Quicken plays down fee furore

Despite an outcry from resellers and end users, accounting software specialist Quicken Australia is standing firm on its recently introduced software re-registration fee.

The software vendor says the $9 fee is a service charge for users who “choose” to reinstall Quicken's software. But some users have complained the company is double-dipping as those who need a reinstall – due to computer upgrades or hard disk failure – will also be hit by the charge.

The flurry of public complaints about the re-registration fee was enough to prompt Quicken Australia CEO, Greg Wilkinson, to send a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald on May 13 defending the charge.

Wilkinson's response followed a string of reader's letters published in the SMH and Melbourne's The Age, complaining about the fee's introduction. The company, however, claims to have received only "a handful" of complaints.

Dissatisfaction with Quicken's handling of the re-registration fee had prompted systems integrator and IT consultancy, Blue Apache, to complain to the Office of Fair Trading about the issue.

The new fee added up to “charging us to use something we’ve already paid for,” according to Blue Apache managing director Chris Marshall.

Quicken was penalising its customers for its “resource-intensive registration process,” he said. “It’s not our fault that Quicken doesn’t have an automated Web-based system to re-register,” Marshall said.

However, Quicken had advised him that it was "in discussion" with the Office of Fair Trading on the matter.

While Blue Apache was planning on migrating away from Quicken products, Marshall said the company would also steer clients away from Quicken.

“Accounting software is something our customers all use. I now know my customers will have this problem too,” he said.

See this week’s ARN for more details on this story.

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