David Artiss

Is Pogoplug ripping off UK consumers?


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Are we paying more than we should (image courtesy of Sam Savine

I’ve reviewed both Pogoplug hardware and software over the last year and have found both products to be excellent.

However, after recently buying their Pogoplug Pro hardware myself, I am perturbed by their “rip off” pricing for the UK.

Their Pogoplug Pro costs $99.99, with cheapest postage at $12.95. For some reason, when buying from the US they automatically add to your shopping cart (even though you didn’t ask for it) a copy of their premium software ($29) and their “Extended Download Service 1”  at $5.99. Thankfully, both can be removed. Take into account US taxes and that $99.99 is probably more around $110. Convert that to sterling and you get approx. £68.

However, buy for the UK and it’s… £99.99. The cheapest delivery is £10. That’s £109.99 compared to the US equivalent of £68 – a £42 increase. Take UK VAT into account and that decreases the difference to £20.

The Euro Zone doesn’t get off any lighter, however, as the Euro Pogoplug costs, yes you guessed it, €99.99. That converts to about $70.

Pogoplug isn’t the only company to do this kind of thing – Adobe and Apple spring to mind – but it’s still disappointing.

The usual excuse given by businesses is the cost to convert the product to each country. However, there is no software included, the box is a universal design and the included leaflets are multi-lingual. Interestingly still, where a lot of localisation would be required – software – they charge the same. Their premium software is $29 and they simply convert this price to your own currency “on the fly” (and accurately too). So a conversion to UK rates, will get you the software at £18.16 today. So, they don’t charge any more for the software – something for which (particularly in non-English speaking countries) language conversion is going to be costly, but do for hardware which needs no change.

So, I contacted Pogoplug and spoke to Jeff Fochtman, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Cloud Engines, Inc (who make Pogoplug). His answer was to the point…

We are in business to make some profit and at this point in time it simply costs us more to deliver and support products in the UK and EMEA and to run our business there so we have to charge a bit more

He added 3 points that he believes explains the differences further 2

  • We have a cost of doing business in the UK and EU that is much higher than our cost of doing business in UK/EMEA
  • Many smaller companies simply do not go through logistics, packaging, certification and manpower that goes into setting up business overseas.  Our ‘profit’ per unit is the similar across all regions because of the cost of doing business at a much smaller volume…we feel we are doing the right thing by adding server support, customer service, operations support in your region but it comes at a higher cost per unit.
  • Indeed the shift in rates affects differential in pricing between geographies using different currencies.  It has shifted balance to be a higher delta from when we set the price, however we cannot be constantly changing price with retail partners having a set MSRP.

He concluded our conversation but pointing out that a number of retailers are selling Pogoplug for as little as £49. However, this is the original bright pink Pogoplug (non “pro” version) which is unavailable to buy from their website.

So his answer is that it’s more costly to sell it outside of the US so they charge more. And we should maybe be thankful that we pay as little as we do as the exchange rates has changed since. Maybe it’s just me that thinks that maybe the way to sell more outside the US, however, is to charge fair prices – I’m sure they’d sell a lot more if the unit cost £80 which would be the true equivalent to the US price.

But he says we’re paying extra because, for instance, we get local servers and support. Interestingly their site only makes mention of their US office , their site isn’t country specific and their is no telephone support – just anonymous email support. Does that require localised support? When I recently ordered my Pogoplug it was sent from Germany, so at least that was within Europe. Now, I’m not saying they don’t provide local support – there’s just no evidence of it from their site and, from what I can tell, no reason for it. You can’t even view their site in any language other than English (until you sign into MyPogoplug to view your shared files).

Indeed, the only time you specify your country is when purchasing hardware from them. How do they offer local support? The ticket system that customers can use to request support makes no mention of the country of origin and my user profile doesn’t specify this either.

Whether they’re using localised servers for Pogoplug I can’t tell.

So, is that a good excuse or are we being ripped off once again?

I didn’t respond back with any further questions to Mr Fochtman but if I do hear anything I’ll update this post.

  1. essentially they will backup the software you download for easy access in future[]
  2. this is an exact cut and paste quote from Mr Fochtman[]

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2 Comments

  1. pogoplug cloud may well be an absolute rip off. They lost all my backup data and then just offered my initial money back. Beware of pogoplug – it all looked okay until I actually restored then thats when I found they had lost it. Has happened to many others too.

  2. I’m in the process of finding a solution to this problem.

    All my music files (98%) which I uploaded to my internet cloud storage provider, Pogoplug.com, are gone now, from their server(s).

    You can see the file lists from my links (they call them thumbnails) , but the underlying media file is no longer there on their Server, due to their network hard drives failing.

    This is a cloud storage backup up company with thousands or more customers, and they don’t back up their own data?

    For $4.95 per month they gave me unlimited storage space.  I eventually stored over half a terabyte of media on their central server.

    So, those playlists that I sent to you will not work any longer via the internet.

    I’m investigating using an Attorney or the Better Business Bureau to file a complaint, or any other internet forum, to shame them into restoring my files.

    I can’t tell how much time and the process details that went into getting my whole music collection in their repository.

    Uploading 1078 music CD’s in WAV, creating unique folder names for each of CD, using a Verizon Fios upload speed of 5MBs.

    My multiunit CONDO does no support direct FIOS fiber connectivity for higher speed uploads.

    I also created 165 “Best Of Artist” playlists, containing those same CD files in Apple format (pulling them into Itunes – then re-uploading) for playback from their internet site.

    I sent multiple playlists links to friends and family over the last 3 years, and they are now rendered useless.

    Here is Pogoplug’s Help Desk response:

    “We recently discovered that a handful of our users may have experienced data loss. While we employ redundancy algorithms that make data loss nearly mathematically impossible, the impossible became possible when a large number of hard drives from the same manufacturer all failed at the same time. This hard drive failure has unfortunately afflicted many online storage providers, including Pogoplug.”

    They offered me a one year refund. Can believe the audacity of these con artists?

    Cloud Engines and Pogoplug …. a grand rip off from these new menial thieves!

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