Dodgy Software Sales Websites

I was searching the internet to buy a replacement for our aged MS Office professional. (I don’t want to buy the subscription versions.) popped up at the top of the search results (without any warnings from the various malware checkers I have) and offered very very very cheap software. This immediately made me suspicious. I couldn’t find much independent information about it apart from a number of negative reviews.

Beware. It does not seem to be a legitimate retailer.

Edit: I’ve found more that seem sus. Call me a cynic, but when they are selling at 90%+ off, I am wary. They just seem too cheap to be legitimate. Could be wrong. In Kuala Lumpur too cheap This one has a Canadian address.


An update -

I purchased a “NEW” copy of MS Office Professional through eBay hoping that there was a bit more security after all of eBay’s assurances about cleaning its act up.

Well guess what? The product key sent to me would not activate the product as it had been used too many times according to the MS message. Not only that, the installation mangled my existing Office installation, so I spent ½ a day uninstalling, reinstalling, and reconfiguring my existing version.

Next step, claim back the cost from eBay.


How frustrating @meltam. Good luck getting your refund sorted, let us know if you need any assistance.


https:// I had purchased a Windows 7 ultimate, Win10 and Microsoft office keys sadly this store is no longer available.
Microsoft for anyone who has not bothered to read through all their conditions basically they do not guarantee that what you are using will work in a manner you may expect. So an OS may not work so why are they allowed to charge for a product they knowingly disclaim it’s ability to do what you expect it to?

Anyway I was forced to get new keys due to their failed updates corrupting my OS’s and software then their refusal to fix so forced me to buy new ones.

Yes they were cheep less than $40 for all three and they all worked and fixed the issues Microsoft wanted me for fork over $400+ for new office and OS keys but refused to provide Win 7 cheaper as they were discontinuing it at the time so would only offer a substandard overpriced key for Home version.

My advise do your research as best you can on the site, or trader try forum sites like whirlpool on any site for cheep software keys etc.
Use a credit card or PayPal linked to credit card so if a transaction should be fraudulent have them investigate you may need to provide details regarding the purchase and issues and you may get a refund.

People knocking some sites just because they are cheep with no basis on fact are trolls you have to make the choice so use your brains and deal with facts by people whom have dealt with the seller.

If you have not dealt with the trader but offering an opinion without facts you have an obligation to state that the opinion is given not knowing the trader or their dealings.

I have looked at so called scam sites that offer a range of complaints but have found after further research the good and bad comments virtually cancel each other out and a lot claiming scam have not dealt with the site/trader they are abusing they are posting for site rankings for their own status in most cases.
Also some scam sites also remove negative posts about some traders while promoting others and yes eBay even do that.

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Thanks for your advice @GI-in-OZ.

The site I purchase had good ratings from lots of people. Maybe the keys that they sold to those people hadn’t at that stage been use more than the permissible amount?

Did this :smiley: and ended up getting my money back from eBay.


Buying a Win 10 key + an office key (if for latest versions) for $40 means you are buying “illegal” keys, they may work once, they may not work, they may work several times. It is a risk and MS do block keys they become aware of that are being misused.

That said there is still a way to get legal Win 10 keys both Home & Pro versions without paying. Once you get the legal keys make sure you (if you don’t already have) create a MS account. Then using the PC log into that account at least once and MS will associate that key with that machine. If in the future you have to upgrade that PC to the point that it is no longer recognised as a licenced machine, you reinstall Win 10 then log into the MS account and transfer the licence to the upgraded PC. My licenced (free) PCs


In the early months of 2019 I purchased an activation key
for Microsoft Office Professional Pro 2019 from SoftwareProWorld.Com,
based in the UK, who claim to be seller of cheap software and claim to
have been in business since 2017. I paid around $50. The price of that
software from SoftwareDepot in Australia, a legitimate seller of
software, is approximately $800.00. The software worked until Thursday
of this week (May 2021) when I received a message from Microsoft that I
had been the victim of software counterfeiting and I needed to purchase
a legitimate version of MS Office.

Microsoft are seeking to entice users to buy a subscription model, with
an annual payment required. Until recently that model included Publisher
and Access, but now to get those software items a Business subscription
is required and the fee is around $250 annually. The cheapest version is
around $90 annually.

I purchased a legitimate version of Microsoft Office Home and Student
2019 from SoftwareDepot for $96.80. I don’t wish to purchase an annual
subscription. This entitles me to Word and Excel, but not Publisher or
Access, which I have never used anyway.

I was obviously stupid for dealing with a dodgy UK company, but at least
I have not lost any of my work on my computer. I should have taken
notice of the old saying if the price is too good to be true it probably is.

Of course there are free alternatives to Microsoft software, like
LibreOffice, which includes a word processor, a calculator package
similar to Excel, and a database similar to Access, but I chose not to
install these. There is also the Linux operating system, but it is not
widely used.


Welcome @jamesa.
Interesting story. I am not sure it is counterfeit MS software but dodgy license keys.
They were very commonplace in days past.

I stopped paying for MS office a long time ago. I used Open Office on Windows but have switched to Libre Office now. Do yourself a favour and try it. It is free.

As for Linux, everything you need is there for free too. Ubuntu is my pick and run it on my other laptop.

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Still there but it is only on the PC install.


  • Microsoft Access logo. Access (PC only) Easily create and manage databases for projects, large or small.

  • Microsoft Publisher logo. Publisher (PC only) Create everything from simple greetings cards and labels to professional newsletters and posters."


Hi @jamesa, welcome to the community.

This should immediately raised alarm bells as if a price is too good to be true, usually it means it isn’t true.

Microsoft manage their licensing closely and while there can be reasonable discounts from some onsellers, getting a 90%+ discount is impossible.


My experience in 2018.

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My comments are general and not Microsoft specific.

There are a number of dodgy sellers who offers keys that are for

  • time limited trials of software
  • corporate licenses good for X number of installs that eventually might get caught up
  • ‘family packs’ often good for 3-5 installs
  • unlimited (actual or practical) licenses that are rarely if ever caught
  • individual keys that have been ‘stolen’ and won’t even register
  • OEM keys that only work on a specific vendors computers often only on specific models.

It is sometimes possible to buy legitimate licenses for old versions of software that will go out of support comparatively early. For purists, an analogy would be a ‘box’ of Office 2010 sitting on a shop shelf nobody wants and is marked down.

For Windows this site may provide useful guidance.

There does not seem to be a similar site for Office, and Office is more convoluted as there are versions sold as one time purchases as well as the newer subscription model although there are ways (version dependent) to check the expiration date if one applies. This MS site has some answers for the curious for the 365 version.


AFAIK you can still buy a version of Office (I bought Home & Student 2016) and keep that for a long as you want to avoid annual subscriptions.

But you have to be careful - my laptop died and I could not re-install my Office 2013 product as it was a download rather than a CD.


Always keep a backup, and then a backup of the backup :wink:


Some of these are good alternatives to the Microsoft suite, depending on use and requirements. Many are covered here…

I used to be a long time Microsoft Office user and found that one pays for many things I didn’t really need (a lot of functionality within say Word which was never used when leaving past employment). We find that the open source/free versions meet almost all our needs, and when it doesn’t, we usually find that there are workarounds (such as temporarily using another free suite that does)…or work out that we don’t need to really use it.


Um, quick sanity check, how do you know that this message is not the scam? If you have reason to believe that it is genuine then maybe you can contact Microsoft support for confirmation.

If I received this message out of the blue, I would call it a scam. :wink:

Maybe they sold you some kind of limited-time, trial licence. At that price it may be cheaper to get scammed again i.e. cheaper than paying Microsoft annually. (This comment not to be taken too seriously.)

This isn’t really relevant though. You can run LibreOffice under Microsoft Windows. Whether you want to do that probably depends on how sophisticated your needs are (e.g. are you frequently using incredibly niche whizz-bang features that either don’t exist in LibreOffice or aren’t compatible with Microsoft Office?) and how much interoperability with other people you require (e.g. if you are mainly creating documents for your own personal purposes then you don’t care whether the same document works with Microsoft Office v. if your employment requires collaborative working on documents and everyone else is using Microsoft Office then you will eventually run into trouble with a document - but then in that case your employer should be paying for a valid Microsoft Office licence for you).

There are other topics in this forum that explore these issues in more detail.

If you count the Android operating system inside a gazillion phones then Linux is the most commonly used operating system in the world. :wink:


Perhaps stepping in, I considered that

implied the software stopped working as I interpreted it. Perhaps that interpretation was an overstep. If it did not stop working (eg Microsoft did not disable the installation) yours is an insightful take.


Either way, if this is a legitimate demand by Microsoft for payment then it doesn’t hurt to confirm that via some offline means.


The message was not a scam. It was a request from Microsoft to install genuine Microsoft products. I did purchase a dodgy product. Microsoft took two years to deactivate my Microsoft Office, which is amazing, but perhaps they are now doing this more often.


Our Office 2016 copies are only downloads and I have had no problems downloading it from the MS Office website to reinstall it.