Six tips for buying secondhand software

Buying secondhand licences is not only particularly inexpensive, but if you use a professional provider, it’s also just as easy, fast and secure as buying them new. Those who prefer to buy new software because they’re not properly up-to-date about secondhand licences will end up spending more money than they need to. The following six tips should help you to make the most of the secondhand software market:

1. Select an established provider.
In general, trading in second-hand software licences is permitted. This was decided by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in 2012; the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) confirmed this decision in 2013. The be-all and end-all in this regard is the proper transfer of licences. One prerequisite is, for example, that the secondhand software is purchased software. Licences from leasing or rental contracts may not be traded secondhand. Of course, it’s also important that the initial purchaser has deleted every copy of the program on his or her devices. Professional providers of secondhand software ensure that all legal and formal conditions are met. Those who decide to buy software secondhand should therefore turn to established dealers.

2. Know what a licence is.
Licence, right of use, product key, key? Software buyers should know what they’re actually purchasing: the purchase of secondhand software is basically a purchase of rights. What is purchased is the right to use a computer program. This right of use is granted by means of a licence. A key, on the other hand, doesn’t do this. It is merely a means to an end and serves to install and activate the licensed software. Software manufacturers regularly issue such product keys for a large number of installation processes. A key is therefore not “unique”. Without a corresponding licence, a program can be installed but not legally used.

3. Use volume licences.
For many companies, volume licences are the best choice. These are several individual licences that are sold as a package. For example, they are terminal server capable, include downgrade and virtualisation rights, and can conveniently be activated centrally from one host on multiple devices. If a company buys 100 licences as part of a volume licensing agreement, for example, it may install the software on 100 devices. However, if it only needs 80 of them, the remaining unused licences may be resold. Volume packages may be split up, i.e. resold individually.

Incidentally, such individual licences in a volume package should not be confused with client-server licences. This is a licence that is stored on a server and to which a certain number of access rights is bound. According to the ECJ, client-server licences may not be split up. After all, here it’s a matter of a single licence that cannot be split.

4. Simply shop online.
Only large retailers are able to deliver immediately and also in larger quantities. Most smaller providers, on the other hand, are merely brokers who can only sell what other companies want to sell at the moment. Moreover, only usedSoft, as the only B2B-specialised secondhand software provider, has a professional online shop where software procurement can be done with just a few clicks. The ordering process is fully automated – from ordering and payment to delivery. In addition to various payment options, there are numerous practical features such as a wish list and order history. In our web shop, which has been tested and awarded a prize by the European Retail Institute (EHI), purchasing is convenient and secure.

5. Select a suitable version.
On the second-hand software market, both current versions and older programs are available, which are often no longer offered by the manufacturer itself. As the example of Office 2019 and 2021 shows, new doesn’t necessarily have to mean better. The latest version of a software is usually very expensive, but offers only a few features that are really needed. In addition, there are often higher hardware requirements and an intensive training period for users. However, “secondhand” doesn’t necessarily mean that the programs are older. Costs can also be reduced considerably when purchasing current versions.

6. Give unused software in payment.
When software is purchased, the previous version is often no longer used. Depending on the program and version, secondhand software dealers can accept it as payment when other software is purchased. In this way, companies can convert tied-up capital into liquid funds and save twice when buying their “new” software.