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Spyware remover destroyed my licencing agreement


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#1 Sledgehead

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 12:28 PM

Hello all,

I've been a user of the Xoftspy scanner / spyware removal tool since it's embryonic days of 2004. As I recall, at the time firewalls and anti-vi were all people cared about and anti-spyware solutions, tho growing in popularity, were still a bit niche. Most spyware was being offered free, despite the growing nature of the threat, whilst others, like Paretologic, offered perpetual licences at great prices, to those with sufficient foresight. Weighing up the odds of their survival / usefulness vs cost, I figured $49 was a good price for such a licence and bought one.

FF to May 2007. Previously, updates had been performed to both database and GUI in the background, so I was surprised to see the following message pop up during scanner launch :

[see attached image at base of post ]

Being a trusting sort, I uninstalled my existing copy, downloaded the new version, and attempted an install. I got to the licence agreement, and reading thru noticed this:

3.4 Use -Your license to use this Software is limited to the number of licenses purchased by you and for a limited number of days. Upon the expiration of your license, you will be required to renew and purchase another license in order to continue to use all the features and functionality of the Software.

Amazingly Paretologic were offering me new terms which, if agreed to , would require me to pay extra fees for additional usage beyond the limited licence they now appeared to be offering.

Note also from the pop-up attached below, that Paretologic state the existing version will be unsupported after July 2007.

In essence, they were expecting me to voluntarily tear up our initial contract, under which I would receive perpetual service and updates, for a time limited licence. To say I found this less than attractive is putting it mildly.

So I sent them this:

[copied to helpdesk team]

Dear Sir / Madam,

In 2004 I purchased a PERPETUAL licence of xoftspy for $49.

The new licence agreement for XoftSpy's upgrade contains the following statement:

3.4 Use -Your license to use this Software is limited to the number of licenses purchased by you and for a limited number of days. Upon the expiration of your license, you will be required to renew and purchase another license in order to continue to use all the features and functionality of the Software.

Clearly, requiring me to accept this paragraph breaks the prior contract. It is clear many others find themselves in the same boat. I would ask that you amend the licence agreement to honour the conditions (in perpetuity) of our original contract. I should add that while I am unable to accept this agreement, and am therefore unable to run the updated software, you are denying me access to a service I have already paid for, and are thus in breach of our initial contract.

I look forward therefore to a speedy resolution to this problem.

Sincerely, Sledgehead [proper name substituted]



To which they replied:

Hello Sledgehead [real name substituted],

Thank you for your email and your inquiry. We are very sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

All our products are now subscription based. At inception, it was possible to offer Xoftspy for a one time fee. As the threats become more complicated and the technology requirements more demanding, it is not possible to supply unlimited updates and support with out funding. Our teams of developers, researchers and support staff work hard to provide the very best and we wish to continue. We do not charge for updates or support throughout the subscription periods and there are no hidden fees. Our clients also have access to special promotions and upgrade offers whenever available.

Subscription renewals are completely optional to our clients and not something that we impose upon our clients. Our goal is to have provided the value of product and support to have continued use worth while to our subscribers.

We are working hard to continually enhance our products to meet the ongoing and ever-changing environments. We are confident that you will be very satisfied with our product and our customer support.

Thanks again and have a great day!



Kind Regards,
Tracy
Customer Support



Well, my role models are the "Grumpy old men", so you can imagine how I felt after receiving that. Naturally I replied:


Dear Tracy,

Thank you for your prompt reply.

Whilst I understand your company needs all the funds it can muster, I should
remind you that your company and I entered into a legally binding agreement,
whereby you would provide me with a perpetual licence enabling me to use
xoftspy, in exchange for a one off fee. I have fulfilled my side of this
agreement and, under the law, your company must do likewise.

Whilst I appreciate your company has ongoing cash requirements, that is not
my concern. I'm sure you do not need to be reminded that the success of your
company and xoftspy was built on support from early adopters such as myself,
who provided your company with a cheap source of capital by purchasing
perpetual licences for a price well in excess of the normal annual
subscription of the time (indeed some providers offered their products free
of charge). Our purchases of perpetual licences meant not only cheap capital
but a vote of confidence and trust in your company. Your company should
think long and hard before it attempts to undermine that trust by seeking to
break our prior agreement.

Once again I request that you either furnish me with a product that can be
used under the terms of the prior perpetual licence, or provide me with a
new user agreement that will not dilute or break the terms of our prior
agreement.

Yours sincerely,
Sledgehead [name replaced] MA (Oxon) [doesn't hurt to let them know I didn't fail mt GCSEs LOL]


Since sending them this on the 9th May, they have resorted to their only possible course of action : ignoring me in the hope that time is more important to me than principle. The fact that I've taken the trouble to post this here perhaps reveals what a misplaced hope that is.

So what next? My intention is to find as many Xoftspy users duped similarly and take these swindling tossers to the cleaners for breach of contract. So all that remains is for me to ask the good members here, are you one of that clan and are you with me?!

Attached Thumbnails

  • xoftspy_break_terms.JPG

Edited by Sledgehead, 27 May 2007 - 12:33 PM.


#2 TeMerc

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 02:31 PM

Perhaps you should submit this to Digg

I'm not sure of the legalities of what they're doing however. Perhaps someone else can comment on that.

But if it's publicity you want to try and get, Digg is likely the best place for it.

#3 tashi

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 02:09 AM

Xoftspy was previously on the Rogue List, since delisted.

Note on XoftSpy: XoftSpy was listed on this page because of concerns with false positives (1, 2, 3, 4), questionable license terms, and the use of aggressive, deceptive advertising (1, 2), including exploitation of the name "spybot" by affiliates. Earlier versions of XoftSpy were also Ad-aware knockoffs.

Bolding mine.

I've been a user of the Xoftspy scanner / spyware removal tool since it's embryonic days of 2004.


Notes and links to discussions that took place in 2004:
http://www.spywarewa...re.htm#xos_note

Microsoft MVP~Consumer Security


#4 Hijack Help

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 10:41 AM

I'd say maybe try Kasperksy or Spyware Doctor...




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