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Freiwald Software (RR&Co) no longer available to UK buyers

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Seems like a another turn of the screw whereby Herr Freiwald is taking umbrage at the UK for leaving the EU. Despite the fact that we are still in the EU Single Market (at least till the end of 2020) he's been charging UK users 15% more than other EU buyers despite this being against EU rules. Someone has complained, and he has now responded by saying he will no longer sell to UK users - at least for the time being. 

 

These are the posts on the forum today.

 

Update on December 18, 2019:

In the meantime we received a mail from the UK European Consumer Centre with the following content:

UK European Consumer Centre wrote:

I am writing to you from the UK European Consumer Centre (UK ECC). We provide free and confidential information and advice in the resolution of consumer cross-border disputes. UK ECC is part of the ECC-Network, which consists of 30 centres in Europe including Iceland and Norway. We work together to resolve consumer disputes in an amicable manner. UK ECC is funded by the European Commission and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Mr Green (name changed for reasons of privacy) attempted to make a purchase on your website but found that you are charging an additional 15% to UK based consumers, on the basis that the UK may be leaving the EU.

By offering different prices based on a consumer's country of residence, this may be classed as discrimination and considered a breach of The Services Directive (Directive 2006/123/EC).

Mr Green requests that you provide the product at the normal purchase price.

We would like to thank you for your assistance and we look forward to hearing from you soon.



And this is our response:

Dear Mrs. ... (name removed for reasons of privacy),

thank you very much for your inquiry.

We do not charge an additional 15% to UK based consumers.

In fact, we don't sell to the UK directly ourselves at all.

Our products are sold in the UK by Digital River GmbH. However, customers can initiate (!) the purchase of our products in our shop. We then indicate with the note "Sold by Digital River GmbH. Delivered by Freiwald Software", that we - i.e. Freiwald Software - only deliver to the UK. The purchase and payment is done via Digital River GmbH - with prices specific to Digital River GmbH.

While we don't sell to the UK we can't charge an additional to UK based consumers.

Should this approach nevertheless constitute a violation of any ECC directives, then please let us know. Until this question is finally resolved, we have temporarily stopped delivering our products to the UK. For the time being it is also not possible for customers in the UK to buy our products through Digital River GmbH.

In the event that you inform us, that our approach violates any ECC directives, this change will be final. That means, that the delivery stop to the UK will continue at least until the UK leaves the EU.


As far as we know there is no ECC directive, that prescribes, to which countries of the ECC a supplier sells or delivers, respectively, his products.



Best regards
Juergen Freiwald


_________________
Best regards / Mit freundlichem Gruss
Freiwald Software
Railroad & Co.

 

Freiwald

 Post subject: Re: FAQ for the sale of our software to the UK from 2019

 Post Posted: Wed Dec 18, 2019 2:09 pm 

 

To all users in the UK,

I regret the development described in the previous article and the associated (at least temporary) delivery stop to the UK.

It is a pity that there are users who are limited to seeing only their own small case.

For us, the (more expensive) delivery via ShareIt has been the only way to deliver to the UK at all in the current situation. If delivery to the UK is not possible at conditions, which cover the additional costs we incur, then there cannot be delivery to the UK at all.

That means:

We are forced to stop delivery to users in the UK from today and for the time being.


_________________
Best regards / Mit freundlichem Gruss
Freiwald Software
Railroad & Co.

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What a small minded man Juergen is.  I'm glad I have my copy of 5.0C4, and haven't spent any further money with him.  I will write off the investment completely and learn another system when 5.0C4 stops working for me.

 

James

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This is no surprise at all he is taking this attitude. Look at how he treated those states that voted for trump. He has had the hump with the uk since we voted to leave and he imeadiatly     put the new buying process in place. This is truly a great way to run a business and I suspect in whole he wants to stop altogether. So where does this leave existing users and if he is deserting those aswell does this warrant a return of a product. I guess we will have to wait to see how it pans out. But a great way to promote a rival piece of software I-txxxxxx

Edited by Andymsa

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Andy,

 

Remember the way he treated me when I had the temerity to ask some technical questions about Traincontroller?

 

This response is completely inline with the arrogance he displayed to me (and the people who answered my questions when he refused to).

 

Iain

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It's the same thing with me- I'm using 5.0 because what I _need_ the software side to do is to run what amounts to Ladder Logic.  I can manage the rest of the programming from that, thank you very much, so either JMRI or Itrain are both possible solutions now.  (they weren't so much in 2003-5 timeframe)  
Way back when I had a HDD issue, and lost my copy of 5.0, I asked on the RR&Co forums for someone to email me a copy of the software (not the key !), so that I could continue to use what I had legally purchased the rights to use.  Juergen lost his marbles over it- said I "had" to upgrade to 7.0, that it was required that I do so.  Even though the software licence I have specifically says that distribution of the software without a key is encouraged, because of the 15 minute connection time limit and offer to purchase.  Herr Friedwald said that there was a more recent licence, and that the ^ was no longer valid.  Sorry, my purchase agreement is what stands, not what you say now...

 

Someone sent me the 5.0C4 release, and I have made sure to back it up all over the place, not just on one computer now...

 

James

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9 minutes ago, peach james said:

It's the same thing with me- I'm using 5.0 because what I _need_ the software side to do is to run what amounts to Ladder Logic.  I can manage the rest of the programming from that, thank you very much, so either JMRI or Itrain are both possible solutions now.  (they weren't so much in 2003-5 timeframe)  
Way back when I had a HDD issue, and lost my copy of 5.0, I asked on the RR&Co forums for someone to email me a copy of the software (not the key !), so that I could continue to use what I had legally purchased the rights to use.  Juergen lost his marbles over it- said I "had" to upgrade to 7.0, that it was required that I do so.  Even though the software licence I have specifically says that distribution of the software without a key is encouraged, because of the 15 minute connection time limit and offer to purchase.  Herr Friedwald said that there was a more recent licence, and that the ^ was no longer valid.  Sorry, my purchase agreement is what stands, not what you say now...

 

Someone sent me the 5.0C4 release, and I have made sure to back it up all over the place, not just on one computer now...

 

James

 

If you ever need the last version of release 5 (5.8F1) you can download it here - https://www.freiwald.com/pages/download58.htm.

 

The stupid thing is that Freiwald is not having to manufacture anything for a new buyer - just generate and ship a licence code. So most of the cost is pure profit. And when it comes to a new version, with an upgrade cost, then the larger the user base the better it is for sales. Perhaps Freiwald doesn't need the money. But I do wonder how the product will continue once he's no longer there ….

 

Edited by RFS

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A further thought occurs, is not this action a breach in itself. The ECC is a somewhat toothless body that can’t take real action, all it has done I’m afraid is to annoy herr freiwald even more. But what really concerns me as it has for some time is as RFS says what the future will hold, I just dread the day the usb stick goes wrong. I was starting to look at I-train but had put on hold but now he is acting like a spoilt kid I will reavailulate my view

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3 hours ago, Andymsa said:

A further thought occurs, is not this action a breach in itself. The ECC is a somewhat toothless body that can’t take real action, all it has done I’m afraid is to annoy herr freiwald even more. But what really concerns me as it has for some time is as RFS says what the future will hold, I just dread the day the usb stick goes wrong. I was starting to look at I-train but had put on hold but now he is acting like a spoilt kid I will reavailulate my view

 

Someone has already asked about support and it seems that will continue - see below. Of course, no-one else seems to have this problem such as iTrain, who sell to everyone worldwide at the same price. My USB stick did fail earlier this year and I did get it replaced. What I've done now is purchase a 15cm USB extension lead and plug the stick into that. Now whenever I need to unplug/re-plug my USB stick it's the connector in the extension lead that takes the wear and tear.

 

"I don't expect any fundamental issues in this regard.

The only permanent change for the UK has been so far, that we cannot sell directly to the UK anymore. That means in particular, that we cannot process payments directly from people in the UK. For certain reasons, that I don't want to explain in detail here. Take this as a fact, please.

By involving an external company, which processes all payments from the UK for us (as it does for Switzerland), we assume to be able to supply all products and services to the UK in the long term. This includes the replacement of defective USB sticks as well.

The mode and the amount of payment has changed and will change further in the course of the Brexit. The products and services remain very probably unaffected in the long term."

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54 minutes ago, RFS said:

<big snip>

The only permanent change for the UK has been so far, that we cannot sell directly to the UK anymore.


Cannot or will not?

 

It seems strange that I can order directly from, say, China but not the EU.  Has the EU brought in pre-emptive regulations of which we are not aware?

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22 minutes ago, Paul80 said:

we are not out of the eec yet

 

Being pedantic we left that ages ago.

It hasn't been the EEC since 1993, when it became the EC, after that the "Community" ceased to exist in 2009, when it was replaced by the EU.:jester:

 

We might still end up with some sort of trade deal with the EU which could have sort of trade arrangements on such things as software.

In which case Freiwald has no case to answer.

He's already jumped the gun and done nothing positive apart from annoy those that have already paid plenty good money for his products.

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It looks like friewalds post on his forum regarding selling to the uk has disappeared, aswell as the question regarding the usb stick. Seems strange it’s gone. But by the looks of it there is no uk option to buy now. 

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Am I right in thinking that choosing to refuse delivery to a part of the EU contravenes EU regulation somewhere? I had the impression that availability to one country means availability to all.

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I see the forum censor has been at work, It would have been nice and polite to have have been told why the censorship took place, especially given that rr&co and their openly iligal practices are still allowed a mention.

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11 minutes ago, Paul80 said:

I see the forum censor has been at work, It would have been nice and polite to have have been told why the censorship took place, especially given that rr&co and their openly iligal practices are still allowed a mention.

 

Your post was suggesting that people adopt illegal practices to obtain licenced software.

 

Completely correct to remove the post.

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I have not invested the time in full computer control but have been using RocRail and RocWeb and am aware of just how much capability it has. Have found them to be very responsive and helpful to deal with. For those looking for an alternative to what seems to be a difficult character to deal with, I would happily recommend RocRail.

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Rocrail - staffed by various Europeans who will happily provide support to and accept donations from UK.

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3 hours ago, WIMorrison said:

 

Your post was suggesting that people adopt illegal practices to obtain licenced software.

 

Completely correct to remove the post.

How hard would it have been to say sorry your post contravened forum rules so it was removed

 

It was not actually meant to promote illegal software piracy but a tong in cheek dig at the seller RR&Co adopting Illegal trading policies and how ironic that his software can be had for free even if using illegal methods

 

Two Illegals cancel each other out :diablo_mini:

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12 hours ago, melmerby said:

Being pedantic we left that ages ago.

It hasn't been the EEC since 1993, when it became the EC, after that the "Community" ceased to exist in 2009, when it was replaced by the EU.https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/emoticons/default_jester.gif

 

We might still end up with some sort of trade deal with the EU which could have sort of trade arrangements on such things as software.

In which case Freiwald has no case to answer.

He's already jumped the gun and done nothing positive apart from annoy those that have already paid plenty good money for his products.

(I imagine) He was referring to the ECC referenced in the OP, not the EEC, which did indeed become the EU.

 

It's like a soap opera, but yes I thought the point of the EU was that you couldn't choose only to sell to certain countries. Single market and that... That said, anyone with even the slightest knowledge of this, who still wants to give the guy £500+ is utterly crazy IMO! 

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Freiwald alone seems to have problems supplying the UK.

 

I recently purchased two items from different German retailers, both were "luxury" items that would attract UK VAT of 20%, both were £60+.

The only extra cost over the German price was the carriage to the UK.

 

Freiwald IMHO is just venting his ire on his customers over political decisions he doesn't like.

Which is a stupid action for a businessman.

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Begs the question as to what he will be like when he can legitimately refuse to sell, or charge whatever he like for UK purchases?

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10 minutes ago, melmerby said:

Freiwald alone seems to have problems supplying the UK.

 

I recently purchased two items from different German retailers, both were "luxury" items that would attract UK VAT of 20%, both were £60+.

The only extra cost over the German price was the carriage to the UK.

 

Freiwald IMHO is just venting his ire on his customers over political decisions he doesn't like.

Which is a stupid action for a businessman.

 

He's always been difficult, even in the early days when few people used - or were even aware of - it, he tried to charge us exorbitant licence fees because our control panel was on the outside of the layout and he claimed we needed a demo license (which he couldn't actually provide anyway as he didn't have one). When I asked about the USB and whether it could read a USB stick and then run for a few days before needing the stick again (ie over an exhibition weekend) he went off on another tirade, if I was still using involved with the layouts today I'd be looking at other packages, in fact we'd have moved off RR already.

 

PS

The irony is he will sell to countries like the Yemen - well known for it's liberal attitude to it's citizens, along with China, Venezuela and lots of other countries who are a thousand times worse than the UK in human rights issues (probably a tad more important than paying VAT, or import duty, or any other duty) - but it's his choice and it's everyone elses choice not to buy it - There's no UK option on the order page so the UK market has closed (at least for now)

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14 minutes ago, WIMorrison said:

Begs the question as to what he will be like when he can legitimately refuse to sell, or charge whatever he like for UK purchases?


quite simple don’t buy and his business will fail. Which I suspect which he wants so the future for I-train looks even better

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Why would buying software made in a different country cost more? Its not like its on a physical disk that has to be sent via mail is it? Seems odd that he decided to charge 15% extra and then stop supplying the UK when called out on it. 

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38 minutes ago, Andymsa said:


quite simple don’t buy and his business will fail. Which I suspect which he wants so the future for I-train looks even better


..... or the UK side of his business is relatively small so it won’t affect him greatly.

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2 minutes ago, AlexHolt said:

Why would buying software made in a different country cost more? Its not like its on a physical disk that has to be sent via mail is it? Seems odd that he decided to charge 15% extra and then stop supplying the UK when called out on it. 

 

one simple word

 

arrogance

 

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