Buyer Beware: Starter software shortcomings - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

WIS Troubleshooter Judi Gatson

Buyer Beware: Starter software shortcomings

(National) March 14, 2005 - People buying a new computer have different priorities when it comes to software and Consumer Reports Mike Gikas says these days some computers come with a catch, "Well, you may buy a computer with a DVD burner thinking you're going to make and edit home movies and find out that the software that comes with the computer is either disabled or will only work for a limited amount of time."

You have to pay to get disabled software up and running, or buy new software altogether, which is an added expense you were not counting on. Gikas says there's another catch, "A trialware program is typically operational from 60 to 90 days. And after which you'll be prompted to pay to keep using it."

Photo software came with one laptop. At first, all the options worked, but now when you try some of the tools, you discover they're "no longer available" because the "premium features have expired."
Upgrading software can cost anywhere from $20 to more than $200. So buyer beware: the way software is being bundled today, you're not always done paying when you leave the store.

It's not always worth paying extra to activate a software program or pay for one that's expired. Sometimes there's an alternative that does not cost you a dime. The problem is you don't always get good advice from customer service reps who may be trying to sell you something you don't really need.

Reported by Judi Gatson
Posted 2:49pm by BrettWitt

Consumer Reports has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor appearing on this Web site. Copyright © 2000-2005 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc.

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