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CONSUMER ALERT: THE SOFTWARE YOU BUY MAY BE SECOND-HAND; PC WORLD SPECIAL REPORT REVEALS THAT SELLING USED SOFTWARE AS NEW IS COMMON

 SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- You can't judge software by its packaging. Most major retailers re-wrap used software and sell it as new, without informing the buyer, according to an upcoming PC World special report that will be published in the magazine's March issue.
 PC World's investigation reveals that up to 25 percent of software sold as new has actually been used before. While some used software is sold as a full package, others are incomplete. In many situations, buyers discover that their software is actually registered to someone else and that they are ineligible for getting technical support and upgrade benefits afforded to registered users.
 "Retailers don't tell customers that the software they're selling is used, so it's often a great surprise to many when they discover that their software package is incomplete or registered under someone else's name," said Phil Lemmons, editor-in-chief of PC World. "Major problems exist when a software program contracts a virus or is defective and the warranty is registered with the original owner. Getting coverage and upgrades can be extremely difficult and often, impossible."
 A generous trial period, in which retailers allow potential buyers to take software out of the store for up to 30 days or so for testing, is a primary reason why re-wrapping software is so prevalent. Retailers claim that returning used software to the manufacturers is too expensive and time consuming and that only by re-wrapping software they can afford to handle the large number of returns.
 Lemmons insists that consumers have a right to know what they're buying, and he offers the following tips for helping consumers choose their software more carefully:
 -- Ask about the store policy of selling second-hand software. While most retailers don't advertise that they re-wrap software, many people will tell you what's standard practice at their store.
 -- Check the content list to make sure that everything is included. Examine packages closely, comparing your package with others like it to ensure that all is included. Make sure that the disk envelopes are sealed, that the manuals are clean, and that there is a warranty/registration card in the box.
 -- Examine the shrink-wrap on similar software packages. Is one different from others? If so, it may have been re-wrapped.
 -- Compare price tags -- returned software may be discounted.
 -- Save your receipts -- If all else fails and you end up with used software that's already registered, you'll need a refund or another package.
 A leader among computer publications, PC World has a 1993 guaranteed rate base of 901,000. PC World is published in San Francisco by PCW Communications, a subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG). IDG is headquartered in Boston and has annual revenues of more than $800 million and 5,000 employees.
 -0- 2/11/93
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 NOTE TO EDITOR: For an advance copy of the issue, please call Priscilla O'Reilly or Lee Doyle.
 /CONTACT: Lee Doyle of PC World, 415-978-3168; Priscilla O'Reilly of Cudaback Strategic Communications, 617-661-6330, for PC World/


CO: PC World ST: California IN: CPR PUB SU:

CH -- NEFNS1 -- 6002 02/12/93 07:30 EST
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Date:Feb 12, 1993
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