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How to get a Windows tax refund

By Serge Wroclawski on January 05, 2007 (8:00:00 AM)

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If you buy a computer, you often pay for Microsoft Windows even if you didn't ask for it and aren't going to use it. This article shows you how to return your unused Windows license and get your money back, freeing yourself from the Windows tax.

I recently purchased a new laptop computer from Dell. As a GNU/Linux user and believer in Free Software, I knew from the start that I wasn't going to run Microsoft Windows. Unfortunately, Dell didn't offer this laptop with Ubuntu or a no-OS option, so I tried getting my Windows refund from Dell after the purchase. After working with customer service, I received a refund of $52.50. In the course of getting my refund, I found some techniques worked better than others. By knowing what works, you may be able to get your refund quickly and easily.

Be prepared and set realistic expectations

Before you go down this route, be prepared. Getting your Windows refund may take several hours of work, after which you'll get a small amount of money -- nowhere near the full retail price of Windows on the store shelf. Though your win may be more of a victory for principle than your pocketbook, it is possible to win, and you'll have made an important stand.

Getting a Windows refund only works if your computer is new. If you've booted into Windows once and hit the Accept button at the end of the Microsoft EULA, you're disqualified. Ideally you'll plan on getting your Windows refund before placing your order with the vendor. If you are ordering a new machine, first call the vendor to see if they offer a no-OS option. If they do, use it. If the machine does not come without an installed OS and you have to buy Windows, purchase the lowest-end Windows that you can. In my case, that meant buying the computer with Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition.

When your computer arrives, document each step of unloading your computer. I took a tip from UK reporter Dave Mitchell, who received a Windows refund from Dell, and took pictures of myself at each step of the process, including opening the box and each and every page of the Microsoft EULA. I zoomed in on the relevant section about returning the license to the vendor. I also zoomed in on the radio button which says "Do Not Accept" and showed myself rejecting the license. This will add some time to your initial computer use, but is proof that you read and rejected the license.

Before you make the call, have everything you need in front of you. You should have all the details of your order, including the order number, date purchased, and even your credit card number. You should have the computer's serial number and, in the case of Dell, its Express Service Code. Later in the process, you may need your Windows Certificate of Authenticity (COA) key. It's on the holographic label usually found on the bottom of the laptop. You might find it easier to just have the laptop itself handy.

You'll also want to have the text of the EULA ready. You probably don't need the entire thing, but the specific wording about returning Windows to the vendor may become key.

Lastly, you're going to want to have a pen and paper ready. If your phone is wireless, you'll want to be sure it's fully charged, and keep a beverage handy -- you could be on the phone a while.

Preparing for the call

By this time in the process, you're probably itching to get on the phone, get on your soapbox, and get your refund. Resist the urge. Remember that you're looking to exercise a legal right. You're not going to change anyone's mind about Free Software, and any extra time you spend in the process only takes you further from your goal.

Be polite. A customer service representative is used to handling dozens of issues a day, but your issue is going to be outside the norm. The person on the other end of the phone is your representation on the company's side, so you want to keep him or her as happy as possible. Don't get angry, don't yell, don't be rude. If things become tense, disarm the situation with kindness, and, if it's appropriate, a joke.

You will be put on hold. Dell is fairly good about not leaving folks on hold (especially business customers), but I was put on hold a number of times. There's nothing you can do about it, so just be polite and accept it. What you're asking for is so unusual that they'll probably need to call supervisors. Let them.

Expect excuses. They're going to look for ways not to give you the refund. After all, they've never heard of this, so it must be impossible. My first customer service rep said that he couldn't refund my license because I wasn't charged for it. If you hear something like this, don't be discouraged, and don't take it as the final word. I'll tell you how to counter these sorts of arguments in a moment.

Don't argue, escalate. If you find you're not getting anywhere with your customer service representative, or you're going over the same point several times, it's time to escalate. Remember our previous guideline of not being rude. You can ask to be transferred without making it into a confrontation. Be sympathetic: "I see that you're trying your best, but that you're not able to do anything else for me. Would it be possible for you to transfer me to someone else?"

Be persistent. You'll probably have to speak with several people, repeat yourself, and hear lots of excuses about how you're not entitled to what you're asking for. You're in the right, and as long as you're in the pipeline, you're making progress. When you're not making any more progress, escalate.

Don't settle. At several points in my communications with customer service, I was offered coupons, even in excess of what I was asking for, but coupons aren't money. Politely explain that you're looking for a refund in cash (or credit back to your credit card).

Use the precedents. If you're in the UK, you can mention reporter Dave Mitchell as someone whose already received a Windows refund. If you're in the US, you can use me. If they've given refunds to the two of us, why not you?

During the call, you may find that the customer service representative will come back to you with several excuses about why you're not entitled to your refund. I've compiled a list of them, some which I heard and others which I didn't, and good responses to them.

"You can't return the operating system because the computer can't work without it."

That's the easiest argument to counter. Explain that you run GNU/Linux (or FreeBSD, or whatever operating system you've replaced Windows with).

"You didn't pay anything for Windows."

Since the price of Windows was included in the price of the computer, they may try to argue that you didn't pay anything for it. This one is easy to debunk. Windows costs money -- everyone knows that. Once you establish that Windows does indeed cost money (and you can't get it for free) then the only remaining issue is how much you paid. Since Microsoft contracts out with hardware vendors, there's no actual way to know how much Windows costs a given retailer. This being the case, I was asking for the price of an OEM copy of Windows XP Home SP2 that I found on Newegg, which was $89. In the end they gave me $52.50. I don't know if this is really how much Windows costs, but it's a non-trivial amount and I can well imagine that one of the world's largest computer makers can get a good deal on Windows licenses from Microsoft.

"You bought the bundle."

They may tell your purchase was a bundle, that Windows came on the computer as a packaged set and you can't return one without the other. What you have on your side to counter this is the license itself, which says that you may choose to not accept the license and return it to the vendor. No matter what they say regarding a bundle, the legal wording of the license is clear. I heard the B word several times, and each time I explained the terms of the license to them, with the license wording at hand in case I needed to quote it verbatim. If the customer representative tries to cut the conversation short saying it's a bundle, stay polite, but explain that the license is quite clear and that you're just going by the legal wording and exercising your right to return the operating system.

"How about a coupon?"

I was offered coupons several times. I'm guessing that coupons are easy to give to customers as a way to keep them happy. While you're rejecting the coupons, realize that this is a small victory. All you have to do at that point is ask for cash.

"You need to return the CD."

As a condition to getting my Windows refund, I was required to give the COA key to the customer representative and return the Windows CD itself. Dell was kind enough to pay for shipping of the CD, so all I had to pay for was the envelope. Your vendor may not be as generous regarding the shipping, but by this time, you've won.

You win - or not

If you're not working with Dell, you may not have the same success. In this case, you might need to take another tack. Small claims court may be an option. You file paperwork with the court, pay a small fee, and show up in court with all your documentation. You'll need to make your case quickly and succinctly. You may also want to contact the Better Business Bureau for help. Many reputable businesses take the BBB seriously and may be more willing to work with you after it has contacted them. In any case, you'll be spending time and money to resolve the issue, but so will the vendor, so they're likely to look for an amiable solution as quickly as possible.

To summarize:

  • You're only eligible for a refund on new computers
  • Document everything
  • Be prepared
  • Be polite
  • Be persistent
  • Be gracious

If you follow these guidelines, you're likely to come out with a working computer without the Windows tax.

I would be remiss if I did not offer a special thank you to Dell. Despite my initial difficulties, Dell eventually came through. After hearing stories on the Net about folks having to bring their vendor to small claims court, I'm happy I picked a company with reasonable policies and people. I especially want to thank Seema, the floor manager who worked with me on my case and offered me the refund.

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on How to get a Windows tax refund

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small claims court

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 03:31 AM
If you went to small claims court you would probably get the retail value instead of the $52.50. But you would have to invest more time and money in getting the judgment and then collecting on it.

The vendor (or would you sue MS directly?) is not likely to show up in small claims court for such a small amount of money.

If they do show up, they will lose, but they might convince the judge that the real value is lower than the retail value.

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Re:small claims court

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 01:21 AM
Most likely, there is a jurisdiction clause in the purchase agreement with Dell. That means that once you agree to the purchase, you have agreed to a jurisdiction of Dell's choosing when it comes to a lawsuit.

Most likely, you would file (spend the money and time). Show up, and the judge would have a "answer", that is Dell's response to your suit, stating that you don't have jurisdiction.

Thought you would like to know.

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Re:small claims court

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 09:04 AM
IANAL but I think that's wrong. If you never agreed to the EULA and never signed any form of contract with Dell then there was no contract that they can hold you to hence they can't enforce any kind of "jurisdiction agreement" because you never agreed to it.

The general rule of thumb is the one who brings the lawsuit picks the jurisdiction, but there are some rules that apply to try to make things a bit more fairly.

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Re:small claims court

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 10:57 AM

"The vendor (or would you sue MS directly?) is not likely to show up in small claims court for such a small amount of money."


If they don't show up, you win by default judgment.

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Re:small claims court

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 08, 2007 08:01 PM
In Britain, a useful route to go is to involve the local trading standards office. They are part of the local council and are in the phone book.

Write a covering letter explaining the situation and include *copies* of all documentation.

Trading Standards wield some very big sticks; vencors tend to jump when contacted by them.

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Re:small claims court

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 09, 2007 10:28 AM
Just wondering, as a way of dragging this issue into the attention of Joe & Jane Sixpack, perhaps some adventurous & daring sort should get a Windows Refund case heard on one of those TV Court shows like "The People's Court", "Judge Judy", or some other such show.

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Re:small claims court

Posted by: Administrator on January 06, 2007 04:32 AM
Firstly, I am not a lawyer. This is not legal advice.

Now...

Without the vendor telling you, there's no way to know the price you're paying for your copy of Windows. If you don't know the price, you certainly could ask for what you believe you paid, which might be the retail price. If the defendant doesn't show up, there'd be no one to argue against the claim.

If they do show up, they could argue less, but you're right in that they're not likely to spend the money to defend themselves for such a small amount, but knowing that helps you in your case for settling the issue quickly beforehand.

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Donating unused licence key to GNU ?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 80.126.27.205] on August 25, 2007 09:04 PM
I would not mind so much paying operating system tax, if I would be able to pay for the right operating system.
Would it not be possible to give the unused license keys to GNU, Linux or the FSF, and have them go trough the
legal stuff ones for some larger amount of money for accumulated license keys?

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Um...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 04:37 AM
Didn't you just say what I said?

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Re:Um...

Posted by: Administrator on January 06, 2007 04:42 AM
Yeah, but he used more words and invoked the IANAL clause.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:-)

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It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 05:19 AM
The Windows EULA says you can get a refund if you don't agree to its terms. It does NOT say that you can get a refund for JUST the Windows operating system. Nor does it say what the purchase price of your copy is.

If you disagree with the EULA and call Dell, they have every right to say "Yes, we will happily issue you a refund for the entire bundle you purchased if you return it" or say "Your copy of Windows was provided to you at no cost as a free add-on to your purchase."

Dell's "terms of sale" which they push on every page of their website and to which you must agree before they complete a sale specifically say that the operating system is bundled software and may only be refused/returned if the entire system is returned.

They'd also be totally in the right to say that there is no purchase price for Windows because they provided it to you free as an incentive to purchase their system. When I bought my Dell, I got a free memory upgrade. I would be totally in the wrong if I called them up and wanted to return the additional memory chip for its full retail value.

I agree with you that Windows shouldn't be forced on users, and that there should be "no-OS" options for customers. But I have to say that I think you're in the legal wrong here. Dell would be totally in the right to say "Yes, we will issue you a refund per the EULA of your entire purchase price upon return of the computer."

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Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 05:45 AM

I suspect the justice department would be very interested if Microsoft endorsed your interpretation, since, IIRC, they argued exactly the opposite when accused of engaging in anti-competitive practices, to wit, requiring OEMs to sell their operating system with each and every computer. I suspect the wording in the license was added to specifically disclaim exactly the interpretation you are proposing.

--MarkusQ

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Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 08, 2007 03:00 AM
All you amateur lawyers out there. You really know jack shit about this. Dell may have done this out of legal obligation, or just to get some positive PR. Unless you are a contract lawyer (and no, being a spotty teenager who read 'criticisms of Microsoft' on Wikipedia does not qualify you in that regard) you know absolutely nothing, so leave the legal judgements to the lawyers and the courts.

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Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 09, 2007 06:54 AM
How about you do the same, then? I don't see you proclaiming legal credentials to the heavens?

If you were a lawyer, you'd know something about free speech.

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Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 05:46 AM
The Windows EULA applies only to Windows, not to the system as a whole. Consequently, Windows and Windows alone is the product referred to, and you are entitled to a refund for just Windows. For your argument to be valid, the agreement which you had to accept or reject would have to be an agreement concerning the bundle as a whole.

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Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 11:35 AM
Non sequitur. The fact that the EULA refers only to Windows doesn't mean the company must accept a return of one item and not the other.
You can buy a product that has two parts and find that one of them is nto fit for your purposes and ask for a refund, but the business has no obligation to accept a return for only the part you don't like. They have all the right to offer a refund for the whole system.
It might not be the most efficient thing for them for an isolated situation, though it is probably the most profitable option for them in the long term as fewer buyers would end up asking for the option (putting aside the fact that they are losing buyers by not offering a Linux option).

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It's called Tying and it's illegal

Posted by: Administrator on January 07, 2007 08:48 AM
Tying (Requiring that you purchase one product when you buy another product) is illegal. If they say that you MUST buy Windows when you buy a DEL XF-10000 then they're breaking the law.


Windows and your PC are two completely different products. It's too difficult to deliver a car without tires, so you could say that tires are required -- but, even then, most car dealers will allow you to ask for non-standard tires on your car if you get it from the factory (rather than off the lot).

Just having that wording in their license and not having an option to purchase their various models without Windows is probably enough for someone to file a lawsuit.
It's just too expensive for most people to file a lawsuit over this.

((
IANAL. If you want a real legal opinion, ask someone with a license to sell it to you.))

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Re: It's called Tying and it's illegal

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 142.59.147.144] on September 28, 2007 05:24 AM
um?

who does this apply to?
If I want to sell my used car
(or a basked of cookies)
am I also bound by this?
eg, car without tires, cookies without basket/basket without cookies.

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Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 05:54 AM
Seem a very byzantine argument to me. The EULA clearly states that you can get a refund if you do not agree to its term, nowhere is written or otherwise infereed that the O/S should be considered a part of a greter set.
The EULA is specifically and in a very explicit manner asserting about the rights on installing and using the O/S on whatever machine the user prefers and that is all. It does not explicitely 'says' the the refund should be limited to the O/S but it is nowhere asserted against this view and cannot legally be extended to the bundle.
On legal ground alone I can't argue on the other two points, maybe some other visitor could.

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Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 06:01 AM
If it is a bundle then this is tying, which is illegal in many places on this planet.
Also you get to see the EULA, which imposes all kind of limitations on you, AFTER the sale has been made. This too is illegal in many places.(actually, in many places this means you clicking on agree has no legal meaning at all. the "agreement" is not part of the sale)

About considering windows a "free bonus", that does not fly because usually Dell gives you options for different versions for different amounts of money.Thay makes it very clear it is not free.

But even if Dell can demand the whole machine to be returned for a refund, do you really thing they want that ? That would probably cost them more that refunding you for Windows.

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Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 11:30 AM
I don't think tying per se is illegal anywhere, including the states. Some sorts of tying are, some are not. It might be illegal if one of the products is completely independent of the other, but since the Operating System affects the machine's behavior (and it can affect Dell's operations, for instance in support since they are likely to use Windows tools to troubleshoot a machine) it will most likely not be considered illegal tying by most courts.
Microsoft was banned from forcing OEMs to include Windows with every system, but no OEM was banned from including Windows with every system if they think it will save them money.

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Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 09:03 AM
so basically; "Sure we'll sell you our car but you have to take our driver with it and he has to be paid $$$ an hour for driving you around. Oh, and as per the EULA, he'll only drive you where he wants to when he wants too. Sorry, we don't offer a car bundle without the driver. If you'd like to drive your own car or go where you choose with it, you'll have to go to another vendor."

(if you missed it; computer = car, OS = driver)

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Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 06:19 AM

The Windows EULA<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... does NOT say that you can get a refund for JUST the Windows operating system

Dead wrong. What the EULA says is this:

IF YOU DO NOT AGREE, DO NOT INSTALL, COPY, OR USE THE SOFTWARE; YOU MAY RETURN IT TO YOUR PLACE OF PURCHASE FOR A FULL REFUND, IF APPLICABLE.

"IT" clearly refers to "THE SOFTWARE" in this sentence.

Dell's "terms of sale"... say that the operating system is bundled software and may only be refused/returned if the entire system is returned.

Bullshit. Did you make even the slightest effort to know what you were saying?

<a href="http://www.dell.com/terms" title="dell.com">http://www.dell.com/terms</a dell.com> says this:
"All software is provided subject to the license agreement that is part of the software package and you agree that you will be bound by such license agreement."

They'd also be totally in the right to say that there is no purchase price for Windows because they provided it to you free as an incentive to purchase their system

Except for the fact that this isn't what they say when you buy the system. What their website says is Windows is "Included in Price."

I say, good for you, Serge!

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Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 10:10 PM
The Windows EULA<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... does NOT say that you can get a refund for JUST the Windows operating system



Dead wrong. What the EULA says is this:



IF YOU DO NOT AGREE, DO NOT INSTALL, COPY, OR USE THE SOFTWARE; YOU MAY RETURN IT TO YOUR PLACE OF PURCHASE FOR A FULL REFUND, IF APPLICABLE.



"IT" clearly refers to "THE SOFTWARE" in this sentence.


Partially wrong. That's possibly what the boxed, retail, version of Windwos contains in its EULA. In the bundled OEM version of Windwos, the EULA states:


``IMPORTANT-READ CAREFULLY: This End-User Licence Agreement ("EULA") is a legal agreement between you (either and individual or a single entity) and the manufacturer ("Manufacturer") of the computer system or computer system component ("HARDWARE") with which you acquired the Microsoft software product(S)...IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO THE TERMS OF THIS EULA, YOU MAY NOT USE OR COPY THE SOFTWARE, AND YOU SHOULD PROMPTLY CONTACT MANUFACTURER FOR INSTRUCTIONS ON RETURN OF THE UNUSED PRODUCT(S) FOR A REFUND IN ACCORDANCE WITH MANUFACTURER'S RETURN POLICIES''



[Emphasis mine]. If the manufacturer's return policy includes that the whole machine must be returned and not just one part of it (namely the OEM version of Windwos), then to get a refund, you must obey that policy and return the whole machine.



Note that the EULA is between you and the computer manufacturer, not between you and Microsoft!

#

Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Administrator on January 07, 2007 09:12 AM

IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO THE TERMS OF THIS EULA, YOU MAY NOT USE OR COPY
THE SOFTWARE, AND YOU SHOULD PROMPTLY CONTACT MANUFACTURER FOR INSTRUCTIONS ON RETURN OF THE UNUSED PRODUCT(S) FOR A REFUND IN ACCORDANCE WITH MANUFACTURER'S RETURN POLICIES''


"I'm using the computer (e.g with Linux with VOIP to talk to you), but I'm not using the software because I reject the license that comes with it." In this case, "the unused product" would be Windows (and any bundled software, like office, etc.). I would like a refund on the unused product.

#

Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 16, 2007 12:34 PM

> > Dell's "terms of sale"... say that the operating system is bundled software and may only be refused/returned if the entire system is returned.



> Bullshit. Did you make even the slightest effort to know what you were saying?

> <a href="http://www.dell.com/terms" title="dell.com">http://www.dell.com/terms</a dell.com> says this:

"All software is provided subject to the license agreement that is part of the software package and you agree that you will be bound by such license agreement."


Their "Total Satisfaction" Policy that we get here NZ is linked from the bottom of (almost) every page and states:

For customers who want to return, for refund or credit only, either applications software or an operating system that has been installed by Dell, the whole system must be returned, along with any media and documentation that may have been included in the original shipment.

#

Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 07:35 AM
Agreed. You didn't buy a computer and a keyboard and a mouse and a monitor and anti-virus and Windows. You bought a complete package.

The vendor might refund $52 for unwanted Windows. But that's a customer satisfaction effort on the vendor's part. It's not an obligation.

#

Actually it IS an obligation

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 11:12 PM
The EULA clearly states that if you don't agree to the terms of the license, you are to return it to the vendor for a refund. Not to Microsoft, but to the vendor. The vendor is obligated, under the terms of the EULA, to provide the refund to the customer.

#

Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 07:35 AM
Dell purchased a bundle. They got the right to ship a copy of Windows with each computer, but they must abide by their part of the EULA. That's the deal Dell signed up for and must live up to.

#

Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Administrator on January 07, 2007 09:17 AM
They got the right to ship a copy of Windows with each computer


Microsoft isn't allowed to make deals like that with vendors. If they did, then they're violating the law. The hard pert is proving that this is (either explicitly or implicitly) the deal that they have with the vendors.

#

Re(1):It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 134.153.82.86] on September 19, 2007 04:38 PM
The wording here might be just a little bit too subtle for you:
the *right* to do something is not the *obligation* to do something.
Dell *signed* a contract with Microsoft and acquired the RIGHT to distribute a copy of Windows with every P.C. they ship out,
they did not sign a contract that OBLIGED them to do such a thing. That would have been illegal (read: tying).

#

Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 07:50 AM
The only fact, unless come of y'all are contract lawyers and lawyers argue such things, is that precedent has been set. Someone *has* gotten the refund. So unless you are a Supreme Court Judge, being the final arbiter in this matter along with the rest of that august body, your opinion means exactly squat.

The precedent was set...failure to comply with said precedent is now actionable.

#

wrong

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 09:11 AM
"The Windows EULA says you can get a refund if you don't agree to its terms. It does NOT say that you can get a refund for JUST the Windows operating system."

The Windows EULA is just that, a *Windows* EULA. It cannot apply to anything other than the software it licenses.

"They'd also be totally in the right to say that there is no purchase price for Windows because they provided it to you free as an incentive to purchase their system."

Then they'd have to explain how its an *incentive* when I specifically requested a system without an OS. The whole "free/incentive/bundled software" argument falls flat unless there is an equvilent option without the bundled software.

#

Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 08:20 PM
Trying to get a refund is one way to fight this injustice. I think a better way would be to stick the department of justice on them. Maybe then we can get it legislated that they must offer the systems without windows xp.

<a href="http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/contact/newcase.htm#file" title="usdoj.gov">http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/contact/newcase.htm#file</a usdoj.gov>

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Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Administrator on January 07, 2007 09:21 AM
Part of the problem is that (at least while Bush and the Republicans controlled both the white house and capitol hill), the Department of justice wouldn't stick on Microsoft.


Perhaps things will change, now that the Dem's control Capitol Hill.

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Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 11:48 PM
This is NOT correct.

It would break existing rights EVENT in the USA
if what you describe would be valid.

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Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 03:14 AM
If DELL or any system comes with windows and it is must then why again it asks us to say YES OR NO..<nobr> <wbr></nobr>..

They should remove this..
if it is present then i have 100 % RIGHTS to say no<nobr> <wbr></nobr>..

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Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 08:29 AM
The Windows EULA says you can get a refund if you don't agree to its terms.

Yes. And further note that the EULA states that you obtain that refund by returning THE SOFTWARE.

It does NOT say that you can get a refund for JUST the Windows operating system. Nor does it say what the purchase price of your copy is. If you disagree with the EULA and call Dell, they have every right to say "Yes, we will happily issue you a refund for the entire bundle you purchased if you return it"

A most amusing argument you make. Ok. As per the EULA I return the software, and I will gladly accept a refund for the entire bundle price. Hahaha.

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Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 11:17 AM
Cool maybe I'll try this instead of flogging the CDs on ebay. Which I hear now MS are clamping down on.

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Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 11:58 AM
why would that be illegal? If my company never used the lousy thing, and it just sits there. why can't we sell it and get our money back that way? We could give it away so long as we haven't used it or made copies, right?

I mean, what am I supposed to do with them... Carry them around as if they were a milstone around my neck? Get real.

When the office buys these bundles, these wasted pieces of plastic are about as popular as those AOL CDs you get in the mail. It's insane.

If Dell will give us the money back, then that's great. But if I buy something and don't agree to the license, I should be able to give it away or sell it to someone who actually _will_ agree to the license.

You'll have to excuse me... I'm still peeved they haven't created lemon laws because of MS yet.

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Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 08, 2007 07:30 AM
To all you boneheads out there that argue that "THE SOFTWARE" implies ANY software "bundled" with the computer, *read* the license before you moronsmake an ass of yourselves:

"IMPORTANT-READ CAREFULLY: This End-User License Agreement ("EULA") is a legal agreement<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... for the Microsoft software that accompanies this EULA"

On to the topic at hand. Does consumer have the right to a refund of his software?

"YOU AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THE TERMS OF THIS EULA BY INSTALLING, COPYING, OR OTHERWISE USING THE SOFTWARE. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE, DO NOT INSTALL, COPY, OR USE THE SOFTWARE; YOU MAY RETURN IT TO YOUR PLACE OF PURCHASE FOR A FULL REFUND, IF APPLICABLE."

Note the two words "IF APPLICABLE". Is this a way out for Dell??

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Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 09, 2007 08:08 AM
"Note the two words "IF APPLICABLE". Is this a way out for Dell??"

Nope, not if it's included with the machine. The only way that would work is if MS were giving it to Dell for free, which, of course, Microsoft doesn't. But even if they were, then you have the product dumping laws come into play, and MS is caught again. Therefore, there legally must be a non-zero cost. So, yes, he does have the right to a refund for that software, as he does not agree to the license.

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Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 24, 2007 04:25 AM
You bring up a good point. But the problem is that microsoft states that in their EULA, which is completely seperate from Dell's Agreement. In order for you to be "in the wrong" so to say, Microsoft would have to make an agreement with Dell, and then have a seperate EULA in their OS with the refund section removed. Microsoft hasn't made an arrangement with Dell of that kind, Dell only buys the OEM copies of Windows from Microsoft (obviously with the refund section still in their EULA). Since Dell dosen't have a legal agreement with Microsoft to exempt them from the refund, that means, that Dell's agreement with you only makes you aware that Windows is on the system (with the term "bundle" to disuade you from using the refund clause).

What I'm saying is that. The EULA (End User License Agreement, End User meaning you) is an agreement between you and Microsoft ONLY, In which Dell and Microsoft made a legal agreement too, in which Dell has to follow to the letter in order to put OEM copies on their machines... Laymens terms: Dell's LA is only a way to dissuade you from using the refund clause and other similiar ones. So he was completely in the right from a legal perspective.

#

another reason why pre-installed Windows is wrong

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 25, 2007 01:06 AM
Here's a reason why Dell should ship a system without Windows: I already own a license for Windows from an old laptop which died.

But I have to pay Windows tax again or spend hours on the phone for $52, no thanks.

Here's a idea: someone in China or India should setup a company where they do the negotiating on your behalf. They get to keep 30% of the refund, but you don't have to monkey around with it. Basically outsource it to someone who's willing to work for that rate. I'm certainly not--I have a business to fun.

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Re:another reason why pre-installed Windows is wro

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 06, 2007 12:31 AM
Wrong.

The OEM licenses for Windows are tied to the hardware which means that if the hardware dies, you no longer have the license to use the software.

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Re:Um...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 05:21 AM
I don't think you can use a court of law until after you have attempted to resolve the problem directly.

#

Re:Um...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 05:38 AM
Actually that is exactly what you are suppose to do. You are suppose to try and work out an issue first outside the courts before sending it to court. This is one of the things you can present to the court as a reason for the case occurring in the first place, as it is the basis of the grievance that you have with the vendor.

You should document any contacts, when, where, how, and who that you make with the vendor and submit that as a list when you present your information to the Judge in small claims court. In small claims court, you need to be succinct, through, and to the point. Have a copy of the EULA with the proper section highlighted/bold that tells of returning it to the vendor and have a copy of a recent sales/ad from a store with the price to Windows XP Home/Pro/MCE OEM (whatever version that you are rejecting/returning). You should state that you simply want to exercise your rights as defined by the EULA, you attempted to do so with by contacting XYZ on XX/XX/XXXX at XX:XX time, and you were denied your rights by the vendor. Someone had a very good article up about making the case to small claims court last year about this very same issue.

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Buy without the MS tax

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 07:09 AM
I just happened to notice my local corner computer store offering an Acer laptop for $590 Canadian with Linux or $690 with Windows. That makes the whole transaction easy.

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Re:Buy without the MS tax

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 07:33 AM
Well, Acer may offer a computer without Windows. But Acer is one of the worst computer vendors. Spend $690 with another vendor, get a better computer, toss out the Windows license, and thank yourself for spending the extra $100 for a better computer<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... NOT $100 for Windows.

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Re:Buy without the MS tax

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 09, 2007 08:09 AM
Or get your $100 back in small-claims court for that unused Windows license, then go buy more DRAM with that $100. Now, *that* will make your computer suh-weet to use.

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Re:Buy without the MS tax

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 16, 2007 01:03 AM
Different Acer. The Acer of old died and new company picked it up for a proverbial nickel. The new owners are making strides into building Acer into a reputable brand once more, mostly by selling actually good computers for a reasonable price.

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Build computer

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 07:30 AM
I think that few people here buy their computers from an OEM vendor.

Computers by OEM vendors often come bundled with Windows, and not only that, on top of that, its often pre-installed with a bunch of useless crap software.

Better buy parts yourself and build your own computer, that is cheaper and you can pick exactly with what parts you want, and you don't have to buy any operating system. Also you can learn a thing or two about computer hardware.

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Re:Build computer

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 07:44 AM
While this is often an option, I have yet to find suppliers where I could put together a decent laptop system, much less a tablet like I have now (running Gentoo). In fact, in my recent experience it's cheaper to buy a reasonably decent E-Machines computer (one of the black models, not the evil grays) and throw more RAM and bigger HDs in it than it is to buy separate components.

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Re:Build computer

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 08:51 AM
I agree that what you should do with white boxes (I build all my own, I find bundles from OEMs are underpowered and overpriced) but this doesn't work for notebooks.

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Re:Build computer

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 09, 2007 12:09 AM
Or buy from such as AVA Direct

<a href="http://www.avadirect.com/" title="avadirect.com">http://www.avadirect.com/</a avadirect.com>

Laptops (and desktops/servers/etc.) with or without operating systems

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Re:Build computer

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 04:48 PM
Do you have any tutorial on how to build myself a notebook?

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Re:Build computer

Posted by: Administrator on January 07, 2007 09:33 AM
I think that few people here buy their computers from an OEM vendor.


I think that it's a good thing to support local vendors, but I also think that the reason why a lot of Linux users buy grey boxes from a corner store is that they can't get a box from the likes of DEL without paying the Windows tax (one way, or the other).


If enough people start demanding their Microsoft Tax back from Del, then Del might change their policies of not allowing untied systems.

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Interesting read, but...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 11:32 AM
But I not quite sure who are you trying to appeal with this article?

It you're a business owner (or IT decision maker) I do not imagine you purchasing a shipment of 100s PCs, spend time fighting for refunds, and then spend more time installing Linux after that. You'd probably deal with a Linux vendor in the first place.

If you're a home user and you already are a full blown Linux convert, you'd probably do the same.

If you're in the above category and doing this just to stick it to Microsoft, then it is just plain dumb:
a) you're not getting full refund, and most likely your vendor does not need to support your PC problems anymore either
b) the whole situations sounds like: you walk into new car dealership and tell them that you want to buy a car, but they must take the engine out and refund you, because you're planning to install a different engine

So, this leaves us with Joe-XP-Home user. And I think it is completely unfair to ask Joe to go through all of the inconveniences just to support your political agenda. Why? Here is a piece of auto news I read the other day:
<a href="http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/News/articleId=119062" title="edmunds.com">http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/News/article<nobr>I<wbr></nobr> d=119062</a edmunds.com>
Do you think Ford would eat up the cost of MS licenses or Ford would pass the costs to Joe??? I mean Joe is paying for 1000s of MS licenses used every day in business world. And you're suggesting Joe to save lousy $50 on his own license?! Or when Joe is trying to pay for his new T-Short, Joe should make sure that retailer, distributor, and manufacturer are not using any of MS software, and only then continue with the purchase<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)

I am not against Linux in any way, I use it on my home PC in dual boot with Windows (if I need to run Windows programs I don't have to go back to store and pay full retail for OS). But I strongly believe that adoption has to start at work/education place first. Once Joe gets Linux trained at work, it will be natural to install Linux at home.

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Re:Interesting read, but...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 12:29 PM
You are confusing the issue. The PC you might buy bundled with Windows is NOT an embedded OS device. So don't compare this to such things as cars. Note too that this has nothing to do with how much you might get back but rather make vendors and customers aware of the so called "Microsoft Tax". It also gives valuable advice in the proceeding if you so desire; it is your legal right. Truth be known, vendors and Microsoft don't want the masses requesting refunds. They would have to rethink how to monopolize.

This article was not for average Joe. Joe is not interested in making his own decisions and would much rather have Bill run his life.

#

Re:Interesting read, but...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 01:57 AM
No computer is ready to use when it comes to you. I find it harder to set up and update a new Windows computer than install i.e. Ubuntu Linux. If you to the same thing, set up your windows device from a original Microsoft installation media and integrate the needed drivers you will spend more time with it.

There is of course a difference between a one-computer customer and business deal. There are few resellers that offers a non-OS or Linux computer with only a limited hardware offer. Due to the Microsoft tax? Choose the hardware you like, ask for a non-OS or Linux model and if it's not available go for refund. Why not?

Your car engine is something completely different. Thank you for your offer to yank in. If you "buy" a car you "own" it. Of course you can sell or re-use the engine whatever where ever when ever you like. But you don't "buy" the Windows OS. All you get for your "license fee" is the right to use it. Not even freely but bundled to the hardware in most or all cases. Back to the car, with a Microsoft engine and a first start, it's illegal to transfer the engine to another car body. Funny thing. That's why your local law protects you and urges the software company to refund you in the case you don't agree with the license.

#

Re:Interesting read, but...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 03:23 AM
You are very right..
Once you return the OS.. you loose the support also.. that is more than fighting with MS..

They can simply deny to do any replacement for the Hardware.. trouble shooing of softwares..

Actually linux is free that does not mean every thin g in this world should be free..

can you go and ask at the gas station to give you gas free? I dont understand why the fighting is..

if interested purchase<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.. else see some thing else..

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Re:Interesting read, but...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 08:49 AM
Well, I can trouble shoot the software for myself as well, I do it on 4 computers, I see no problem of doing it on 5.

I do not wat to get gas free, I want to have right to buy car (notebook) without tax for One_Year_Theatre_parking_prepaid_ticket (MS). I can use the car in my town, I can drive to the beach, or to the mountains, but I do not wat it with bundled ticket for Theatre, when I do not like Theatre and I do not plan ever drive there to park my car there.
Parking on Theatre parking place maybe interesting for someone, but is not for me. And the prize is relatively high and I do not want to support such company with my money, when I do not want to use their services (Windows).

If you do not think so, what about sending ME some of YOUR money ($100 would be enougth) for having my service your_face_on_my_praktice_target. Maybe you do not want this service at all, not to mention to pay it, but "I dont understand why the fighting is.."

#

Re:Interesting read, but...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 08:56 AM
Well, it is for me<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... I would by notebook with Linux (or without OS), if there would be some shop near, which would offer some decent model for fair price anywhere near my house. But there is not. Every NB has MS Windows bundled.
I do not like Windows (I worked many years with it and never I liked it). I like Linux. So it is natural, that I will install Linux also on my NB. And why should I pay to some oversea company for product, which I do not like, do not need and do not use<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... I can see no sense in it<nobr> <wbr></nobr>...

(and once again - there is no Linux NB vendor anywhere near the place I live in<nobr> <wbr></nobr>...)

#

Re:Interesting read, but...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 12, 2007 12:02 AM
>> But I not quite sure who are you trying to appeal with this article?

Put simply, people who have bought a new computer without intending to installing Microsoft Windows, and would be interested in getting money back for an unused component.

>> If you're a home user and you already are a full blown Linux convert, you'd probably do the same. (Deal with a linux vendor)

While I'm sure a full blown linux "convert" would rather deal with a linux vendor, and I would definitely prefer to deal with a linux vendor, you'll be surprised at how many home linux users deal with vendors who sell Windows-based PCs.

>> So, this leaves us with Joe-XP-Home user. And I think it is completely unfair to ask Joe to go through all of the inconveniences just to support your political agenda. Why?

Unfair to ask? I read the whole article, and I did not find where he asked anyone to do this. In fact, this isn't a call to support his "political agenda", it's simply a guide on how to get a refund on Windows, what's wrong with a howto?

#

Re:Interesting read, but...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 12, 2007 08:50 PM
The article appeals to me quite a bit.

As I'm raising a family little more than a pension, I can't afford to just go out and buy a brand new machine. I manage to keep what I do use not too far behind the curve by way of stores offering rent-to-buy schemes (the kids get the old one each time I upgrade).

These end up being more expensive in the long run, especially considering they're typically middle-of-the-road when they're new, and start to feel rather out of date by the time you've finished paying them off two or three years later.

But at least the price tag is manageable once it's broken down into monthly payments; the authors refund basically equates to getting at least one whole month free. My current monthly payments on this 2GHz machine with 256MB RAM, is $33AU (I'm just about due for an upgrade, thankfully).

Of all the companies I could get such a deal from, none of them offered no-OS options, be it rent-to-buy or payment up-front. If the company from which I purchased my machine had of offered a no-OS version at a suitably adjusted price, I most likely would have been able to afford the next model up from the one I have, or at the very least, one of the upgrade options.

So yes. Count me in as one of many people in my situation who are VERY interested in people getting results along the lines of this article.

#

Re:Interesting read, but...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on March 07, 2007 09:51 PM
Your car analogy is incorrect. It is much closer to asking a refund for the ECU(Engine Control Unit), not the engine.
The engine is more like the cpu, memory, etc, and the body is like the case.

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Re:Interesting read, but...

Posted by: Administrator on January 06, 2007 08:08 PM
If you're a home user and you already are a full blown Linux convert, you'd probably do the same.

For servers and desktops, I agree, but for laptops what I found is that most vendors are reselling other vendor's laptops with GNU/Linux installed. These vendors often don't offer the same variety of computers, but worse, they don't offer the same level of service agreements (next day, on site support).

So back to your original question: Who is the article aimed at? It's aimed at anyone who is stuck buying a computer that the vendor only offers with Windows.

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Re:Interesting read, but...

Posted by: Administrator on January 07, 2007 09:47 AM
It you're a business owner (or IT decision maker) I do not imagine you purchasing a shipment of 100s PCs,


Well, if I was a business owner buying 100 machines, and I realized that DEL was charging me $50 more for each computer without Windows than the were for identical boxes with windows, and that I could save a furter $5250 by getting a refund for the Unused product in the cheaper bundle by rejecting the license, I'd hire a temp to spend one week, fulltime badgering Dell about my refund, and still come out $9050 ahead of the game.


($5000 for buying the the cheaper version, and $5250 for the MS Tax refund, minus $1200 for hiring someone for a week fulltime at $30/hour).

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Microsoft You, Crybaby

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 04:27 PM
Wah wah wah, I love open source software, I want anyone who has dedicated their life to perfecting their craft to go hungry, wah wah wah.

Cry more baby.

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Congratulations

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 04:52 PM
Very intelligent comment, I congratulate.

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Re:Microsoft You, Crybaby

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 08:56 PM
Wah, wah, wah...I'm a clueless Microsoft apologist. I don't realise that people who work on open-source projects are either employed by companies (like Google or IBM) or that the project itself is supported by a commercial entity. (Like in the case of PC-BSD).

I remain clueless because I enjoy making sociopaths like Bill Gates richer...He's worth US$53 Billion, but I want him to reach US$120 Billion. Even then, that's not enough...I want to give him my wife and daughter as well.

Wah, wah, wah...I so envy Mr Gates, I want to be him.

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Fornicate this excrement

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 06:24 PM
When you order your machine, tell the Dell salesperson that you want a computer with no OS installed at all.
If (s)he says no, refer to those stupid Dell TV commercials that claim that the computer is custom-built to your specifications, and say that one of your specifications is that it have no OS installed on it.
If the Dell salesperson still says no, tell him/her that you don't want to buy a computer from Dell, then, and say that you are going to post in your blog/whatever that they are lying in their TV commercials.
Then actually do it.

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Re:Fornicate this excrement

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 10:22 PM
The ASA would be most interested in any lies that Dell are giving in their adverts



Just like all the adverts that lie by advertising DVDs of films for sale saying "out now for you to own" when you don't own your copy of the film - you own a licence to access your copy of the film.

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Re:Fornicate this excrement

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 09, 2007 10:10 AM
> and say that you are going to post in your
> blog/whatever that they are lying in their
> TV commercials.

As if they care what gets posted on Joe User's blog. Now, on the other hand, there should be various government agencies who *love* to go after advertisers who lie in their advertising. Perhaps the Federal Trade Commission (USA)?

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not about the money

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 06, 2007 10:31 PM
It is not about the money, but about preventing money to go to Microsoft, right ?

It might be a personal satisfaction for someone, but it is not worth the effort. I've seen laptops with similar features, and the ones with FreeDOS beeing more expensive.

What about the warranty ? Winmodem might not work under anything but Windows. You might loose warranty. Some wireless cards might mnot work, too.

DG

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Re:not about the money

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 02:54 AM
you are right its not worth the effor IF only one person does it but if
10 ppl do<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.. then the cost to MS is 525.0USD
100 ppl do<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.. then the cost to MS is 5250 USD
1000 ppl do<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.. then the cost to MS is 52500 USD
10000 ppl do<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.. then the cost to MS is 525000 USD

get the drift?

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Re:not about the money

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 10:07 AM
No, because I don't mind Microsoft earning a money. I am not anti-Microsoft. I just point out that individual buyer won't benefit, unless she/he is anti-Microsoft.

DG

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Re:not about the money

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 03:16 AM
Well the point is not the money but the annoyance it costs the vendor (here DELL). They have to employ customer services agents for this. And the more people follow this example the less likely DELL is going to ignore this Windows tax - that suddenly is a add-on cost they have to consider in their offerings.

If enough people follow this example, DELL get's seriously pissed with their current windows-only policy and might even consider offering Linux for real (pre-installed and all that) - or at least offer every PC in a no-OS version.

And yeah - that's worth it!

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Re:not about the money

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 05:18 AM
The cost for the license still goes to Microsoft, Dell paid out of there own pockets because someone wined and complained so much about how they hate M$$!

This is pretty pathetic.

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Re:not about the money

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 09:04 AM
It is pathetic paying for something you do not want<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... And I do not want to throw away my money to make some big corporation happy. I did not forced Dell to make agreements with MS, so I not care, if they want to pay MS for something unwanted<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... (I personally vote against it, but I am no Dell owner, so let Dell do as it want to)

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Then, let Dell eat that cost!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 09, 2007 07:55 AM
Let 'em eat that cost for as long as they wish. We, the customers, don't have to pay it. That's what matters. If Dell wants to subsidize Microsoft, that's their choice and their business. But wait, you say! Dell will simply hike the price of the hardware to pass that cost onto us anyway. Well, if they do that, we have the choice to go somewhere else...including the little guy. You want to stick w/ purchasing Dell, then? OK, that, too, is a choice, and you're free to do it.

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No-OS Option

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 03:55 AM
As someone who has done work in tech support I know that the main idea is to get the customer off the line as soon as possible and deal with the next complaint. The longer the customer is on the line, the more help we give, the more the company has to pay back to the customer per PC they sell the more it COSTS them. They sell their PCs with a profit margin designed to include the cost of tech support. Right now they don't offer a No-OS version because it is financially sound to not offer one.

If, however, thousands of people started calling up and wasting the time of service representatives and company officials demanding refunds then they might soon find it logical to simply offer a No-OS version when selling their computers.

No, I don't think what we're doing will have any effect on Microsoft. Nor do I care enough about the small amount of money I'll receive in return. What I care about is having the No-OS option available, or perhaps even having a Linux option available. Why? To help the cause.

So even if you don't really care about the money, get on the phone with Dell, or HP, or whoever you bought your computer from, and complain about how unfair it was of them to sell you something that you didn't want along with the thing you did want and not give you an option.

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Re:No-OS Option

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 07:16 AM
just ring them up and tell them your system's faulty because it came with a faulty operating system called "windows" that allowed truckloads of malware to get installed and now your grandma can't turn on the computer without having a big picture of a horse's dick shoved in her face, whereas all your friends use an os that works, called "linux", and their grandmothers are safe.

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You are morally in the wrong

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 04:03 PM
It appears to me that you are definitely morally wrong on this issue and depending where you live the legal position is a lot less clear that you suggest.

You willingly entered into a contract for the purchase of a PC with Windows installed.

I agree that the Microsft EULA allows you to return Windows if you do not agree with its terms and conditions.

The whole point of this argument is that you don't want Windows, not that the EULA contained anything that you didn't know and now find unacceptable.

I would be seriously concerned that going to court and saying that you want to return Windows because of the EULA when in fact you just don't want Windows may actually be perjury.

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Re:You are morally in the wrong

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 08, 2007 07:35 AM
READ THE EULA:

"If you<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... do not install<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... the software; you may return it to your place of purchase for a full refund"

[AllCaps omitted due to lameness filter]

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Re:You are morally in the wrong

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 08, 2007 02:39 PM
Morning,

I have read the EULA, it says

YOU AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THE TERMS OF THIS
EULA BY INSTALLING, COPYING, OR OTHERWISE
USING THE SOFTWARE. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE, DO
NOT INSTALL, COPY, OR USE THE SOFTWARE; YOU
MAY RETURN IT TO YOUR PLACE OF PURCHASE FOR A
FULL REFUND, IF APPLICABLE.

The EULA allows you to return the software if you do not agree with its terms and conditions.

This article suggests that you enter into a contract that you have no intention of honoring by suggesting that you return Windows because you don't agree with the EULA. In practice you know what is in the Windows EULA before buying the PC and Windows and the real reason for returning Windows is that you don't want it not that you disagree with the EULA, so you would by lying.

Interesting isn't it that why Novell sneak around the GPL they are bad, but it fine to try the same legal sneak tactics on someone with a relationship to Microsoft.

In the UK you may have a better argument under the Distance Selling Regulations, this would allow you to return the software provided that it is unopened without having to give a reason. Although what unopened means with preinstalled software is unclear.

#

Re:You are morally in the wrong

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 09, 2007 04:33 AM
Your argument is that he is invoking the clause to return windows because he doesn't want windows, and not because he 'doesn't agree' with the license.

That's an interesting idea, but its absurd.

You are implying that one MUST enter into an agreement unless you can identify some specific clause you honestly disagree with.

Consider this:

While the buttons Microsoft gives us are "I agree" and "I do not agree", the reality is you are choosing to "Enter into a legally binding Licensing Agreement for this copy of windows" or "Do not enter into a legally binding Licensing Agreement for this copy of windows".

Its a lot wordier, but its much more accurate. You can choose to enter into the agreement or not. You don't need to provide a "reason" at all, never mind provide a reason grounded in the content of the contract.

Furthermore, you imply that it is unethical if not outright illegal to purchase this bundle knowing in advance that the licensing contract of the individual items allows it to be returned, and with the intent of doing it.

I counter that with two responses:

First if a company sells you a widget and bundles a 2nd gadget with it, and advertises that if you don't like one of the products you can return it separately. Then there would be nothing unethical with buying that bundle, with the intention of returning one of the products.

That is essentially what dell is doing, one of the products in the bundle comes with a contract that clearly states you can return it. The only difference is that instead of advertising it like my example, they are denying it.

And second, I'll point out that its far more unethical for Dell to bundle an item that includes paperwork indicating that you CAN return it, and then refusing to honor it.

This is much stronger than buying a car and demanding they return just the engine because in the car example the engine doesn't come with its own CONTRACT that says it can be returned.

Lastly, your GPL maneuvering analogy is ridiculous. The end user is resorting to legal trickery, DELL is. Its DELL who is trying to circumnavigate the terms of the microsoft license. The windows license clearly says that if you do not wish to enter into an licensing agreement with microosft you may return it. DELL is the one trying to dodge that by claiming by bundling it you can't return it.

#

Buy from a company that cares

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 04:47 PM
Companies selling preinstalled desktop Linux and no-OS:

<a href="http://lxer.com/module/forums/t/23168/" title="lxer.com">http://lxer.com/module/forums/t/23168/</a lxer.com>

#

Wasn't Dell good?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 07, 2007 08:48 PM
<a href="http://linux.dell.com/" title="dell.com">http://linux.dell.com/</a dell.com>

Wasn't Dell good?
Atleast they have a website dedicated to Linux and seems.

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Re:Wasn't Dell good?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 08, 2007 12:00 AM
It is easy to go bad in Linux community. They are actively seeking enemies all the time.

DG

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Re:Wasn't Dell good?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 09, 2007 11:54 AM
<a href="http://linux.dell.com/desktops.shtml" title="dell.com">http://linux.dell.com/desktops.shtml</a dell.com> "Dell does not officially support running Linux on Dell desktops."
Yes, it seems Dell wants the positive marketing without really giving much except links to websites put together by others so that you buy their computers even if you want Linux and don't want Windows.

But this is all besides the point. This post put it quite well: <a href="http://www.linux.com/comments.pl?sid=37847&op=&threshold=0&commentsort=0&mode=thread&tid=12&pid=94739#94761" title="linux.com">http://www.linux.com/comments.pl?sid=37847&op=&th<nobr>r<wbr></nobr> eshold=0&commentsort=0&mode=thread&tid=12&pid=947<nobr>3<wbr></nobr> 9#94761</a linux.com>

The main point is that we are not asking for anything that they don't already offer. They would be violating their contract if they don't give a refund. Who is "they?" Well, the important point in all of this is that it doesn't matter because the one that is ultimately responsible is Microsoft. The wording in their EULA is to keep their buttucks out of anti-trust troubles so I guess Dell would be making things difficult for Microsoft by not honoring the Microsoft EULA. And I would like to put Dell in the hot seat because if these two don't intend to follow through on an offer, they shouldn't be making it.

Microsoft could pull their offer at the insistence of Dell who says, "hey, Bill, we want to bundle, so we are going to need a EULA from you that doesn't allow taking back the stuff."

I can already hear the fed sirens outside Redmond Gates.

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Or...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 08, 2007 01:07 PM
You could buy one with Linux on it already and support the little guy.

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Re:Firmware Updates

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 08, 2007 10:29 PM
Hardware vendors never very rarely releases firmware updates with the exception of motherboards which usually have couple BIOS updates.
But the BIOS you can often update without an operating system at all, just put the firmware on a floppy and press like Alt+F2 at start of computer.

Other firmware you can also update under DOS. Maybe FreeDOS works.
<a href="http://www.freedos.org/" title="freedos.org">http://www.freedos.org/</a freedos.org>

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Re:Firmware Updates

Posted by: Administrator on January 09, 2007 12:39 AM
I purchased my media center machine a year-and-a-half ago. In that time there have been at least three updates to the system BIOS (an Asus MB), two to the Philips DVD-ROM and one to the HP DVD-RW. At least one of the updates to the Philips was critical to its proper function. All the updates required Windows to be applied. I have personally applied similar updates to Dells and have been aware of updates for other brands, as well.

While I compliment the folks at FreeDOS for their accomplishment, I doubt many would want to risk turning their machines to scrap using it for a firmware update.

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Why not buy a laptop with Ubuntu pre-installed?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 08, 2007 11:52 PM
<a href="http://www.system76.com/" title="system76.com">http://www.system76.com/</a system76.com>

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Only costs $100 more without Windows!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 10, 2007 07:04 AM
No wonder Dell does not see a demand for Linux. They charge $100 more per system to leave it out...

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Re:Firmware Updates

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 09, 2007 04:33 AM
If you don't want to use FreeDOS, Wine, Cedega, CrossOver, or ReactOS, or run an old copy inside a virtual machine, I guess you could dual-boot Windows if you have an old version laying around.

Sucks that all required Windows. I updated the BIOS of my EPoX motherboard, did it in DOS. But it works without any OS too, using Alt+F2 at startup of computer.

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Re:Firmware Updates

Posted by: Administrator on January 11, 2007 12:01 AM
Thanks for your insights. Dual boot seems, unfortunately, to be the safest choice for the time being. Unless and until all vendors make their updates platform agnostic, I am concerned that MS has us a bit over a barrel.

The vendors provide their systems with Windows installed and don't expect or allow for modification. This casts a pall on the assertions of "supporting Linux", but what else is new? Lip service has long been the only service provided in abundance by the industry.

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Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 09, 2007 07:58 AM
No, there's nothing wrong with Dell having the right to ship Windows on every computer. What is illegal is Microsoft *legally requiring* Windows to be shipped on every computer. There's a difference.

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Re:It IS a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 09, 2007 08:02 AM
Nope, Microsoft got smart and paid up to both parties. Look at what happened when the Republican Governor of Massachusetts, through his CIO (Peter Quinn) put the OpenDocument requirement in place. Microsoft immediately started funding Democrats like State Senator Marc Pacheco BIG TIME. And now, a Microsoft employee sits on the Massachusetts Governor's Technology Advisory Board.

The reason MS got nailed by the Clinton Administration is that they hadn't started ponying up the campaign dollar$. All that changed in 2000. Democrats today back Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) and Treacherous Computing (TC) just as fervently as Republicans do.

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Dell Laptop without windows it is possible

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 09, 2007 10:55 AM
Just purchase an Open Source Compatible laptop from Dell and save yourself the trouble of dealing with windows.

<a href="http://www.dell.com/content/products/features.aspx/nseries_nb?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd" title="dell.com">http://www.dell.com/content/products/features.asp<nobr>x<wbr></nobr> /nseries_nb?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd</a dell.com>

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Re: Dell Laptop without windows it is possible

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 203.97.238.102] on August 01, 2007 11:49 AM
Yes you could do that, but these 'open source' notebooks are the bottom of the barrel. Anything slightly decent is not sold as 'open source' notebook, even though Dell notebooks like the Inspiron 6400 are also completely Linux compatible.

In the Netherlands there's actually a law that forbids companies to sell a product ONLY if you purchase another product along with it (which is exactly what Dell's doing, since you definitely DO pay a fee for the windows license).

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Demonstrates the monopoly power of Microsoft

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 09, 2007 04:44 PM

The fact that this process is so difficult shows the power that a monopoly has over vendors like Dell. And it's very clear that this monopoly power brings Microsoft revenue for copies of Windows that are unwanted and unused.


But I don't think this refund process is the right way to go. It is possible to buy a computer without Windows installed - the last 3 computers I've bought have come without Windows. Of course, I did not buy any of them from Dell. Buy what you want, not what you don't want.

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Re:Demonstrates the monopoly power of Microsoft

Posted by: Administrator on January 09, 2007 06:21 PM
Lets not forget that most of these vendors are in a so called invisible agreement with MS,vendors may just want to appear innocent in this process but they are not.as consumers and users of free software its our right to reject or accept anything that is in conflict with open source software.Many companies are still playing dumb yet they know excatly that that running Linux based system on their network is a lot cheaper and cost effective but,whats keeping them in the dark ages in nothing either than a legacy of MS as the dominant force in operating systems which is not true.

Lets excercise our rights and chose what we like and dont like simple as that.
from Hatting a (S.A)

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HP -- it is a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 09, 2007 08:08 PM
My mother's HP Pavillion dv6105us had a 2-part EULA, one part from MS, one part from HP. The HP part specifically stated that the software and the hardware were being sold together (I don't think they used the word bundle), and that if you don't agree w/ the terms you could return the software *and* the hardware to them for a refund.

I wish I had the text in front of me, but I don't know where to get it now that I've accepted it. By the way, I was specifically looking for an option to return the software portion only, so I could re-use an old copy of Windows 2000.

-Rob

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Re:HP -- it is a bundle

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on May 15, 2007 04:23 AM
"If you do not accept these license terms, your sole remedy is to return the entire unused product (hardware and software) within 14 days for a refund subject to the refund policy of your place of purchase."

That's what mine says.

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Shop local

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 10, 2007 10:18 PM
There is a small IT shop close to where I live that sells PC's as you want them. You don't want an OS...guess what? No OS.
Propriety manufacturers can go **** themselves if they don't want to service the consumer.
If more people bought locally form these shops, our choices will improve.

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Re:Shop local

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 13, 2007 05:00 PM
I am sorry but I will not provide any name or personally identifiable information.

The company I work for buys from Dell about 300 optiplexes a year. About half of these are further sold with a Linux operating system. They come from Dell without any operating system. Dell does provide us with a discount for the systems that come without any OS.

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Do a little research before stating crap.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 15, 2007 10:25 PM
I've just had a look at the terms and conditions for sales for Dell Computers. (From the American website):




5. Software. All software is provided subject to the license agreement that is part of the software package and you agree that you will be bound by such license agreement.

Furthermore, there is a another license which you agree to when buying a dell computer called the Dell Software License Agreement which at absolutely no point states that


  • The software that is on your computer is in any way included "free" on the computer.


  • That the software is in anyway bundled to the computer


Instead all this agreement seems to cover is piracy. Eg. Software is for use by the number of people you have licenses for etc.



For all those who think that this is immoral or is somehow violating Dell's terms and conditions - go and read the agreement. This specifically says that for software (I'm assuming that you realise that the operating system is software), you are bound to the license agreement that is part of the package. This points to the EULA which states the following right at the top of the Agreement:




IMPORTANT-READ CAREFULLY: This End-User License Agreement ("EULA") is a legal agreement between you (either an individual or a single entity) and Microsoft Corporation for the Microsoft software that accompanies this EULA, which includes computer software and may include associated media, printed materials, "online" or electronic documentation, and Internet-based services ("Software"). An amendment or addendum to this EULA may accompany the software. YOU AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THE TERMS OF THIS EULA BY INSTALLING, COPYING, OR OTHERWISE USING THE SOFTWARE. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE, DO NOT INSTALL, COPY, OR USE THE SOFTWARE; YOU MAY RETURN IT TO YOUR PLACE OF PURCHASE FOR A FULL REFUND, IF APPLICABLE.




Since Dell doesn't say anything to the contrary, you can only assume that it is applicable. Thus you would have every right and would win if you took this to small claims.



As to the suggestion that you should buy an opensource enabled computer.



Chances are you can't find what you want as an opensource computer like the ever so tasty XPS M2010.



As for building your own - most I.T. professionals I know simply don't have the time.



The reasons to do this are:


  • Dell are deliberately misguiding people when they tell you that their systems are fully customizable when if that were true, this process would not be necessary.


  • Microsoft shouldn't be getting paid to give me something I never wanted in the first place.


Lets look at this another way. Would you not get upset if I were to drop off a brick on your front door step and demanded payment for it? I'm not going to take back the brick, because it's already on your doorstep. You can't do anything with the brick as it's a different size from any other brick you have and would just make a wall or whatever uneven (and besides which, it simply doesn't play well with other bricks). You never wanted the brick in the first place.



Want to tell me who's in the morally right here??

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Re:Firmware Updates

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 19, 2007 02:13 AM
What about the BartPE Windows XP live cd? Wouldn't that do the trick?

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IBM/Lenovo run-around?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 31, 2007 01:00 AM
I sent an email asking Lenovo, wether I should contact IBM or Lenovo when pursuing a refund for the Windows OEM. They responded by saying I should contact Microsoft.

Are they giving me the run-around?

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Re: IBM/Lenovo run-around?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.28.87.10] on August 24, 2007 04:46 PM
Same here, Sent Lenovo email about it as soon as I ordered. First they reply AFTER the thing shipped and now CSR on phone says I cannot return the Operating System.. anyone with experience on getting refund ?

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I find it astonishing...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 27, 2007 05:19 PM
I find it astonishing it is actually this difficult to avoid buying a product. But when dealing with Microsoft, the normal concept of buying a product from a retailer obviously doesn't apply.

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Firmware Updates

Posted by: Administrator on January 07, 2007 11:59 PM
Although I have no love for Windows, I haven't found a way to apply the firmware updates from hadware manufacturers without it. Since such updates are frequently necessary to the proper operation of systems and peripherals, how are pure-play Linux users dealing with this?

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Re: Firmware Updates

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 64.28.152.131] on November 06, 2007 09:21 PM
Many firmware upgrades for say the PC BIOS are often distributed as bootable images that can be burned to CD-Rom or copied to a USB memory stick and booted (usually they use something like FreeDOS for a low cost and small bootable OS).

For things like DVD drives, some vendors do this, some don't and you may have to put the drive in another PC temporarily.

I have heard of windows bootable Live CDs (like a windows version of Knoppix). Something like
http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/ might work for that as well.

--Neil.

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$110 refund from Dell Canada for Windows XP on new laptop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 99.232.127.7] on October 11, 2007 02:30 AM
I took receipt of a Dell laptop this week. I called and let them know I was not agreeing with the license, as I did not use Windows. After 1 hour and 23 minutes on the phone to 4 different people I was offered a $110 refund. They did state it was not for Windows as they had no program to rebate unused Windows installs and had no way to rebate me for it, but did offer the money anyhow to keep me a happy customer.

I was proud that I did manage to get across that the Kubuntu roll out in Canada was long overdue and they heard that message clearly.

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IAAL: Legal Corrections

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 210.9.200.35] on January 25, 2008 04:27 AM
Ok. A few bush lawyers here and I thought I'd set a few things straight. I've simplified in a few cases but the gist is right.

EULA: It's not a contract, it's a licence. What does this mean? It means that Microsoft is telling you that it's ok for you to use Windows if you agree to and observe the conditions of the licence. "But it says licence AGREEMENT. Doesn't that make it a contract that grants a licence, rather than the licence itself?" Okay smarty, we can call it a contract. But *you didn't agree to it*. You can't sue on a contract that you didn't agree to because there is no valid contract.

EULA2: Ok, but you've taken windows home and opened the packaging and you read the licence for the first time. You can't add conditions to a contract after it's completed and they can't make you agree to the EULA. No licence means no windows. You're entitled to a licence that you can agree to or a refund of what you paid for windows. But did you pay for windows? See Bundling.

Bundling: Very jurisdiction specific whether you can or can't bundle stuff. Clearly though it was Dell's intention to bundle this and you agreed to the bundling when you made the purchase. The time to have arguments about the legality of bundling is before the purchase, not after, although you may still have some rights in certain jurisdictions. My basic position is that they're entitled to offer an all or nothing refund should they prefer unless local law says otherwise.

Jurisdiction: Yes, companies can and do require a specific jurisdiction for settling disagreements. In this case, look at the purchase contract with Dell, not the Microsoft EULA (not a contract remember). They can insist that you sue them in a particular jurisdiction and they can insist that you go to mediation/arbitration instead of going to court. It all depends on what's in the purchase contract.

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