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Author Topic: Collectorz.com  (Read 7090 times)

cthorpe

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Collectorz.com
« on: June 08, 2007, 03:24:23 PM »
This thread has some discussion important to this complaint.

It has taken me a long time to decide if I should write this post.  Once I had decided how to write this post, it took me quite a while to decide how to do so.

As many of you know, Movie Collector 5 was recently released by Collectorz.com (http://www.collectorz.com).  The company, which had a lifetime upgrade policy in the past, decided to charge for this upgrade with no advanced warning that they were changing their policy.  The announcement of the new version of the program that was posted on the company forum mentioned this change to a pay-per-upgrade policy.  In the announcement, they also stated that any users who purchased the program prior to November 14th, 2006 would retain their lifetime upgrade license and would get the upgrade to version 5 for free.  Everyone else would be asked to pay a discounted price for the upgrade.  The email they sent out announcing the new version did not indicate that users who registered before November 14 were entitled to a free upgrade.  Until just recently, the company had reviews and testimonials about their programs posted on their sites that stated that purchasing the program entitled the user to lifetime upgrades.

So when the new version was released, the program notified users if they had the "check for updates" setting turned on.  Once the user saw that there was an update and elected to install it, they would be asked for a credit card number to pay the upgrade cost.  Unfortunately, the upgrade process did not check to see if the user had purchased the program prior to November 14th, and charged everyone the upgrade cost.  Shortly after the new version came out, some users started contacting the company saying that they had paid when they were entitled to a free upgrade.  Collectorz offered to refund those users who contacted them about being charged in error.  As far as I can tell, they did refund those users upgrade costs, but the only way users would know to contact Collectorz.com for a refund would be if they read about it on the company forum or some other forum.

I contacted Collectorz.com to ask them about some of these issues.  I will admit that part of my reason for contacting them was selfish, as I purchased the program after the November 14th cutoff date.  I pointed out that the information available on their website indicated that all users were entitled to free upgrades and that a change in the policy should have been posted prominantly on the site and that all users who purchased before that change should be covered under the terms of the license they purchased.  I also pointed out that I felt it was questionable to use reviews and testimonials to sell their products when one of the positives mentioned in those materials was that lifetime upgrades were included in the purchase price.  Finally, I asked if they intended to proactively ensure that people who were charged in error for the upgrade were refunded their money.

After a few days, I received a response from the head of the company.  In the email, he responded to my questions, offered me a free lifetime upgrade license, and asked me not to publish the contents of the email he sent to me.

As such, I will not quote any statements from his responses word for word.  I will, however, explain what I was told.

First of all, I was told that it was not Collectorz responsibility to ensure that people who should not have been charged got a refund.  I was told that its up to the user to know if they should get a free upgrade or not.  He did say that he would fix the upgrade process to put a message about free upgrades as needed.  Next, I was told that the license agreement when I purchased the program indicated that upgrades were not free (Another user on DonationCoder has pointed out that there is no mention of paid upgrades anywhere in the EULA of her copy that was purchased at about the same time as mine source).  He also stated that he would remove all testimonials from the site that had language about free upgrades.  The second to last paragraph stated that he would give me a free license and asked me not to share the contents of the email.  While it didn't specifically say "we'll give you this if you be quiet about all this," it seemed that the intention was such.  Finally, I was told that he wanted to end the conversation at that point.

I responded to ask again why they don't intend to contact users who should have gotten a free upgrade, and to point out that there were still testomonials on their site that said there were free upgrades.  His response told me that he doesn't agree that they should do anything at all about those people who were incorrectly charged, and that he would take care of the testimonial.  He also reextended the offer of a free license.

My final email to him informed him that I still had a lot of concerns about the issues, pointed out the exact testimonial in question, and that if the free license wasn't contingent on me remaining silent about all of this, then he could send it.

His final response was that he had edited the testimonial to remove the lifetime upgrade part, and he sent a license.



At this point, I would not be comfortable purchasing any software from the company again.  The responses about not taking steps to refund users who are entitled to refunds unless they are asked is very upsetting.  One could question if it was really an oversight that allowed those users to be charged in the beginning, as it would seem that the company has profited from this mistake and isn't willing to do the right thing and contact all those users.  Finally, the fact that he edited a testimonial to remove information about lifetime upgrades rather than removing it all together seems highly suspect.

To be fair, I did take the version 5 license in the end.  If I had been told that my silence was expected in exchange, however, I would have turned it down.


(small edit to include a link to the company's website and clarify their free license offer)
« Last Edit: June 08, 2007, 05:13:13 PM by cthorpe »

Grorgy

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Re: Collectorz.com
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2007, 03:50:40 PM »
Corporate / business behaviour like that is what gives the good people a bad name, and there are some (probably most) who always try and do the right thing, sure they make mistakes, dont we all? but they fix them, where they can, and where they dont they are obliged to by law to do so, makes me pleased I uninstalled one of their offerings during the trial.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Collectorz.com
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2007, 04:48:45 PM »
Likewise, after kicking up a stink on their forums and various emails I was offered lifetime licenses for the three products I purchased but it has left a bad taste in the mouth - especially as they told me very few customs were affected or complained which is obviously a blatant lie.

I certainly won't be purchasing anything else from them in the future.

Collectorz

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Re: Collectorz.com
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2007, 12:17:33 PM »
As the CEO of Collectorz.com, allow me to clarify the statements made above, and our company policy.

* Before November 2006, customers were entitled to lifetime free upgrades. Installing new versions with a different EULA does not change this. Lifetime free upgrades means just that. When these customers request a free upgrade, they receive it as fast as possible. People who purchase an upgrade and then requested a free key, are refunded their upgrade purchase.

* After November 2006, customers are entitled to free minor upgrades - but not major upgrades. We introduced this new policy to enable us to add features that are relevant to our existing customer base, as opposed to being focused on new users only. These customers can purchase a paid upgrade at a 50% discount.

* A few people have pointed out to us that our website contained some references to free lifetime upgrades, even after we changed the policy. That was an honest mistake on our part, which we promptly corrected. We overlooked one reference (pointed out by cthorpe), and we also removed that last reference immediately after learning about it.
We have offered a free upgrade to the people who were 'misled' by this. This offer has no 'silence' clause of any kind attached to it, nor have we ever implied as much to anyone. It's just a gesture to compensate for a simple oversight.

* Requesting a free license or a refund under the old policy is the responsibility of the customer. We do not regard it as our duty to actively prevent our customers from purchasing an upgrade. Again: we will honor the old policy at the customer's request.

* Finally, we've received quite a lot of great feedback from people who paid for the upgrade, knowing they were eligible for a free upgrade. They felt that all the hard work and important new features since their purchase were worth the upgrade fee. This really motivates us to make sure all our customers continue to feel that way in future.

This posting merely states our company policy; readers can post on the Collectorz.com forum or email us via the Contact Form there if they wish to discuss further with us.

Best regards,

Mark-Jan Harte | CEO, Collectorz.com

Darwin

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Re: Collectorz.com
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2007, 10:21:50 PM »
Quote
Finally, the fact that he edited a testimonial to remove information about lifetime upgrades rather than removing it all together seems highly suspect.

Yes, this is unfortunate. Perhaps a simpler solution, and one that doesn't expose collectorz.com to criticsm, would be to mark the relevant bit of the testimonial relating to lifetime licences*

*and note that lifetime licences are no longer available, as of November 14, 2006...
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: June 18, 2007, 05:57:18 PM by Darwin »

Collectorz

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Re: Collectorz.com
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2007, 07:19:27 AM »
Quote
Finally, the fact that he edited a testimonial to remove information about lifetime upgrades rather than removing it all together seems highly suspect.

Yes, this is unfortunate. Perhaps a simpler solution, and one that doesn't expose collectorz.com to criticsm, would be to mark the relevant bit of the testimonial relating to lifetime licences*

*and note that lifetime licences are no longer available, as of November 14, 2006...

Darwin, cthorpe,

Thanks for your concern and suggestions, but I fail to see why editing the review is "highly suspect".

We agree that is confusing to have testimonials and reviews on our site that still refer to lifetime free upgrades and we are thankful that you guys pointed them all out to us. We removed all references immediately, some by just removing the entire testimonial, some by removing just the part that mentioned free upgrades.

In case of this review we felt that the rest of the review was still valid, the reviewer only mentioned the free upgrades as a "by the way". So for this one we decided to just edit out that part and leave the rest of the review on site. We had no malicious intent in doing so and honestly don't see how this action could be interpreted in that way.

Darwin, thanks for your suggestion. We considered adding a footnote to the review as you suggest, but we decided against it because it would probably be confusing. It's easy to miss a footnote like that and thus, incorrectly, conclude we still offer free upgrades.

Alwin Hoogerdijk
CTO, Collectorz.com

cthorpe

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Re: Collectorz.com
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2007, 07:52:11 AM »
Thanks for your concern and suggestions, but I fail to see why editing the review is "highly suspect".

The reason I said it is highly suspect is because it opens you up to questions about how often, if at all, do you edit other reviews and testimonials on your site to portray your products as you see fit.  How can your customers trust the remainder of the reviews on your website if you have a history of rewriting them when a feature or policy is changed?

Carl

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Re: Collectorz.com
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2007, 09:04:24 AM »
Thanks for your concern and suggestions, but I fail to see why editing the review is "highly suspect".

The reason I said it is highly suspect is because it opens you up to questions about how often, if at all, do you edit other reviews and testimonials on your site to portray your products as you see fit.  How can your customers trust the remainder of the reviews on your website if you have a history of rewriting them when a feature or policy is changed?

Carl

Ah ok. I am sorry I missed that. Thanks for explaining.

We always post reviews and testimonials "as is", including typos and all, no edits are done whatsoever.
For reviews this can be easily verified by following the "link" at the bottom of each entry, which will take you to the original review on its home site.
For testimonials you are welcome to email the users for verification (most testimonials have an email link, except in cases where the user specifically asked us not to list his email address on site).

Alwin

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Re: Collectorz.com
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2007, 09:06:02 AM »
As Carl points out, changing the wording of a review exposes you to the suspicion of having edited other reviews and comments so that they put collectorz.com in a better light. This is not an accusation but rather pointing out the potential for misinterpretation. As I suggested, merely indicating via an editorial comment that a feature or policy mentioned in the review is no longer available achieves exactly what you want while avoiding any possible criticism or suggestion that any license has been taken with your users' comments. This is not only more open but also allows you to post older comments about your products that mention the lifetime licensing (rather than removing them altogether).

So, this comment and my previous one, takes the form of a suggestion - not an accusation of anything underhanded having been done. I hope you now understand what sort of suspicions this can raise and see that there is at least one alternative that aviods raising those suspicions.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

cthorpe

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Re: Collectorz.com
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2007, 10:18:18 AM »
I want to apologize if my comment sounded accusatory.  Like Darwin, I am not saying that you have edited other reviews to make them more favorable, just that someone who knows that you edited this review might wonder if it has happened.  I also understand that I can verify the comments by visiting the webpages and/or emailing the authors.  The problem is that before the review was edited, I assumed that your testimonials and reviews were as provided by the authors and didn't feel compelled to double check and verify them.

Imagine a first time visitor to your site that had been told that you had edited a review because it didn't reflect your product in the way you wanted.  Now if that visitor looked at your list of reviews and testimonials, they wouldn't be as impressive.  I myself know that your products are very high quality, so it doesn't affect me now.  To be honest however, if I had heard that you had edited a review and not been upfront about doing so on the page that displayed the review before I was a user, I might have thought twice about purchasing.


Carl Thorpe

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Re: Collectorz.com
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2007, 10:34:04 AM »
Thanks for your explanations.
I understand what you are saying and I agree that testimonials are useless if there is a suspicion that they have been edited or even fabricated. Will keep that in mind if a similar situation will occur in the future.

cthorpe

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Re: Collectorz.com
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2007, 04:59:00 PM »
I am interested to see how the company deals with these same issues regarding the Book Collectorz software that was recently upgraded to version 5.0.  Once again they are asking for an upgrade fee, again with free upgrades for users who purchased the software before November 14.  I have emailed Mark-Jan to ask how this will be resolved in light of earlier discussions about their site indicating free lifetime upgrades after the November 14 cutoff date.  I have high hopes that it will be resolved in a positive manner.

Darwin

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Re: Collectorz.com
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2007, 10:22:08 AM »
I am interested to see how the company deals with these same issues regarding the Book Collectorz software that was recently upgraded to version 5.0.  Once again they are asking for an upgrade fee, again with free upgrades for users who purchased the software before November 14.  I have emailed Mark-Jan to ask how this will be resolved in light of earlier discussions about their site indicating free lifetime upgrades after the November 14 cutoff date.  I have high hopes that it will be resolved in a positive manner.

So far, all seems quiet... I have a lifetime licence and it was honoured without any drama (and very quickly, too!).
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin