Have you been a victim of counterfeit software?

I’m looking for people who have purchased Windows (or Office or PhotoShop or other high-ticket software packages) online or in a swap meet or retail store and later discovered that the copy they were sold was counterfeit.

If that’s you, leave a comment below. Be sure to include a real e-mail address on the form (it won’t appear on the published comment) so I can get in touch with you.

Anonymity guaranteed, I just want to get some details of what the experience was like.

9 thoughts on “Have you been a victim of counterfeit software?

  1. I purchased what I thought was an OEM version from a local store when I lived in West Virginia. (back in New Jersey now, thank God)

    I was building a new computer when the mobo on the one I was using at the time died, so I figured an all out upgrade was due.

    I bought all the hardware, and the “OEM” copy of Windows I was given was on a burned CD with a printed label glued on.

    I knew it wasn’t legit as soon as I opened the cardboard sleeve it was sealed in, shrink wrap and all.

    I brought everything back to the store and they claimed they didn’t know. They did give me guff about wanting my money back for all the hardware, but it was the same day and nothing else was opened and I think they were nervous enough about the disk they didn’t argue too much about it.
    I think they figured if they made me happy I wouldn’t turn them in about the disk.

    I didn’t report them, but made sure everyone I knew in the area knew they were selling counterfeit Windows, and this made everything they were selling suspect.

    The store ended up closing in less than a year and the rumor I heard was that they were caught selling stolen hardware. “It fell off a truck…” sort of thing.
    This isn’t confirmed, but I wouldn’t doubt its truth after being sold a bogus Windows disk.

    So at any rate, my story is kind of boring, I didn’t have a ‘run in’ with Microsoft about bad keys or anything like that, and since it was XP, I’m willing to bet the key that was printed on the sleeve was a stolen corporate key so the OS most likely was pre-activated and had I not known what MS official CDs look like, I would have built the computer, installed the OS and not been the wiser.

    It does make me wonder how many unsuspecting people they did sell those disks too, and what other software they had that wasn’t on the up and up… and how many people might have even known it was bogus but used the software anyway.

    I will say this though, if it ever happens to me again I will turn the SOBs in. I didn’t think about it then but counterfeit software hurts everyone. People balk about the price of Windows… with the amount of pirating that goes on it drives the cost up for everyone.
    Plus, I’m paying for something and I expect to get what I paid for, not something ‘you’ stole or copied and cracked. Heck, I could download a copy of Windows and crack it for free if I didn’t care, why would I pay ‘you’ to do it?

    I’d rather pay the price for legit software and sleep better knowing that I’m doing the right thing by not stealing, and not paying someone else to steal it for me.


  2. I purchased two retail copies of Windows XP through an Australian on line Auction site called OZTION.
    The first copy arrived but was rejected by Microsoft as counterfeit, the second copy intended for my daughter, never arrived.
    The matter is in the hands of state police here in Australia

  3. Hi,
    I once bought a Nintendo GBA cart on ebay that was non genuine. I realized because the plastic was a slightly different colour to genuine ones, and the save-game didn’t work. I took it apart, and the chips were obviously not normal Nintendo ones (the flash chip had the pirate game reference number hand written on a sticker stuck to the chip!).
    The outcome was that I emailed the guy who sold it to me, and he refunded me and told me to dispose of the pirate cart, as he didnt want it… so i binned it.

  4. I bought a copy of FileMaker Pro from eBay a couple years ago. Slapped my forehead when I tried to download updates and discovered that the software was pirated.

    On the bright side, FileMaker didn’t pursue any legal actions or anything. Since they had my e-mail address, I’m guessing that they could have been heavy-handed about it.

    I ended up keeping the software installed for a couple months more so I could understand the basics (I’d never used a database application before), then exported the data and uninstalled the application.

  5. I bought an OEM copy of software once. I realized it was too good to be true the second I recieved the discs which were obviously CDR discs. Threw them away and bought the real thing. I never took action though…

  6. I bought a copy of Dreamweaver CS4 off of eBay (the seller had very good ratings). It was new and still in the shrink wrap with all the appropriate documentation. I entered the serial number during install and it was accepted, but upon using it for the first time the program flashed notice that the number was invalid. I was able to return the software to the vendor and did receive a full refund.

  7. I’ve had two instances of company selling dodgy software. One was a company selling oem xp but the packages had been opened and where the compaq logo would appear in the “for sale only with a new hp computer” was an empty space. I think the disks were legitimate (in that they were original disks), they were obviously not meant to be sold with a non hp machine. I contacted FAST and they were not interested as Microsoft are not members of Fast (or weren’t back then) so I completely wasted my time with them. I contacted Microsoft and had to get a lot of work done to get them to try and understand what was going on – not very impressed.

    The other instance was when a previous IT company had sold computers and preloaded xp, all with a leaked copy of XP serial number. The client was not aware of this until GPA kicked in.
    The irony is that because they had illegal software Microsoft sold them a “get legal” licence for less than retail and all I had to do was run the Microsoft provided keygen to reactivate the software. I have yet to find out how that is meant to make the software safer and secure from all the dangerous software they could have downloaded. MS did provide me with a full copy of the software but all I needed was the product key to get the machines back to work again. Suddenly the client fills like they are the one getting ripped off.

  8. i bought the license from msmarket.ir just for 20$(Windows seven ultimate license). I thought it was legal because th site owner said. After some researchs I found that that was MSDN license.

  9. I bought a copy of Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Professional on eBay UK which turned out to be a home-burned CD-ROM of a demo of Acrobat 7.0 and a key generator.

    I got an email from eBay the day that the package dropped through my letterbox saying that they suspected that this seller was selling counterfeit software, my order had been cancelled and that I should not purchase from him again.

    I was really disappointed because I didn’t get a refund (I paid about half retail price, if I remember correctly) and I didn’t get legal software.

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