Monthly Bills Add Up Quickly
Hello readers! Our ten part mini-series on PC purchase, maintenance and ownership has now finished and will be available on our web site in a couple of weeks. So for a period now I will revert to my more normal topics that reflect the everyday problems we see our customers having. This week I am going to talk about online and recurring revenue streams. So what is this all about?
Some of the biggest international companies (like Microsoft) have identified that they can make more money out of you if they are hitting your wallets for smaller amounts on a regular basis – rather than a larger more unmanageable amount just once a year. And a wonderful invention called credit cards has helped this to happen. It seems to be an accepted way of life that we pay a smaller ‘unnoticeable’ amount for so many things each month, it is little wonder that we are often left wondering where our money has gone!
The focus of this article is to watch out for some of the Internet related costs as many are not warranted. A prime example here is the paid for anti-virus subscriptions for home PC’s! When using your PC for business it is not legal to run a ‘free’ anti-virus suite. However, if it is simply for home use or entertainment then free anti-virus software is quite legitimate. The one we recommend here is the excellent Avast Free Antivirus 2014 – which is often way better than it’s paid for competitors! We are especially starting to see instances where an anti-virus was purchased online with a credit card and the same card is then automatically debited 12 months later without any warning. It can take a lot of time and phone calls to cancel this ‘service’!
Another money trap is some of the support contracts offered through 3rd party remote companies that you can ‘supposedly’ call to get talked through IT problems. We have rarely heard of these being successful however we have seen plenty of instances where they simply do not work. Even watch out for extended warranties through the original manufacturer if it involves you sending the PC away as the time frames here are often 3 to 6 weeks and there is no such thing as a ‘load PC’ during that time.
There is a growing number of subscription service sites such as gaming sites and dating sites that hope to get you to sign up on a whim – however they also go to great lengths to hide any ‘account cancellation’ links in the hope that you get sick of trying to cancel and just wear a small monthly charge for longer or for years until your existing credit card expires. If a site or service is going to cost you money each month, I suggest that you wait for an extra month from the time that you first discover that service to see if you still feel like it is good value. Make sure during that time that you also use Google to research what existing users are saying about the service – before typing in your credit card details.
The other ever increasing online revenue field is that of advertising – yes, all of the junk that you see on near every web site. It is a real conspiracy now to redirect your Internet home page to a different site or change your search engine to suit one of the big Internet players. We will look more closely at these trends in next week’s Byte Me article.
Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.
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