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Dell Customer Gets Windows Refund 372

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the show-us-the-check-dave dept.
scottv67 writes "Dell today gave freelance programmer and sysadmin Dave Mitchell, of Sheffield, UK, a refund of 47 pounds ($89) for the unused copy of Microsoft Windows XP Home SP2 bundled with his new Dell Inspiron 640m laptop, Mitchell says. Dell also refunded the tax, for a total of £55.23 ($105)."
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Dell Customer Gets Windows Refund

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  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @11:07AM (#16767823) Homepage Journal
    I'm no fan of EULAs or any software licensing (not even the GPL) because I feel they don't really give you much room to negotiate a contract to your terms. But there comes a time in every transaction that you have to gauge your time versus what you get in return for your time. In this case, the US$100 this guy received was probably worth it for him to spend a few hours going through this process, but is it worth US$100 for most people? Laptops do seem to run better under *nix today than just a few years ago, so I will finally accept that a laptop can be a decent workstation for open source OSes. But I also see that for many people who use the PC, even if they eventually put another OS on it, Windows works fine, and even if they never run it, the path to try to return their copy is costlier than just eating it with the rare chance that you MIGHT need to run it.

    Sure, there is a small percentage of "geeks" who will never run Windows, but for the great majority of *nix users, I'm not sure if this is the case -- even the average slashdot geek. Personally, my laptops that I use require Windows because they're production PCs -- AutoCAD, RIP print drivers (don't even try these under anything but Windows), scheduling/project management software, etc. For me, if I did run *nix, the 3-4 hours it would cost me to get a $100 refund would exceed the refund's return. What are most techs worth today?

    I'm glad Dell did it, and I wish they did offer laptops free of operating systems. I'm not aware of the exact details of Microsoft's license agreement with Dell, but to me it seems as though they've both agree to a figure that makes a sense in a market perspective: the software is just expensive enough to make everyone money, and just cheap enough to make it useless to try to work around buying a copy. Also, Dell likely is able to produce less expensive hardware since they can now sell laptops that work out-of-the-box, rather than dealing with the support issues of helping users run their hardware on dozens of different operating systems. It is a double-win for both manufacturers, and not enough of a loss for the average user.

    I'm never shocked when a geek complains about the Microsoft licensing scheme, even though I agree that more choice is better. When I break down the cost of a workstation for an average business client for a year, the US$210 or whatever Microsoft "tax" is barely 1% versus the costs of the applications and maintenance they need to run that workstation for a year. That's right, 1% -- many of my business clients spend upwards of US$10,000+ a year per user on software licenses, maintenance, and hardware. And they still need Windows for it, so if you price in Windows across the board (those who need it and those who don't want it). I'm sure that percentage of overall cost falls even lower -- making it seem to me that trying to get a refund doesn't show a big return on investment overall.

    In this user's case, it may have been (I wouldn't have gone through the hoops, I'd buy an OEM laptop from another manufacturer such as Averatec), but I don't see that being true for most cases.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by GigsVT (208848)
      If you had 1% of your yearly income stolen by mugging every year (Say, $350 if you make 35k), would that be ok?
      • by Lanoitarus (732808) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @11:18AM (#16768073)
        You missed the entire point. It may not be "ok" to have 1% of my income stolen each year, but that doesnt mean im going to spend 5% of my income (in this case, in the form of time invested) to prevent the 1% getting stolen.
        • by GigsVT (208848) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @12:00PM (#16768911) Journal
          I would. Spending a thousand or two on a gun, some classes, concealed carry permit, ammo, and range fees is well worth it, if it prevents one guy from getting away with another mugging, and, if you are lucky and the situation allows it, takes that leech out of society permanantly.

          What's the expression? Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute.
          • by JazzLad (935151) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @03:00PM (#16772399) Homepage
            Here's a reply from someone that doesn't think you a troll for defending your rights. Assuming you are in the USA or other country that permits you to bear arms, I for one am glad you took the time to take classes & get a cc permit.

            My Karma is positive, mod me a troll if you have to, but sometimes people need to remember that just because you don't exercise a specific right doesn't negate it's value. I didn't go after Acer for the 1/5 of my laptop's cost that was XP Home (which I deleted withen 48 hours) but I'm glad this guy got his back from Dell. I don't carry a firearm, but I'm glad people exercise this freedom. I belong to a somewhat unpopular religion (especially in the southern parts of USA), but it is my right to do so.

            Cheers to the guy who got his money from Dell, cheers to GigsVT. Everyone should exercise their freedom every chance they get.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I have way more than 1% of my income stolen each year -- actually, about 50% stolen. You do, too. It's called taxes, and the more you try to reduce that percentage, the more you seem to pay anyway.
        • by mr_matticus (928346) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @03:43PM (#16773395)
          It's not stolen. You (collectively) approved the loss of each and every penny to the greater good of society. You might not personally approve of taxes for x and y, but you might be okay contributing money for cause z; someone else might have the reverse opinion. You might feel that less taxation is appropriate, but there are people who think taxes should be higher. In the end, we meet in the middle and that's the way it works. If more people agreed with you, things would be closer to your ideal vision for the world. Not every individual gets his way, but that's what you get for living in a pluralist society.

          Oh, and I invite you to find a major liberal democracy where taxes are lower. That's small-l liberal, by the by.
      • by frdmfghtr (603968) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @11:25AM (#16768241)
        If you had 1% of your yearly income stolen by mugging every year (Say, $350 if you make 35k), would that be ok?


        To answer the question: of course not.

        A mugging is where you are FORCED to give up your dough...buying a PC with Windows is not a mugging, since you can, with some time and effort, build your own to-spec PC without Windows and install your own OS on it. Furthermore, paying for a Windows license is a one-time thing, until the next version is released. I paid for a WinXP license on my laptop once, and once only, and I've had it for several years. Maybe site-licensing for businesses is different; I'm not familiar with that idea.

        The original point is this: is getting the OEM cost of Windows refunded worth the time and effort? If I can make $50/hour doing some work, but I spend three hours getting a $50 refund on some purchase, is it worth the effort? Is the extra time and distance required to fill up at a gas station a mile down the road worth saving an extra two cents per gallon as opposed to the station I'm in front of now?

        If I give up $10 in potential income to save $5, I still lose.
        • by ivan256 (17499) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @11:40AM (#16768531)
          You can already buy a PC from Dell without Windows on it. This is about Laptops, which for the most part you cannot build yourself without Windows. If you could, I suspect that if you could build your own laptop, Dell would offer Windows-free laptops in order to reclaim some of the built-it-myself laptop market.
        • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
          If I can make $50/hour doing some work, but I spend three hours getting a $50 refund on some purchase, is it worth the effort?

          Depends what the work and purchase is...

          -b.

        • by jejones (115979) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @12:24PM (#16769373) Journal
          The original point is this: is getting the OEM cost of Windows refunded worth the time and effort? If I can make $50/hour doing some work, but I spend three hours getting a $50 refund on some purchase, is it worth the effort?

          I guess that depends on how much one thinks one's principles are worth.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by close_wait (697035)
            Speaking as the guy who got the refund, yes it was worth it, both financially and emotionally.

            It took maybe half an hour to read through the licence bumf, take some screen shots and write a letter. For which I earned about $80.

            Emotionally, I was doing something satisfying. Some people might find it satisfying to sit for several hours by a river with a fishing rod. I found it satisfying that, in some small way, I was attempting to rectify the almost unprecedented situation whereby a near-monopoly supplie

    • by pottymouth (61296) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @11:16AM (#16768025)
      "Sure, there is a small percentage of "geeks" who will never run Windows"

      Would you appreciate it if I posted something like "sure, most idiots run Windows" or "most stupid people will still run Windows". Stop refering to Unix/Linux users as geeks. They don't bite the head of chickens at the fair they just choose to use a less popular OS than the average person. Sticking labels on people is what brings about wasted communications to protest like this one.....
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @11:19AM (#16768095)
      But there comes a time in every transaction that you have to gauge your time versus what you get in return for your time. In this case, the US$100 this guy received was probably worth it for him to spend a few hours going through this process, but is it worth US$100 for most people?

      Maybe he was just trying to prove a point? I'd say that he shouldn't have got the refund since the laptop was sold as a turnkey package. I mean, if you buy a car but never use the back seat, can you just give the seat back to the dealer and get a refund for the cost of the part?

      I think, instead, the large manufacturers should not be prohibited from selling "empty" computers. IE, OS installation should be purely optional from the factory. Unfortunately, whenever this is tried, MS comes out of the woodwork and makes noises about suing for encouraging software piracy. Maybe if they threw Ubuntu on there it would appease MS and cost basically nothing for them.

      -b.

      • by Bert64 (520050)
        But there's nothing to stop you from selling your rear seats to a third party, whereas trying to sell OEM bundled software will cause you a lot of hassle.
        You can also buy cars which have no rear seats to start with.
      • by GoMMiX (748510) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @12:02PM (#16768943)
        The trend I have noticed among vendors who do offer Linux, is that Linux costs more than Windows. Not always, I'm sure - but again the 'trend' *I* noticed, is manufacturers charging inflated prices on Linux offerings - one like me would presume as an attempt to coerce users into buying a Windows PC and debunk the 'myth' (lol) that free Linux is cheaper. (Free != cheaper than windows in a MS world - is the point I believe they are trying to make.)

        Personally, I think it should be law that all computer hardware is to be priced without software - and the user is given a choice to purchase whatever software he or she wishes.

        Even now, if you go to www.dell.com - good luck finding a system they offer linux on. Sure, you can google and find their linux desktops - but unless you know what to look for - you won't just browse by a linux product for sale on Dell's website.

        Now, when you DO find Dell's Linux offerings - you should compare them to similar Windows offerings. In some cases you will find those desktops offered with "FreeDOS" (See: No OS at all really - and no choice for a Linux distro) the machine is the same price. In the vast majority of cases - you will find the machine with a non-Windows offering to be substantially more expensive.

        In many cases you find a Linux offering on Dell's website you will find a large advertisement directly above the OS selection - promoting Windows, stating Windows offers "Access to twice as many PCs", the ability to "Connect to the widest variety of networks", "Guard your files and protect customer data", and a "Learn More" link that pops open a new window with a slew of propaganda explaining why Windows is a better choice.

        It's not just Microsoft that doesn't want to see Linux succeed. It's hardware vendors too.

        If you take a step back, and think about it - one of the best things about Linux is that it will run fantastic on your old Pentium III machine with 128MB of memory.

        Then you look at the upcoming Vista and think, hey -- my one year old PC will barely even meet the recommended system hardware specs on Vista -- or more likely won't even come close.

        With every effort MS makes to force user/corporate upgrades of software, they do the same for hardware. Manufacturers are not going to ignore that.

        The Microsoft tax is no longer imposed on hardware vendors by Microsoft - but rather imposed on the customer by hardware vendors.

        That's just the way I see it, anyway.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by LurkerXXX (667952)
          Making a law for that is dumb. Really really dumb. We don't need more laws.

          If you want hardware without an OS, but it from a company who sells it that way. They exist.

          Most customers (not myself, but most) want the OS already installed so they don't have to do it, and so that they know it is fully supported (drivers, etc) on the hardware.

          Dell and many other companies charge more for *nix because they are expected to support the OS they ship with their hardware. The windows community is huge, so their cos
      • by Lonewolf666 (259450) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @12:22PM (#16769323)
        The point is that you are supposed to accept limitations on how to use the product, which are only revealed after the sale. And the manufacturer extends an offer that you can return the limited part of the product for a refund.
        To extend the car analogy, after buying the car you get in to drive home. Over the ignition lock, there is a seal with a note that says "By breaking the seal, you agree never to have sex on your back seat. But if you don't like that condition, you can return the back seat for a refund".

        Now such an after-the-sale condition may or may not be legally binding, depending on jurisdiction.
        But if it is binding, I think the refund offer should also be binding. And the car manufacturer (Microsoft) should be obliged to reimburse the dealer.
    • Most large companies have a site license for Windows anyway. Buying a computer with Windows already installed usually means paying for Windows twice. But this isn't about the big corporates buying $10k+ software licenses, is it? For a home user, knocking $100 off the price of a laptop is worth having. The more people do it, the easier it gets. If Dell could find a way to consistently make their laptops cheaper, they'd be laughing. Dell Linux anybody?
      • by Trelane (16124)
        Microsoft volume licenses are upgrade only . I.e. you must already have an upgradeable (or downgradeable; downgrade "rights" are not universal [google.com]) version of Windows installed to be able to use the license. source [microsoft.com]
      • Microsoft have pointed out in the past that a site license for a given windows version is not a set of licenses for all the machines on the site. It's a universal upgrade/downgrade of all the existing licenses (one per machine) to the site license version.

        I.e. A site license is not valid on machines lacking an OEM windows install.
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``For me, if I did run *nix, the 3-4 hours it would cost me to get a $100 refund would exceed the refund's return''

      All that says to me is that the refund procedure is too much of a hassle. Obviously, companies can use this to make it unattractive for you to get your refund, which means they get to keep the money. If we accept that you are entitled to your refund, the refund procedure should be less involved, or you should be compensated for the effort it takes; otherwise, the refund is a lose-lose prepositi
      • ``For me, if I did run *nix, the 3-4 hours it would cost me to get a $100 refund would exceed the refund's return''

        All that says to me is that the refund procedure is too much of a hassle. Obviously, companies can use this to make it unattractive for you to get your refund, which means they get to keep the money. If we accept that you are entitled to your refund, the refund procedure should be less involved, or you should be compensated for the effort it takes; otherwise, the refund is a lose-lose prepos

    • I'm never shocked when a non-idiot complains about the Microsoft licensing scheme, even though I agree that more choice is better.

      I fixed it for you. Anyone who doesn't complain when they're forced to spend money on something they won't use is an idiot.
      • by giorgiofr (887762)
        It's kinda like social security, isn't it. If you don't use it and you complain about it, you are considered a smart indiv... oh wait.
    • I'm never shocked when a geek complains about the Microsoft licensing scheme, even though I agree that more choice is better. When I break down the cost of a workstation for an average business client for a year, the US$210 or whatever Microsoft "tax" is barely 1% versus the costs of the applications and maintenance they need to run that workstation for a year. That's right, 1% -- many of my business clients spend upwards of US$10,000+ a year per user on software licenses, maintenance, and hardware.

      I'm sh

    • This precedent doesn't just apply to folks who want to run some other operating system on the machines they buy from Dell. It affects me because I don't need the bundled XP Home when I've got an MSDN license that allows me to run XP Pro. Or take the case of a small business with a Microsoft volume license. If they are required to buy a bundled O/S with every machine they purchase, then Microsoft has, in effect, sold two O/S licenses per machine. The $$$ saved by getting back the cost of the bundled O/S will
  • What if all Windows users started demanding their money back?
    • by Tim C (15259) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @11:27AM (#16768277)
      How can they? The whole point is that he's not a Windows user, and was claiming a refund as he had no intention of using it.
    • Technically.. (Score:4, Informative)

      by Channard (693317) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @11:27AM (#16768297) Journal
      'Windows users' couldn't request their money back if they were using Windows already. The jist of the article is that by refusing to agree to the EULA they're saying they don't want to use Windows, or at least one that came with their PC. But there has indeed been many instances of this before - there was a mass march of some kind a few years ago, the end result being that most EULAs were modified to make the computer and operating system one package. A lot of the old Windows Refund stories involved conversations with managers who couldn't seem to comprehend that the EULA gave the user the right to reject windows, as a separate component from the machine. God knows what Dell's Indian call centre made of this guy.
    • by szembek (948327)
      If they are Windows users they won't be able to get their money back. This guy obviously was not a Windows user which is why he requested/received his money back. If you are going to actually use windows, you can't get a refund.
  • Common Knowlage (Score:2, Informative)

    by thejrwr (1024073)
    I thought most linux geeks did this already, shoot with my 1999 IBM laptop i got a 130$ refund for windows ME same thing for my Compaq Desktop, since i did not need windows, i had linux and a bought copy of windows i told them ship it without a OS and ill do the rest
    • by CRCulver (715279)
      About four years ago, companies started selling notebooks wrapped in plastic with a label stating that wrapping meant agreeing to the terms of the EULA and accepting Windows with no possibility of refund. Before that, it was fairly typical for dedicated users to insist on getting their money back.
      • who still does this? I just bought the same laptop as in the article (640m) and didn't have anything like that, nor did my roommate who just bought a compaq laptop. On both the EULA roughly appeared when first booting.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by arivanov (12034)
      For example, I do not do it despite getting laptops and PCs via business channels which means that they come with proper CDs and licenses.

      The reason for this is quite simple. If you return the license you are no longer entitled to use any of the Microsoft TrueType fonts. While the choice of free (as in speech and in beer) fonts has vastly improved lately, the set which comes with Windows remains essential for business use. Everything else aside, it is essential that your documents look the same as the docum
  • Good for him.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MMC Monster (602931) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @11:12AM (#16767933)
    And good for Dell for taking care of him with a minimum of fuss.
  • I would consider buying a Dell laptop if I can get my $$$ back for Windows
  • hm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mlc (16290) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @11:15AM (#16768003) Homepage
    I tried getting a Windows refund out of Dell a few months ago for my then-new laptop. I never succeeded really, but they did give me a $30 refund basically just to go away, and told me to keep the Windows software. Not sure what I'm supposed to do with it.
    • Re:hm... (Score:5, Funny)

      by rbochan (827946) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @11:28AM (#16768311) Homepage
      ...Not sure what I'm supposed to do with it.

      Slide the CD gently underneath the $TASTYBEVERAGE that's sitting next to you.

    • I tried getting a Windows refund out of Dell a few months ago for my then-new laptop. I never succeeded really, but they did give me a $30 refund basically just to go away, and told me to keep the Windows software. Not sure what I'm supposed to do with it.

      If by "it", you mean the $30, just send it to me and I'll take care of it.

  • by JayAndSilentBob (517888) <bass @ s e l l i n gmysoul.com> on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @11:15AM (#16768011) Homepage
    I just recently bought a laptop for my wife and I had to go through hell getting all the pre-installed crap out of it. It had adware and spyware preloaded by the factory. It even had a 10GB hard drive partition with backup copies of everything that should have been on the restore cds / dvds that should have come with the laptop. I would have much rather paid less for the laptop, added windows onto the price and arrived in mostly the same place. We didn't want a laptop that we hadn't tried out in person before buying it, which around here limited us to Best Buy, Circuit City, and Office Max / Depot. Nobody had "clean" systems.... grumble....
    • by planetmn (724378)
      On my HP (I don't know if all HP's are like this) laptop, when I reinstalled the OS (hard drive replacement), there was an option for installing without all of the crap. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that this is a widespread procedure or not.

      -dave
    • by Zarel (900479)

      I just recently bought a laptop for my wife and I had to go through hell getting all the pre-installed crap out of it. It had adware and spyware preloaded by the factory. [...] I would have much rather paid less for the laptop, added windows onto the price and arrived in mostly the same place.

      See, the adware and spyware companies PAY to get their stuff on the computer, so, in the end, it'd probably be cheaper (or at least not significantly more expensive) to buy a laptop with Windows and all that stuff prel

      • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
        If they start selling computers with Linux, they have to made damned sure they can support it - even if that support is a checklist leading upto a full system rebuild.

        Depends. If my time is worth $50/hr and I spend three hours reinstalling Windows and/or removing the unneeded scheisse that Dell chose to throw on, I'd much rather pay $150 or even $200 more. After all, I could actually be doing something fun instead of sitting at my laptop reinstalling software.

        -b.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by ksalter (1009029)
          Your time is only worth $50/hour if it prevented you from earning $50/hour. I suspect that most people work on their home computers during non-working hours, and that a lot of the time they are waiting for the computer and/or install program to finish doing some task. So instead of staring blankly into the install screen progress bar with a small amount of droll on their lips, they do something else.
          • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
            So instead of staring blankly into the install screen progress bar with a small amount of droll on their lips, they do something else.

            Well, except that getting all the drivers, etc, reinstalled for the average person who doesn't know to save the system/system32 directory contents may well take 2-3 hours. Endless screens of clickthroughs, periodic reboots, even freezes if they're installed in the wrong order will keep you sitting in front of the computer with your toes curled. And doing the completely au

    • by b0s0z0ku (752509) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @11:28AM (#16768309)
      I just recently bought a laptop for my wife and I had to go through hell getting all the pre-installed crap out of it. It had adware and spyware preloaded by the factory.

      Dell seems to have gotten better about this, though, at least with their higher-end desktop systems. When we bought a Precision 380, it came with *just* XP Pro and some drivers preloaded. No MS Office (by our option) no Norton Antivirus, no adware, spyware, or unnecessary apps. Shame that we're going to install Linux on it pretty soon because the thing actually runs pretty well. It even came with OS and driver reinstall CDs. I think a lot of the problems that people see with "Windows" can be traced to stupid manufacturers pre-installing everything but the kitchen sink.

      As far as Dell, I wonder, if you ask nicely upon purchasing, can you specify exactly what should/shouldn't be installed on their lower-end systems? -b.

      • No, because they make money off that extra "crap". That's what people on this site don't seem to understand, the reason dell ships all the shit on the "low end" PC's is because it allows them to make profit on the extra shit they dump on it. I say bring on the spyware of the default install, I'm just going to reload it as soon as I get it anyways. I'll gladly save 60$ to have a copy of windows pre-installed that I'll never use.
        • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
          I say bring on the spyware of the default install, I'm just going to reload it as soon as I get it anyways. I'll gladly save 60$ to have a copy of windows pre-installed that I'll never use.

          It'll take at least an hour (of actual time, not just sitting watching progress bars) to get everything working right again. My time's worth as much. Besides, I could be doing something fun or interesting, not sitting in front of a screen fixing something that shouldn't have been broken in the first place.

          -b.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by chroot_james (833654)
      They don't sell them clean because they make money packaging all that crap on the system. They also test the system's performance by installing windows and benchmarking against what they expect...

      Duh...
    • by COMON$ (806135)
      Unfortunately as a company that wants to make money they have to target the biggest part of their audience. People who just want it to work so they can play solitare will be fine. However, for those of us who want maximum efficiency, well we have to trod a different path.
  • by Heian-794 (834234) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @11:17AM (#16768045) Homepage
    Considering that the consumption tax on Windows is a ludicrous 17.5% (8.23 / 47.00), I wouldn't be surprised to see the government stepping in and forcing people to pay for Windows just to keep that revenue stream flowing!
    • by oggiejnr (999258) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @11:21AM (#16768135)
      VAT is 17.5% in this country and applied to everything except food, books, children's clothes and a couple of other things. It has been around for so long that people don't really think about it - all prices except wholesale prices are quoted with VAT already added so most people don't think about it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Cereal Box (4286)
        all prices except wholesale prices are quoted with VAT already added so most people don't think about it.

        Which is exactly what the government wants you to do.
    • by abscissa (136568)
      Howdy from Ontario, Canada where we pay 14% tax on every single transaction unless it is for the "necessities of life"
    • Well, maybe there should be an argument that Microsoft Windows doesn't really add any value to the product, so should be exempt from the Value Added Tax.
    • Only individuals and tiny companes pay it. Companies buy assets without having to pay tax, because large corporations would kick up too much stink. As a result if you are self-employed you have to register and do the paperwork to avoid paying sales tax on your business assets.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by vidarh (309115)
      17.5% VAT is actually one of the lowest rates anywhere in Europe. Most countries are at around 20% or above (up to at least 25%). But consumer prices in most European countries are always quoted inclusive of VAT, so at here I don't constantly get surprised (I keep forgetting sales tax whenever I visit the US and look at prices).
  • Now, if there was only someway they would refund the money for the Dell. Ha, just kidding, dell is great, really.
  • by cerberusss (660701) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @11:17AM (#16768063) Homepage Journal
    Problem is, you don't know what the refund amounts to before you press 'NO' at the EULA agree prompt. For $20, I'd like a nice Windows XP copy. For $50, I might not. It depends. But there's no way of knowing!
  • I wonder if this is a policy adopted by Dell and other american companies operating in the UK to avoid legal trouble.

    From what I have seen this isn't a general Dell policy to refund OEM MS Windows license costs on a pc.
    • by ajs318 (655362)
      The last lappie I bought (a Packard Bell, from Dixons, in either 2003 or 2004; and very probably the last machine ever to have been fitted with an audio Line In port) came with XP Home preinstalled. I was told by Dixons that I could not get a refund for the Windows, as I had paid £0 for the software anyway.

      This is good news, though. Dell have even started using AMD processors (just before Intel brought out the AMD-beating Core 2 Duo; coincidence? I think not). I might actually consider buying
      • by vidarh (309115)
        I was told by Dixons that I could not get a refund for the Windows, as I had paid £0 for the software anyway.

        They can say that all they want - it doesn't make it true, and if someone tries that claim you should ask to get it in writing and take them to magistrates court for illegally bundling the products (they can sell them together, but they can't deny you the ability to buy them separately, and there's no way the court would accept their claim that you bought the software for 0,- unless Dixons c

  • Bust MS bubble (Score:4, Interesting)

    by shirizaki (994008) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @11:19AM (#16768081)
    This will suck for MS. I already have my own personal copy of XP Professional I'd like to install on a fresh lappy, and I wish they were sold without added software and an OS. This will kill most of MS's profits, since people will just say "I already own XP, why can't I just put it on another computer?" THEN people will start to see how convoluted the MS EULA really is. They won't switch to Unix like some people would hope, but there will be more "pirates" that install the same OS on different computer's they own. Of course I don't read the EULA like most people and it probably allows you to install a copy of XP on computers that you own.

    Uh...obligatory "DOWN WITH MICRO$OFT!" comment.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``Of course I don't read the EULA like most people and it probably allows you to install a copy of XP on computers that you own.''

      The Windowses that come with new computers typically contain language to the effect that it is to be used with that computer only.
  • Surely Dell are entitled to sell XP under whatever terms the customer agrees to. In this case, they sold a copy of XP and a PC for £800 (or whatever). No, Dell are entitled to sell the PC at £780, and make a £27 loss on the OS, or sell the PC at £700 and make a £53 profit on the OS, or even assume that the PC was given away for free, and the £753 profit was made on the OS. All of these are indistinguishable. Since they were sold as a bundle, surely Dell's only actual
    • by vidarh (309115) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @11:40AM (#16768515) Homepage Journal
      Doesn't work that way in (most of) Europe. Consumer protection laws in most European countries require sellers to offer products unbundled when they are clearly distinct products. Since a computer can be used without Windows, and can be bought without from other vendors, and since Windows is available separately this is a pretty clear cut case. Trying to twist the pricing also wouldn't work all the time equivalent products are available unbundled to indicate the real values of the products.
    • Since they were sold as a bundle, surely Dell's only actual obligation is to offer a full refund on the OS and laptop.

      Since I'm not a lawyer in your jurisdiction or any other, I'll accept your argument that this is Dell's only legal obligation. However, as a business they might want to try to make reasonable accomodations to make the customer happy so can they compete for his and his friends and colleagues' future business. It's not really that tough to determine a fair market value for the bundled OS.

  • I think it's sad we live in a world where one guy getting a refund for something he didn't want to pay for in the first place is such big news. Ideally this should be so common that no one cares.
  • by SQLz (564901) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @11:58AM (#16768883) Homepage Journal
    I thought the copy of Windows XP was the tax?
  • dell rips you off (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @12:19PM (#16769279) Journal
    I think this is the last of Dells worries legal wise.

    A couple of months back my father ordered a Dell PC with Windows XP pre installed, yet we didn't recieve an XP CD or any licence number as we should of done with a Windows licence. Yet a week later a man from Dell (with a very thick indian accent I could hardly follow to add to the fun) rang up trying to sell a "recovery pack" since "if stuff goes wrong it'll cost you less than to rebuy windows".

    Is this even legal? I'm pretty sure it's not but may as well ask Slashdot before I look at legal advice on getting what was rightfully payed for.

    Side note : I e-mailed Dell inquiring and recieved no reply (it's been a month, doubt I'll get one).
    • by _KiTA_ (241027) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @12:51PM (#16769883) Homepage
      (ObWarning: I work for Dell as a Gold Hardware Support Technician in Twin Falls Idaho.)

      Email me your father's service tag, I'll be happy to look into it directly.

      mark (underscore) cantrell (at) dell (dot) com

      There's no reason if you ordered Windows that you shouldn't get a CoA and Windows XP CD -- UNLESS you ordered a machine with "image support", then those CDs are stored as ISOs on a partition on your drive, you just have to click the right button and the Dell software will burn you a WinXP CD and a Drivers CD.

      Either way, you should have DEFINATELY gotten a COA label on the machine itself. Send me your tag, and I'll either fix it Friday when I get into the office, or I'll get ahold of someone (Dell Customer Care, which is in the same building as me, possibly) who can.
  • by eufaula (163352) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @06:21PM (#16776499) Journal
    note up front -- i did this about a year and a half ago, but put it in one of those blog-things that were so popular so i would remember what i did. anyway, the process might have changed a little. btw -- i am in the US.

    i bought an inspiron 1200 laptop a year and a half ago and it came with windows xp home and word perfect office. i dont run MS stuff (linux and openbsd are my preferred choices) and could really care less what it came with. but, since "no os" wasnt an option, i thought that i would try my hands at getting the much talked-about "windows refund."

    i first called the number on their website, and then promptly got transferred to the technical support line, which transferred me to preferred customer care or something like that. anyway, instead of jumping through hoops the number that you want to call is:

    800.624.9897

    this will get you to the right people to take care of this. you will need your service tag and express service code.

    check windowsrefund.info for the FAQ, which has a good statement to make (they say via fax, but i just called them and asked). what i said was something along the lines of:

    "When I turned on my computer for the first time, I was presented with a License Agreement. The agreement says to contact Dell immediately if you disagree with any portion of the agreement. I have refused all parts of the license, have used a free operating system to remove all software and format the hard drive. The CD's included with the system are still in their original, unopened state. I would, per the terms of the license agreement with Windows, like to request a refund for the unused software."

    they put me on hold, and then came back to say that the software was free and no refund can be expected. i politely stated that the software cost Dell something, and that those costs were passed on to me when I purchased the laptop. I went on with a story about not wanting to pay for things that i did not ask for and were not going to use.

    anyway, i suggested that the software cost Dell around $30, and that the laptop's price was probably $30 higher because of this. I persisted to state that, per the license, I was entitled to a refund of this amount.

    I was placed on hold for about 5 minutes, and the dude came back and told me that they would credit my Dell Preferred Credit Account (note -- this may be what made the whole thing work -- it didnt involve any "real" money changing hands) with the amount and gave me a reference number for the credit.

    if you follow this advice, you might try asking for more money. just keep it reasonable. that is one thing that I said -- Dell buys windows by the gross, so it couldnt cost more than $30-$50 per seat. if you ask for too much, you will get nothing. be reasonable, and your chances were will be better.

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