Office 2019 for $39.99 - deal or scam?

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An Office 2019 offer that looks like a good deal for just $39.99 or maybe a scam?  Microsoft seems to endorse the seller with a mention and link from Microsoft.com so how could it be wrong? We’ll explain why we know it’s not a proper offer, so you can judge similar offers.

Keith H, an Office-Watch.com reader sent us a link asking “Is this a ripoff or is this a good deal?”  We won’t publish the link, for reasons that will become obvious, here’s a snapshot of the web page.

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We can’t say it’s a scam because buyers might get a product key to activate Office 2019. We are sure that what you’re buying isn’t legal and Microsoft could deactivate the software in the future.

Office 2019 Professional Plus

They are selling Office 2019 Professional Plus which is a real product but NOT sold retail.

‘Professional Plus’ Office bundles are only sold to organizations as part of volume licence agreements. Stores do not sell volume licence products to individuals.

That’s how we know there’s something wrong with this entire offer.  It’s a common trick for unscrupulous sellers, they give buyers a volume licence product key from an organization that’s bought a large Office 2019 Professional Plus licence.  The same product key works for many Office 2019 installs within the company.

At some stage the organization or Microsoft realizes the product key has ‘leaked’.

With modern activation and regular ‘call back to base’ it’s possible for Microsoft to disable or downgrade an Office install if it’s using an illegal product key. We’re not aware of Microsoft ever deactivating Office however it’s definitely possible and within Microsoft’s rights.

That’s assuming the retailer gives the buyer anything at all.

Price is wrong and way too low

As we’ve already mentioned, Office 2019 Professional Plus isn’t a retail product so the list price of $79.99 makes no sense, let alone the $39.99 discounted price.

Office 2019 Professional Plus costs from $559 as part of a volume licence agreement and that’s without Software Assurance extras.

The cheapest Office 2019 retail bundle is Office 2019 Home and Student listed at $150 for Word, Excel and PowerPoint only (no Outlook) Yet this site claims that Professional Plus with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, Publisher and more, sells for a $70 lower official price?

Other wrong details

If that isn’t enough, there are other incorrect details that are a reliable indicator of a questionable retailer.

“This product includes free product updates for life from Microsoft.”

No Microsoft product has ‘updates for life’.

Office 2019 has support and updates for less than Microsoft’s own policy.

“ By default this product is in English. We also provide the language pack for Office allowing you to use Office 2016 in your chosen language (all major languages supported).”

Not strictly true, Office 2019 can be downloaded with support for a wide range of languages.  Microsoft’s site should detect your main language and offer the matching download automatically.

However, that’s assuming the Office 2019 download you get is supplied by Microsoft.  ‘Office 2016’ is a typo.

Domain Name check

The domain name used was only registered in 2017 yet the company says it’s been running since 2010.  The domain’s real ownership is hidden behind a privacy service in Panama.

Microsoft Certified Partner?

The seller claims to be a Microsoft Certified Partner with a link to a page on Microsoft’s site.

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Microsoft’s site does list the company as a ‘Solution Provider’ complete with company bio, address and link back to the company site.  At the very least, a link from the Microsoft site is a strong endorsement in SEO terms.

No Response

We asked Microsoft to comment on the link to their web site, the Certified Partner claim and the dubious sales of Microsoft products by an MS endorsed firm.  Microsoft has not responded.

Buyer beware

Maybe you think it’s worth trying for $40?  If so, check out our guide to protect yourself against buying illegal software.

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