Buyer Beware: Used Hospitality EPOS Systems

Online channels are multiplying where software, including hospitality EPOS systems, is sold as “used” software at low prices. While the deals seem great, there’s a lot to know about before making the decision to buy. We thought we’d share some things to keep in mind.


Contact the company that makes the EPOS. It might be out of business, merged with another company, or gone through some other change you need to know about. You need to talk to them directly to find out about the process and fees associated with licence reactivation, name change, maintenance contracts, training, software updates and upgrades, and so on.


Software licences are rarely transferrable—if you want to run the software legally, you’re going to have to pay new licence fees. Once you licence the software, you’ll find you’re usually limited in terms of how many people can use the EPOS—if you need more, your licence fees increase. Something else to consider: until the licence is changed with the vendor, there’s a high possibility all your receipts and reports will carry the original proprietor’s name.


Software versions are determined by “the point.” The number to the left of the decimal is the version and the number to right is the revision (for example, 5.3 means the third revision of the fifth version). If your version isn’t the current one, you may have to pay additional licence fees to upgrade to the latest version—that depends on the vendor, and on how far behind your version is. One other thing: make sure the operating system is the legitimate one, licenced for that computer.


If you’re buying the hardware as well—the EPOS tills and back-office terminals and so on—you’ve got compatibility issues to look at. The hardware may run the existing version of the used hospitality EPOS software just fine—but not be able to handle the most current version at all. Think about this also: the clutter you inherit on those computers. Unless the original proprietor wiped the drive clean and then reinstalled the OS and the EPOS, you’ll live forever with rubbish data everywhere—in the registry, in the list of drivers, in abandoned WiFi connections: all of which affects performance. And don’t forget the need to ensure that the computers are virus, malware and exploit free.

Training and Support

Training and Support both carry fees; some initial training and a limited period of support might be included in the licence fee. It’s difficult to pinpoint those fees with used software. Original proprietors might tell you what they paid, but you may have different configurations, different numbers of people, want different levels of support.

Business Fit

In the end, the biggest risk is that you buy something that just doesn’t fit your business. It’s a risk because your only source of information is the original proprietor. It’s hard to see a demo of it. You can’t ask questions about your operation and your growth plans, or about where the product is heading in the future. Only vendor representatives can give you the right answers there.

Our closing advice? Approach any used solution with eyes, calculator, and very likely chequebook, wide open.