back to article Dell refunds PC user for rejecting Windows

An enterprising PC user has been refunded on his copy of Windows, after he rejected Microsoft's operating system and license Reg Reader Graeme Cobbett was paid $115 (£70.34) by Dell after he bought a Studio 1555 notebook with Windows Vista already loaded and complete with a free upgrade to Windows 7. Rather than accept the …

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Getting Better Then

It used to take a lot longer and a lot more arguing to manage a refund.

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contract

In Britain, contracts with consumers cannot be enforced if they are "unreasonable" (the law on business contracts is different). I expect most and maybe all of Microsoft's EULA (and similar conditions by other suppliers) is rendered sheer bluster by our consumer legislation, as far as individual users are concerned.

I am not a lawyer. This is not advice. You have not been charged for my musings.

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Anonymous Coward

Sound like fake Dell PR

The court says that these EULAs after sale are not valid. They rejected the cruise liner argument...that it is the detail of the contract that is not stipulate on the ticket. A cruise is a service, a piece of software is a product.

Here we have a case, where a user gets a refund, but is implicitly accepting that the software was sold under license. The laptop was sold, the terms attempt to change the terms of the sale. It is *not* sold under license.

I notice his bog has 2 entries and both are timed after this ruling, so I think this is fake PR.

I also notice that BSA went on the offensive recently, the court reaffirmed what we all knew, namely that software is sold not licensed. That means BSA has been making false take down notices for years where it issued a take down notice where purchased software is being resold.

BSA would be open to a class action lawsuit to recover all those damages, so it went on the attack, pretending nothing had changed and talking up it's success in taking down 'copyright violations'. This is why their recent PR I think.

There now needs to be a big big class action lawsuit to restore basic buyer rights. The judge confirmed what we all knew, that computers are sold,not licensed.

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Good going Graeme

Excellent for sticking to your guns dude.

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Dead Vulture

And?

This is <i>old</i> news, nothing new here I'm afraid

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Grenade

Bloody good show

I was stung by the old "OPENING THIS JEWEL CASE = ACCEPTANCE OF EULA" scammery scam scam scamaroo

Turns out the CD was scratched and NO ONE would refund me or send a new disc free of charge because simply opening the box meant I had accepted a non refundable licence for their crapware, whether I could actually install it or not. That meant no refund, and Microsoft made it damn clear that any replacement media would cost me top dollar. As a long pointless call to one of their brainwashing facilities confirmed.

If companies are prepared to pound us in the ass like that, it's time to boycott those companies.

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Dell???

One would think a Linux geek would know better than to buy a Dell...

Make it yourself for half the price??

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More power to 'im

Ubuntu isn't exactly my cup of tea, (I'm an XP and Red Hat man myself,) but it's good to see that he didn't have to pay for the bits he didn't want.

More to the point, good on Dell for actually refunding that copy of windows. I am unsure if this is something that would have happened without an unbelievable amount of gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair even 5 years ago. 2 months and 14 e-mails to get windows refunded seems positively tame. (Well, compared to the horror stories I've heard to date.)

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Gates Horns

As a matter of interest...

...was the computer advertised as coming with Windows? If so, I don't see why he's entitled to a refund, as he got what he ordered.

/devilsadvocate

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Grenade

Croocks

The bunch of thieves called microsoft owns me still the refund of 32 unused and sealed winnt licenses, even ordered by court to pay (now 15 years ago) they let you run around the world and force you to use all of your money to rent lawyers, till you give up or that the cost to collect are higher than the refund.

they just don't want to pay ..

I praise this guy that he got his money back

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Actually, I quite like the Dell EULA

When you read it in conjunction with Microsoft's EULA for XP it gets quite interesting.

Microsoft's EULA states two interesting things:

"This End-User License Agreement ("EULA") is a legal agreement between you (either an individual or a single legal entity) and the manufacturer ("Manufacturer") of the computer system"

and:

"The terms of a printed, paper EULA, which may accompany the SOFTWARE, supersede the terms of any on-screen EULA."

And Dell include a separate licence with all their systems which states:

"This agreement covers all software that is distributed with the dell product, for which there is no separate licence agreement between you and the manufacturer or owner of the software."

Since Microsoft's agreement is actually between yourself and Dell, it seems that the Dell agreement trumps the Microsoft one.

And that's quite interesting as it says that you can use the software on any computer - all of Microsoft's clever, restrictive OEM terms saying it's non transferrable go out of the window. You're just left with Dell's very user friendly terms of:

"You may use one copy of the Software on one computer at a time. If you have multiple licences for the Software, you may use as many copies at a time as you have licenses."

and:

"You must ensure that the number of persons using the Software installed on a network server does not exceed the number of licences that you have."

Sounds good to me :-D

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Well done !

Well done Graham. Personally I like Windows, but if you don't want to use it you should get a refund. Well done to Dell too for doleing out the dosh... even if it did take you a while.

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interesting price

I wonder how accurate that price is. I'm sure many vendors would like to know. So would I.

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Guess what?

Guess who's doing that with his next PC?

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I like that

I like the idea of the refund funding open source software :D

Nice one.

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Gates Horns

It's the Microsoft tax

Yes, this is what's known as 'The Microsoft Tax', which makes every new PC more expensive than it should be. You have to really search around to find a pre-installed Linux PC, to avoid paying the Microsoft tax in the first place.

Dell used to be in bed with Microsoft, but it's good to see Dell being a bit more independent these days, offering some Linux netbooks, and choosing Google Android for its mobile phones, rather than the moribund Windows Mobile.

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Gates Horns

Did this over a year ago....

I did this with Dell over a year ago with my (then) shiny XPS 1330 laptop.

I received a refund for Vista + MS Works = £120. I sent them a nice letter with a lovely coloyr A4 (glossy) printed photo of me clicking the "reject license" option and another photo with the laptop running Kubuntu 3.5.

Shortly after that incident (don't think it was related), Dell started offering preloaded Ubuntu XPS 1330 laptops.... but with inferior specs: the Vista version would have much high hardware specs than the Ubuntu lappy for the same price. The reasoning was that my example would no longer be refunded as a non-windows option was available.

Sadly, AFAIK, this is no longer the case and Dell (AFAIK) is back to Windows only oferrings (at least on the home/soho offerings).

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FAIL

Oh, sodding hell..

PLEASE, Graeme, make pages readable. White on black is terrible, and links in yellow drive me to distraction (or at least, almost got the missus to drive me home to get my specs. Which being as blind as a Prime Minister/Badger's asshole/take your pick - would be nigh on impossible. Having no car's a bit of a hindrance, too, but we're as recourceful as the average unemployed scouse. We'll nick one, if needs must. She's usually got a pile of bricks in the shopping for the axles, if you get my mystical meaning)

I got through the first few lines and thought "Fuc'k this for a game of Soldiers" and closed the tab.

Mind you, you're not the worst. Purple on black is really, really easy on the eye. I just browse away. Easy. Really easy. Like I did with your page.

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Paris Hilton

ehhhhhhh?

eh, what's new about this? Dell have been refunding peoples' windows license fees for years, with hardly a quibble.

Slow day in the back-office, then?

-ss

(paris, because only she could have pretended that this was news)

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Linux

The elusive refund

They are rare birds.

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OS should be optional

Dell give you the choice of OS - or no OS at all - when you buy servers from their website, so why can't they offer the same options for desktops and laptops?

Maybe they don't think low demand would warrant the options, or they prefer to push Windows on every desk/laptop to make a little extra profit?

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Bronze badge

How much was the refund?

Purely out of interest, does the amount he got returned equal what we'd otherwise earn in an hour?

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WTF?

Is it me or...

have people been doing this for ages?

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Silver badge

Huzzah!

Common sense rules.

And, by the way, installing any decent Linux distro (OpenSuse, Ubuntu, etc) is pretty much a piece of piss. I mean...I can do it FFS.

Can't get dual screens to work the way I want...bloody Intel bloody drivers....mutter, grumble, bitch....

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Anonymous Coward

Excellent Attention to Detail

I never have read the EULA fully. I am going to take advantage of this part of the EULA too when I do not want Windows but the PC is a good deal. I usually build my own desktop units but this is very useful for laptops.

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FAIL

Lemme see if I understand this...

By booting Windows and reading the EULA, it is assumed that you accept it? Then its too late to return it for a refund?

Since he didn't boot Windows he can claim a refund? It seems to me you are screwed both ways, unless you get a copy of the EULA and read it carefully first.

I have to say that reading software EULAs is about the most boring thing you can do short of sitting on a stool and staring at the wall. I'm sure Microsoft counts on that.

I'd like to suggest that Microsoft attach a printed copy of the EULA to every copy of Windows (or every computer loaded with Windows) and let the purchaser agree to it BEFORE putting their money down. Maybe they could come up with a "simplified" version that humans can actually read. Show a little consideration for their customers, maybe?

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah too right I want my cash back as well

MS is hated by tech because of the stealth taxation they have applied to hardware, and the anti interoperability shenanigans.

No self respecting technology person uses Windows, the only reason to have it is as a penetration testing target.

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Anonymous Coward

One missed pick up?

What did they want back? The licence sticker off the bottom of the machine?

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FAIL

If they want more peoples business....

......they have to give people options. Including to reject the OEM OS and get recompensed for it.

I have to say though that MS should have a policy that if your manufacturer refuses to reimburse you without question they should lose the right to sell your OS. End of. Also MS should compensate you if your first email from the OEM is a rejection and charge the OEM twice the reimbursal fee.

It would make the OEM Distributors think VERY carefully about being nasty to Microsofts EX-Customers just because the EULA has a clause they don't feel comfortable with.

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Troll

But how do you...

return pre-loaded software?

Roll-on the day when every computer dealer stops bundling a disk full of crap (and I'm not just talking the OS here) with every new machine.

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Time for a HOWTO, methinks

It may prove beneficial to document the process and ensure Trading Standards has a copy. At that point you may find the required email chain to get somewhat shorter.

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Rare occurrence but not unprecidented

This isn't the first time someone has succeeded in doing this. There are guides out there on how to do it - you have to be patient. I tried it and gave up though, because the Dell computer came from Tesco, and they kept trying to pass the buck (once I'd got them to understand what I was asking). Dell eventually said I should have done it within 7 days of receipt.

By the way, in my experience it's much easier to make a Windows PC dual-boot if it's never been booted in Windows, because I presume there is a fixed-size Vista partition which grabs all the extra disk space the first time it is used, and then you have to use a manual partitioner to get it back again.

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WTF?

eh?

Are we talking about Dell UK???

The last time I bought something from them the terms & conditions were quite plain: you must accept any licenses for software that comes with your product. If you don't accept the OS license, you must return the whole thing.

I had to deal with a bunch of morons somewhere in India who couldn't even speak English.

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Linux

Sweet

Now, if only there was a £65 copmuter...

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Shouldn't Be Necessary

All along Dell et al should have offered a line-item discount for opting out of the Windows installation, no need to jump through hoops later!

The surprising part is the size of the refund he received. AFAIK, Dell is not paying as much as $115 a pop for their licenses.

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ryu
Go

That might get Dell's attention

Let's see: (5,000 Linux users * US$ 115) == 575,000.

There are only about 5,000 Linux users out there, right?

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wsm

Again?

There was a rash of these refunds a little over two years ago. The Linux fanbois were calling it a refund of the Windows Tax.

Nothing new, just another irritating round of pique.

http://www.linux.com/archive/articles/59381

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Grats

Above says it all!

Thanks to El Reg for posting this, hopefully this will encourage more people who actually want to do this to actually do it - they could link this article maybe.

Myself, I would also suggest looking at it another way - I would assume bundled windows is somewhat discounted, and if one has ever even the inkling that he or she may need to use it, it may well be worth one's while keeping said copy.

Of course, if said windows copy is crippled with stupid recovery partition crap and un-reinstallable from removable media, then it may well be good enough reason to return it.

I am admittedly, somewhat platform agnostic - I also like my games, 'nuff said.

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It's not that easy

Congrats to Graeme for sticking to his guns and going the whole way with this. As you can see (2 months, 14 emails and the computer had to be returned!), it's not that easy to get the unwanted Windows trojan off of your new hardware. This is why Windows is so prevalent. It has NOTHING to do with quality, ease of use or security (pah!). It's because most people don't have a choice.

The average user doesn't know that they can even install another OS, let alone find a PC or laptop with one installed in the first place. Clearly, even people who know what they're doing have no end of grief getting money back for something they didn't want in the first place.

And yes, I tried several times to get Acer to give me a refund on the pre-installed crap that came with my last laptop, but they insisted on having it returned to the factory. The extra con involved here relates to the non-removable Winshite stickers that are on the case itself. I was only trying to get rid of Vista, so the time and effort involved with getting a £40 refund wasn't worth it.

If any sad gits want to leap to the defence of the Redmond parasites, maybe they'd first like to consider giving me £40 in return for nothing except some emails explaining how it's "policy" to dick them about.

The only fair solution is to provide an immediate refund, on confirmation of product licence keys that aren't going to be used. The only problem with that is that it's fair and we wouldn't want that now, would we.

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Go

Please, Graeme, publish the complete outline!

Please let the rest of us in on the "secret" of doing this! Every computer I currently have was booted into Linux before Windows (I actually remove the OEM hard disk and replace it with another drive before powering on for the first time); next time I'd love to return the HD to the manufacturer (along with the crappy shredded Windows labels on the bottom) and get a refund for the OS -AND- the hard disk.

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Boffin

@ Time for a HOWTO, methinks

Something like this? http://www.windowsrefund.org/

(but that has not been updated lately, it seems), A google search for "windows refund" also turns up lots of fresher articles and sites.

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Boffin

Want to see anything dodgy in an EULA?

Use this piece of software that I've used for a few years:

http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/eulalyzer.html

It reads it for you and highlights strange paragraphs, namely data gathering, toolbar, etc. You just copy the text, or you can even get it to select the right window (if installing a game for instance with fullscreen) and it'll get the text.

Should reveal many interesting things.

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Linux

@ AC 23:03 GMT

"Now, if only there was a £65 copmuter..."

Are you referring to a gun?--------^

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WTF?

@ eh?

I'd bet those morons in India are far better educated, qualified and polite human beings than you will ever be, apparently.

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I laughed

Well done to the enterprising man.

Shame Linux isn't universally user friendly.

I dream of a day I can f disk and rid my life of Redmond's influence.

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Dell...... MEH!

I emailed dell once enquiring about a PC with pre-installed Linux.

I now have a rule on my mail box to delete the spam I get from them...

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@ AC

Hmmm a cop muter. Sounds interesting and a bargain at only £65!!

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FAIL

Actaully...

...after looking at he blog, I call some kind of PR bullshit. Not sure what game Dell/Ms/Linux Foundation/Whomever is playing, but it doesn't ring legit.

A blog with only 2 entries (one of which just appears to be a picture) gets billing on El Reg and other mainstream media? Too convenient by far. It stinks of PR astroturfing bullshit.

If only there were some journalists who could investigate...

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Ker-ching?

I bought a Dell Inspiron somethingorother (1515?) laptop before I moved to Germany, and installed Fedora 11 on it without booting Windows.

Does this entitle me to a refund on Vista?

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novatech...

...do servers, desktops and even laptops with no OS at all, no quibbling for a refund required.

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