Another satisfied customer!

IT analyst pilot fish buys a new PC, and it turns out that a key application fish uses won't load -- and the newest version of the software is subscription-based.

"I opted to buy physical software online instead -- new, in box, shrink-wrapped and everything," says fish. "I registered the new software and was very happy that it registered with the vendor and worked just fine.

"Fast forward more than a year. Suddenly, a pop-up began to appear every time the software was launched, warning that the software was illegal, though it still worked."

Fish is skeptical about how seriously to take this. After all, it's been working for a year. They couldn't have figured it out when fish registered the product in the first place? Or when fish activated it a second time after a hard drive replacement?

But wanting to do the right thing, fish contacts customer service through the vendor's online chat window.

"Do you have the product key?" customer service rep asks.

Yes, fish says, and types it in.

"I am sorry," rep replies, "but without serial number or proof of purchase, we can't assist you further on this."

Wait, what? fish asks.

"Without serial number, we can't check the issue of your software," rep replies. "No, the box is not considered as a proof of purchase. The receipt of the purchase is a valid proof of purchase."

Grumbles fish, "I no longer had the receipt, because the product activated correctly -- not once, but twice. Why did installing and registering software work at all, if the key wasn't valid?

"And customer service won't help me remedy an alleged license issue? That sounds fishy -- like a rude and very hard sell for the subscription software I avoided in the first place. Now I want to avoid purchasing any more software from this vendor, ever, at all costs."

Sharky won't ever repossess your stylish Shark shirt. So send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. I'll file off the serial number to keep you anonymous, and send you a T-shirt if I use it. Comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales in the Sharkives.

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