Shopping for Consignment Software
Save yourself a lot of time and money by avoiding vendors who are less than forthcoming pre sale with all their ways and means of charging you for more than first meets the eye.
Yes, deceiving someone for financial gain is the exact definition of 'fraud' and fraud is felony (punishable by fines and/or imprisonment) when the perpetrator deceives customers but that doesn't deter vendors on the Internet selling consignment software.
A common way for vendors to hide facts is to bury unpleasantries (like hidden fees and adverse provisions) on sub-sub-pages on websites, followed by a purposeful failure to disclose such things (verbally or in writing) prior to purchase.
Quite the contrary, some vendors make a significant effort to bash competitors while refraining from making the same disclosures about themselves.
There's no need to invest hours of time digging through web pages to find dirty tricks. Just make a list (or use the one below) to ask questions via email (not by phone, so you'll have answers in writing. Tricksters prefer phone conversations so they can later deny their false representations.)
Consignment Software 'Company' Facades
The biggest risk facing consignment/resale shops, malls and thrift stores is cover up - vendors using websites, company names and plurality to disguise the fact that future support for the software is dependent upon one person - the person who wrote the program. The vendor in Miami is worse case, having claimed to be a CEO of a nonexistent corporation with offices in New York and Miami where there was no corporation, no NY office (but a friend's apartment address in New Jersey) and just 2-3 people involved in the 'company'.
Vendors operating under an LLC (Limited Liability Company) - not a corporation - hope to avoid having their personal assets involved in the business. If the LLC has no assets (quite likely) then any 'guarantees' are completely backed by hot air. Offering guarantees is a marketing gimmick intended to instill confidence.
Costly Hidden Provisions
BCSS does not charge annual service fees. Most vendors do. When asked some will claim that the annual service fee is optional - without taking the opportunity to offer the consequences which range from denying support in all forms to withholding software updates. Arm twisting, yes.
Exclusions from annual support include training, assistance with hardware (purchased from the vendor!) and an undisclosed policy (again involving the Miami vendor) of canceling the service contract and requiring that the software be purchased a second time ($1300) if he decides too many questions have been asked. Quoting his forum statement, "Sometimes in life it makes sense to fire a customer. Not because you want to, but because they cost you more than they earn you - that's just how some people operate." In the case cited, he kept the cost of the original purchase and the annual support fee.
The same vendor on at least 3 known occasions has accessed his customers computers (without their knowledge or consent) and deleted their data. This is the worst of criminal activity.
If for some odd reason a person were to chose a software program that (one way or another) requires annual services fees (or imposes penalties in hopes of forcing such payments), he or she would be locked into increases in the annual service fee. Such increases have been rolled out consistently and frequently over the past decade.
Software written and maintained by one person looks like it. If you've loaded the demo and the appearance lacks professionalism then reasonably expect that what's under the hood isn't so hot either. There was no team of developers, no team of beta testers and no team around for future support. This will be true of most programs other than BCSS and Resaleworld but expect one-man shops to refer to 'teams' and 'corporate servers' and 'we' where there are none.
Costly Hidden Fees
- Want to use the software on a second computer? $99 to $395. Beware of vendors who try this one: "Use the software on as many computers as you wish." Quite often they have already charged a higher price and you're paying for that additional copy whether you use it or not!
- Charges for online data storage - often free (BCSS) or less costly for services like Carbonite which backs up the entire computer.
- Additional charge for 'training' (free with BCSS for the first session)
- A real "gotcha": Full price to purchase the software for a second store
- Future increases in usage fees for web-based software
- Charges for servicing hardware, even if the hardware was purchased from the software vendor
- Over-charges for hardware
- Shipping and sales tax (always tacked on to ends of orders)
If you're shopping for consignment software, you can avoid all of this nonsense by going directly to Best Consignment Shop Software. The initial price is the final price. As a matter of full disclosure, personal support by phone or remote PC have not been baked into the price, so you don't end up paying for something (phone/remote support) that you probably won't need and like don't want. There are additional fees for servicing software/hardware that was not purchased from us and for activities which exceed the bounds of maintaining the integrity of the software (like transferring to another PC, repairing data corruptions, reissuing unlock codes...).