What a retailer pays for Point of Sale software may not be as important as the cost of ownership over time.

Some Point of Sale systems are ‘sold’ with a one year licence.  Retailers buying such a system can be shocked when they receive an invoice charging a compulsory licence fee as it is not disclosed during the sales process.

Imagine how you would feel having to pay a fee to be able to access the data you have diligently accumulated using your Point of Sale software during the first year. Some retailers feel as if they have no choice but to pay what they consider to be an unexpected fee.

Tower Systems does not do this.  Our software is sold with a perpetual licence.  There is no licence fee, compulsory or otherwise.  Our customers are not blocked from accessing their business data.

We see companies charging a smaller purchase price in the first year and what is effectively another purchase price in year two, year three and so on.  The total cost of ownership for the small business retailer becomes, in our view, exorbitant.

It is important that retailers considering purchasing a Point of Sale system understand what they are purchasing and what the operating costs will be beyond the first year.  These ought to be documented in a form which protects the interests of the customer.

Retailers facing such compulsory fees could consider seeking advice on their legitimacy.  There is no harm in asking the question of Fair Trading or your legal advisor as to the validity of an unexpected compulsory licence fee.

Having complete documentation of a transaction to purchase Point of Sale software and knowing for certain what it will cost for four or five years is essential. Sure, it can slow the sale. However, it can also uncover challenges which may save you money in the long term.

Caveat emptor.