Rant warning!  Entirely justified rant though.

I mentioned yesterday that I had been working on my finances.  This morning when I started my accounts/bookkeeping program – Quickbooks 2003 – I was greeted with a message which says:  You have 2 uses left.  And telling me that I am required to register the software.  It is a pain to do this but not uncommon.  I duely clicked the on-line registration button to reregister my program.  I was then greeted with another message saying that it was not possible to complete the registration process as the software had already been registered.  This is correct.  It has by me – when I purchased it.

Ok, seen this sort of thing before.  Called the software supplier to do the registration by phone.  After waiting a little while on the phone I was told that as the product was no longer supported it was impossible to register it.  I tried both the supplier, ClearlyBussines (part of Barclays Bank) and Intuit QuickBooks themselves.  Not only did they refuse to let me register the software but they claimed that they no longer had the software to generate the registration keys for it.

So how do I get at my accounts?  Apparently the only way to get at the data is to upgrade the software to the 2008 version.  At a cost of about £17 PER MONTH or a one off payment of about £300.

This is a crazy situation.  I dont need ANY of the new features.  The software runs perfectly well on my PC but I am about to be locked out of it with absolutely no way to get to my accounts without paying a huge sum of money.  This is nothing short of extortion and holding my bussiness to ransom.  I fully appreciate the concept that companies cannot contiue to support older versions for ever.  But I am not asking for support, I only want to be able to run a program that I have paid for.

Apparently this situation happens to all version of QuickBooks software… after just three years after it has been released.  So as I write this QuickBooks 2005 is about to be uninstallable and Quickbooks 2004 has been for about a year.

I cant afford the prices that Quickbooks have quoted me for the upgrade.  Even if I could afford it, there is absolutely no way I would give that kind of money over to a company that treats its customers in that way.  So what can I do?  I can use this program just 2 more times.  Well, my end of year accounts are about 90% complete.  I am now forced to now to leave my PC switched on with Quickbooks running until I can finish the accounts and print out all the information I require to be able to do my tax return.  Once that is done, I shall close down Quickbooks and start this years accounts over using a product from a different supplier.

If you run a business and are reading this – be warned avoid Quickbooks – unless of course you are happy to keep paying over and over again for it.

End of rant.