If you’re planning on purchasing software online, then you’ll definitely want to consider buying software from reputable vendors like Microsoft, Lab Tech Software, HubSpot, etc.

Most shoppers tend to go to popular online vendors such as amazon.com, which has a policy for providing high quality merchandise, return policies, etc. There are even actual stores, like Wal-Mart, that provide online shopping, and customer reviews as well. This is an excellent choice because one can actually read other consumer experiences and the ratings posted on their site for that software product.

One opinion isn’t always enough so you can always run a Google search for software reviews. However, it’s important to know that the source of the review is coming from a legitimate site such as PC Magazine.

Checking what other consumers think about a product is really the best way to know if the software being purchase and its brand name has the sufficient backing it needs to stand out.

If you’re purchasing from a vendor, make sure that they sell name brand products only, and that they provide secure online purchasing. It’s also a good idea to see what their refund policy is in regards to software. A good portion of the time online companies don’t allow you to return software unless there is something physically wrong with the CD or DVD. Then they’ll give you the exact same software, but not a refund or an exchange for different software. 

Some of the common signs that a vendor may not be operating in a legitimate way are if the price of the software is too high in comparison to other online retailers. It’s not uncommon for unsatisfied clients to simply contact their credit card company and demand a charge-back for a bad purchase. If a merchant states on their “terms of sales and service” that by making your online purchase, you give up the right to get a chargeback, you should probably find another vendor. Any online software that is advertised as an academic version, commonly purchased by teachers, students and schools, is being distributed illegally. So if you see that the software is advertised with the words, OEM or NFR, don’t purchase it.

So why verify to see if the vendor is reputable? Shopping online can lead to identity and credit card theft if the vendor isn’t legit. There are a lot of great deals out there for software that come through via e-mail that are nothing more than scam. Even if they aren’t scam, the vendor may not have a good reputation with previous customers. It’s best to take a look at the reviews and decide what’s best. One should also check for any complaints that the vendor may have received through the Better Business Bureau or Consumer Affairs Bureau.

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    January 2014