Quickbooks Mayhem – Theft or Shtick?

A few years ago I worked for someone that serviced computers for small businesses. One day, my boss had asked me to visit a client/friend of his, who was known to be a bit of a shady character. The instructions were to uninstall Quickbooks from one machine and to install it on another using the existing key (Quickbooks will not allow the same license to be be run on two or more machines simultaneously).

I drove down to the client, and asked him for the Quickbooks key in order to perform the installation on the new machine. Checking his past emails in order to locate it, he told me that he must have misplaced/deleted it, but that I could call Quickbooks in his name in order to get it. He left the building, and I made the call. When the person on the other end asked me to verify my name, I said that my name was the client’s name instead (in order to avoid being told that only the person was allowed to speak). He looked at the account, and told me, “Sir, I don’t understand. In reading these notes, you previously called us to cancel, explaining that our software wasn’t supporting your business needs.” Embarrassed, I thanked him, and hung up the phone.

I then replayed the scenario and put two and two together. The person had likely bought the software with a 1 year license, installed it on one machine, activated the key, and then called to cancel in order to save money (he perhaps received the full refund). In other words, that was his way of getting Quickbooks for free! When I called support, I, representing the client and using the client’s name, was at the business end for his “game-playing.”

This according to most would not technically be considered outright stealing – after all, the client technically did purchase the product, only to cancel later on, lying that it wasn’t supporting his business needs in order to get the product for free. He technically manipulated the system, which speaks of that person’s character as well (but who cares about morals in business, anyways?). If you can find a technicality (notice how I’m using the word technically so many times here), milk it for what it’s worth.

I personally found this behavior “just plain wrong.” What one does in ones personal time is one thing, but to profit in business with “technically-not-stolen-but-cancelled-because-im-a-cheapskate” software, and then expecting to receive support, smells fishy.

Anybody have client/employer horror stories to share? We’re looking for more writers!

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  • Great post! Being a service provider/business owner myself, I’ve come across my share of unbelievable situations. Stealing is done in so many forms. Just because you can copy or keep something doesn’t mean it’s not morally wrong to do so. What goes around come around. To someone like this, something will happen in their business or personal life down the line and they’ll ask “why is this happening to me?” You’re getting back what you gave out!!!! It’s amazing how people don’t get that yet.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah well. In this day in age, people don’t think about not doing it, more so about not getting caught. Even with the shortage of decent people today, I refuse to deal with those kinds.