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The True Cost of Software, Hardware and Services

"Those hard-to-find fees have been rounded up and added up here to disclose the true cost of some (not all) consignment software programs."


Fee-Based Software

The initial amount paid for a fee-based program is only a down payment. With the exception of BCSS and one or two mom-pop plans, many payments will follow for 'service' and other imaginative assessments. It doesn't take long for 'fees' to exceed the original purchase price!

Concerted efforts are made to sell sell sell while making no mention of the largest part of the cost of computerization - fees! The simple solution is to avoid fee-based software, but if you're curious, here's how vendors plan on selling you on never-ending fees:


Step 1: Deceptive Advertising

Here's $1,000+ software (with lots of trailing fees) quoted at "$85+":

There is no $85 software. After this tactic was exposed, the ad was changed to "$85 to get started":

Either way, representing costly software with a low-ball price is intentionally misleading.

Here's another example of fraudulent advertising:

As you might know, items listed on eBay 'for sale' must display a final price. The $129 ('Buy It Now') is a monthly 'lease' fee for a 24-month lease costing $3,096 (for a software program that can be purchased outright for about $1300 (plus $50 for training plus $100 for 'service' plus...

eBay policy: "The listing offers or requires buyers to make an additional purchase, pay an amount more than the final price...".

And another...

This is an ad for a program that (in round numbers) costs $100 to $150 PER MONTH for as long as the software is in use - even for 10 years! $150 per month x 120 months = $18,000 and no equity!

Low-balling of course is intended to grab attention, but who's going to complain about misleading advertising on the WWW?


Step 2: Pile on the Fees

Sit back and fasten your seat belt. You're about to be amazed at the number of twist and turns software pricing policies can take on their way to driving cost well first impressions presented on misleading home pages and Internet ads.

Hidden, Unexpected, Surprising and Alarming Software Costs

  • A very large cost is having to replace software purchased from an individual programmer. Those who made such purchases in the past lost their money and had to purchase (and learn) another software program when the programmer abandoned the software.
  • Another large cost is the risk of doing business (with an individual posing as a 'company'). Wilson at boasted in a public forum about 'firing' customers when he tires of them asking for help. He actually told one person her support was canceled and she would have to pay another $1,000 for continued support.
  • An additional cost of partnering with an individual is the cost of manipulation. In the same forum thread Wilson was exposed for offering a 'free update' to users who had elected not to pay OPTIONAL annual fees. The update disabled their software and Wilson refused to enable the software until he was paid off.
  • Software ownership should be passed to you upon purchase. (After all, you paid for it!) Reselling the software later will recover some of your cost. Most programs however only allow the use of the software. You don't own it and can't resell it. The cost of this disadvantage is the cost of the software: $1,000+. (If a vendor says his software can be resold, ask under what conditions.)
  • Some vendors have concocted fees (in addition to annual service fees) for separate services like printer or scanner support. A prime example is Resaleworld (who besides over-pricing a thermal label printer and adding on fees for cable and shipping) refuses to support the printer (they sold!) after 30 days unless $100 is paid 'per incident' (for anyone not on their 'support plan' - $75 for those who are).

These are all of the known ways fee-based software vendors add-on to the cost of choosing their software :

  1. Support Fees in General: $125 to $600+ PER YEAR
  2. Credit-Card Integration: $245
  3. Data Conversion: $200
  4. Data Storage: $72 PER YEAR
  5. Database 'Tuneup': $69
  6. Hardware Markups (above fair-market value): 25%+
  7. Help with Windows, Networking, Hardware, QuickBooks (Passed to a 3rd Party): $100+ PER HOUR
  8. How-To Help: $100 PER HOUR (Would you believe this? Help with the software is NOT included in the annual service fee!!)
  9. Kickbacks to vendors from Forms Plus and X-Charge for steering you to their services. (A small percentage of each of your labels purchases and credit-card sales goes to the software vendor for pushing you in these directions.)
  10. 4,000 Labels: Resaleworld: $77; Elsewhere: $18
  11. On-site Training: $2,000-$3,000 (suggesting that the software is complex and hard to learn)
  12. Phone Support: $100 PER HOUR
  13. Printer Cables: $15
  14. QuickBooks Compatibility: $199
  15. Replace Stripped Features: $180
  16. Replacement CD: $35
  17. Replacement Software: $600-$1000 (when the 'programmer' is no longer around)
  18. Shipping Charges: +5%
  19. Software Copies: $99 to $395 for computers in the same store on a network
  20. Software Copies for Multiple Stores: Full Price! (Good idea: Ask the cost of software for a second store and beyond and be prepared to be floored by this hidden expense.)
  21. Software Ownership Transfer: $100 to $500
  22. Software Updates: $100+ (Often advertised as "FREE!" but denied if support fees are not paid)
  23. Time to Relearn Replacement Software: $X,XXX
  24. Transfer to Another PC: $150

If you plan on being in business for 10 years, the cost of using the software (advertised from $400 to $1000) is over $5,000. Think of the low-ball 'purchase price' as a seed that once planted grows into fee vines that will consume your business.

Confirmation and References

If your mission is to avoid fees, insist on a written signed document disclosing all possible fees. If the vendor refuses, refuse the software.

Most vendors provide 'testimonials' on their websites, yet here's Wilson at with another totally ridiculous unsubstantiated claim:

A thought: Do you want to own a software program whose provider essentially hopes if not expects you to help him sell his software?

Also, CCE and Wilson refer their software users to The Computer Peeps for help at a rate of $100 per hour (10-5, M-F, "emergency rates" at all other times.) Asking the fox in the hen house about competitors is obviously a total waste of time.

Conclusion

The amount of money paid in the first year (software cost + annual support fee + add-on fees for services excluded from annual service + labels + hardware markups + shipping/cables + amounts paid to 3rd-party help) is only a down payment toward the ultimate cost of using most software programs.

Also expect that an individual attempting to garner $5,000 from you over time is going to say anything to attempt to lure you in, including bashing lower-priced competitors. Expect the same from any individual holding himself out to be a 'computer peep' attempting to convince you that paying him $100 per hour and more is better than paying someone else half that rate - or nothing at all! (Several software and hardware vendors provide free lifetime help.)

The safe route is to do business with a software provider who is upfront and straightforward about pricing: Best Consignment Shop Software.


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