What Happens When Microsoft Doesn't Issue Licenses



  • So here is a crazy one, and I'm guessing at the end of the day, getting an attorney involved is going to be the only answer. But here is where we are: six months ago we bought RDS CALs from Microsoft and Insight. Insight said that they would be sent in email to me (the details that is), and that it could take some time. After several weeks I followed up, at that point they admitted that they don't send details by email, but actually just attach the licenses to a volume license account. They knew that we didn't have access to any VL accounts and had promised before we purchased that this would not happen as we would not be able to use licenses sent there if they did. They wanted the sale, obviously, so just said whatever to close it (not our first massive problematic run in with Insight.)

    So then we have to figure out how to find the licenses. For months Insight has been "trying" to get our volume license center working (it does now) and worked with Microsoft to get things working. We have the volume license center and all is well, except for one little thing, no RDS CALs. That product was never added to the VLC. It's as if (big surprise) the purchase was faked and never actually processed.

    Speaking to Microsoft's volume licensing expert (MS staff, not third party), they said that we just needed to call the activation center. Called the activation center, who had no idea how RDS works anyway, but finally escalated to someone who was able to say "um, no we can't activate a license you didn't receive, only the volume licensing center can help you." That seemed pretty obvious to me, I knew there was no chance that this wasn't an MS scam to just buy more time. The activation center said that they would transfer me to the volume licensing people to get this resolved, but of course, didn't and just sent me in the activation center queue again where they had just said I couldn't go.

    At this point, we have paid for a product we've not received, and invested a crazy number of manager hours (at least four people working on this) totally easily 500% the cost of the licensing in question, we are hours away from the system shutting down from lack of licensing with Microsoft themselves having no way to keep things running, and are no closer to having a solution than on day one. We've demanded our money back as no transaction was completed, but Insight has just stopped responding to emails or answering the phone.

    Takeaways: As with other licensing problems, things like this represent a massive risk and cost that has to be considered when evaluating proprietary licensing. Microsoft products especially carry huge risks with being unable to activate, because of their scale and always keeping customers at arm's length through third party resellers they often avoid culpability leaving customers with no clear means of recourse when licensing issues occur. All risk is assumed by the customer, even risks that they do not control.

    While issues of this magnitude are rare, they are real and do happen. Working in the industry for a length of time, or working in the MSP space, tends to make them come up with relative frequency. For example, every volume license interaction that we've had to deal with as an MSP for the past year has had some degree of unnecessary cost and complexity that represented a rather sizeable cost increase to the license. Even the best purchases required some amount of management time and oversight that was inappropriate compared to the value of the license.

    More and more, when evaluating the cost of proprietary software that requires license management, we have to evaluate and estimate what additional costs are part of that decision. In this case, Microsoft RDS proved to be an order of magnitude more costly to purchase than anticipated. And it has shown that Microsoft and Insight lack a business level "operational mindset" and don't view the uptime and functionality of MS products to be at a level that could be anything but a hobby.



  • We have one Insight rep quoting MS and saying that "emails are never generated" for accounts like this. And another saying "you can't process the account unless an email is generated." Clearly no one there has any idea how the process even works to get licenses. Argh.



  • @scottalanmiller said in What Happens When Microsoft Doesn't Issue Licenses:

    We have one Insight rep quoting MS and saying that "emails are never generated" for accounts like this. And another saying "you can't process the account unless an email is generated." Clearly no one there has any idea how the process even works to get licenses. Argh.

    The normal process is that the license is added to the VLSC account, and an email is generated to the email linked with that account to accept the new license.

    I've never liked Insight. I blame them, because they put the system into a failed state by issuing licenses without a known valid VLSC account.

    I also blame you @scottalanmiller. You know that almost all license purchases today are through VLSC. You also know that you 100% had the ability to simply create a brand new VLSC account with a new email address from your client to get these purchased under. One access to the original account was restored, you could have granted that account access to manage the licenses and let the new account fall by the wayside.

    This is absolutely not all the fault of Insight or Microsoft.



  • @JaredBusch said in What Happens When Microsoft Doesn't Issue Licenses:

    I've never liked Insight. I blame them, because they put the system into a failed state by issuing licenses without a known valid VLSC account.

    We've had so many horrible situations with Insight. But MS vouched for them, so MS isn't blameless here. We questioned their validity and MS put their reputation on the line for Insight. And MS is involved in this process, they have a rep that sits in the building at Insight and is involved in this process.



  • @JaredBusch said in What Happens When Microsoft Doesn't Issue Licenses:

    I also blame you @scottalanmiller. You know that almost all license purchases today are through VLSC.

    I do know, which is why I made sure that we were promised that this would be done a different way. I had that in writing. Then they admitted later that they had just made that up.

    I knew how it normally worked, and only consented to the process when they said they would do something different.



  • @JaredBusch said in What Happens When Microsoft Doesn't Issue Licenses:

    This is absolutely not all the fault of Insight or Microsoft.

    This is 100% both of them. They lied and backed each other up to make a sale. AND we have access to the Volume License center now, and MS never made the transaction. Insight has at this point admitted that the transaction could not have happened.

    So no matter how you slice it or dice it, from the lies about how it works, to taking money without completing the transaction, to colluding to cover it up, both Insight and MS have been guilty 100% since the moment we tried to buy the licenses.



  • @JaredBusch said in What Happens When Microsoft Doesn't Issue Licenses:

    You also know that you 100% had the ability to simply create a brand new VLSC account with a new email address from your client to get these purchased under. One access to the original account was restored, you could have granted that account access to manage the licenses and let the new account fall by the wayside.

    They did that, but they can't get us the licenses. Getting access to the Volume Licensing Center was a big pain in the butt, but we got it done. That's when we were able to prove that it wasn't just the lies about the email, but that the purchase was never actually made at all.



  • @scottalanmiller said in What Happens When Microsoft Doesn't Issue Licenses:

    We have one Insight rep quoting MS and saying that "emails are never generated" for accounts like this. And another saying "you can't process the account unless an email is generated." Clearly no one there has any idea how the process even works to get licenses. Argh.

    Sounds to me the whole issue was Insight and the license purchaser never following through.



  • @Obsolesce said in What Happens When Microsoft Doesn't Issue Licenses:

    Sounds to me the whole issue was Insight and the license purchaser never following through.

    Yeah, we know that no purchase went through. But Insight and MS are trying to cover that up at this point (and have been for months.) We told Insight that it had not gone through last year and they (and MS too) have been giving us a run around since December.



  • @scottalanmiller said in What Happens When Microsoft Doesn't Issue Licenses:

    @Obsolesce said in What Happens When Microsoft Doesn't Issue Licenses:

    Sounds to me the whole issue was Insight and the license purchaser never following through.

    Yeah, we know that no purchase went through. But Insight and MS are trying to cover that up at this point (and have been for months.) We told Insight that it had not gone through last year and they (and MS too) have been giving us a run around since December.

    That sucks. I'd not use insight anymore.



  • @scottalanmiller said in What Happens When Microsoft Doesn't Issue Licenses:

    since the moment we tried to buy the licenses.

    You are 100% culpable for trying to get around the standard VLSC procedure. Had you not attempted to force a non-standard purchase, you would not have these problems now.

    Why you made the business decision to do this is beyond my understanding.



  • @JaredBusch said in What Happens When Microsoft Doesn't Issue Licenses:

    You are 100% culpable for trying to get around the standard VLSC procedure. Had you not attempted to force a non-standard purchase, you would not have these problems now.

    This is BS. I did not force anything, we asked and they offered. There is no excuse for them here. They could have said "this is how it works" and we'd have said "okay, then we have to fix this other thing first."



  • @JaredBusch said in What Happens When Microsoft Doesn't Issue Licenses:

    Why you made the business decision to do this is beyond my understanding.

    Obviously I had nothing to do with it, I'm not so foolish as to ever choose to do business with Insight. I've had to work with them before and know way better than that.



  • @JaredBusch said in What Happens When Microsoft Doesn't Issue Licenses:

    You are 100% culpable for trying to get around the standard VLSC procedure.

    What, at this point, do you even think this has to do with the situation? They simply didn't process the license. They took the money and that was it. Nothing more. The email or VLSC situation (and we NEVER tried to get around the VLSC, we were told the license would be COPIED in email to us is all) is not relevant, as we have access to both and Insight now is clear that no license was ever attempted at all.



  • Insight's new claim is "they don't know how to issue refunds" in any form. One day they claim they are one of the largest companies in the world (yes, they said this when we were questioning who they were when they had no working phones or email last year) and today they claim that they have no clue how to refund money on transactions that didn't process. They will say anything.



  • Yes, once the initial bad decision was made to buy these licenses, everything is 100% the fault of Insight and/or Microsoft.

    But that does not negate that poor decisions were made. You, as a knowledgeable MSP, should have never let a client go forward with this type of purchase. All that needed to be done was provide a new email for a new VLSC purchase and all would have flowed correctly.

    Why this never happened completely floors me.



  • @JaredBusch said in What Happens When Microsoft Doesn't Issue Licenses:

    You, as a knowledgeable MSP, should have never let a client go forward with this type of purchase. All that needed to be done was provide a new email for a new VLSC purchase and all would have flowed correctly.

    That's basically what we did. We asked for it to go to a new email and they promised that the details would be in that email. We knew it would go to VLSC. We didn't know it would grant access to it, but the process you describe is what we did... and it failed.



  • The email in question for the account was new. First time ever used. If anything, if there is anything technical wrong, it is the new email that is probably the source of the issue, rather than the solution. Had we used any old email, it would have worked (eventually.)



  • Been sent from one place to another. No one at MS knows how to do this or where the CALs come from. This is hours of craziness.



  • No one at MS knows how to find an Activation ID. Four different people all demanding that we do it in a way that doesn't exist. When we do it this way, with the official MS tool, they don't like it.

    But for those that need it, this is how you find your Activation ID...

    slmgr.vbs /dlv


  • @scottalanmiller said in What Happens When Microsoft Doesn't Issue Licenses:

    No one at MS knows how to find an Activation ID. Four different people all demanding that we do it in a way that doesn't exist. When we do it this way, with the official MS tool, they don't like it.

    But for those that need it, this is how you find your Activation ID...

    slmgr.vbs /dlv
    

    For real? You seem to have the worst of luck when it comes to Microsoft.



  • @black3dynamite MS knows that Scott talks mad shit about them on forums, so they're exacting their revenge.



  • @RojoLoco said in What Happens When Microsoft Doesn't Issue Licenses:

    @black3dynamite MS knows that Scott talks mad shit about them on forums, so they're exacting their revenge.

    Truth. I know peeps at MS and they hate that dude @scottalanmiller



  • @RojoLoco said in What Happens When Microsoft Doesn't Issue Licenses:

    @black3dynamite MS knows that Scott talks mad shit about them on forums, so they're exacting their revenge.

    I often wonder....



  • @black3dynamite said in What Happens When Microsoft Doesn't Issue Licenses:

    @scottalanmiller said in What Happens When Microsoft Doesn't Issue Licenses:

    No one at MS knows how to find an Activation ID. Four different people all demanding that we do it in a way that doesn't exist. When we do it this way, with the official MS tool, they don't like it.

    But for those that need it, this is how you find your Activation ID...

    slmgr.vbs /dlv
    

    For real? You seem to have the worst of luck when it comes to Microsoft.

    Yeah, went through six people this morning. The seventh knew that we didn't need that code at all. But the first six could not figure out how to get this code and when we produced it, they didn't like the format, lol.



  • We have most recently switched all our Microsoft business to CDW for similar reasons; usually Insight would somehow screw up assignment of the license to the wrong VLSC account. Recently had a purchase and used @BradfromxByte for the hardware and licenses and absolutely no issue getting them in the VLSC. My recommendation is to avoid Insight (and lately PCM too) even if Microsoft prefers them as a vendor. Just not worth the headache.



  • @jt1001001 said in What Happens When Microsoft Doesn't Issue Licenses:

    usually Insight would somehow screw up assignment of the license to the wrong VLSC account.

    This seems likely as there is no trace of them in our account. And we confirmed that the account used matches.



  • Microsoft's VL team claims that RDS CALs don't go into the VLC at all. Which makes no sense.



  • @scottalanmiller : You know this already, but they definitely do. We have RDS user CALs from 2008 through 2019 in our own VLSC not to mention thousands spread amongst clients.

    Funny thing is, these were mostly purchased from Insight (Canada) without issue.
    We just provide them a working email address for the client, even if it doesn't have a VLSC tied to it, and we get the microsoft email telling us to activate VLSC and accept this license.

    With that said, RDP user CALs tend to be "soft licensed" and we've taken over clients way over their purchase count (i.e. 100 active users on RDP, 20 CALs) and the servers never complained. Obviously we got them into compliance.



  • @manxam said in What Happens When Microsoft Doesn't Issue Licenses:

    You know this already, but they definitely do. We have RDS user CALs from 2008 through 2019 in our own VLSC not to mention thousands spread amongst clients.

    Yeah, we've always had them there in the past. MS keeps claiming that they don't go there anymore. Which makes no sense at all.