JeremyNicoll

Buying a licence for the first time, and renewing

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Before renewing my existing licence I had a quick look at the "Buy" page on your website.  There seems to be a fault with the way the page code works.  The machine-count dropdown offers 1/3/5/5+ machines. If you click on 5+, it changes to a clickable spinner so you can choose 5/6/7/8... or reduce the count 5/4/3.    BUT it also changes from Home EAM to Business EAM... and the per-machine rates are different.  The only way I was able to get back to the Home rates was to reload the page.   I think it would be possible for a potential Home purchaser to buy Business by mistake.    Also it is not clear whether a Home user with more than 5 machines is obliged to pay Business rates, nor - if so, why.

Moving on.   The website page still says (at the bottom):
" Auto-renewal ensures you don't end up defenseless when your license period runs out. When your license is about to expire, our online payment provider verifies that your payment details are still valid and automatically renews your subscription when the license ends. Please note that you can cancel auto-renewal at any time with just one click via the order confirmation email or directly on the purchase confirmation page after completing your order. "

I didn't read that until now.  I don't think hiding info about auto-renewal at the foot of the page is very transparent.  There is NOTHING higher up to suggest that one is buying a subscription.  And, worst of all, the two statements about cancelling auto-renewal are both wrong.

Of course I knew about this because I've read other people's complaints here.  I expected to see some reference to this in one of the three emails I was sent - but none say anything about cancelling it.

Also, the "Your order on www.emsisoft.com: Product/subscription information" email had a sentence in particularly poor English: "In case you didn't already create a user account, we just made one for you and sent you the information in a second email.".    Well, I didn't get an extra email, so I suppose that means I already have an account on MyEmsisoft.  But nothing has explained why I might need to have such an account.  The same email does more or less tell new users that they need to create one, before installing EAM.  But there's nothing that says an existing user would need to.   It could be a lot clearer.

As I expected, EAM issued a notification telling me that my licence had updated.  I see though (as others complained some months ago) that the GUI Overview screen tooltip still tells me the start and end dates of my (old) licence - it doesn't show the new expiry date.  At least that info was in one of the emails I got.

Do I still need to email [email protected] to get auto-renewal turned off?

 

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6 hours ago, JeremyNicoll said:

BUT it also changes from Home EAM to Business EAM... and the per-machine rates are different.

I would believe that's intentional. I'm fairly certain we don't offer more than 5-PC licenses for EAM Home.

 

6 hours ago, JeremyNicoll said:

And, worst of all, the two statements about cancelling auto-renewal are both wrong.

My understanding is that there is at least a link in the order confirmation e-mail to disable the subscription. I'll have to ask if that has changed.

 

6 hours ago, JeremyNicoll said:

But nothing has explained why I might need to have such an account.

These days we're trying to get all license keys associated with accounts in MyEmsisoft to make it easier for people to manage their license keys.

 

6 hours ago, JeremyNicoll said:

it doesn't show the new expiry date.  At least that info was in one of the emails I got.

That's because subscription licenses automatically renew, so there's no real expiration date.

 

6 hours ago, JeremyNicoll said:

Do I still need to email [email protected] to get auto-renewal turned off?

Normally that would be best, since they will need to verify information before making changes, however in this case I will let sales know about your post here and I believe one of them will contact you via PM.

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> I would believe that's intentional. I'm fairly certain we don't offer more than 5-PC licenses for EAM Home.

I can't see why.  It's not the number of machines someone has that dictates whether they're a business user or not.  Moreover if you do once get the spinner in place and decrement back to 3 or 4 pcs you have fewer than 5 and could still pay the wrong rate.

> My understanding is that there is at least a link in the order confirmation e-mail to disable the subscription.

Nope.

> These days we're trying to get all license keys associated with accounts in MyEmsisoft to make it easier for people to manage their license keys.

How much 'management' is required?   My update didn't need me to login to MyEmsisoft at all.

> That's because subscription licenses automatically renew, so there's no real expiration date.

Maybe, but one of the emails said there was, and the GUI notification told me when the new expiry date was.

 

Anyway, I remain surprised that a privacy-centred company like yourselves thinks a subscription model where a company store someone's card details without the user's permission is a good idea.  Yes, I know I had to tick a box saying I agreed Ts&Cs and the subscription model... but that's not really a choice when the purchasing process does not offer a way to buy without ticking that, is it?

 

 

 

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Hello Jeremy,

 

we decided for a separation of private and business users for various reasons, incl. industry standards and being able to make Emsisoft available to private users at a lower price requirement. There is also demand from businesses for a business edition and access to special features we are developing for businesses. 

We scarcely have private users with need to cover more than 5 PCs. If they do, they have the choice to purchase a separate license. We had to draw the line somewhere and did where we saw it appropriate, not least based on our user base purchasing.

Thank you for your input about the spinner. I forwarded the feedback internally. That said, we must be careful apply a fix to one potential confusion by creating another, e.g. making business users wonder why they ended up on the home user pricing. We have far less home users considering to buy 5+ licenses than we have business users. And even those users can still switch back to home licenses using the tab navigation on our pricing page.

Thank you for your input about the GUI expiry/renewal info, I forwarded the feedback internally. 

Thank you for your input on the missing link in the email. I forwarded the feedback internally 

Regarding credit card details: as you said, users have to accept the terms and they have the choice not to - same as with any other subscription service. They also have the choice to not renew their subscription. As for the saving of credit card or other payment details, that is nothing new. Our shop partner saved that data anyway, be it for a one time purchase or a subscription, so do other shops. The important part is that we do not (and cannot) spy on credit card purchases by any user (other than those they made for Emsisoft).

We appreciate your input and it is not lost on us. At the very least, it will be considered carefully.

 

Best regards

Sebastian

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This auto-renewal thing smells a bit - I was told by GT500 that the subscription model only applies to new licences, not for renewing existing licences, but that clearly doesn't seem to be the case given Jeremy's recent experience.

If auto-renew is now the default for all licences, then at the very least you should offer the option to opt-out of the subscription model at the first stage of the ordering process rather than at the last stage, and in my view, there should be an option in My Emsisoft to turn auto-renewal off so that the user has more control over this option.

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Hello marko,

I confirm that if you renew a license through our web shop, it will turn into a subscription, same as when you purchase a new license through our web shop. Once again, you can choose to cancel it at any point up to 30 days after its renewal (currently through a request to our support team). 

Thank you for your suggestion, I will forward it internally for review. 

As for the "smells a bit", please take into account that it is common practice for software as a service subscriptions nowadays. The perceived or real inconvenience happens in comparison with the old model of term licenses. We understand that subscriptions are not necessarily the favorite model for everyone but by the same token we used to have thousands of users who were not happy to have their license run out without them noticing in time or being not clear about their renewal cost from the get-go. It certainly makes operations for us easier but also serves the needs of many customers. Regarding the option to opt-in and how to opt-out, we will review your concerns and suggestions.

 

Best regards

Sebastian 

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Nothing should be "opt out", everything should be "opt in" too many slimy companies using "opt out" to trick users into purchasing  products they don't want.  Just because others are doing it does not mean Emsisoft should, I thought you guys were better than this.

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10 hours ago, Sebastian said:

I confirm that if you renew a license through our web shop, it will turn into a subscription, same as when you purchase a new license through our web shop. Once again, you can choose to cancel it at any point up to 30 days after its renewal (currently through a request to our support team).

When did this start ? -  I renewed my licence in October and the email and attached invoice say nothing about it being a subscription - just a 1 year renewal, as per previous years' renewals.

How do we determine whether auto-renewal for our existing licences is currently turned on or off ?

10 hours ago, Sebastian said:

please take into account that it is common practice for software as a service subscriptions nowadays. The perceived or real inconvenience happens in comparison with the old model of term licenses. We understand that subscriptions are not necessarily the favorite model for everyone but by the same token we used to have thousands of users who were not happy to have their license run out without them noticing in time or being not clear about their renewal cost from the get-go. It certainly makes operations for us easier but also serves the needs of many customers. Regarding the option to opt-in and how to opt-out, we will review your concerns

Just because it's common practice doesn't make it best practice - other companies that do this give the user the option to opt-out of auto-renewal before entering their credit card details, and/or the option to turn off auto-renewal within their account.

Personally, I never had a problem remembering when to renew because, if memory serves me right, the EAM software would notify me when my licence was due to expire - has this functionality been removed now too ?

By the way, I've just read your terms of service and can't see anything in there about auto-renewal, unless it's called something else ?

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13 hours ago, marko said:

This auto-renewal thing smells a bit - I was told by GT500 that the subscription model only applies to new licences, not for renewing existing licences, but that clearly doesn't seem to be the case given Jeremy's recent experience.

I think that may have been the case at first, however it did move to renewals as well.

 

2 hours ago, marko said:

How do we determine whether auto-renewal for our existing licences is currently turned on or off ?

Right now I would believe that all purchases, whether renewals or new licenses, are automatically made subscriptions. @Sebastian will be able to confirm that.

 

2 hours ago, marko said:

By the way, I've just read your terms of service and can't see anything in there about auto-renewal, unless it's called something else ?

It's considered a feature to make things more convenient, that way people don't have to worry about manually renewing their license keys, and won't see the ominous warnings about their license key expiring soon.

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"Opt in " 1 click, " Opt out " 1 click, so convenience is the same either way. For people who like not to having to renew every year its fine, but, many people are unaware of this, you know how people are, they just click click click without reading a dam thing.  Many people will be receiving invoices they are not expecting and this is how the slimy companies get them. Not saying Emsisoft is one of these, on the contrary Emsisoft is one of the best, if not the best, for integrity and customer service. I just don't like opt out. If you continue on this route then you need a page to pop up with 4 inch letters explaining what is happening so that there is no way anyone can miss it. 

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I confirm that all purchases, whether renewals or new licenses, are automatically made subscriptions (has been this way since around October 2018).

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Hello Marco,

the auto renewal is not part of our licensing terms. No user is obliged to auto-renew their license. Since October 2018, users that renew their existing license or purchase a new one through our website are shown in the shopping cart that they are purchasing a subscription. 

The subscription can be cancelled at any time including until 30 days after its renewal resulting in a refund if so desired. I can understand that this practice is not everyone's preferred practice, I can also tell you that you are not alone in this but from hundreds of thousands of users, only a few articulated that view and the few dozen or so that since asked us to have their subscription cancelled, we cancel it without issue.

In summary: Do I understand your point? - Yes. Is it a problem for our typical user? - Nothing suggests it is. It is not that are we not listening, we put our focus where we believe it is demanded. I hope that makes sense even if you personally would prefer a different approach.

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48 minutes ago, Sebastian said:

I confirm that all purchases, whether renewals or new licenses, are automatically made subscriptions (has been this way since around October 2018).

I renewed my licence on 17/10/2018 and payment was taken via Cleverbridge - there was no mention of it being a subscription so I assume my licences will not auto-renew.

It appears that you're now using 2checkout to process payments instead of cleverbridge, and that any orders placed via them will be auto-renew ?

35 minutes ago, Sebastian said:

I can also tell you that you are not alone in this but from hundreds of thousands of users, only a few articulated that view and the few dozen or so that since asked us to have their subscription cancelled, we cancel it without issue.

I imagine many more may articulate the same view when they are suddenly auto-renewed later this year without them knowing about this in advance - the fact is that you've changed your licensing model and don't appear to have communicated this to the user base, which, in my view, is poor.  A more cynical user might feel that this has been introduced without fanfare in the hope that the majority of users won't notice.

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36 minutes ago, Sebastian said:

No user is obliged to auto-renew their license.

Ok.  It IS true that no user is obliged to continue being a user.   But you offer no straightforward way to renew a licence without the auto-renewal being turned on.   You don't tell people that's what is happening until you ask them to agree it in the purchasing process (and one has to agree or the purchase doesn't go forward - that's not a choice).  Your website does say at the foot of the page that the auto thing can be undone, but neither of the statements describing how are accurate.

Perhaps you should THINK about how you'd feel if a company you deal with with forced this on you?

All we're trying to get across to you is that you should give people an up-front choice of whether or not they want to be subscribed.

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Hello Jeremy,

we are thinking about it and we did report our colleagues the mismatched info from our website vs. order notification. In all truths, thank you for your feedback. We are looking at it and how to handle it.

 

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Hello marko,

we communicated our new license model to users suscribing to our newsletter early November 2018. 

Yes. we have a new shop partner and are working to improve the end user experience. Once again, we are reviewing our pricing communication and thank you for the input. 

As for the status of your personal license, feel free to drop me a PN or write an email to [email protected] and I will check it gladly.

 

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46 minutes ago, Sebastian said:

Hello marko,

we communicated our new license model to users suscribing to our newsletter early November 2018.

well if you're referring to this newsletter https://blog.emsisoft.com/en/32193/new-in-2018-10-new-home-and-business-license-plans/ there is nothing in this that mentions auto-renewal (nor incidently does it mention the removal of loyalty bonuses but I won't go there)

48 minutes ago, Sebastian said:

As for the status of your personal license, feel free to drop me a PN or write an email to suppo[email protected] and I will check it gladly.

thanks - I will pm you shortly

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