I’ve been using a Neat Receipts Mobile Scanner as a digital filing system for a few years now. Overall I’ve had good results using the scanner and the software aside from a few database issues. The system is a great way to get rid of all of the paper from your life and go fully digital.
The Neat software has evolved over the years and has gone through several major updates since I started using the system. After being prompted to upgrade to version 5.1 I decided to go ahead and install the new version last week.
The upgrade included many different changes and required a fairly significant migration process. This process involved backing up the database and converting it to the new format which took several minutes.
After everything completed I launched the new version and to my dismay the program crashed with an error that indicated “Neat has stopped working”.
When I disconnected the USB cable from the scanner the program would launch and indicate that no scanners were found.
Searching the Neat site for solutions to this issue lead me to a couple of different articles. One of them suggested updating the driver which lead to the same issue.
Finally I came across a post on the forums that indicated the mobile scanner (model NR-030108) was not supported by Neat version 5.1. One of the posts indicated that someone had contacted customer support and they agreed to replace the scanner with a new model.
Based on this information I decided to open a ticket with Neat and see if I received the same response.
Sure enough the support team provided a response with instructions on how to receive a replacement scanner. Below is the full message I received from the support team.
The exception you’re seeing while launching the software is actually being caused by a problem with your mobile scanner.
We would like to replace your scanner with a newer device. Neat scanners normally have a one-year hardware warranty, but we’ve decided to waive this limit for you.
In order to place a replacement order, we will need some information for the shipping department. We will ship out a replacement scanner and e-mail a printable return label for you to send the old scanner back for free. Please fill out the following info, and I’ll forward this to the shipping department. Customers within the continental US should not ship their hardware back until the support department has confirmed a warranty order is in place.
Mailing Address (Non PO box)
Software Version (Help>About on PC Neatworks>About on Mac)
Model number (M/N) of the scanner (found on the bottom)
Serial number (S/N) of the scanner
Date and location of purchase
The next day after sending in the details of my scanner and my address I received a notification that a new scanner had been shipped. What I received was a box that looked identical to the box for my original scanner except that this unit is a refurbished product. It’s fairly standard practice among manufactures to provide a re-certified product when dealing with warranty exchanges so this didn’t really surprise me.
The box did not contain anything other than the mobile scanner, and a USB cable.
When compared to my original scanner the only differences that are visible can be found on the labels on the bottom. In the image below the new scanner is on top and my original unit is on the bottom. The new model is listed as NM-1000. On the new model they’ve eliminated the separate serial number label and integrated it as a barcode. The new scanner also says “Designed in Philadelphia. Made in China”.
After connecting the new scanner the new hardware wizard launched and automatically installed the driver. Once the driver installation was complete I launched the Neat software and it detected my scanner.
Why Was a Hardware Swap Required?
It seems odd that Neat isn’t able to issue a software fix to resolve this issue. I would expect a driver or software update to resolve this issue and not require a hardware swap. Neat may have decided it’s easier to simply swap out hardware for the few customers who upgrade then end up complaining about this issue though.
Overall I’m glad that Neat is taking care of it’s customers and providing a resolution to this issue. They could have simply deemed this model as end of life and stopped supporting it. I do think they should update their software to automatically detect if the NR-030108 is connected and provide a message about replacing your scanner before simply proceeding with the upgrade.
I was somewhat annoyed to install the upgrade and then become stuck with an unusable scanner until the replacement arrives.