Scansoft Complaint - ScanSoft PaperPort software "orphans" PaperPort scanner hardware and leaves it useless

Review by undefined on 2004-08-19
Visioneer -- the company which originally made the PaperPort scanners and software -- spun its software off to Scansoft (then a division of Xerox) division and continued solely as a hardware manufacturer. Now, ScanSoft is progressively orphaning all of the scanning hardware which consumers bought to work with the PaperPort software, leaving millions of dollars' worth of perfectly good hardware useless. Version 8 of PaperPort disabled SOME of the original PaperPort scanners, including the convenient "OneTouch" flatbed (I own one). And Version 9 now disables all of the rest -- including the sheetfed and keyboard scanners (models iX and vX)I use in my office to keep paper under control. (No one makes an equivalent of the keyboard scanners today, and I've arranged our desks around them.)

By the way, when I say "disables," I really mean it. After installation of PaperPort 9, the keyboard scanners will not work with ANY software on the machine. The ironic thing is that I now have a dozen scanners, all labeled "PaperPort" on the front, that won't work with PaperPort. Despite the fact that, if you look at the box for PaperPort 9, it distinctly says that it supports all Visioneer scanners.

The Scansoft techs (Everyone to whom I spoke at ScanSoft had a foreign accent, and there was a delay which suggested that they were in a foreign country) were clueless. They did not even know that Visioneer wrote the original PaperPort software and made it the TWAIN driver for these scanners. (If PaperPort doesn't work with the scanner, there's no TWAIN driver.) If one calls Visioneer, which still makes scanners, they refer you back to Scansoft, saying that it's Scansoft's responsibility to support the scanners.

ScamSoft ultimately transferred me to a "customer service" department, which said that all they could do was give me a refund. But to do this, I would have to FAX my receipt in to get refund instructions. However, because their software had disabled the scanner on the machine we use as a FAX, I couldn't.... And the person on the phone said that this was the only way to get a refund. Talk about a comedy of errors!

As a software developer, I can tell you that it'd be no sweat for ScanSoft to support these scanners; they obviously did it in previous versions, and merely have to keep the code in place. But they're wantonly orphaning many millions of dollars of consumers' perfectly good, working hardware for no discernable reason. I understand that ScanSoft is having financial problems; perhaps its alienation of loyal customers (I've paid to upgrade through PaperPort 5, 6, 7, and 8) is why?

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