Friday, January 31, 2014

Beware of Pirated Manuals

Recently we have received a large number of calls from clients whose policy and procedures manuals are outdated. They are being rejected by their lenders, investors or regulators. Speaking to the customer we learned something shocking.  They recently purchased the products from a consultant who assured them that the product was current.  Not only were the products outdated, but they were stolen, so did not qualify for any warranty or service.

Here's how it happens.  A client orders a product, but they don't want the normal information services we give to customers.  We call and make sure they understand the license - that it can't be transferred - and they state they understand: it's only for their own purposes.  We have a reason we don't sell to consultants - they pirate our product and then don't stand behind it.

Who pays the price?

You do.  You buy a product which was good at the time, but 1/2 year later it is outdated.  You submit your product to an investor, regulator or wholesaler and now you look like you don't know what you are doing. Worse than the wasted time and prestige, you now likely have to fix the problem on your own.

Make Sure Your Product is Not Pirated

Questions to ask:

Is the consultant in the regular business of providing materials, or did the product emanate from a request from you?  If it's not something the consultant does as a main line of business, it is more likely that the consultant borrowed the product from another company.  Beware.
Does the consultant publish examples and samples of the work online?  If the consultant is overly protective of the content before you purchase it, it is likely that the work would be similar to other widely available products, or that it is, in fact, another company's work.  Legitimate companies don't need to hide their content, because they know it changes so much that even if you did borrow a swath of it, you would have to come back for updates later.
Are you getting e-mails from the publisher? Or is there silence after the purchase.  If it's the company's mainline business there is always a stream of information (welcome or not) that accompanies this type of purchase.

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