Are Ultra-Cheap Microsoft Office Deals Legitimate?

These days, you can easily find incredibly cheap offers for Microsoft Office software, some priced at under $60 when they typically retail for hundreds of dollars. But the burning question is: Are these deals legitimate or just a scam to take your money? Here at Zenith City News, we delved into these offers to uncover the truth behind their source and authenticity.

The Tempting Offers

We’ve all come across these too-good-to-be-true deals for software and games. Let’s focus on the enticing “lifetime” offers for Office 2019 or Office 2021, which are sold for a fraction of the price compared to the Professional bundle, which usually ranges between $150 and $440. The catch is that these deals are often time and supply limited. Don’t worry if you missed out, though, because similar offers pop up regularly, giving you another chance to snag a bargain.

It’s important to note that these offers do not apply to Microsoft 365 plans (Family or Personal). Legitimate retailers can offer discounts of 10-30% on Microsoft 365 plans, so if you’re considering renewing or making your first purchase, check out our article on “Six simple steps for saving on renewals or first purchase of Microsoft 365” for some valuable tips.

Understand What You’re Buying

Regardless of where you make your purchase, you’ll receive a software license or right-to-use in the form of a Product Key. Microsoft Product Keys are 25-character codes that are essential for both the original installation and any future reinstallation on another computer. Make sure to always keep a record of your Office product keys to avoid any hassles down the road.

Activating the Software

Once you’ve installed the software, you’ll be prompted to enter the Product Key. The system will then check with Microsoft to verify the key’s legitimacy. If everything checks out, the software will function as expected. Microsoft refers to this process as “Software Activation,” which has been the standard for Office for quite some time.

Additional Steps for Activation

Sometimes, the regular activation process might not be enough for these ultra-cheap deals to work smoothly. Typically, all you need to do is enter the product key into Office after installation, and the software will be authorized by Microsoft’s system. However, these offers may come with specific activation instructions. Look out for a “Key Activation Guide” that should accompany the product key.

Telephone activation is a common requirement for these deals. You’ll need to call a special Microsoft number to receive an activation code. While this method has been around since the inception of Office software activation, it has become much more streamlined. Nowadays, Microsoft will offer to send a text link to a special web page to simplify the process. All you have to do is use your smartphone to access the web page, enter the product key or installation ID, and, with any luck, receive the activation code to input into Office.

Are These Deals Legitimate?

Determining the legitimacy of these deals can be tricky because the sourcing isn’t always clear. Let’s assume we’re talking about deals similar to the ones we’ve described. You’re paying a low price and receiving activated software, even if the activation method deviates from the norm.

While these licenses are considered legitimate by Microsoft due to successful activation, the path through which the product key reaches you may not be entirely aboveboard. The suspiciously low prices are a red flag—selling $400 software for $60 or less raises questions about how these sellers obtain their licenses so cheaply while still making a profit.

The most plausible explanation is that you’re purchasing a legitimate product key originally sold by Microsoft to a large organization. Sometimes, companies acquire more licenses or keys than they actually need, and you might be buying one of the extras. However, it’s challenging to understand why a company would sell off licenses at such a low price, assuming they are even allowed to resell them. It seems more likely that these deals involve some under-the-table arrangement, possibly orchestrated by certain staff members within these organizations.

This scenario could explain the availability of Office bundles like “Professional Plus,” which are usually exclusive to volume license customers and not available for retail sale. However, there are also countless consumer bundles available, such as Home and Student, which aren’t typically purchased in bulk by organizations.

Watch Out for Traps

In this realm of ultra-cheap Microsoft Office deals, the legitimacy of suppliers varies greatly, so exercise caution. Some offers for Microsoft 365, for example, involve sharing a single Microsoft account. While this might seem tempting, it means you’ll be logging into Office using an email and password that isn’t yours. Consequently, you’ll be sharing the same OneDrive storage and accessing other people’s documents in the Recent Documents list. It goes without saying that you should avoid any such offers.

Unfortunately, some sellers may provide product keys that don’t work. Their goal is to sell as many keys as possible, postpone handling complaints for as long as they can, and then disappear with the money.

Your Experience May Vary

To ensure a more secure transaction, it’s best to use well-established sites or trusted providers. Websites like Kinguin have a good reputation in this domain. Alternatively, you can explore reputable eBay sellers who have been around for an extended period and boast high ratings.

We’re eager to hear your stories! Have you tried any of these ultra-cheap Office deals? How did it go? Did you encounter any issues? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below.

Troubleshooting Product Key Activation

In the event that the product key you purchase fails to activate the software, reach out to the seller for assistance. Often, the problem lies in following the exact activation instructions. And remember, it’s important to always pay by credit card as a separate purchase (not bundled with other products). This way, if all else fails, you have the option to file a complaint with your credit card issuer and request a refund, also known as a chargeback.

Stay Away from OEM Licenses

You may come across Office licenses listed as “OEM,” which tend to be cheaper. It’s advisable to avoid purchasing OEM licenses altogether. However, if you do choose to buy one, be aware of its limitations. Office OEM software is limited to one computer and cannot be transferred to another computer at a later time. On the other hand, standard retail Office perpetual licenses can be transferred to different computers.

Remember, when you purchase a new computer with Office pre-installed, it typically comes with an OEM license that is exclusive to that specific machine. This is how computer manufacturers can offer Office at a lower price while selling non-transferable software.

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