Hidden Fees in Consignment Software

"Software is the perfect hiding place for fees.
You would have to know where to look and what to ask."

For some software providers selling software is just the first step in making substantial amounts of money from the efforts of consignment store owners.

Hidden Fees in Consignment Software

There may be regulations about fair advertising but if there are, they aren't followed. Software vendors from the start of the Internet have used websites, not to disclose information, but to hide it, heralding benefits on home pages while stuffing the bad news deep on sub-webpages - or nowhere at all in some cases.

Software Abandonment

The greatest fee of all that is impossible to see coming is the added cost of having to purchase another software program because the one chosen no longer has support. By attrition alone, any program will become unusable because it will no longer be compatible with current operating systems (like old DOS programs incapable of running on Windows computers). If the guy who sold his software program is no longer in business (wrong airplane, retirement, disability, other ventures) it's also unlikely that another techy-type person could open the can of worms and figure out the guy's code.

A sure sign that you may be staring down the barrel of a one-man program is talking to him on the phone. If the 'programmer' is also the sales person and the tech guy and the customer relations guy and the marketing guy - you're at risk.

Now here's an oddity: Software written by one person hasn't had professional beta testing. Instead its users were/are the beta testers and even though the program may look and function like a home-spun contraption, it's priced at $1,295 with annual fees!

For years Wilson at Conpro warned people of the risk of doing business with 'loners'. Not long ago he stopped supporting his pawn-software customers, subjecting them to the very risk he warned against.

Increasing Fees

It's vitally important to get disclosure of all fees, fee policies and fee history prior to purchase so as to avoid getting duped into an expensive regrettable situation.

The trap with 'annual support plans' and monthly-payment software is that once situated in the program, you're likely to stick with it despite the incessant annoying increases in cost.

Futuristic Fees

At times it seems these one-on programmers offering consignment software run out of things to do and while back thinking of new fees to charge. There's been a 'data-base tune up fee', fees for online data storage, fees for moving the software to another PC, reissuing the registration code, fees for training (a service specifically excluded by a vendor selling a program for $1,095 and annual fees of $200).

Cloaked Fees

If a vendor tells you that sales tax is required, ask him for his sales tax number for that state. You'll either get the sale tax number, or you'll have caught a crook in the act.

Shipping charges aren't fees per se but they are tools for dinging store owners for a few more bucks that aren't mentioned until well into the purchase process. The same is true of add-on fees for certain types of payment methods, notably credit-card payments.

Excessive markups for hardware and labels are also areas where software vendors try to take advantage of profit opportunities. Generally if you're willing to shop around a bit for the same makes and models of hardware components and the same sizes, types and styles of labels, you can save as much as a week's profit by buying these things from other sources.

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