/ 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.

Member

Andrew – once you have purchased an item from iTunes, you can download it as many times as you like on multiple devices. The item is permanently registered as purchased by your Apple ID. Therefore if one download fails, you can simply download it again. With iTunes, you’re charged for purchases, not for downloads.

Member

Thanks wavechange and NFH – It had been a while since I last purchased songs from iTunes so I was rather panicky when I noticed the file was corrupted. But as you mentioned, the downloads were linked to my Apple ID so I sorted it out quite quickly.

Member

Just on faulty downloads, there are rights for you in the Consumer Rights Act. This was passed in March: https://conversation.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/consumer-rights-act-law-faulty-goods-digital-film-music-video-game-download/

I’ll quote Jo on faulty downloads: “Under the Act you would be entitled to a repair or a replacement. If a repair isn’t provided within a reasonable time or is impossible to replace then you’d be entitled to some money back.”

Member

I’m sure that Which? will have its website updated with advice on making claims under the new CRA, but it would be useful to have some actual examples of how people have made successful claims.

The Conversation you have linked to refers to the CRA coming into full effect in October 2015, implying that some of the provisions may be in effect earlier. Can Patrick or anyone else give us further information?

Member

Good point Wave – the Act will come into full effect from October. I think we’ll have to keep a look out for instances of how the Act applies in the real world as it comes into play

Member

Hi, this is my first post on the Which Conversations forum although I am a Which ? member. What prompted me to register and post was the mention of RegCure Pro and Pareto Logic. I installed RegCure Pro about a couple of years ago because my PC was playing up and driving me mad. It was late one evening and I was getting increasingly desperate. I almost immediately regretted my decision after belatedly checking it out on line and on the Microsoft Community forum. Although RegCure Pro did not cause any noticeable problems and may have have fixed some issues I was concerned about it and Pareto Logics reputation so I decided to uninstall and claim my money back as I was still within the refund period. This in itself was not that straightforward but I managed to contact Pareto Logic and Safecart refunded me promptly. Others have not been so lucky. However the remnants of the programme and a couple of other Pareto Logic addons remained until a few months ago and it took Hitmanpro and a subscription to finally remove the last traces – I hope. There is a long and, I think, still ongoing thread on the the Microsoft Community forums about RegCure Pro and Pareto Logic detailing peoples various experiences, issues and problems . It provides a wealth of information. On the whole the thread provides fairly negative responses to Pareto logic and RegCure Pro, however, there is the odd one in favour.

Member

Welcome Brec! I hope you’ll stick around 🙂 Sorry to hear about the rough time you’ve had with RegCure – it’ll be interesting to hear how many people who’ve had similar problems to you and Kenneth

Member
carol loveland says:
13 May 2015

Anyone who experiences problems with software just need to go to the recovery mode of their computer. This enables a complete clean up of the hard drive, and your computer will be set-up as if it is new.
If you are unsure of the procedure, you can normally find the instructions in the users manual, sometimes this manual is installed on the computer. I hope that helps anyone with software problems.
And remember to change passwords reguarly, and have different passwords for everything you use on your computer, such as system password, paypal etc.
I change my passwords monthly, keep them safe in case you forget one.
It only takes a few minutes, aand is well worth the effort.
Lastly if your computer says that it has updates to install when shuttog down, them make sure that you allow this, these security updates are vital.

[Thanks for your comment Carol – We’ve had to amend it slightly so it’s not all in capitals. Thanks, Andrew]

Member

I agree that “recovery mode” is a good way of restoring a computer to “as new condition”.

However, my recollection of doing this from USB or DVD media for my two Windows 7 PCs it that it takes ages – and then you have to download and install all the system updates and security patches separately, which takes even longer. After that you need to make sure you have any up-to-date virus checker installed, before you restore your user data from your separate disc backups.

Obviously, if you do not have up to date backups, you may have to carefully back-up any key user data before using the recovery mode.

Life is a lot easier running Linux. If required, you can run a desktop session directly from most install discs, while the time required for a full system recovery is typically only about 20 minutes. (That time is based on a few recent installations of LXLE 12.04, which is the best general “Windows replacement” version of Linux that I’ve ever seen.)

Member

As Which? has an enviable reputation for being trustworthy, and taking into account an aging population, is it an idea that Which? has a searchable database for software which is , shall we say, a bit troublesome.

This seems particularly apt given the Which? Computing magazine is the largest of its type in the UK.

Member

A kind of ‘blacklist’ you mean ? It isn’t a bad idea but there maybe legal implications. A lot of software originates in the US and they are not renowned for restraint when it comes to legal challenges. Still Which? does include ‘Don’t Buys’ in their product reviews and if there were well founded concerns it would helpful if there was a database of dodgy software to check.

Member

” It is unfortunate that the Internet can mislead a lot of people who are not computer experts.” Clint Kirk

I correspond with many Which? shareholders and believe me the average age is past retirement and the old eyesight goes and some are not computer savvy it is a disaster waiting to happen especially as more official services go on-line.

As you say Brec a blacklist as such may not be feasible but Reviews with subscriber comment already exist and a lot of the time they are unfavourable to products. The difference will be that this would need a quick search function that WHich subscribers will grow used to having open so thye can speedily check for recommended and unrecommended sites/software.

Online storage and database searches are cheap so the cost to Which? Ltd will be fairly minimal. If you want to push this idea and are a subscriber there is a little-known forum accessed through your Which? Account settings where you normally log-in. Non- Which?/ Consumer Association members can contribute freely to these Conversations.

Member

I agree with you about the implications for an ageing population in the digital age. Ease of use, accessibility and safety needs to be a priority in the next fews years for this group. I noticed there was some helpful software reviewed by Which ? recently. I sometimes wonder whether these considerations are taken into account when designing new technology. I imagine the designers are fairly young and have not yet had to cope with with arthritic fingers, failing eyesight and poor memory.

Member

Thanks for the idea guys. I’ll pass it on to the relevant teams. We do review some software and try to alert you to any things you should watch out for, such as online scams. But I can see your idea is a bit different to that.

I remember the difficulty of removing McAfee anti-virus software from my PC. It seemed more invasive than the viruses it was trying to stop…

Member
wev says:
12 May 2015

What antivirus do you use now Patrick?

Member

The only software download I had problems with was Adobe Creative Suite 4, some years ago. I could have bought it on disk but this was at work where I had a fast download speed and buying the disks from Adobe had become an expensive option.

After numerous attempts I spoke to someone, who eventually admitted to problems and very grudgingly offered to supply disks at no additional cost. What I remember most was the unhelpful attitude.

Member
JM says:
9 May 2015

Agree completely about use of free MS Viewers etc, and the other comments made here. The thing from the original posters statement that concerns me most is the phrase he uses “When I tried to open the file, I was offered a download to do so”.
This implies that when he clicked on the PPT file, something appeared on-screen suggesting he use the tool mentioned? In which case I’d be scanning the rest of his system for malware etc. Doesn’t sound like he ever actually Googled for a solution, he just clicked through to the “Buy This” option. Otherwise, as has been shown, a search of the internet would probably have directed him to the free Viewer app first.
Further emphasises that not everyone has the computer savvy that’s becoming increasingly necessary for our digital world.

Member

I see Brec remains Comment of the Week on my screen !

Hi, this is my first post on the Which Conversations forum although I am a Which ? member. What prompted me to register and post was the mention of RegCure Pro and Pareto Logic. I installed RegCure Pro ……..
Posted 30 April 2015 at 12:53 pm