Here's a dillema I am having for a desktop java application.
Do you offer a full version with a 30 day trial?
My concern is that people setting back their time inside virtualizations or somehow fiddling around with it to end up using it without restriction.
Do you offer a limited version lacking in features?
Again, my concern is people might find ways to workaround the limitations thereby removing the impending need to purchase the full version.
Possible solution: include both?
Is it never recommended to NOT offer any type of hands on evaluation product? How about a simple screencast and offer a full money back guarantee. So if they buy it and don't like it they can cancel and get their money back in 30 days. Would my billing company complain at the chargebacks?
If you do offer an limited trial version of your application, should you still guarantee full refund in 30 days even after they make the transition to the full paid version?
You have several questions combined into one here. First there are three possibilities for a trial:
In our experience, you must have a trial for at least some customers. In addition, the amount of effort that goes into creating a trial that can be converted into a full version, and the continuing battle with crackers makes this type of solution impractical. We prefer having a separate trial and retail version. Yes, someone can post a copy of the full version on line, but they can do that with any kind of trial and they rarely seem to do it.
Finally, refunds are an entire subject on their own. They have been covered here before. In general, all credit card systems allow a customer to do a chargeback within some time period (30 - 90 days). Since the customer can essentially generate their own refund this way, at will, why not turn this into a positive and advertise a 30 day money back guarantee. Depending on your product you may put qualifications on this, but offering a guarantee has been proven to generate additional sales.