We recently covered the difference between purchasing and subscribing to Microsoft Office and there are legitimate reasons for doing either. Generally speaking, we tell people to go with the subscription model because of the great benefits it provides. However, when we have had to sell or quote out a one-time purchase of Office to a client, we’ve occasionally had the question asked: “Why is this so expensive? I can get it for half that on Amazon or Ebay.”
If you can get it for half-the price (or even less) there’s a reason: It’s not legitimate software and you’re putting your business at risk by purchasing it. The activation keys that come with that software are generally either stolen, resold, or reused keys, or are keys that aren’t valid for your particular use (volume license keys, for example). Sometimes, you’ll see products listed on those sites that are not actually supposed to be sold at retail (Office Professional Plus, for example, is only available with a volume license agreement).
So how do you protect your self from purchasing invalid versions of Office and put your company at risk for fines from Microsoft for using illegitimate software? The simple answer is to sign-up for Office 365 direct from Microsoft or via a certificate Microsoft partner (like Weston). But if you need to purchase a perpetual license for Office 2019, avoid third-party sellers on the major online retail sites (and avoid eBay in general). You can buy it through us or directly from Microsoft. If any retailer you see selling Microsoft Office is selling it for more than 10% or so less than what Microsoft-direct is selling it for, be very wary and probably purchase elsewhere.
Hat tip to Office watch for pointing out these scams.