EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1105 - September 12, 2005     4 of 7

Risks of Buying Software on Auction Sites

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Dominique Goupil, President of software firm FileMaker Inc., said the problem of counterfeit software sold through online auctions and through email spam offers is growing. He cites the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), which reports that over 90 percent of the software offered on online auctions is illegitimate.

Goupil says buying cheap, illegal software holds risks for consumers:

  • Credit card fraud and identity theft - some software scams are simply a front for credit card rip-offs

  • The software may just not work correctly, and it's possible the user could lose data or pick up a crippling computer virus

  • The user forfeits access to customer support, upgrades, technical documentation, training, and bug fixes from the original software maker

Goupil says buyers can avoid buying illegal software by doing research on legitimate reseller sites (CDW, CompUSA, PC Mall, Software House Int'l). If this software looks too cheap, it is most likely illegal. Also, avoid sellers who are selling just the CD without the actual sealed box that contains the CD, manual and warranty created by the original software vendor. Finally, check with the software maker if you have questions.

Goupil said, if it seems too good to be true - it is!

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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