How Not to Buy Illegal Licenses of AutoCAD: One User’s Experience

March 11, 2010 4 min read

AutoCAD is a very popular product and, like every other popular product out there, it can attract the attention of some less than honest people. The typical place where the cons operate is on the Internet. Using very sophisticated tools and techniques, it can become difficult for the end user to tell if a license is from a legitimate company or organization or from a phony one. At Novedge, we frequently discuss this with people attracted by cheap offers from eBay or from fake e-commerce websites. We try to explain the difference and the dangers of buying from non-authorized resellers and pirates to protect our potential customers. One of these customers after asking for a quote from Novedge decided to get a copy of AutoCAD 2010 from eBay. A few weeks later he came back to us for a regular license and wanted to share his experience with us. In order to protect his identity we are calling him John.

1. John, can you tell us about yourself and the way you use your CAD system?

I am a fire sprinkler system designer, self employed working for small sprinkler installation contractors. I design using AutoCAD and a sprinkler program that runs on AutoCAD. The industry is using 3d modeling now so I needed to upgrade.

2. When considering purchasing something over the Internet how do you proceed?

When I want to make a purchase I use a search engine to find data on my potential purchase and look on eBay and CraigsList to see if it is available from secondary sources.

3. Can you tell us your story? How did you find a cheap version of AutoCAD, and how you made the purchase?

There are numerous copies of AutoCAD available from eBay, most are obvious copies or just the installation codes- ranging in price from a few dollars to full retail. I dismissed the cheap items being sold by vendors with only a few transaction histories and looked for legitimate vendors.  The vendor I picked had thousands of feedback responses including customers happy with their purchase of AutoCAD 2010. The sale price was $2,495 purchasable by PayPal- it was advertised as factory new in the original unopened package and they would help register the program with Autodesk. I bought into it.

3. What happened after you received the product? Was it in a box or just a download?

They did not deliver the item immediately giving excuses and about a month later it arrived- in a shrink wrapped case just as a new AutoCAD 2010 – with 2 factory looking disks and the paper cover just like a real one except the serial number was replaced by a note to call them for activation, they had set up a .com address that resembled an Autodesk site, you emailed them and they gave you the codes. I chose to activate directly with Autodesk, [but] when I did the code was not valid. I assume that they deliver late so they can set up a 30 day trial version; after a short period, I think its 45 day, you have no recourse with eBay.

4. Did you request a charge back from your credit card?

I requested that I get my money back from the vendor, they said if I sent the program back they would give me a refund. I sent it back but they said they never got it, when that happened I opened a case with eBay. I had paid with PayPal, after several weeks they found in my favor and gave back my payment, but the vendor told eBay they never received the program back, I sent eBay a copy of the postal delivery receipt with the delivery tracking on it – then the vendor told eBay that they received the package but the disks where not in it – eBay reopened the case. I sent eBay the postal receipt it had the weight of the package on it, I told eBay how it was packaged they recreated it and found it was nearly identical at 5.7 ounces with the disks it it, they again found in my favor.

5. How was your purchasing process with Novedge?

Novedge was helpful and quickly provided me with a real factory AutoCAD.

6. Any suggestions for other AutoCAD users?

Find out when the new releases come out or you may buy one a month before the new release like I did. You can buy legitimate copies of used or new AutoCAD from any first source user by court rule this past year, however Autodesk is contesting the court order, you may buy a copy but Autodesk does not have to register or activate it until after all appeals are exhausted, probably years from now. My advise is buy it legally and save yourself an ordeal.

I would like to thank John for taking the time to answer my questions and sharing his experience with us and with all blog readers. If you have any questions for Novedge, please leave a comment below and we will be glad to answer.

Franco Folini

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