I bought a scale a few weeks ago at Fred Meyer. When I got it home, it didn’t work so I returned it for a full refund. Same thing happened with a portable blow-up mattress we bought at Costco. We had no trouble returning both items.
Compare that with purchasing software. You’d better do your homework because returning software for a refund is nearly impossible if the box has been opened. I suppose this has something to do with the fact that it’s easier to make a digital copy of a CD/DVD than to replicate a blow up mattress. But it can still make for a disappointing buying experience.
For example, I purchased a game called ShawdowRun that is supposed to run on Windows Vista. In fact, according to the fancy box, it requires Vista to run. Well, I tried installing it four times on Kim’s Vista machine with no luck. It would appear to install correctly but the game wouldn’t launch. Never mind this is a game released by Microsoft Game Studios.
But because I’ve opened the box, I can only return it to the store for the same item which does absolutely no good. I guess I could sell it on eBay for less than I paid for the game, but that’s not the point. I bought an item that was advertised to work, yet I have no recourse that remedies the problem.
The whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I didn’t pirate the game. I didn’t make a copy of the game and try to return it. Software return policies assume I’m a criminal instead of treating me like a customer.
Costco can figure out a fair way for their customers to return computers and big screen TVs within a reasonable amount of time. If Costco can do this for large ticket items, why can’t software companies come up with a reasonable return policy?
I’m to the point where I just don’t trust much software anymore which means I’ll only buy programs I must have, like Turbo Tax, and continue to look for freeware options.