Reckon Annual Licence is Extortion

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Hi,

I have just discovered that I have been tricked into purchasing an annual license, whereas I have always been on a perpetual license. This issue has already been covered in depth at the following link ( https://community.reckon.com/reckon/topics/annual-renwal-or-registration-for-reckon-premier?topic-re... ), but all comments have now been closed so I have started a new post as I don't think shutting down negative discussion is really the right approach.

I don't think I can add any more to the degree of outrage and anger that has already been posted. The best analogy that I can think of is that I have been tricked into purchasing the equivalent of the Wannacry virus onto my own computer, where some dodgy stand-over company is using extortion tactics to extract $470 out of me so that I can continue to run my business.

Reckon – can I please have a sensible response to this issue, which is clearly ongoing. Essentially, I am demanding that you unlock my software which I purchased in good faith, without you ever informing me that the licensing had changed, despite the price remaining the same (in fact, it was more expensive). I have checked back through all of my emails and I was definitely never informed of this. I have also seen on forums that there is a perpetual license available still, but there is no option for purchasing this on your website, so clearly you are deliberately misleading consumers by withholding this information.

Come tomorrow I'll certainly be calling Consumer Affairs and the ACCC, and from here on in I will be logging the hours I spend on this, so that I can recoup costs through VCAT. And if you somehow think you have done nothing wrong then you might want to check the ACCC website which states, "It is illegal for a business to engage in conduct that misleads or deceives or is likely to mislead or deceive consumers or other businesses." ( https://www.accc.gov.au/publications/advertising-selling/advertising-and-selling-guide/avoid-mislead... )

I look forward to this being resolved rapidly.

Thank you.
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Paul Ellis

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  • Utterly outraged.

Posted 7 months ago

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Di

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I must admit, I do agree.

This seems to be the way most software companies are approaching the way to force you into keeping 'updated'

I have been using QuickBooks for almost 20 years now and this is the first time I have come across this with them.  In previous years I would use a version for 3 years as the only difference for us was tax table changes and I could calculate and adjust those manually, now I am forced to upgrade annually.

My way of thinking for many of us is if it's not broke don't fix it, so if its running fine and I do not require the 'additional' features why would I upgrade - no choice now.

It does become quite expensive for a small business - we run 5 licences QuickBooks and 2 POS which now all require annual subscriptions.

Had I known I could purchase a perpetual licence (agree, not noted on their website) I would definitely have made a more informed decision.  Where did you find this information?

Di
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Phil Dodds

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I also agree,
I thought I was paying the annual fee for advantage help desk and annual updates.
I am not impressed that I can't use the programme if I don't pay my annual fee.
That wasn't the purpose of the annual fee when I signed up.
I too have been using Reckon for 24 years now an am seriously unimpressed.
Phil
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Rav, Community Manager

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Hi Paul,
Thanks for your post, I've had a chat with our Customer Service team in relation to your account and there are further details which need to be added to this case to provide a more accurate reflection.

Previously you have indeed held a full version of a previous edition with an Advantage membership. At the time of Advantage memberships ending you've spoken to our Customer Service team and opted out of continuing your subscription on an annual basis which is perfectly reasonable and a decision you're more than entitled to make. At this point, you have been able to continue using the full version you have without interruption.

However, in regard to the current annual licence product you are using, this was purchased in 2017 by yourself from the Reckon eStore on our website.

The change to annual subscription model pricing has allowed us to include the element of support and upgrades, which previously only came with an Advantage membership, into the one subscription.
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Robert Smeallie

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Hi everyone,

Sorry to burst your bubble but now Reckon has joined the rest of the new software providers including Microsoft (Office), MYOB and Norton AntiVirus in moving to the Software As A Service (SAAS) model of selling their software. I paid just over $500.00 for a 1 year license for Reckon Accounts 2017 which gave me an update to Reckon Accounts 2018, but the Tax Table is still the 2017 release because the ATO hasn't changed the Tax Rates since then. A perpetual license for Reckon Accounts Plus would cost me over 3 times as much and after those 3 years I would have an outdated copy of the software which would need to be replaced as the Government adds new requirements for business financial reporting, including SuperStream for Superannuation Reporting.  Single Touch Payroll (STP) for PAYG reporting, and the new Simplified BAS Return, all of which won't be provided for in the older versions of Reckon Accounting (or MYOB AccountRight also).

I buy an Annual License for Microsoft Office and Norton, both of which covers 5 devices, which if you do the sums equals what you would pay after buying a perpetual license, as for example paying $1,700 for a perpetual license for MYOB AccountRight which is 3-4 times the cost of a 1 year license. This way you spread the purchase price over the same period you would expect to have a reasonably up-to-date copy of the software, including updates at no extra costs. It is a big change in thinking from when we used to buy the software in years gone by, but it is now becoming the way of business for the software houses who want a steady income stream.

I knew I was getting a 1 year license when I bought it and I will see if I get any bookkeeping work during this year to use it for, otherwise if I don't, then when the renewal comes up I will not renew the subscription

Robert Smeallie
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Tim Spillman

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RAV


The last major upgrade to Reckon Accounts was payroll. The software is based off 10+ year old code. With most of the same inherent problems never really fixed.


Payroll I’m sure was only added so your customer using both payroll premier and accounts would move from payroll premium. Payroll Premier is based off Windows 95 technology maybe even Win 3. 20+ year old software.


No real development has happened on either software, thats why I walk away from using them.


Tax Tables are not updates or upgrades, Its a requirement for your software to work as intended. If you sell perpetual licenses you should provide support for that software to work as intended limited to its software requirements at date of purchase.


Clients upgrading to software upgrading OS, Office, Email Clients should pay to move to newer versions that are not covered under the software requirements.


MYOB moved to this platform about 1year prior to Reckon so it not just reckon.


Plenty other software providers out there people talk with your feet.
(Edited)
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adrian snaidero

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Despite paying annual fees which are meant to also cover any enhancements, there has never been any notification from Reckon on what (if any) changes have been applied to the premier/Enterprise server(non hosted) solutions. 

There would be a number of sites that are not hosted but are just ignored with respect to changes or even notification of pending changes

Who ever took over managing development within Reckon came on with big promises when asked  some 2 years ago or thereabouts but to date "crickets"

Look elsewhere if communication/development does not tick up
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Paul Ellis

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Hi all,

Thanks for your replies. Just to clarify, my concern is not with the quality of Reckon or with the prices that it charges – Reckon can choose to charge whatever they like for their service and the market will sort itself out accordingly.

My issue is that I was not clearly informed that I was moving onto an annual license and that I have seemingly since been locked out of the product that I use to run my business, unless I pay a fee to unlock it again. The fact that both Di and Phil responded within two hours this morning stating that they felt the same way indicates to me that my perception of what has happened is correct.

Rav - I appreciate your reply but I don't think it is fair of you to imply that I have withheld aspects of my situation in this post. I have been using Reckon (previously QuickBooks) since 2002 and I have always declined continuing to pay for the Advantage membership, as similar to Di I usually updated my software every three or four years and this was sufficient for me. However, in the interest of brevity there was no need for me to mention this in my post because the only issue is that when I purchased my newest version of the software in 2017 it was not made clear to me that this was an annual license and I was never offered the alternative of a perpetual license, which is the misleading and deceptive behaviour that I am referring to.

Rav, moving forward, it is still my expectation that I will be provided with a license key to unlock my current version of Reckon. Could you please respond to me regarding this.

Furthermore, could you please clarify for me if I can still use my current version of Reckon. At this stage, when I open the software it states that "This copy of Reckon Accounts has expired. On May 27, 2018 you will only be able to view and print information that is currently in Reckon Accounts but will not be able to change or enter transactions", yet when I go to use it it still seems to be functioning normally. I'm not prepared to use it until you confirm for me either way if it is still functioning properly, as I don't want to risk losing data.
Thank you.
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Rav, Community Manager

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Thanks for getting back to me Paul,
...the only issue is that when I purchased my newest version of the software in 2017 it was not made clear to me that this was an annual license and I was never offered the alternative of a perpetual license, which is the misleading and deceptive behaviour that I am referring to.
Ok so focusing on your current edition of 2017 Reckon Accounts purchased from the website last year, I'd be keen to understand and get your feedback on where in the purchase process it didn't inform you that it was an annual licence you were purchasing?
At the time of your purchase, perpetual licences/full versions were no longer for offered as a licencing option.

Furthermore, could you please clarify for me if I can still use my current version of Reckon. At this stage, when I open the software it states that "This copy of Reckon Accounts has expired. On May 27, 2018 you will only be able to view and print information that is currently in Reckon Accounts but will not be able to change or enter transactions", yet when I go to use it it still seems to be functioning normally.
Apologies for that confusion, you're still able to use the current edition as there is a 7 day grace period built into the licence after the listed expiry date. For use beyond that will require a renewal of your subscription.
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Paul Ellis

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Rav, as far as I can tell I have addressed the question as to why it was unclear that it is an annual license that I was purchasing, and I have further followed this up with a more detailed email to your customer service email address. You don't need me to tell you as you can obviously access your own website, but if you do check you will see that the word "annual" is in fine print in the middle of the purchase order, and there is certainly no warning or disclaimer or overt statement that the software will only work for one year. As Di and Phil have both also commented, for long-term users of Reckon we are all well aware that there has been the Advantage program that was only valid for one year, and the assumption would be that when we all took out our last licenses that the word "annual" was referring to this.

Furthermore, there was also no mention of a perpetual license when I purchased the software in 2017 (or now), yet when I spoke with Reckon last Friday I was told that there is a perpetual license. In the absence of an offer of an alternative perpetual license, it was perfectly reasonable of me to assume that I was buying the same product again that I had been buying continuously for the last 16 years. If you could please explain to me why there is no perpetual license offered on your website and yet your customer service person was able to offer it to me I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks Rav – I don't want to keep going around in circles on this as it is costing me time and money.
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Rav, Community Manager

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Hi Paul,

I'm not privy to the phone call or conversation you had so I can only assume that your phone call was referencing a perpetual licence upgrade option for existing customers for the Reckon Accounts Plus product (a higher version to your current edition that does NOT have a perpetual licence option).

I've had another look at this with the Customer Service and although you purchased an annual licence subscription yourself but would rather be on a perpetual licence product, an option we can put forward is to move you to Reckon Accounts Plus upgrade (without Advantage Support). The amount you will pay is the cost of your annual subscription + the difference in the total price of Reckon Accounts Plus upgrade ie. essentially you are only paying for the cost of the upgrade product.
If you'd like to proceed with that let me know and I can have it organised.

I just want to be abundantly clear here however, as there have been some serious claims made in this post, there has NO trickery or deception in any sense on our part in this.
(Edited)
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Paul Ellis

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Hi Rav,
What would this solution cost?
Thanks.
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Rav, Community Manager

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The difference is $270 which you will be required to pay should you wish to pursue this offer. That is, the difference in cost between the price of the annual licence option chose and paid for last year ($450.00) and the cost of Reckon Accounts Plus upgrade at 2017 prices ($720.00).

As stated previously, there is no Advantage Support with this offer.
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Paul Ellis

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Okay, and presumably once I have upgraded to Reckon Accounts Plus this file would no longer work in Reckon Accounts Accounting?
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Rav, Community Manager

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Correct.
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Paul Ellis

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So Rav, this is now getting pretty ridiculous...

I have contact Reckon to express my dissatisfaction regarding the lack of transparency in your change of licensing arrangements, to which you have responded that the change is transparent and have implied that the fault is mine. This is despite two people (Di and Phil) responding to me within a couple of hours that they feel the same way and you being well aware of the issue for at least the last two years, as per the following two conversations:
https://community.reckon.com/reckon/topics/annual-renwal-or-registration-for-reckon-premier?topic-re...
https://community.reckon.com/reckon/topics/if-i-have-paid-for-program-why-dont-i-own-it-if-i-dont-re...

The "solution" that you then offer is for me to pay even more money to unlock the software which I had been led to believe I purchased outright and in so doing, you want to lock me into an even more expensive piece of software when it comes to future upgrades.

In parallel with this you have told me that there is a seven day grace period for the software, further to me informing you that on 28 May 2018 my software was still working, despite receiving a message stating that "This copy of Reckon Accounts has expired. On May 27, 2018 you will only be able to view and print information that is currently in Reckon Accounts but will not be able to change or enter transactions". Given that my software was still working after the stated expiration date of May 27 2018, I reasonably assumed that your stated seven days grace period would begin from May 27 2018. However, when I went to use my software tonight I now find that I am locked out of it, only three days after May 27 2018.

Rav, at this point I am angry beyond words. I feel deceived by the change in licensing arrangements which was not clearly communicated and I feel vindicated in this belief by the numerous other posts complaining of the same issue as detailed above, of which you are well aware. I am also now incredibly upset that I have been locked out of my software earlier than expected because you failed to properly communicate when the grace period would end.

I'm really not prepared to discuss this any further other than to demand that you provide me with another annual license for my current product free of charge, to enable me to close off my current invoices so that I can move to an alternative software provider. If you don't provide me with a free annual license then I will be obliged to purchase one, as either way I need to close off my current invoices before I can move on. However, if I do need to purchase my own license then I will lodge a formal complaint with Consumer Affairs Victoria and the ACCC, and in so doing I will be requesting a refund of my 2017 licence as well as my 2018 licence.

If you want to avoid this situation could you please provide me with a free annual license key for my current software by Friday. I have taken printouts of this conversation, as well as printouts of the other two conversations linked above. I have also taken screenshots of all of the screens at estore.reckon.com.au in relation to purchasing Reckon Accounts Accounting, which clearly show that no explanation is given regarding the limitations on the licence of the product being purchased.

All of this information will obviously go towards the formal complaints that I will lodge in requesting my reimbursements, in the context of the ACCC's position statement that, "It makes no difference whether the business intended to mislead you or not. If the overall impression left by a business’s advertisement, promotion, quotation, statement or other representation creates a misleading impression in your mind—such as to the price, value or the quality of any goods and services—then the behaviour is likely to breach the law."

Thanks Rav – could we please resolve this quickly with a new free license key for me, rather than having to go through all of this mess again with formal complaints.
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Rav, Community Manager

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Paul,
While I can appreciate that you're frustrated, I think we're being pretty fair and reasonable in trying to bring this to an amicable resolution.
The "solution" that you then offer is for me to pay even more money to unlock the software which I had been led to believe I purchased outright and in so doing, you want to lock me into an even more expensive piece of software when it comes to future upgrades.
The "solution" that has been put forward is asking you to pay exactly what you would have had you made the purchase of a perpetual licence product initially in 2017. That is, the difference between what you paid for the annual licence and the price of a perpetual licence product, which I gather from this conversation, is the type of licence arrangement you want. 

We're not asking you to pay any 'more' than what you should or would have anyway. Bear in mind, with this offer you are gaining a 2018 perpetual licence product at 2017 prices. That is fair.

As I've stated before, at the time of your purchase in 2017, our eStore only had the option of Reckon Accounts Accounting Annual Licence. There was no perpetual licence option, meaning annual licence was the only option and there should be no reason on your part in thinking otherwise.

In parallel with this you have told me that there is a seven day grace period for the software, further to me informing you that on 28 May 2018 my software was still working, despite receiving a message stating that "This copy of Reckon Accounts has expired. On May 27, 2018 you will only be able to view and print information that is currently in Reckon Accounts but will not be able to change or enter transactions". 
I've asked the Customer Service team to check your account and have found your current annual licence ended on 20 May. There is indeed a 7 day grace period and as to why you were able to use the service beyond that date, I don't have the answer to. I apologise for my part in miscommunication on that front, at the time of my reply on that aspect my assumption was that your licence expired on the 27th rather than the 20th, and the date on the notice not taking the 7 day grace period into account.
I feel deceived by the change in licensing arrangements which was not clearly communicated and I feel vindicated in this belief by the numerous other posts complaining of the same issue as detailed above, of which you are well aware. 
Again, there has been no deception. This has come about from a product purchase conducted of your own volition which is clearly stated as an annual licence. There was no other licence option for the product you purchased.

I'm really not prepared to discuss this any further other than to demand that you provide me with another annual license for my current product free of charge

I cannot offer you a free annual licence and its not a reasonable request. As I've mentioned, we want to resolve this matter amicably and fairly.
As a further gesture of goodwill I can organise to have your current licence extended to June 30 to allow you to complete any outstanding work if you wish, and the previous offer still stands should you decide to take it.

Thanks
Rav
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Paul Ellis

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Yes Rav, could you please extend my licence to June 30 and let me know as soon as it's done . I'll deal with the rest later.
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Rav, Community Manager

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This is done, your expiry date is now June 30.

You will need to re-register your product to activate the new expiry date.
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Paul Ellis

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Hi Rav,
Thanks for that – I re-registered my product and it activated fine, so I was able to close off all of my open invoices and export my data out of Reckon. I've been trialling alternative software all week and I've come up with a really good alternative which is a lot cheaper and has superior functionality, which I'm really happy about.

It's a pity really as I have used Reckon (and its previous incarnations) for 16 years now and I had a huge amount of brand loyalty up until recently. To be honest, I really can't understand Reckon's business strategy, failing to acknowledge product problems and continually increasing prices, in an environment which is awash with competition. I just can't see how that's going to work in the long-term and I suspect that this is reflected in Reckon's share price being half of what it was two years ago.

Anyway, I'm strangely happy about the outcome as despite it creating an enormous amount of stress and work for me this week, I think I am in a far better position for it. You won't hear from me again as I now consider this matter closed and to be honest, I can't even be bothered lodging a formal complaint with the ACCC, because the end result for me has been a positive one.

And for anyone coming across this thread in the future, I would strongly recommend that you don't let the daunting feeling of changing accounting software stop you, as it is an incredibly streamlined process now with most software manufacturers offering very straightforward conversion services. The effort you put into researching your options and making the change will certainly be rewarded.
(Edited)

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