I disputed a software purchase from Sears Marketplace seller, EWPLUSOFT, when the shipped item didn't match the description on Sears Marketplace, AND when I made at least a dozen attempts to resolve the matter with the seller.
I called the 1-800 number for the Sears Marketplace, sent an e-mail to a Sears representative listed on one of the complaint websites, opened a case with their blue ribbon department at their corporate headquarters, contacted Microsoft about the licensing issues described below, and even filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. However, Sears offered no remedy for my purchase of a Microsoft Office Professional 2010 from their marketplace seller (citing their no return policy for the Sears Marketplace).
Sears consistently stood up for their seller throughout this dispute process, and even prevented me from posting feedback on their website warning other potential buyers to be careful with their purchases from this seller.
Here is the essence of my complaint with this purchase, EWPLUSOFT, and Sears Marketplace:
- The description on Sears Marketplace was for a disc with the "Microsoft Office 2010 Professional Retail Full Version." The advertisement didn't explicitly state valid license code but this is in fact an obvious requirement of this transaction.
- The seller shipped me a disc with Microsoft Professional Office Plus 2010 rather than the retail version of the Microsoft Office Professional 2010. The Pro Plus version is a volume licensed product that is only sold in volume to businesses or academic institutions that have an agreement with Microsoft. An employee of these businesses and institutions can then purchase a copy of Pro Plus through the Home Use Program. However, a retail buyer CANNOT legitimately acquire this software through consumer retailers (including Sears Marketplace sellers). Why is this seller shipping a volume licensing product to end consumers?
- The plastic container with the Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010 was obviously opened (presumably to remove the original product key). The seal across the two sides of the plastic case was detached on one side so the seal wouldn't break when the plastic case was opened. I couldn't even get the seal to affix to the one side after applying ample pressure on the seal. Why would the seal not stick to only one side if this is a legitimate retail version of Microsoft Office?
- The product key in the plastic case was invalid. Microsoft stated that the product key could only be activated by a software developer with a current developer's subscription with Microsoft. Why would a consumer encounter this issue with a legitimate retail copy of Microsoft Office?
- The seller repeatedly wanted to substitute a download for the retail disc version, and to replace the product key with another product key from an unknown origin where they "had to pay extra for the license code." This license wasn’t authenticated by a Microsoft product key label and was simply provided in an e-mail. Why would a legitimate seller need to pay extra for a valid product key if they are indeed selling legitimate copies of Microsoft Office?
- The seller indicated that the Microsoft Office download didn't require a Microsoft Office product key. I purchased more than a dozen different software packages from Microsoft, and Microsoft in every instance required a license code to load and use their software. Why would Microsoft allow a merchant to sell copies of Microsoft Office 2010 without a authentic product keys?
- The language on the slip with the product key was primarily in a far eastern language (presumably in Chinese) rather than in English. I found exact matches for layout and content of this slip on websites showing pirated and fraudulent software. Why would the slip with the product key primarily be in a far eastern language when I was buying the retail version of the software in the United States?
I honestly thought that the Sears name meant something, and that I was ok buying this item through their Sears Marketplace. However, Sears will likely continue to die a slow death and the Sears Marketplace will only accelerate this process.
Please be careful in any dealings with Sears and particularly with their Sears Marketplace. Additionally, please employ your credit card protections, and dispute these kinds of transactions through your credit card company.
Monetary Loss: $213.