/ Technology

Scam watch: I paid £60 to get rid of software that didn’t work

A Which? member came to us for help after he paid £38 to buy a piece of computer software – which didn’t work – and then had to fork out another £59 to get rid of it.

Kenneth told us: A friend emailed me a PowerPoint file, but I don’t have PowerPoint on my PC. When I tried to open the file, I was offered a download to do so – RegCure Pro from Pareto Logic.

The download cost £38.40, which I paid through Safecart. But it didn’t open the file – instead it insisted on carrying out system scans, reporting more faults each time and crashing my PC.

My local computer shop charged £59 to remove it. My bank insisted I provide a letter from an independent expert describing the issue before it would try to retrieve my money from Pareto Logic. The computer shop said it had dealt with several such claims and had never been asked to write a letter, but would do so for a charge. What can I do?

How to get your money back

laptop_scamwatchWe say: RegCure Pro is designed to improve your PC’s performance. It’s not malware, but we’ve seen plenty of evidence of customers complaining about its impact on their computers – and it’s notoriously hard to uninstall.

If the software seller has led you to believe that it will open email attachments, we’d expect you’d be able to get a refund from Pareto Logic.

When we checked, the company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of its software. As you’ve exceeded this period, you could ask your bank to make a chargeback claim. You can use our template letter to do this.

However, sometimes a bank will ask for details of your complaint before processing your request – and it’s a real bother that your computer shop won’t provide this free of charge.

We’d have recommended giving Pareto Logic the chance to put things right before going to your computer shop.

Have you had similar problems with a download that didn’t work?

Comments
Member

Often there are free alternatives to commercial software. The most obvious version is the PowerPoint viewer available from Microsoft, so there is no need to pay just to view files.

If free software is inadequate, that’s the time to think about paying.

Member

I don’t understand the relevance of RegCure Pro to opening a PowerPoint file.

Having said that, I have been urged to buy software to improve the performance of my computer when trying to download software. So far I have not downloaded anything that I did not want, even free, but I can see how this can happen.

Member

If you needed to read a PowerPoint document, why did you have to buy any software? Microsoft only charges for its software to edit Office files; its software for reading Office files is free.

You could have downloaded Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer for free at https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=13

Member

It is unfortunate that the Internet can mislead a lot of people who are not computer experts. Just as a test, I googled “Software to read PowerPoint files”. The first search result was the correct one, a link to the Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer download page. The remaining search results were to third-party download sites, such as download.cnet.com. These third-party sites also had a link to the appropriate PowerPoint Viewer download pages, but those links were not as prominent as the big bold download buttons that were in fact part of an advert (which the download site gets its money from). In my case, there was a button for some registry cleaner software that was totally unrelated to my search. If you look closely, you might see a faint “Google Adwords” sign somewhere near the button; but if you’re in a hurry, or not an expert, you might just click the bold Download button on the page thinking you’re downloading PowerPoint Viewer. This is very misleading, but I’m not sure if anything can be done about it.

Member

I agree the free (and safe) PowerPoint viewer from Microsoft is a great way to view PowerPoint presentations on a Windows PC if you do not want to shell out for an Office licence.

It is also quite likely that LibreOffice will be capable of reading many PowerPoint files. Again this is reputable free and safe software.

All sorts of free downloads for Windows PCs seem to be nothing but trouble. Even installers for reputable programs can come programmed to install spyware or worse, so I always tend to be very careful about where any download is coming from before installing it.

Member

Tough luck Kenneth. Always search ” problems with x” before using any novel software and 99% of the time you will get a warning. BUT only go to safe sites to read these warnings. W.O.T which stands for Web of Trust is quite helpful in avoiding duff or dangerous sites.

Libre Office does open all Office files including .ppt Powerpoint.

I would recommend everyone uses Libre Office or Open Office as they are freeware supported by professionals. Designed to break Microsofts monopoly they have done an excellent job in that respect. I do send some money to them now and again.

Perhaps unknown to many was that the Office files were proprietary to M$ whereas we now have open document formats which are not subject to a single firms commercial plans..

Member

This nearly happened to me recently – purchased a few songs off iTunes, and one of the downloads was corrupted. Luckily I was able to delete it and re-download. However, I would’ve assumed Apple would’ve helped/refunded if I had further problems.

Member

I understand that Apple will help. The fact that you have been able to re-download the song has meant that you did not need to ask for help, which is even better. I assume that other services offering music downloads are the same. It’s obvious if a music download is faulty and any company that charged for faulty downloads would get a lot of bad publicity.

The example given by Joe relates to someone who has downloaded software that has crashed their computer. This is much more complicated because the problem might be due to conflict with another piece of software that the user has installed on their computer. It is really important to search for possible problems before installing new software, even freeware. Fortunately, we seem to be able to install apps on our phones without much risk of conflicts.