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Microsoft

$400 Free From Microsoft for Californians 246

Jon writes "California and Oregon residents can get out of the 3 yr commitment to MSN and keep the $400 rebate available at Best Buy, OfficeMax, Office Depot and Staples." If anyone can confirm that this actually works I'd like to hear it, but if nothing less, its pretty amusing.
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$400 Free From Microsoft for Californians

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  • by Dirtside ( 91468 ) on Wednesday January 05, 2000 @09:33AM (#1400769) Journal
    Maybe we can return the rebates to Microsoft in exchange for a promise to write better software.

    Or better yet, if every Californian does this, we'll have $14 billion, which we can use to make a competing company to write better software. Say, "Macrosoft".

    --- Dirtside | "Spirituality" is the irrational belief in the supernatural

  • I think Microsoft may just wait until some slightly higher profile person does this and then challenge it in court and make a public example of them. Remember you may not matter but that dosn't mean that they are not paying attention to you.
  • Even better news is that according to the article is that you don't have to apply the rebate to a new computer like they imply in their ad, but simply have to have spent as much money as the rebate is worth (i.e. No cash back).

    Personally, if I were in California I'd be getting myself a nice new jumbo sized hard drive on Microsoft.
  • I'm just curious why this article was posted on Slashdot. There's no angle to BASH Microsoft here. What are the Linux zealots to do?



    It has nothing to do with Linux in any way just about people who don't want to use MSN as their ISP or have to stay with them for a period of 3 years. Why should I sign up for MSN when I could say have a DSL or cable or even a T-1 and use a closer, better, faster, more courteous ISP than MSN?
  • It's funny. They way they word these "savings" ads. It sounds like you're saving $400 or whatever off your computer purchase for example, if you sign up for MSN or AOL (which I've also seen) or some such. But the time you sign up for one of these services costs the same amount of money you supposedly "save."

    I suppose you do save something in a sense, but when it comes down to it, it's just brainwashing you to sign up for a service you don't need.
  • Personally, if I were in California I'd be getting myself a nice new jumbo sized hard drive on Microsoft.


    $400 for even a top of the line hd is rather inflated is that what people in California and Oregon have to pay these days?
  • I think CompuServer and Juno are offering similar rebates,it looks lke a great way for Californian's to steal $400.

    George
  • If I lived in California, I think I might be headed out to buy a free computer tonight.

    After all, $400 takes a big chunk of expense out of a low-end machine, and just about any of those crummy E-Machines units would still make a decent firewall/router etc.

    Moreover, the $400 isn't so much money that I wouldn't be willing to take the chance on getting burned.

    I mean, if they pull a 180 and enforce a cancellation penalty, I'm still not so badly off . . . and if they don't enforce, I get a free computer!

    Somebody give this a try & let us know how it works out.

  • by illogic ( 52099 ) on Wednesday January 05, 2000 @09:41AM (#1400781)
    Let's see...

    MS-DOS 6.0...$90
    Windows 3.1..$90
    Windows 95...$90
    Windows 98...$90
    90+90+90+90=$360

    I'll take the 40 bucks and we'll call it even.
  • I think CompuServer and Juno are offering similar rebates,it looks lke a great way for Californian's to steal $400.



    I thought that Juno was that free e-mail company is their an ISP that has a similar name or has Juno changed it TOS now?
  • So, we can go to Best Buy, and pick up our favorite boxed Linux distribution, /and/ get Microsoft to not only pay for it but hand us @$360 to put in our pocket? heh, sweet...

    Jazilla.org - the Java Mozilla [sourceforge.net]
  • Why not call it "MacroHard"? and we could develop and market an opensource OS called "Doors" that would come preloaded with InternetExploiter.
  • Regardless of whether or not Microsoft is paying for the rebate or not, there is profit being made by OfficeMax or Best Buy. These companies sell crappy prepackaged component machines (like Packard Bell) through unskilled, uninformed salespeople. These are the companies responsible for selling the public on the idea of proprietary software. These companies reduce profits for hardware manufacturers and encourage marketing hype over quality product. It's more important to be moral than get free money. Don't give your money to people like this. Please.
  • It honestly amazes me that one of our own AC has taken the effort to create a forum for his odd, yet strikingly funny posts. I hope you continue the 'serial' in the new forum, lest you be (-1 Offtopic)'ed to death here.

    Strangly enough, 'fat-time and lubie' isn't nearly the craziest thing I've seen grab a following of viewers.
  • Could you just get tons of stuff free by repeating
    the process and always buying ~$350 of computer
    equipment?
  • by jabber ( 13196 ) on Wednesday January 05, 2000 @09:46AM (#1400789) Homepage
    Would our California and Oregon bretheren be willing to buy the rest of us cheap computers and upgrades? There's a $100 a piece in it for ya, and we'll pay shipping.

    Hmmm, it's getting very interesting. First we had to buy our computers and ISP subscriptions. Now we can get free computers for ISP subscriptions and free Internet access with the purchase of a computer. Dare I speculate that free PCs and free access are next? Well, at the cost of personal information. Hmm.
  • But Microsoft's Pilla said the company isn't worried about people canceling service.

    ``Our experience to date is that it's been a very popular program,'' Pilla said. ``We haven't seen that . . . and we don't expect to see that, basically because we think that the value that we're offering customers, as we've seen from the many sign-ups, is tremendous.''

    This is most likely because anyone who has little enough knowledge of computer hardware to buy a prepackaged system at Best Buy, etc. is the same type of person who also lacks the experience to know a good ISP when they see one!

    Eric

  • You apparently completely ignored the article before posting. The "news" here is that in California and Oregon, you can cancel MSN service after a month and keep the $400 with no punishment for breaking a contract.
  • I haven't seen the contracts in question, but based on reading similar contracts, I'd guess that there is a "once per household" restriction.

    I mean, it would make more sense that way.

  • On the contrary, for those so inclined, this presents on opportunity to bash Microsoft financially.

    Just gather up your family, friends and neighbors, and all go shopping at one of the participating stores. Pick out $400 worth of merchandise and get the instant rebate. Make sure to cancel right away.

    Is there any limitation on how often one can participate? If not: lather, rinse, repeat.

    You might be able to get $400 worth of stuff courtesy of Microsoft every day if you wanted to.

    For all those who were not able to get a rebate for an unused copy of Windows, here's an opportunity to get an in kind refund.
  • Well I agree its right to be moral than get free money, you're going to have a hard time to convince people to believe so when $400 is involved. Face it, espically to students, $400 is a lot of money, heck I'd love $400 right now (in Canadian dollars I could buy a car :)

    Its always been an interesting question though to see how much money it takes to make people change their minds on an issue, when they know its wrong. Maybe only $400 can do it.
  • I'm from Colorado. legally speaking, does anyone know whether you can pull this off in other states? The article indicated that it was only for cali and oregon.

    Would there be a way to mail order a computer from another state?

    Post replies if you have any ideas to take advantage of such deals!
  • by es-mo ( 57502 ) on Wednesday January 05, 2000 @09:53AM (#1400797) Homepage

    According to the article they have no legal basis for doing anything.... There are actually different contracts for CA and OR, which contain no language that compels people to repay upon cancellation. IANAL, but I don't see how they could build a case.

  • You have to spend all of the rebate, so no, you can't get $360 cash.
  • But the time you sign up for one of these services costs the same amount of money you supposedly "save."

    IIRC, the average bill for MSN for 3 years is something like $720. So you typically spend more than the $400 by the time you are done with it...

    Although, I do know for a fact that for one person this was the best of all deals. Here in Wisconsin, we tend to have some fairly funky local calling zones. Since one of my friends lives about 10 minutes out of town, the MSN number was the only ISP (yes, I checked), that was a local call from her house. (damn telcos) So she saved $400 on two things she wanted (the computer and MSN).

  • by taniwha ( 70410 ) on Wednesday January 05, 2000 @09:57AM (#1400802) Homepage Journal
    you mean I could buy a large piece of MicroSoft software ... and actually end up paying what it's really worth?
  • In the article it says they discussed this with people at the mentioned stores but does it really work? I live in California and I really really don't want to get stuck with MSN for any amount of time (much less 4 years. LMK thanx
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Here's the link the best buy's website that contains the actual "fine print" on this little matter... http://www.bestbuy.com/weeklyad/fineprint/index.as p Now an excerpt from the page... The credit card will be automatically billed $21.95 each month. You are not obligated to continue as an MSN Internet Access member for any particular length of time; however, if for any reason whatsoever you do not continue for the period of time associated with the purchase credit that you have elected to receive, you agree that MSN will charge your credit card for the entire amount of the purchase credit immediately upon termination or cancellation of your MSN Internet Access account; provided that if you are a resident of California or Oregon you will not be required to repay the credit amount. ... so, it does work. mmmmmm new camera
  • by bmetzler ( 12546 ) <(bmetzler) (at) (live.com)> on Wednesday January 05, 2000 @09:58AM (#1400807) Homepage Journal
    Why not call it "MacroHard"?

    No, No. We *must* call it MicroHURD

    -Brent
  • by scrunch ( 133786 ) on Wednesday January 05, 2000 @10:02AM (#1400808)
    A copy of the rebate form can be found here:
    http://www.staples.com/products/themes/microsoft/m snoffer/contract_co_reb.asp
    I noticed the words "advance" and "lend" are used. Sounds like MS wants their $$ back if you cancel early. Notice how they don't use the word "rebate" so when you ask them if early cancelation affects the rebate they can answer "No" because its a loan not a rebate. (Did that make any sense?) Microsoft offered this deal last year with Viewsonic monitors. A post on www.deal-finder.com indicated that MS wouldn't allow you to take advantage of the rebate if you canceled. I don't think MS is dumb enough to give away $400. But who knows?
  • Accually, for a good SCSI drive, that price is just about right. (Note: the price of SCSI is way inflated for what it should be, but I digress).
  • I thought that Juno was that free e-mail company is their an ISP that has a similar name or has Juno changed it TOS now?

    They've expanded. You can still get free e-mail. But now you can get ... whoops, looks like they've changed their service plans again. You can get [juno.com] either free internet access, or Premium internet access. Oh, and they have WebMail [juno.com].

    -Brent
  • I have to admit that I am leaning towards running out and buying $401 worth of something at Best Buy and sticking it to the man.

    But in more honest moments, I suspect that I am using my pent up hostility toward Microsoft to cover up the fact that I would be stealing.

    "But wait!" you cry. "This is Microsoft's fault. They are the ones that left the loophole in their contract."

    That's like blaming the kid who's bike you stole because he didn't lock it up. It certainly doesn't make your actions any more noble.

    Microsoft is easy to hate sometimes. But I'm trying not to become just like them -- willing to make a buck anyway possible at the expense of others.

    We know how these programs are supposed to work. Even if the ISP service costs about the same, you get a deferred, interest-free loan on a low-cost PC. It has allowed many people (my sister included) to get a PC when otherwise they may not have been able to. This in a Good ThingTM. I would hate to see these programs cancelled due to abuse.

    HipNerd



  • Good luck trying to get your rebate back in the mail. It's been two years since I sent a rebate form in for some memory I purchased, and over a year for a video card I purchased. I would definitely hit OfficeCrap and get the instant rebate at the checkout!!!

    Too bad I live in WI...

  • It's dissapointing to see people looking for an easy chunk of change to make via this loophole. Typical slashdot "Let's rip off Microsoft" response aside I think this is a pretty good deal for the average consumer. It is because of deals like this (I think Compuserve also has something similar?) that lower income families are able to afford a first time low class computer. Please don't "screw" MSN over this, it'll just end up hurting a lot of future possible computer users if MSN closes this deal offering.
  • So could I just drive down to California, buy myself a computer, and get the $400? Can I get away with this cause they have to abide by the California law? Or does this only apply to California residents? Either case, it'll be nice to get my relatives to get me a new computer for $399+tax (yes, tax is included in the $400 deal). I can always strip it for parts. Hmm, and it's on a per-individual basis, not per family. Let's see, 3 relatives 18+ in california=3 new computers free!!
  • ...The credit card will be automatically billed $21.95 each month...

    My experience with MSN from a few years ago was that once they start billing you it's very hard to get them to stop. It took me 3 months and the intervention of my credit card company.

  • by crt ( 44106 ) on Wednesday January 05, 2000 @10:15AM (#1400819)
    Here is the fine print from the Best Buy ad -- as you can clearly see it states that CA and OR residents aren't responsible for paying back anything if they cancel!

    INSTANTLY SAVE UP TO $400 ON ANY COMPUTER (excludes prior purchases) WHEN YOU SIGN UP IN STORE FOR UP TO 3 YEARS OF MSN INTERNET ACCESS AT JUST $21.95 A MONTH. Details of the MSN Instant Credit Program for Best Buy. The MSN Instant Credit program requires: (1) the purchase of a personal computer, notebook, or built-to-order PC, (excludes prior purchases), totaling in excess of the selected credit amount (sales tax will apply to the total purchase price including mail-in rebates and add-ons, as applicable) from Best Buy between January 2, 1999, and February 29, 2000; (2) selection of a 36-month membership to MSN Internet Access ($400 credit), 24-month membership ($225 credit), or 12-month membership ($100 credit) at the rate of $21.95 per month plus applicable taxes; (3) in-store signup at the time of purchase; (4) a valid major credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover/Novus, American Express accepted; Best Buy credit card or debit cards cannot be used with this offer); and (5) acceptance of the MSN Internet Access member agreement. The credit card will be automatically billed $21.95 each month. You are not obligated to continue as an MSN Internet Access member for any particular length of time; however, if for any reason whatsoever you do not continue for the period of time associated with the purchase credit that you have elected to receive, you agree that MSN will charge your credit card for the entire amount of the purchase credit immediately upon termination or cancellation of your MSN Internet Access account; provided that if you are a resident of California or Oregon you will not be required to repay the credit amount. Your social security number is required for processing your credit. You must be 18 years old or older to qualify for the MSN Instant Credit Program. Offer valid only on new MSN account established in store at time of PC purchase. MSN Internet Access is available only to users of the Windows® 95 or 98 operating systems. MSN Internet Access is available only for personal non-commercial use. Local phone and/or long distance toll charges may apply. It is the customer's responsibility to check with a local phone company to determine if access numbers are local. Local market network activity and capacity may affect access availability. MSN is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation. In the event that we are unable to register you for Internet service on the date of purchase, we will offer a mail-in rebate for the same amount. Additional conditions and restrictions apply. See product offer and store for additional details.


  • ...to deplete MS's cash hoard and deprive them of one of their biggest strengths.

    All we need is 50 million people (roughly) to take advantage of this, and MS's $20 billion should be whittled down in no time!
  • This is most likely because anyone who has little enough knowledge of computer hardware to buy a prepackaged system at Best Buy, etc. is the same type of person who also lacks the experience to know a good ISP when they see one!

    That's the whole problem with these rebates. It's the people that don't know better that are being duped. They'll realize the mistake later when they find out in a year that cable or DSL is better, but they can't get out of the contract without forking over $400.

    Yes, maybe Microsoft is getting a ton of sign-ups now by people that don't know better, but what about later when people realize they can drop MSN for better Internet Service? That's when we'll start seeing people bow out. Of course, with MS' investments in Cable and Telco, maybe they'll have it in place so that people won't need to leave MSN for the faster access. Then they don't need to worry.

    -Brent
  • morals shmorals. $400 from microsoft is too good to ignore
  • by Col. Klink (retired) ( 11632 ) on Wednesday January 05, 2000 @10:25AM (#1400826)
    You didn't even read your own link:

    "You are not obligated to continue as a
    MSN Internet Access member for any particular length of time."

    The CA & OR law only applies to "loans", not rebates. The article gives the example of protecting consumers from buying insurance from car dealers who finance new cars or buying property insurance from a mortgage broker.
  • >>there is profit being made by OfficeMax or Best Buy.

    And as we all know, profit is Evil. You must be a member of the "boycott every company that makes a profit" crowd.

    However, according to that article, you can buy a nice new Sony TV and get $400 off of that as well.
    Tip #1: ignore the salespeople.
    Tip #2: buy a cheap machine, format the proprietary software right off the drive, and install your favorite Linux distro. By the way, not everything's a conspiracy, either.
  • So how does this affect other provdiers, such as CompuServe's $399 rebate at Circuit City and other stores? I haven't done my homework on these rebates/loans, but from the advertisements, Compuserve's seems to be an actual rebate and not a loan.

    Personally, "saving" $400 isn't worth any amount of time with a bad service provider, but then again, I'm not your average Circuit City/Best Buy/CompUSA computer customer, either.
  • Then do like the article suggests and buy a refrigerator with the money. They'll let you spend it on anything in their stores!
  • Basically, it really doesn't matter. Keep in mind, according to the Federal Government, you are a resident of the state you claim you're a resident in. Basically, if you claim to be a resident of California, you're a resident of california.

    But there's an ugly side to this. That being, you can only be a resident of one state at a time. And your residency effects things like automobile titles, as well as income tax returns. I think this stems from a case where an individual who lived and worked in two seperate states was found able to choose which state he owed income tax to.

  • "You agree that this agreement will be governed by the laws of the state of Washington and you consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of courts in King County, Washington in all disputes arising out of or relating to this agreement. " It looks like they're trying to avoid the CA law, but does anyone know if this would hold up in court?
  • But the contract doesn't include the promise to buy the service for 3 years. MS was aware of the CA & OR laws and changed the contract in those states. It explicitly says "you can have this money and you have no obligation".

    I can see that it would be different if the contract said you had to pay it back, but the law trumped the contract and you weren't required to keep a promise you made. But that's not the case here... in CA & OR, they removed your promise to keep the service.
  • Absolutely not. This is not like stealing. It's like finding a '71 Hemicuda, in mint shape for $1,200,... buying it, and then having the seller get angry because he didn't pay enough attention. You go with the good deals, and you stray from the bad. You know?
  • (Dirtside stares in blank horror for a moment) I'm going to assume you had a brain fart, because the only other option is that you're an idiot.

    What the sig means is that, on average, you will always lose money playing the lottery. Yes, some people will win, but if you total the amount of money spent on lottery tickets, N, and the total amount of money paid out by the state to the winners, X, you will find that N > X. Simple arithmetic then tells you that the average person loses money on the lottery, no matter what. Assume the population of lottery players is P; then the average person has spent N/P on the lottery, and has won X/P. N/P > X/P. Therefore you spend more than you win. Yes, SOME people will hit it big, but on average it's a losing gamble.

    Just because there are only two options (win and lose) does not mean that the probabilities are equal. If this isn't blindingly obvious, then, well, sorry, but you shouldn't be posting on Slashdot.

    --- Dirtside | "Spirituality" is the irrational belief in the supernatural

  • If Microsoft had wanted to they would have simply said "offer not valid in California or Oregon", but they didn't want to lose the VERY large and VERY lucrative market that is California. Microsoft is betting that most people won't bother to take advantage of the laws of the state they live in. If they're willing to take that bet, they need to be willing to accept that they're going to take the occasional loss.
  • "$400 for even a top of the line hd is rather inflated"

    "Top of the line?"

    So, you're getting fiberchannel for less than
    a couple grand then?
  • Due to the wording, Microsoft is lending the money to the customers. Lending laws in CA and OR prohibit forcing people to purchase anything in conjunction with a loan. Therefore, sign-up for MSN service, get your loan, cancel MSN service, keep the loan money. Try not to mess up that order though.

    Personally, i would not chance anything with M$ though, especially when it comes to their money. I would rather have police raiding me for my micro-recorders than microsoft knocking on my door or sitting in my mailbox.
  • MS knew *exactly* what they were getting into when they offered these deals in Oregon and California -- they simply made the educated bet that enough people wouldn't cancel out.

    Now then, if lots of people cancel out, then they lost their bet. Fair and square. If almost nobody cancels out, then they win their bet. Also fair and square.

    You can't tell me that MS didn't research this. They research EVERYTHING!

    It was a gamble, MS knew it, so if we can take advantage of it -- good! Nobody is breaking any laws, nobody is getting screwed by accident. They took their chances, and now we get to take our turn at the table . . .

    Besides which, this is only in two states. MS (and CompuServe, and AOL, etc. etc.) is busy screwing everyone else in every other state with these deals, so it's only fair that at least some consumers get a chance at the bonus.

  • RESIDENT.
    From the agreement:
    "...provided that if you are a resident of California or Oregon you will not be required to repay the credit amount..."
  • Please don't "screw" MSN over this, it'll just end up hurting a lot of future possible computer users if MSN closes this deal offering.

    Doubtful... the worst that could happen is that MS modifies recinds the offer in CA and OR. In the first case, they can get the computers under slightly different terms - as a rebate, maybe, instead of a loan. In the second case, they can drive over state lines or go through mail order to buy a computer (which many folks in SoCal do now, anyways, to buy cars, since CA taxes on auto sales are so ruinous.)

  • Umm...no offense (I do love your sig), but I think the AC above was joking...at least I hope so. It was actually pretty funny. You know...like the mindset of the people who actually play it.

    I'll never forget the math professor (one of my personal heroes...D'Angelo if you happen to go to my school...and you know who you are...) said, "I don't understand what so many people here have against the lottery. I love the lottery -- it's a tax on stupid people! What could be better?"
  • I just printed out the form from Staples and my understanding is that you have to purchase something first and then apply for the rebate. I'm in CA, so I'm thinking about trying this...
  • Use a webcertificate. www.webcertificate.com [webcertificate.com]

    It's essentially a Mastercard number, with a limit set at the actual amount you have in the certificate.

    Example: I deposit $100 into a webcertifcate. Now I can use that number online (or somewhere where I just need to write a number down) for up to $100 worth of charges. If someone queries on it, anything less than $100 will be okay (until that amount goes down by actually being charged).

    They come in very handy for paying something online where you don't want to be ripped off. Deposit a given amount that will cover what you wish to buy. They CAN'T charge you any more than that.. Pretty nifty.

    ---
  • Buy several boxes ($400 worth) of your favorite Linux distro and give them to unconverted friends.

  • I tried posting this story last week on how there is a loophole to the free computer, but I got rejected.

    Anycase...

    Connecticut has a Rebate Advertising law requiring retailers who advertise the net price of an item after deduction of a manufacturer's rebate to pay consumers the amount of that rebate when they buy the item. If the retailers don't wish to do this, they cannot advertise the after-rebate price as the final price to be paid by the consumer. Thus, there should be no confusion about the amount the customer must pay at the cash register.

    In other words, if a retailer says a computer is $0 after rebate, they must give it to you for $0, no strings attached. No lifetime of MSN or Compuserve.

    Outpost.com was advertising computers for $0 after rebate and because they are a retailer in Connecticut, they were forced to give computers out at $0.

    Check with your state's Consumer Protection Department to see if they have any laws like the one in CT.

  • Yes, MS gets around the "no purchase required" by making it a loan. However, because they call it a loan, you may still have to pay it back! It's not that they are giving you free money, just that they are loaning it to you, and your loan is payed back as internet access fees.

    True, IANAL, but that's my interpretation of the Staples contract at this link [staples.com].

  • I agree with your analysis of the law. But as Microsoft has proved in the past, law and personal ethics are two entirely seperate things.

    It may be legal to do this to Microsoft, and even enjoyable to watch them squirm. But in your heart, can you honestly say that it is right? It is a program they developed to promote their business.

    It is a good deal on it's own merits, particularly for computer neophytes. Using this loophole is basically taking $400 from Microsoft. What do they get from the deal? Nothing. Leave the law and your views of Microsoft out of it.

    Is it right to take money like this then fail to honor your part of the bargain?

    Hipnerd
  • Yes, they do give you 400 dollars store credit but the thing is when you go home and cancel, they charge you a 50 dopllar cancellation fee. So you only really effectively make 350.
    The process is, go sign up, buy stuff, go home, cancel, keep stuff, pay 50 dollar cancel fee.
    Yes it does work, i have done it before, and several of my friends have also done it
  • Of course, if you come from the Frank Zappa school of probability then the odds of anything happening are 50/50, either it happens or it doesn't.

    So if I buy a lottery ticket, either I win or I don't, 50/50.

    The chance that I walk out of my office and get eaten by a hippopatumus is 50/50. Either it happens or it doesn't.

  • You should be able to do this regardless. IANAL, but I've heard from several different sources that, as long as you whip the drive of your new PC on the very first boot (ie, never booting the PC with Windows), you are entitled to a refund through Microsoft (or is it the PC vendor...one or the other) because you rejected the terms of the EULA.
  • by MVoelker ( 101851 ) on Wednesday January 05, 2000 @11:25AM (#1400861)
    A friend of mine recently decided to give this a try. Pending his results, I may do the same. He decided to go to http://www.freemonitors.com, which tells you all about the MS - Viewsonic rebate, and has a complete copy of the terms and conditions per MS. The part that everybody's excited about:

    "if for any reason whatsoever you do not continue for the period of time associated with the credit that you have elected to receive, you agree that you will repay MSN the amount of the credit immediately upon termination or cancellation of your MSN Internet Access account; provided that if you are a resident of California or Oregon you will not be required to repay the credit amount."

    Whew. That was a mouthful. Anyway, it's there. Plain and simple. I wouldn't doubt that they only give you 12 dollars a month for the rest of forever, but it's still kinda cool if you live in CA or OR.



  • Here is the actual Connecticut State Law about Advertising Free stuph and Rebates

    Sec. 42-110b-19. Advertising "free," "reduced," "discount," "below cost," or a rebate

    It shall be an unfair or deceptive act or practice to:

    (a) Advertise any merchandise or service as free by the use of the word "free" or any other terms of similar import when the merchandise or service is not, in fact, free (see (d) below). Failure to disclose any and all terms, conditions and obligations required of the consumer shall be a violation of these regulations.

    (b) Advertise the price of merchandise or service as a reduced or sale price, or compare the price to a previous price unless the advertised price is lower than the actual, bona fide price for which the merchandise or service was offered to the public on a regular basis by the advertiser, for a reasonably substantial period of time prior to the advertisement or as a discount price, unless the advertised price is lower than. the price being charged for the same merchandise or service by other sellers in the area; provided, however, in the case of a new product, if the advertised price is less than the price which the advertiser, in good faith, expects to charge after termination of the introductory sale, there is no violation of this subsection. The actual price after the sale shall be evidence of the advertiser's good faith expectations.

    (c) Advertise the price of any merchandise as below cost, unless the price is, in fact, below the cost for which the merchandise was purchased and prepared for sale by the advertiser.

    (d) Advertise merchandise or service as free or the price of merchandise or a service as a discount, reduced, or sale price if receipt of such merchandise or service is contingent upon the purchase of other merchandise or service at a price which is higher than the actual, bona fide price at which the merchandise or service was offered to the public on a regular basis by the advertiser for a reasonably substantial period of time prior to the advertisement, or at a price which is substantially higher than the price being charged for the same merchandise or service by other sellers in the area; provided, however, in the case of a new product, if the advertised price is less than the price which the advertiser, in good faith, expects to charge after termination of the introductory sale, there is no violation of this subsection. The actual price after the sale shall be evidence of the advertiser's good faith expectations.

    (e) Advertise the availability of a manufacturer's rebate by displaying the net price of the advertised item in the advertisement, unless the amount of the manufacturer's rebate is provided to the consumer by the retailer at the time of purchase of the advertised item. A retailer will not be required to provide the purchaser of an advertised item with the amount of the manufacturer's rebate if the rebate advertises that a manufacturer's rebate is available without stating the net price of the item. For the purpose of this subsection, "net price" means the ultimate price paid by a consumer after he redeems the manufacturer's rebate offered for the advertised item.

  • It is because of deals like this (I think Compuserve also has something similar?) that lower income families are able to afford a first time low class computer.

    Nice sentiment, but it doesn't quite work. $21.95/month for 3 years is a lot of money for a low income family. In fact, that totals up to almost $800 at the end of the 3 years.
  • Actually, you just buy two ATA66 27gb maxtors for 200 each, plus a ATA66 card for 50 bucks, and you have 55 GB for 80 or so bucks. (My friend did something similar) Personally, I just got a nice 19" Sony Trinitron. Now I can't see my living room from where I sit in the corner. And thanks to MS (never thought I'd be saying that in any non-sarcastic manner) it was only $250. Occasionally, I love this country. This is one of those times.

    -dj

  • MS already makes any number of grants to schools; here's another one, apparently... an excellent chance for inner city schools to finally "catch up" and equip some of their classrooms with modern machines. Hmmm... not just the schools, either. How about the students? "Mom, see, Microsoft is giving away free computers..."

    What about charitable organizations that are continually strapped for donations - the Salvation Army, women's shelters, homeless shelters, minority education programs, ...

  • Actually, they win either way. ISPs (America Online is a perfect example) count people as subscribers for long after they cancel the service.

    Microsoft will use these inflated numbers to impress Wall Street with the "growth" of MSN. They've figured that $400 is a decent price to pay for a subscriber. Some will bring in more revenue by staying longer, and some may cancel early, but in the end Microsoft will come out on top.

    Don't underestimate Microsoft.
  • address. Does that make me eligible for this offer too?
  • by Col. Panic ( 90528 ) on Wednesday January 05, 2000 @11:35AM (#1400873) Homepage Journal
    From the application: Only one credit per address will be allowed. Multiple credit requests will not be accepted.
  • The article said they used different sign up cards in those states, ie. no fine print on the card. So, I if I drove to California and signed up for the service would I be bound since I didn't sign a contract with fine print?
  • say hi to Ralph V. for me :)

    (score 0, offtopic)
    --


    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • Surely this would be abusing a loop-hole in the legal system for financial gain; Something that this community is up in arms about when it's a big corporation trying to crush the 'righteous'.

    Food for thought...

    --
  • Basicly law A says that law B is false and law B says that law A is true. M$ is pulling catch-22 on us!
  • Ah, see, it's called "hyberbole" -- using exageration for effect.

    It's usually used, as is the case here, for humorous effect.
  • According to the MSN rebat e form [staples.com], they may sue you under 18 USC 1341, which says...
    Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations,... [and uses US Mail to do it]... shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. If the violation affects a financial institution, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both."
    This sounds (like many US laws) very very flexible and open to the whims of the court. I wouldn't put it below M$ to try to $way the courts there in their favor. Are there lawyers out there that could comment on this (the cited code, not the joking allegation of bribery)?
  • It has nothing to do with Linux in any way just about people who don't want to use MSN as their ISP or have to stay with them for a period of 3 years.

    Er, maybe it's just me, but I think their solution would be more along the lines of "Don't take the deal in the first place".

    The real conundrum here is why the moronic post I'm replying to was actually moderated up. The "point" made is bogus, and worth being moderated down.
    --
    Kevin Doherty
    kdoherty+slashdot@jurai.net
  • Actually, he's pretty good. I read his massive posting in another /. story, and some of the stuff IS pretty witty. He should team up with some graphic artist geek and crank out a web-strip - sort of a post-techno-cyberpunk-neo-nihilist slightly surreal vision thingy with just a touch of open source /. inside hurmor. Just might go over big :)
  • I concur.
    I used to work for a credit card company and MSN was very difficult to stop, they kept submitting rebuttles, asking for proof of cancellation, anything to prolong and hope the customer would give up (or so it seemed).
  • I'm not a lawyer and all those other disclaimers.

    My understanding (from having recently looked into what it takes to switch to Florida residency) is that in general you can choose what state you're a resident of, but you might need to defend that choice. Indications that you really are a resident include things such as owning a home, being a registered voter, having a driver's license, etc.

    The general thing is that you're a resident of the state you intend to return to when you're not there.

    Oh, and the primary indication would be where you file your taxes.

    -Brad

  • That was the first thought I had too! Its kind of a 'Zippy the Pinhead' meets 'Slashdot Trolls' with a healthy dose of LSD.

    Of course, my second was 'Why on God's green earth would anyone want to use the open-source actress meme'.

    On a side note, it seems he has all of his /. postings 'archived'. They make slightly more sense in rapid-fire sequence.
  • My room-mate just bought a HP Celeron-based system last week from Costco, who was also offering the $400 Microsoft rebate. Total cost of the computer (after rebate) $150.

    Our address: Castro Valley, CA.

    Hmmm...if this pans out, he'll be canceling msn in a month.
  • If people start doing this they should be careful because if it is deemed a loan, Microsoft could give you a black mark on your credit. And to get something removed like that is nearly impossible.

    Also the repayment appears to be charged on to your credit card, couldn't you just cancel your credit card and then cancel MSN so they can't charge you? I guess then they may just send some collection agency after you.

  • some free DVD's. Thanks Bill. See you in hell.

  • I'm in California, and my father in law did the same thing, inadvertently. The credit card he used to pay for the MSN expired, and they cancelled his MSN service.. hehe.. but they never collected any more money from him. Interesting. :)

    I'm off to Best Buy, woo hoo. :)
  • No, Microsoft is betting that most people will not back out, but they know some will. Every time you go to MSN's web page it costs Microsoft money, but they are betting that enough people will click on ads to make it worth it. Is it wrong for you to go to MSN's web page and not click on the ad? Is it stealing to watch TV and to change the channel when the commercials come on? Is it wrong to use a credit card which gives cash back and pay it off every month?
  • Hey, now assuming ms would have stood by the liscense thing that said that if we were not willing to agree to terms...send it back, couldn't we get the system, send back the liscense, and gotten more money????? LBS
  • I wonder if you can go to all of the stores and sign up, or even go back to the same store day after day and get $400 each time?
  • Unfortunately, it is more like a tax on uneducated people (a regressive tax which, ironically, is justifed as a way to pay for more public education) Wealthy people have accountants (as a last resort) who TELL them it is a losing battle, even if they are actually stupid. I know many a doctor, lawyer, etc. who play the lottery because they think it ISN'T such a bad bet!

    Of course, my scientist friend-of-a-friend's Grandma played the Lotto, and he kept trying to convince her it was an awful waste of money, until she won $14 million.

    And cigarette's are really just an even MORE regressive tax. :-)
  • I think it is time for all of us non-California/Oregon residents to call our state representatives and ask them to pass a law like CA and OR have! Then we can take advantage of $400 free money from Microsoft too.

  • how about being an honest hard worker? if your the type of scum that gets excited about reading something like this in hopes of doing it yourself then you're no better than all the fools involved in the ridiculous lawsuits today (blind suing websites, parents suing pokemon, etc.) , then again screwing microsoft sure sounds fun (j/k)!
  • I live in CA, but I was just in CO for the holidays. My sister needed to buy a new computer for her business, and asked me if the Compaq or HP systems advertised by OfficeMax in the 2-Jan-2000 Rocky Mountain News were any good. The most attractive was an HP Pavilion with a 466 MHz Celeron, 128M SDRAM, 40x CD-ROM, 15 inch monitor (13.8 viewable), and an inkjet printer, for $879 before rebates (if memory serves). There was a $400 rebate for three years of MSN, an three $50 rebates from OfficeMax on the CPU, monitor, and printer, for an after-rebate price of $429. (The CPU alone was available for $599, $149 after rebates.)

    When we got there, the salesman said that it was out of stock. My sister asked if any other stores had it. The salesman went away to check, and came back and said no. I asked about a rain check, and the salesman said it was discontinued. I pointed out that since they advertised it without any restrictions like "quantities are limited" or "while supplies last", that they would have to make good on it. He went to fetch the manager, who asked if we would be satisfied with a different computer. I said sure, as long as it was comparable.

    After a long wait, the manager produced a much better HP Pavilion (faster CPU, more memory, bigger hard drive, and a CD-RW) which listed for $300 more. She discounted it by $350 to match the price, including the $50 OfficeMax rebate that had been offered on the other CPU. My sister got a much better system for the same $429 price. And when we set up the computer at her office, we found that there was a $50 rebate coupon from HP for the CPU inside the box!

    Anyhow, while I was studying the flier about the MSN rebate, I noticed the language about CA and OR residents. When we opened the actual MSN signup envelope, we found that it included two separate legal agreements, one for residents of CA and OR only, and one for everyone else. I don't have them here to study in detail or quote, but a quick glance seemed to confirm that if I made a purchase myself that I would receive the rebate but not be obligated to continue the service, and would not have to repay the rebate.

    I almost bought a second computer of the same type for myself. It looks like I could have gotten the same nicer HP Pavilion as my sister (without the monitor and printer) for about $99 plus CO sales tax plus $21.95 for one month's MSN service. I didn't do it because I didn't have an extra $600 at the time, and I was doubtful that it would make a good Linux box since it uses some strange combination modem and sound card.

    So I don't have proof that CA and OR residents can take MSN for $388, but it sure looks that way. Even if it's legal, I haven't convinced myself that it's ethical.

  • You know, when adults cut a deal, they should hold up their end.

    The whole idea that someone would drop that because Microsoft was at the other end is just sick. I don't steal from my friends, and I don't steal from my enemies either. I don't do things like that because they're wrong.

    I guess nobody here ever paid for shareware either. I thought this was supposed to be a community that was reasonable even without government intervention. Maybe I was wrong. *sigh*

  • guess you're one of those extreme capitalists who would take a cane away from an old woman
    Well, how much are you offering to pay us capitalists?
  • They would have no basis to place a negative entry in your credit report, since you have done nothing contrary to the agreement. I mean, they still might, but it would be baseless.

    They're simply giving you the credit in return for signing up with them. The agreement contains nothing that prohibits you from canceling your account, and in fact it explicitly says you are under no obligation to continue as a member once you sign up. It just says that if you cancel before the specified term, you must repay the credit amount (unless you live in CA and OR). It appears to be essentially a loan with no repayment required... in fact, a loan with no repayment mechanism specified at all.

1 1 was a race-horse, 2 2 was 1 2. When 1 1 1 1 race, 2 2 1 1 2.

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