus is now meeting my expectations.

Update: I was offered a refund to make it right. Some of my problems were due to a bug, and some is the current behavior of Duolingo Plus. I'll leave the relavant info here. Plus does seem to work well if you are ok with just doing lessons (not practice) and you select the right language while still online... and don't hit the bug I saw.

I bought a 6 month Duolingo Plus subscription since I will be traveling a lot, and the offline mode sounded useful. I tried to use it with my Pixel phone (Android OS), and it doesn't work at all in airplane mode. The app just opens to a white screen. I requested a refund from the Play store and it was refused.

Edit to follow up: I tried uninstalling and reinstalling the app. It now does open in airplane mode- but I'm stuck in the language it opened to. Since you still can't switch languages when offline, and you can't Practice (only do lessons), I still feel like this is a very misrepresented feature.

September 11, 2017

29 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/JensBu

You need to download specific lessons which you want to learn offline. You need to connect at least once a day to maintain your streak by syncing with the server.

I've never tried it but that's what I read. I agree it should be explained.

September 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/idkhbtfm

I would recommend filing out a Bug Report if you haven't already.

September 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/acutedeath

Thank you, I just did so.

September 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JasonWaterfalls

Hang tight, we'll make sure a refund is granted. (And we're so sorry your expectations weren't met!) Switching communication over to your bug report...

September 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Ursulias

I just came across this thread. I just can‘t believe what I see. It has been 7 months since these problems were published ?!?!??. And nothing has changed yet and Duolingo Plus is still sold with promises that cannot be fulfilled. I subscribed to DL for 6 months in March. It just does not work. No correct downloading, no switching languages while offline. No synchronization when I worked offline, even if I leveled up and seemed to have „earned“ several crowns. I went online and all the progress disappeared. I would have liked to donate to Duolingo, because it was just great and I was thankful for it and enjoyed learning. But when I pay for something I want it to be what was promised. Instead I did not only just not get what I bought, my android smartphone gets crashed when I try to do DL. I gave feedback about 20 times. „Thx for your feedback“ was all. The problems are still there. So since I bought DL for 6 months I often cannot even learn ONLINE with my smartphone. This is absolutely disappointing.

May 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/jimnicholson

I am suprised that you say you can only do new lessons. This sounds like the existing offline functionality (that you get without Plus) where the current row is still available offline in incomplete trees.

The instructions for Plus say you can download unlocked skills, so it would be strange if you couldn't strengthen them.

See: https://support.duolingo.com/hc/en-us/articles/115004068103-How-do-I-download-lessons-

September 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/acutedeath

It's not that you can only do new lessons, it's that you can only do repeat or new lessons, and never the mode where you get to strengthen your weakest words of a unit (or of the whole language).

September 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/jimnicholson

Ah, I see. That is disappointing. This looks like they rushed to get something out there - perhaps they might improve it over time.

Off topic: I can recommend the Memrise download functionality, if you are interested. You can switch languages at will, and it is a simple download of the entire course (with no fiddling about). Only things that don't work offline are extra bits: Meet the Natves (Video Mode) feature; bots (Grammarbots & Chatbots); and the Mems (mnemonics) bit. The course itself is fine. You still have to connect once a day to maintain a streak, though streaks are less of a thing over there. Requires Pro subscription (or a very old account).

September 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/astroguy27

I think by offline mode, it means that you can download lessons to do later when you don't have WiFi.

September 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Aero_Rach

I have had exactly the same problem. I've cancelled my subscription. How did you get the refund because I've been unable to use duolingo a lot on holiday which is precisely why I got plus in the first place.

October 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/acutedeath

As a result of this post, a Duolingo representative contacted me directly. I don't know if there is meant to be a usual customer service channel. The most effective option might be to file a detailed and helpful bug report (which I initially failed to do).

October 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Ursulias

I reported — and nothing changes.

May 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas.Heiss

Have you clicked on the blue Plus icons on locked (grey) skills?
Have you already clicked on the top right white cloud for completed skills (skills top of your tree) to download it/them?

Can you please re-try the practice mode once you have downloaded some skills with the two Plus icons?

September 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/acutedeath

Yes to both of your first two questions. In preparation for my trip, I downloaded every skill from several entire trees, both unlocked and locked. To clarify, by Practice I mean either the little barbell button, or the button labeled "Strengthen" you can press when viewing an individual skill. If I try to press either when offline, the app displays the message "Practice is not available offline". So the net effect for me is that, the app might somtimes not start when offline (surely a bug), I might be stuck in a language mode other than what I want to practice, and I will only be able to do lessons (the individual sections of each unit), rather than practice my weakest words.

So, technically one can "offline any lesson" as advertised, but my expectations were very different than the reality, at least for the Android version.

September 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Lkimsr

I purchased Plus last night and even though it said all lessons would be available offline, I can’t practice French which I have completed. I downloaded all the new Spanish lessons but I can’t practice the old lessons. Seems a little deceptive.

December 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/_FiX_

My Duolingo Plus seems bugged as well. I have a subscription for a year.

I keep downloading lessons and they disappear in around 48 hours and require a re-download, which kindof beats the whole purpose. I do kindof need Duo to function as advertised and once a lesson is downloaded, to stay downloaded, for true offline operation.

May you please either correct me if I am doing something wrong or fix this issue?

And why is this post stating 'resolved'? It does not seem like it is - there seems to be quite some problems with the Plus feature.

February 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/_FiX_

Am I in the right blog for queries on Plus?

February 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SaifullahS6

For those wanting an update, I just started the 7-day trial period.

To test the bug reports mentioned on this thread, I downloaded some lessons across a few of my languages, quit the app, put my phone in aeroplane mode, and then opened the app again.

On both my iPHone and my Android, the app opened fine, and I was able to switch between languages and start previously downloaded lessons with no problems.

My only issue with Plus is that I can't figure out how to un-download lessons. Anyone know how to do this?

September 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Kierstyn923462

I have the exact same problem. I purchased plus because I spend a lot of time in flight with no Wi-Fi. Without this feature, the app is basically not useful to me. It’s misleading and I feel like I’ve been ripped off.

January 23, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Ursulias

@Kierstyn923462: Good to know. Thanks for the post. I just wanted to give DL PLUS a second chance and subscribe again. But as the DL PLUS problems still have not been solved I need not try.

January 24, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AmeliaEhrens

I have also requested a refund multiple times and nobody is responding to me. I've tried to download lessons on 3 different devices and I have the same issue on all of them. Duolingo Plus is a total scam!

December 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Ritik_Rao

Has the problem been fixed for everyone?

January 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/acutedeath

I've had success recently with using the offline mode a very specific way. If I open the Android app while online and switch to the language I want to use, then put my phone in airplane mode, I am able to do lessons for that language that I've downloaded ahead of time. You can't practice or switch languages offline, and for me the app never loads if it wasn't already running before going offline.

January 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Ursulias

No, it has not been fixed up to now. So I cancelled my subscription for DL Plus, because with DL PLUS the app was deteriorated.

May 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Lydia111

My Duolingo plus wasn't working so I requested a refund after 2 hours (within the 48 hours it recommends for getting a refund) and have not yet been refunded (3 days ago). It's also impossible to find a way to contact Duolingo about this. Can anyone advise?

January 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Tamara305092

I can’t do lessons offline either -which unfortunately I didn’t realise within the 48 hour period. What is the actual benefit of this? Seriously Duolingo this false advertising is not ok.

January 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Ursulias

This was 7 months ago. Has it been resolved for you now, or do still have the same problems as described here?

May 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/j2i
  • 33

Well, this is 12 months later and it still is not quite fixed. I experience the problem described in the O.P. when trying to download my language of interest (日本語). In can download some other languages I do not care about. (So the problem varies by language)

When when i try to download the lesson it gets to about 95+% and hangs there.

I wrote Duolingo support about a month ago and got a reply. Here it is.

So sorry for that trouble with your offline lessons! Even while the course is downloading, you'll still be able to complete numerous levels/skills offline. That remaining 1-3% is our system running a final sweep of what skills/levels to download. With that, it can get stuck sometimes. I'm so sorry! Our team is looking into improving this particular issue in the future. In the meantime, you can still go offline and complete numerous courses. Then the download will continue to auto-update once reconnected to wifi/internet.

Hope this info helps! If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask. Have a lovely day!

November 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Coeurderoy4

Same here. Can't practice offline and save my progression. I bought it to practice in the bus and can only practice at home. Had to redo a lot of basic units because of that bug, only to find the end level is still somehow basic english. I asked for a refund, bought it 2 weeks ago, and they refused. I see a lot of negative comments about their customer support. I'm filing a plaint to my credit card company.

February 1, 2019
Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.