Microsoft Windows tax refund, from Dell
So I got a new computer from Dell UK. Unfortunatelly it came with Windows Vista Home Premium (32-bit) SP1 and Microsoft Works 9.0, which I did not intend to use. I contacted Dell Customer Care last Wednesday and they promised to call me back to inform me of their course of action. On Thursday morning I got a call that Dell is in the process to issue the refund and that they will contact me during the coming week when they actually issue the refund. I got the call today Monday at 15:09 that the refund has been issued, £31 for Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 and Microsoft Works 9.0.
In detail, the Credit Note says
Item No. Description Quantity Unit Price Net VAT Cust Invd b4 parts recd 3rdpty -1 26.96 -26.96 S GBP VAT Summary Subtotal -26.96 Freight 0.00 VAT VAT Rate GBP GBP VAT £ -4.04 Type % Total Net £ VAT £ S 15 -26.96 -4.04 Total -31.00
Now, that was the short story for getting my Windows refund. The long story was that I had to go through several weeks of effort to figure out how to get a new computer without Microsoft software. I contacted by phone both Dell and Microsoft and I estimate I was on the phone for about four hours in total. To save you the effort, here are some tips,
- You will get stonewalled. I did not get any reliable information on how to buy a computer without Microsoft software while I was researching my options. I actually gave up and proceeded with buying a computer with Windows, considering that my last resort was to use the EULA method as soon as I got it delivered (I would not accept the EULA, thus I would be entitled for a refund or credit).
- Apart from phone calls, I spent some time on Dell Chat. In one case, I was told that I can get a computer from the Latitude range with FreeDOS. They would have to get the precise configuration of the computer so that they can give me a quote. We made sure that the configuration was correct (the one in my basket with the one I would get the quote for). It sounded very promising, however, at the end the computer with FreeDOS would be about £30 more expensive than Vista. I asked for clarification on this issue but I did not get any.
- You will be often told that you are the first person that asks for a computer without Microsoft software. Try to think that you are a pioneer and don’t feel let down.
- When calling by phone, avoid using premium telephone numbers. Get a good SIP account and configure Ekiga or SFLPhone (has recording feature). For Dell UK, try 01344 373727 which apparently is fine even if you are not a Public sector customer.
By using the software, you accept these terms. If you do not accept them, do not use the software. Instead, contact the manufacturer or installer to determine their return policy for a refund or credit.. (why are there two dots? — simos)
When you first boot a new computer that has Windows pre-installed, you are presented with the above screen. Why would Microsoft give the option to reject their software? I believe the reason is that they want to enter into a contract directly with the customer, thus there is no issue with removing this facility in future versions of Windows (probably for similar reasons, Hotmail now supports POP3, apparently so that small mobile devices can retrieve e-mail. You can now migrate from Hotmail to GMail easily.). However, the whole environment is setup in such a way that virtually noone would be able to pursue a successful refund. One has to scroll the tiny text box in order to find the pictured paragraph (no option to print!). Even the Microsoft Customer Care EMEA are not aware of the option not to accept the EULA.
In your case, if you do not intend to use the pre-installed Microsoft software (apparently includes the case where you already have a license, such as an Academic License), you have the option to reject for a refund or credit. Simply press the Shutdown button and do not accept the license. Then, get on the phone.
I installed Ubuntu 9.04 (x86_64) and the computer runs fine ;-).
It was unexpected when Intel got a heavy fine from the EU for anticompetitive practices. Does this practice by Microsoft (making it extremely difficult to obtain a refund or credit) constitute an anticompetitive practice?