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SourceGear's "no refund" policy

According to the SourceGear web site:

"It is SourceGear's policy to not issue refunds. Before purchasing, please take advantage of our fully-functional 30-day demo."

While this policy makes sense, I am wondering how much trouble it causes you.  After all, assuming a good percentage of your sales comes from credit card transactions, the customer can always dispute the charge, and as the card was not swiped, you will lose the dispute and the customer gets his money back anyway.

Has this policy been a source of any grief?  How about you Joel - how do you handle this kind of thing?
Mitch & Murray (from Downtown)
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
 
 
We don't enforce the policy as strictly as it sounds.
Eric Sink Send private email
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
 
 
The word "policy" is key then, I assume ;-)
Nemesis
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
 
 
We have 90 day refunds, and it is the best thing we ever did.

It is extremely rare for someone to take us up on it; it reduces chargebacks (already infinitesimal in our case); it gives people much more confidence in buying our software at literally zero cost.
Joel Spolsky Send private email
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
 
 
Support costs will usually be higher for the customers who would prefer a refund as well.  If they feel they're stuck with the software, they're probably going to try to get you to change the software to meet their needs.
Brian Send private email
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
 
 
When granting a refund, what sort of paperwork do you ask for?  (if any)

Maybe a document stating they've removed all copies (in use and backup) of your product that they sign and return?

Or do you just send them a letter along with the check saying "Here's the refund for your purchase of June 1st", and it then becomes implicit that they have stopped using the product?
example Send private email
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
 
 
We have a simple form known as a "Certificate of Destruction".  Basically the customer acknowledges via a signature on a form that we provide (by fax or emailed PDF) that all purchased and archival copies have been uninstalled and destroyed.  They fax it back and we credit their credit card transaction or issue a refund via Digibuy.  We only have to do this a couple of times a year so it is not much of a hassle.
Mitch & Murray (from Downtown)
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
 
 
"the customer can always dispute the charge, and as the card was not swiped, you will lose the dispute and the customer gets his money back anyway."

Exactly.  A "No Refund" policy is meaningless if you pay by credit card.  I have never yet had a credit card company refuse a disputed charge
muppet 3.11 pro gold Send private email
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
 
 
I had to buy a mail component recently and disounted two vendors just because they had a "no refund" policy. For me having such a policy is a indication of what the vendor thinks of their customers and how they are likely to treat you.

I have the same policy on product activation, I will no longer buy any software that requires product activation (including the next version of FogBugz if activation is still required.)

My own policy has been full refunds with no questions asked, the customers key gets removed from the next release and the refund is issued straight away. I'm convinced having such a fair and open policy wins me more business than I loose through a few refunds.
Tony Edgecombe Send private email
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
 
 
"I will no longer buy any software that requires product activation (including the next version of FogBugz if activation is still required.)"

Why is that? I understand some activation implementations might be poor and inconvenient, but why dissmiss the whole concept? What effective alternatives do you see in the anti-piracy field?
Just me (Sir to you) Send private email
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
 
 
Well there might not be any alternatives but for me I want to be able to reinstall or move software I have bought even if the original supplier has gone out of business.

For my own software I don't want the support hassle that goes with product activation (or even to waist my time on the development.) In fact I'm not even convinced activation is a fix for piracy problems, if a cracker can develop a keygen then they can probably remove your activation software as well.

Interestingly my FogBugz installation was offline for nearly a week last year when I had activation problems.
Tony Edgecombe Send private email
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
 
 
The problem with activation is that if the company goes out of business your software is dead. I would not accept activation on other than subscription software or companies that I am sure don't go under (IE. microsoft). But that still irritates me.
Martin Schultz Send private email
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
 
 
So, what do you think about activation only for a limited time period?  For example, a new version of the software must be activated for the first year following release, but following that time the activation code disables itself.

Seems like a reasonable compromise.  Plus, it is an incentive for the company to create new releases.
Ryan Send private email
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
 
 
>>>So, what do you think about activation only for a limited time period?  For example, a new version of the software must be activated for the first year following release, but following that time the activation code disables itself.<<<

Too easy to circumvent.  They could just set the date forward on their machine, and the software would think that it does not need to be activated.
Edward Livingston Send private email
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
 
 

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