Office 365 money saving traps – if you’re not careful

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Some ‘money saving tips’ for Office 365 aren’t what they seem.  We’ve noticed some wrong tips that keep being repeated.  Also a vital money savers that are usually not mentioned even though it’ll save you more money over time.

Office Watch has specialized in Microsoft Office for over twenty years.  We’ve seen all manner of sales tricks from retailers and Microsoft itself, so we know what to look for.  One of our regular topics is paying less for Microsoft Office.

First let’s look at the tip we’ve mentioned time and time again but is usually overlooked.

Don’t auto renew Office 365

Office 365 is a great money maker for Microsoft, because most people pay full price to renew rather than spend a few minutes to renew cheaply.  We call it the Microsoft’s Laziness Tax.

They are happy to offer some Office 365 discounts via select retailers because Microsoft knows that most people will pay full price for later years.

The company is now allowing some retailers like Amazon and Best Buy a slice of the lucrative automatic renewal.  The retailers will sell the auto renewal at full price, even if they are offering the same product cheaper.

It’s easy to shop around and buy Office 365 from any legitimate source to ‘top up’ your Office 365 plan (Home or Personal).  Do that at any time, not just near expiry date (Office 365 can be extended up to five years ahead).

If you want to be really cheeky, take advantage of two Microsoft policies to stretch your Office 365 plan even more:

Get 13 months for the price of 12.

Let Office 365 ‘expire’ and only renew when you really have to.

How one kind reader saved money with Office-Watch.com

‘Free’ Office 365 with a new PC

Many retailers offer ‘free’ Office 365 with new PC or laptop purchases. It’s not the offer most people expect but there’s still a way to use it.

See Free Office 365 with a new computer, how it works and is it worth it?

The ‘free’ Office 365 is the ‘Personal’ plan for one person.  Not the more common Office 365 Home plan for six people.

Despite what you might hear from sales people and others, you’re not saving “$99”, that’s the retail price for Office 365 Home.  At best you’re saving $69, the full price of Office 365 Personal, though the same plan is usually available for less.

Amazon is a safe place to buy Office 365

Amazon sells Office 365 directly and often at well discounted prices.  No problem buying direct from Amazon.

Amazon also sells Office on behalf of other companies, those Office software deals can be scams.  The merchants sell volume licence keys that aren’t valid for individual sales or other tricks.  These products either won’t work or risk being cancelled by Microsoft later.

As Office-Watch.com has documented, Amazon hasn’t been as responsive to these problems as you’d expect or hope.  Obviously illegal products remain on Amazon’s site for far longer than you’d expect.  Amazon’s response to customer complaints hasn’t been good, the standard reply is to blame the merchant and take no responsibility.  See Can’t trust Amazon to buy Microsoft products.

Microsoft itself is surprisingly lax about these blatant illegal sales.  They don’t seem to monitor for really obvious offers (ridiculously low prices, Office plans that don’t exist at all) which stay on Amazon or Ebay for weeks before removal.

It’s not a subscription, it’s rental

Microsoft calls Office 365 a ‘subscription’ because they know it’s more acceptable to people than what it should be called ‘software rental’.

People would object to ‘renting’ or ‘leasing’ Microsoft Office, especially since they’re used to paying once for specific software.

So Microsoft calls it a ‘subscription’ which is pure marketing spin.  Most places went along with this redefinition of the word ‘subscription’ and bought into Microsoft’s trickery.


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