AEC has always been relatively easy to install, configure and maintain - if it's too hard, you probably shouldn't be configuring a Joomla! site to start with. I got the whole thing working beautifully with about two afternoons work, the occasional glance at the docs, and a single support ticket for something I couldn't figure out. That was 3 years ago, and the online documentation has now improved considerably, and there's even a load of videos if you have trouble reading manuals.
So you may indeed have to study a little to get it working as you'd like, and you may even have to submit a support ticket for help with a specific issue: 1 Hour of support is now included with membership, and extra support costs 35€/hour... I can't see how anyone can complain about that - I wouldn't work for less that that, especially if there's always a risk the customer might open a Paypal dispute 2 months later for a full refund when I've spent hours helping them out.
So one word of advice - if you want fast support (and this applies to any software), make it easy for the support team and yourself: include all the info requested of you, and try to provide a concise, accurate and detailed description of your problem. In 3 years I've opened maybe 4 or 5 tickets and have always received timely and friendly help from an expert who solved my problem asap. If you open a ticket that just says "doesn't work"... you'll get about as much information as that in return.
As for the software itself, I don't know what I'd do without it. If you need a reliable & professional system to provide paid access to content, look no further than AEC + Joomla!
(disclaimer: I have no affiliation with AEC - I run the websites GCalToolkit and Dba2Csv with AEC)