I just had a terrible experience with Auslogics. If you are not familiar with them, they make an excellent tool for defragmenting hard drives (faster and better than the Windows native tools). They also make a product called BoostSpeed, which cleans up various things on computers that slow them down, such as excessive temporary files, broken registry entries left by programs that installed or uninstalled themselves incorrectly, broken shortcuts, and so on.
In January 2013, my (now dead) laptop was having some serious performance problems, so I decided to try out BoostSpeed. I downloaded the then-current version (5) and tried the free tools. They worked well, so I decided to pay $49.95 for the full version. It worked fairly well over the last year, although I am not entirely convinced how much better it was than the free version. It was hard to tell, because my computer was clearly having some hardware issues at the same time.
Last month, I got an email stating that my annual subscription was about to renew for $49.95. Because my experience so far had been good enough, I decided to let it renew. On January 16, it did. On January 28, my laptop finally bit the dust, or at least I called the time of death after a long struggle against the inevitable. I began installing my daily-use software on a different computer. Naturally, I figured I would download BoostSpeed again, enter my subscription key, and be on my way.
Come to find out, there is now a new version out, BoostSpeed 6. It also sells for $49.95 for a one-year subscription, but my BoostSpeed 5 key, renewed less than 2 weeks earlier, doesn’t work in BoostSpeed 6. In fact, there’s not even a link to download BoostSpeed 5 from the Auslogics website anymore. They did, however, offer to let me upgrade my 12-day old subscription for an additional $9.95.
So, time to contact the company. The Auslogics “Contact Us” page, however, is absurd:
The “technical support” link is no help; it’s just a canned set of questions and answers, and clicking any link that implies an opportunity to contact the company just takes you back to the absurd contact form above.
At this point, I got fairly fed up and filled out the contact form with the following message late on Saturday night:
Less than 2 weeks ago, you charged me full price ($49.95 + tax) for a one-year renewal of my subscription to BoostSpeed 5. A couple of days ago, my computer died, so I am setting up a new computer. I downloaded BoostSpeed 6, only to realize that my license key doesn’t work with BoostSpeed 6.
Now, you want me to pay you $9.95 to upgrade to version 6, when the non-upgrade price for the new version is exactly the same as what you just charged me for an outdated version. That’s absurd and, frankly, offensive. Why did you charge me for an outdated version if there is a new version available for the same price?
On top of that, I cannot find a link anywhere on your site that lets me contact you with either sales or technical questions; I just get a database of canned questions and answers.
I am currently extremely frustrated with your company and your product. My hope is that you will make this right by upgrading my subscription to version 6 without charge. If not, I will be cancelling my subscription and warning others to avoid doing business with your company, as I consider my experience thus far to be unacceptably bad.
I received this response this morning (February 4):
Thank you for your email.
Jan 18, 2013 16:54you purchased Auslogics BoostSpeed and during the purchase you subscribed for an automatic annual subscription renewal. That’s why now, one year after your purchase, you were charged automatically for a license for one more year.
If you don’t want to renew the license, we can provide you an immediate refund of the automatic renewal.
Obviously, no one read my message; this was either a canned, automatic response by a computer (likely) or a canned, automatic response by an incompetent individual who couldn’t be bothered to read even a couple of sentences (also, sadly, pretty likely).
I loathe doing business with companies that are incompetent and treat customers as an inconvenience, when they bother to acknowledge customers at all. I absolutely refuse to do business with companies that charge customers for obsolete products, refuse to make even the obsolete product available to their paying customers, and demand a ransom payment if the customer wants to avoid being ripped off.
I have cancelled my subscription and demanded a refund. We’ll see how long the “immediate refund” takes. They have a little bit of a grace period simply because they are based in Australia; after that I’m challenging the charge with my credit card company.
Update: This morning (February 5), I received this message:
I am really sorry for the confusion. This message is to confirm that we have received your refund request and the refund process has been initiated. Please allow some time for the money to reach your account, which usually happens within 1 to 5 business days. You will be receiving a separate confirmation message from our authorized vendor Avangate, who actually processes the transaction.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I could be of more assistance.
Get our brand new PC speed up eBook «Turbo Windows – The Ultimate PC Speed Up Guide» for free now!
This offer is a “thank you” for being an Auslogics customer. “Turbo Windows” is also available as a paperback on Amazon.com: http://www.auslogics.com/turbo-windows/amazon/
So, that’s promising.