TimeTrex Payroll and Time Management – Lying to Potentional Customers

Me and my junior editor, Kleopatra
Me and my junior editor, Kleopatra

I’m a Canadian Publisher. Originally I got into this to publish family. Originally.

Since people found out that I’m doing this, I’ve had a lot of requests from people who I know to expand. They are want me to do their publishing for them. So count this as an official announcement.

I’m expanding, and have already signed some writers.

But that’s not why I’m writing.

Or not totally. I don’t use Windows, and haven’t for years. The problem is that many writers use nothing but, and I’ve already gotten some documents in formats that are archaic.

I own legal copies of Word Perfect, Lotus Smartsuite, Microsoft Works, and a variety of other Office Suites/Word Processors. Some of this stuff is Windows, some DOS (I still have a ton of DOS software backed up to Compact Disc – ever hear of Easy Writer?)

The obvious answer, using WINE quickly turned out to be a problem. WINE does well on certain applications, but not so well on others.

I also have a dozen legal copies of Windows XP, and several spare computers. So I decided to install a copy, and install the Windows software I needed on it.

After installing the Proprietary Software I needed, I decided to take a look at some of the new Free Software that’s available for Windows which might be useful for a small business, like a publishing company.

Software Needs for a Small Publishing Company

While talking about how things were going to work, one of the issues that came up is that I can’t afford to hire full-time staff. At least not yet. So I’m going to have to hire professionals on contract to do things I either can’t do myself, or don’t have the time to do myself.

I concluded that I’d need software to keep track of contractors, so as well as downloading The Gimp, Scribus, LibreOffice, Thunderbird, Open Project, and a variety of other applications, I downloaded something called TimeTrex. It looked like it might do what I wanted.

That was Thursday. Today I received this email:

OK Wayne, I have been bombarded with questions from my last email asking about “open source software”, and why its important to someone like yourself.So I’m going to take a few minutes to shed some light on this topic and explain to you why open source software is critically important to the long-term success of your organization.


Don’t miss out on any important announcements, follow us on Facebook & Twitter:http://www.timetrex.com/social.php


Alright Wayne, lets cut to the chase, the primary benefit of open source software is that it gives YOU control over the technology that you are investing in. The best analogy that illustrates this benefit is with the way that you buy cars.

So let me ask you this:

Would you ever buy a car with the hood welded shut?

NO! Of course not, that wouldn’t make any sense!

But wait a minute…

What do you know about modern internal-combustion engines?

There is a good chance that you, along with 99% of the general population, don’t know much about them at all. Yet you demand the ability to open the hood of your car because it gives YOU, the consumer, CONTROL over the product that you bought and takes it away from the vendor.

See, you can take the car back to the dealer and if they do a good job, don’t overcharge you and add the features you need, you may keep taking it back to that dealer.

But if they overcharge you, won’t fix the problem you are having, or refuse to install that musical horn you always wanted — well, there are 10,000 other car-repair companies that would be happy to have your business.

In the proprietary software industry, YOU, the customer, have NO CONTROL over the technology you are building your business around. If the vendor overcharges you, refuses to fix a bug that causes your system to crash, or chooses not to introduce the feature that you need, you have NO choice.

This lack of control results in a HIGH COST, LOW RELIABILITY and LOTS of FRUSTRATION.

Of course, TimeTrex is unique in this regard, because its the ONLY product of its kind in the world that gives you this ULTIMATE LEVEL OF CONTROL.

Anyways, as promised here are some more Online University videos to help you continue setting up TimeTrex:


Online University: http://www.timetrex.com/university.php?c=aca3

Exception Policies – Get alerts if employees arrive late, leave early, or miss a punch.

Over Time Policies – Automatically calculate overtime pay for employees based on daily or weekly worked time.

Policy Groups – Assign specific policies to individual or groups of employees.


There are lots more where that came from, so stay tuned.

Best regards, Jon Hutchison

P.S. If you have questions for our support team, I’m sure you have already signed up on our forums, so go there and ask away:


Our support team is always looking for questions to answer (it makes them feel all warm and fuzzy inside) and they often reply in less than 60 minutes during business hours.

TimeTrex Payroll and Time Management Unit 22 – 2475 Dobbin Rd. Suite #292, Westbank, BC V4T 2E9 CANADA

There are a variety of problems with this email. The first is this:

On Sun, Nov 6, 2011 at 11:30 PM, Jon Hutchison <jon.hutchison@timetrex.com> wrote:

I downloaded the package on Thursday November 3, 2011. Since I suffer from Chronic Pain, I’m often up at odd hours, which is why the downloaded package is time stamped 11:20 PM. Almost exactly three days later Jon Hutchison sent his email, or more likely a bot did it for him.

Before my body gave up on me, I was a Sales & Marketing Professional, and a damned good one. One of the first things you learn, is to NEVER lie to a customer. This email is a lie, pure and simple. It pretends that I’ve received emails from them before. I haven’t.

It pretends that I’m familiar with them. Yeah, right. I didn’t have a clue who they were when I received it. I had to check on the Windows computer to see what I’d downloaded, and then what I’d installed. Another lie.

Why Does This Matter?

I’m using some proprietary software because I don’t have any choice. I have files in the Lotus Smartsuite word processor format, without Lotus Smartsuite I can’t read them. I’m trying to use Free Software because I believe in the philosophy of the GNU Project.

TimeTrex pretends to believe in this philosophy. They even use the same language that people in the community use to explain why Free Software is important.

Would you ever buy a car with the hood welded shut?

The problem is that they don’t really seem to get it. The GNU Project and Free Software is about Ethics, not just in software design but in life.. Lying in an email isn’t an ethical action. I do my best to avoid dealing with unethical companies, which is one reason that I dumped Windows years ago.

I was considering evaluating the TimeTrex software. Since the company (or at least Jon Hutchison, who curiously doesn’t show up on a search of the company website, and even more curiously doesn’t show up on a search of the company forums) appears to have issues with Ethics, I won’t test the software.

Me being me, I’ll also write about my experience. Who knows? It might encourage TimeTrex to change their ways.


Wayne Borean

Monday November 7, 2011



10 thoughts on “TimeTrex Payroll and Time Management – Lying to Potentional Customers

  1. Hi Wayne,

    I’m sorry that you feel that you have been lied too, but I believe its simply a misunderstanding. I will address each of your concerns individually below.

    This email is a lie, pure and simple. It pretends that I’ve received emails from them before. I haven’t.

    The only way to receive the email(s) that you have was to sign up for them at our download page (http://www.timetrex.com/download.php) by providing us with your name and email address. We then send you a confirmation email with a link that you must click, so its a double opt-in procedure that must be followed before you ever receive another email. Once your information is confirmed we send you a link to download TimeTrex along with other emails informing you how to get free support and how to view our Online University videos to learn how to use TimeTrex for free as well, exactly what is stated on the download page.

    There is no way that you can receive the email you quoted above without receiving at least two emails prior to that, and clicking a link in at least one of them.

    It pretends that I’m familiar with them. Yeah, right. I didn’t have a clue who they were when I received it. I had to check on the Windows computer to see what I’d downloaded, and then what I’d installed. Another lie.

    We go to great lengths to try and make our communications individualized as much as possible as that is by far what most people prefer and respond to. As mentioned above you had received at least two emails from us prior to the one that you claim is a lie, so we do assume that you are at least somewhat familiar with us and the TimeTrex name.

    Anyone can prove that my above statements are true by simply going to our download page and signing up to download TimeTrex. This is why I believe this is all a simple misunderstanding and that no lie or dishonest communication has ever occurred. We take great pride in being an ethical company that offers open source software to hundreds of thousands of companies world wide each year.

    Wayne, you have a great blog here, your writing is engaging and you seem to have a logical head on your shoulders. In an effort to be honest to your readers and offer them full disclosure, I urge you to reconsider your stance on this post.

    Best regards,

    Jon Hutchison
    Tel: 1 (800) 714-5153

  2. Jon,

    I sent you an email the day I posted this. That was two months ago. Now I know how busy things can get, and I’m not exactly the world’s greatest example of how to keep a clean inbox.

    But you are just getting around to responding now?

    Let’s look at your statements. I had to:

    1) Enter my name and email address on a form on your download page.

    2) Click on a link in an email to confirm I was the person who wanted the download.

    3) Click on the link in a second email to download the file.

    I’m fifty-five years old now. I learned programming on an IBM mainframe using punch cards. I worked as a professional programmer for a while, then decided that it wasn’t for me, and moved through a series of other jobs before settling on salesman.

    I know computers. I know websites, having set up quite a few. I sometimes set up computers for local businesses for pocket money.

    When someone presents me with a setup like yours I just click through it, ignoring everything until I’ve got the software. I don’t care about your fancy sales routine. All it does is waste my time. I need to get access to the software to determine if it is suitable for the application I have in mind.

    So no, I didn’t see your messages.

    You should have prefaced your email with,

    In regards to the TimeTrex software which you downloaded from our website on Thursday…

    That would have been perfectly suitable. I’ve written thousands of business letters and emails over the last thirty years, and I’ve cold called and sold to companies that are household names.

    When you are dealing with someone whose contact with you has only been fleeting, you have to handle the contact carefully. The aim after all, is to sell to the customer (and if you are interested, my book, Where The Hell Are The Sales should be out in the Fall of 2012).

    You didn’t handle the contact carefully. Instead you went tearing off in a direction which probably leaves most customers confused. The rather disjointed explanation of Open Source coming on top of an email that most people aren’t going to have a clue about, will be more than a bit much. I agree that most of your target market probably doesn’t know a lot about Open Source. I just don’t think that this is necessarily the time, place, or way to handle it.

    Of course I’m used to going after Major Accounts. You are going after the smaller ones, so maybe your way does work.

    I still would recommend changing your opening though.


  3. Wayne,

    I appreciate your feed back, but I fail to see how your reply pertains to the original title of this blog post. Based on your response the only thing you really mention is that you disagree with the opening sentence of my email for the simply reason that you admit to not actually reading them in the first place. While you are definitely entitled to your own opinion, what you just explained is not even on the dishonesty spectrum as this entire blog post is based around. In fact, you seem more interested in pitching your book than anything else.

    I now question your motives for this blog post to begin with, and based on your last response can only conclude that you are being dishonest to your readers and using TimeTrex as a scapegoat to pitch your book.

    Perhaps a more appropriate title for this blog post would be: “How TimeTrex could improve their sales by reading my book.” You could then go on to give suggestions on how we may be able to improve our communication with people who download our software, I think that would be a much better approach which would at least be a positive lead-in to your goal, which is clearly selling books.

    The fact of the matter is this:

    1. TimeTrex is the only company in the world that offers a free, open source payroll and time management product of its caliber in the world.

    2. None of my emails were dishonest, though you may disagree with the opening sentence of one of them.

    3. If you actually read the emails closely, they are not sales related at all. Not once do we try to actually sell anything. The sole purpose of the emails is to engage the downloader and ensure that they understand the benefits of open source, our product, as well as where they can get free video training material and support if they need it. Any software product is useless if people can’t figure out how to use it properly and TimeTrex has a lot of complex features and functionality, which makes this point even more important.

    4. TimeTrex as a company goes to great lengths and expense to make its open source offering the best we possibly can. Not many open source companies offer anywhere near this level of support for a free product. The proof is in the pudding too, if you go through our forums you will see many responses to people’s questions in a matter of minutes. Where can you get free support, for a free product that offers answers to your questions in a matter of minutes?

    Our goal is to have as many companies utilizing TimeTrex as possible, if they happen to purchase something from us, thats great, but we would rather have a company utilize TimeTrex and not purchase a single thing from us than to not utilize TimeTrex at all. Full stop.

    Being dishonest to your readers and throwing TimeTrex under the bus for trying to offer the best possible free open source payroll and time management product (and services) in the world to companies that need it goes against your original diatribe on ethics and what it means to use the “open source” label.

    Wayne, open source means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but the primary thing is not being free from financial cost. In fact the most popular open source license in the world (GPL) clearly states charging just for the service of a download or distributing the product is completely within the terms of the license. In my opinion, the primary purpose of open source, and the reason it thrives so much, is to enable people to be free to contribute back to the project and create a community around it that strives to constantly improve. Without a community, no open source project succeeds.

    Wayne, based on the above, I formally challenge you to back up your own beliefs and “philosophy” about open source (as described in this blog post) and instead of just paying lip service to the term actually contribute back in a meaningful and positive way to ANY open source project.

    Do you accept this challenge Wayne?

    Even if I can’t convince you to correct or at least update this blog post to reflect the truth of the matter, if I can convince you to contribute (rather than detract) to at least one open source project some good will be done.

    Jon Hutchison
    Tel: 1 (800) 714-5153

    1. Because Jon, in my opinion, your email was deceptive. It reminds me of the spam emails that I regularly receive.

      Unlike everyone else I actually read the emails in my Spam folder. I often write articles about the more egregious of them, as you can see from this, this, this and others.

      Your email reminded me of spam.

      So no, I won’t remove the article. As to the rest of your comment.

      1. I don’t know. I stopped looking at that point because of other issues. I have to admit that most of my business systems actually run on Linux anyway, the Windows stuff was just for testing.

      2. Deceptive.

      3. Any email from a sales rep is for sales purposes, even if it doesn’t mention a sale directly. Don’t be stupid.

      4. Let me see. Ubuntu (including Kubuntu, Xubuntu, etc.), Fedora, Linux Mint, Apache, Mozilla Foundation (Firefox, Seamonkey, etc.), The Gimp, Blender, Inkscape, Calibre, Gnu Compiler Collection, Emacs, Handbrake, Videolan, LibreOffice, Miro, Python, Scribus, Celtx, Wine. Need I go on? I could. For pages. Your company is hardly unique.

      As to the rest, as I’ve stated in the past, Open Source is a meaningless concept. Free Software is what is important.


  4. Wayne,

    I’m having a hard time following your logic. You go from “lying” to simply disagreeing with an opening sentence in my email to now claiming its “deceptive”. You have yet to back up any of your statements with actual facts though. I’m not looking for you to remove your blog post at all, I’m simply looking for you to update it to reflect the truth to your readers.

    Let me refresh your memory, in the blog post you stated this: “This email is a lie, pure and simple. It pretends that I’ve received emails from them before. I haven’t.” Then in my response I reminded you that you cannot receive that email without first receiving at least two other emails from me, and clicking a link in at least one of them. The fact that you failed to acknowledge this in your post is the real deception here and your statement (“ It pretends that I’ve received emails from them before“) is clearly false.

    Where is the deception Wayne?

    If there is anything false in any email that I have sent out it will be corrected as soon as its brought to my attention.

    Jon Hutchison
    Tel: 1 (800) 714-5153

    1. Jon,

      You don’t seem to get the point, and I’m busy as hell right now. I’ll run this by you once again:

      Your email is written as if it was the latest in a long string of communications. It wasn’t. The earlier emails, according to you, were just the information on how to access the download.

      The email implies a level of connection with the receiver that does not exist. This is deception. It is the same sort of deception that a lot of Spam email relies on.

      That is my opinion as a Sales Professional. In plain and simple terms, your email sucks. You need to sit down, think about what you are doing, what you are trying to communicate to your potential customer, and re-write it to do that.


  5. Hi Wayne,

    I think you might be able to find more worthy targets than TimeTrex for your vitriol!

    I have no association with TimeTrex other than downloading their product and using it for free with complete source code for almost 3 years.

    I have had a great customer experience with TimeTrex and have been using them to do all the payroll for my dance studio in Melbourne Australia. Their responsiveness on the forums is amazing and really they deserve good press for their product, their attitude, their philosophy and their customer service.

    Are they perfect? I doubt it, but perhaps you could use your energies and talents to bring to light some of the practices of almost every other company I have ever dealt with. I encourage you to re-evaluate your criticisms of TimeTrex – I really believe they are one of the good guys out there!

    Ariel Bud
    The Space Dance & Arts Centre

    1. Ariel,

      My disagreement with Jon is professional, not personal. As someone who was Major Accounts Sales Representative, who cold called and sold into companies who are major consumer brand names, I know a little bit about writing emails and letters.

      I’m glad it is working for you. It wouldn’t work for me anyway, I downloaded it, and a bunch of other stuff just to test on my one and only Microsoft Windows computer. That computer gets used very rarely, when a writer sends me a document in an oddball file format, like Word Perfect (and yes, there are people out there who still love their Word Perfect).


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