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Record cheap Windows licenses in circulation – so you should be careful

Recently, several readers have contacted us and advised us that record cheap Microsoft licenses are being sold on auction sites such as Tradera. Many have asked how they can be so cheap, and if you risk getting into trouble when buying such a license.

In short, it seems to be a few different types of scenarios. Firstly, we have, for example, Office packages and Windows 10 licenses that are sold via, among other things, Tradera. Here we find a Windows 10 license for SEK 500, which is much cheaper than what it costs to buy the same license directly from Microsoft. If we look around further, we soon see a series of similar ads, including Office Professional 2016 in Swedish for approximately SEK 600. In stores, the same license costs almost SEK 5,000.

Of course, it can be tempting to save thousands of dollars by buying a cheap license, but is it really risk-free? PC for All asked Microsoft – and the answer is clear: since it is not possible to ensure in advance whether the license is fake or not, you risk getting into trouble or throwing your money down the drain in the worst case scenario.

– The only way for us to know if a license key is fake or not is to check it. We assume that the product key will not be disclosed by the seller until the deal has gone through, and if he were to disclose the key, how many people has the seller not sent the license key to before?, says Klas Hammar, business area manager for Windows and Surface.

– The rule of thumb that everyone should follow is if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. We always recommend buying products through known and trusted stores and retailers to avoid the risk of being scammed.

We have covered a second scenario before, and it concerns programs that are sold via sites such as windows-moviemaker.org. This is about dubious business models, where Microsoft is not involved in any way, and where you as a buyer risk getting a virus in the worst case scenario. You can read more about it here.

Do you have any options to stop these types of sales if they turn out to be fake?
– In cases where we see that abuse is taking place systematically, we of course have the option of taking legal measures. That’s why it’s great for us to know about this and be able to follow any developments, says Klas Hammar.

Is it illegal to buy licenses like this?
– It is of course the seller who risks getting into trouble. As a buyer, you risk losing money because you spent money on an invalid license.

If we turn the question around: let’s say I have bought the Office package for a computer I no longer use, and want to resell the license. Can I do that?
– It may differ depending on how you acquired the software. For example, if it is a subscription, such as Office 365, it is tied to the person who entered into the subscription. If, on the other hand, it is, for example, Windows 10 or Office 2016 Home & Student, there are two scenarios. If the product comes with and is pre-installed on a newly purchased computer, it is tied to it and can only be transferred together with the computer. If the product is purchased in a store, it is fine to transfer it according to our conditions found under the heading “Transfer” in the license agreement.

Here, it does not matter if you bought the license in a package or bought it via the Internet and received a code.

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