Sunday, July 18, 2010

One world, idiots

I bought myself a really tasty piece of kit this week, a Korg NanoKontrol. this little beauty lets me control various aspects of music via sliders, knobs and buttons while I play, and allows me to add expression to what is otherwise fairly automated music creation.

In the package I also recieved a coupon to get money off Ableton Live, which seems to be a fantastic piece of sequencing and performance software. I've been demoing it for a few days, and thought, why not? I'll see how much money the coupon gives me off.

So, I go to the Ableton shop, and find that I can buy their Ableton Intro package for 99 dollars or 99 Euros. Given that I'm downloading it, I'll take the 99 dollars, thanks! (A quick google shows that one Euro today is worth around 1.18 dollars). I then have the revelation that the coupon will either grant me 30 Euros off, or 50 dollars off.

Obviously, thinks I, this is a no-brainer! I'll buy Ableton Intro for 49 USD, I get some software, Ableton get a sale, everyone's happy! So I enter all my details.

At which point the website decides that I'll be paying in Euros instead, and reprices the coupon to 30 Euros rebate instead of 50 dollars, taking the grand total from £32 to £58.

Erm, no. No thanks. I'm not giving you twice as much money on a whim just because I live somewhere else in the world - we're talking about SOFTWARE.

So, no sale. Sorry Ableton - you had me on the hook, you had me putting the virtual box into my virtual shopping cart, you virtually had a sale - but you lost it at the last hurdle.


  1. Use any address in the US. This is what I always do when 'shipping' involves sending me an email with an activation key. This approach is also very useful for dealing with VAT, which I object to paying on a 25 character string. I habitually use my old office address in NYC, but I'm sure any address will work (for giggles you could even use the address of the supplier, or Cinderella's tower in The Magic Kingdom).

    PS Paying by PayPal (if it's n option) usually gets around any problems with the address not being associated with your payment card.

  2. If I could have paid using Paypal, I would - unfortunately the only options are MC and Visa. Entering my correct address for plastic was what triggered the switch to Euros.

    I've used an american billing address on plastic before, which (as it was a recurring payment for an MMO) ended up triggering an alert every single month (and the subsequent blocking of my card every single month) until I cancelled the subscription. It didn't matter how many times I asked them to flag that transaction as safe. Great fun while we were on honeymoon in Vegas.

    We seem to be drowning an a sea of ridiculously complex local and national tax laws and the resulting artificial payment barriers, and I have little hope it'll get fixed in my lifetime. Utterly ridiculous when I want to pay for something (just not badly enough to accept doubling of the price!)