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Refund Day 68

BrianS sent us a link to a USA Today Article on Refund Day. The rumor is that nobody will be getting any money back today.
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Refund Day

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  • Many of the people seeking refunds bought laptops, which you can't really build yourself.
  • The dent in Microsoft's prestige will be bigger than thier pocketbook. When the industry finds out that Microsoft backed warranties are worthless, Microsoft's word will count for squat.

    Refunding users who didn't want Windows would do two things. It would set the dangerous precedent that Microsoft actually cares for the customer and it would give them credability in court.

    My guess is that Microsoft wont give the refunds - too bad for them.
  • It means, since CompPCs only come with MS OSs, if you return the OEM CD and Cert. of Authenticity, you can get $79. But, only today.
  • I work at ComPUSA Direct and this is an email we got on this today:

    If we get any calls about customers wanting to return their Microsoft based PC Operating System Software and the Software has not been registered please follow this criteria:

    1. If it is a CompPC we can only accept the product back for refund as we only offer Microsoft Operating system products. The refund amount would be $79 and would be credited to the customer upon receipt and inspection of the return.

    2. If it is a non CompPC we should refer the customer to that vendor.


    -----Original Message-----
    From: deleted
    Sent: Friday, February 12, 1999 6:46 PM
    To: deleted
    Subject: Questions on Microsoft Windows Refunds

    A number of Linux Operating System users groups have declared Monday, February 15th, Windows Refund Day. Although we do not expect to receive calls on this issue there is always the possibility.

    1. If a customer calls requesting a refund for a Microsoft operating system that is installed on a system purchased from us and the operating system has been registered with Microsoft there is no refund ability. To change operating systems this customer would need to purchase new operating system software.

    2. If a customer has received a system from us, has not loaded and registered the operating system and is looking for a refund for the cost of the operating system please refer this customer to Customer Service.
  • Oh, but I -do- undderstand, and yes, it IS the vendors that are covered by the EULA. HOWEVER, Microsoft cannot AFFORD to argue that point - not now, with the court case ripping them apart this past week.

    THAT is why Microsoft might have to cough up, even though the EULA technically says the vendor does. They CANNOT AFFORD to be seen to be passing the buck. Not right now. If this had been any other week, I'd have said "Yeah, they'll tell people to go to their vendor and complain". With the licence stuff and faked^H^H^H^Hsimulated and edited video very much on the media's collective mind, they can't risk a scandal.

  • It doesn't matter what the strict wording is, on the EULA, really. Microsoft has had a nightmare of a week in court and CANNOT afford to hand the DOJ further ammunition.

    A fictional coutroom scene:

    "So, you recognise Be and Linux as competition?"
    "And you do not leverage your position, illegally, to prevent comptetition?"
    "You are bound by your licences?"
    "These people, wanting to use Be and Linux, were refused a refund, as per your licence, were they not?"
    "So you did not honor your licence?"
    "No, we did not."
    "And so Microsoft effectively raises the price of buying a computer for use with Be or Linux, has it not?"
    "Isn't that illegally leveraging the market?"
    "Didn't you just say you didn't do that? Did you not also say you honored your licences?"
    "We are Microsoft of Borg. Truth is irrelevent. You will be assimilated."

  • Not all motherboards are the same. A board from Dell is very different than one from Viglen or Compaq. (Thank goodness!)

    So, if you want high-spec components (which is absolutely necessary for a high-speed computer), taking out the soldering iron is really not as practical.

    (If it were, d'you think I'd still be using ISA or PCI??? I'd have gone VME the second I had access to the Linux sources!)

  • That would be great, except that's not what the OEMs are doing.

    When you buy a system, you get something that says, "You need to agree to this contract in order to use the software contained within. If you don't agree, return the software for a refund."

    If the OEM says you can get a refund, then you can get a refund. Period. If the OEM wants to say that the software inside is free, then they should have the EULA changed to reflect that the software is free and they are not entitled to a refund if they don't use it.

    I don't know, however, what impact that would have on other legal issues. I would expect that calling the OS a zero-cost bundle could get MS and the vendors into a heap of legal trouble, especially since the vendors aren't buying, say, BeOS and bundling it for free, or just shipping Linux for the same that they paid for it (nothing).

    But with the wording of the EULA as it is, there's no mistaking it. The OS is part of the cost of the system, and you can get a refund for the OS if you choose not to use it.

    Interestingly, if you don't have a choice - say, the vendors refuse to refund the money and MS does as well - then it's possible that the license is coerced, since you are forced to pay for a product and agree to a license. In that case, the license is null and void.
  • Anyone know of a clean way to >/dev/null any of those freaking popup advertisments?

    Or should I just ask slashdot this? :-)
  • Because to cover their asses when the heat comes from a class-action suit filed (believe me there will be and they'll be named a defendant, right along with anyone else brave enough (more like stupid enough) to hold the same position or the $0 cost position) they'll say that their position was mainly due to there being no agreement with MS to do this so that they can extend the refund to the users (Claims of "quality control" do not work in this case- they can assure quality WITHOUT the Windows OS.). If the DOJ trial's still going on or they file another- this will muck up their chances for that case severely.
  • I just got off the phone with a customer service rep (I won't name names- wouldn't want to get them in trouble). Nice congenial conversation with the rep- Dell had circulated an E-mail about today this morning that hadn't been read yet by the rep.

    The word is, they do not sell systems at this time without an OS. That OS is either Windows 98 or NT. If they do not choose to agree to the terms of the licensing for the OS on the machine, you have to return the entire system for a refund.

    I hope the DOJ pays attention to this- this is a clear-cut example of tying of the OS to what is a generic computer platform.
  • When the industry finds out that Microsoft backed warranties are worthless, Microsoft's word will count for squat.
    You mean Microsoft's word counted for something before? There are a number of former partners who may want to disagree with you on that.
  • I don't get it...
    In Belgium (and most European countries) it is even illegal to even GIVE THE IMPRESSION you need to buy one product if you want purchase something else)!
    (Last week, there was a complained of people who didn't like somebody else GAVE AWAY a news-paper in a backery-shop, as you could get the idea that you needed by a breat if you wanted the newspaper for free).

    This is something {some smart lawer, some consumer protection organisation, mr. Van Miert -European Commisioner for fair-trade-) I guess whould just die for to get their hands on!

    Cheerio! Kr. Bonne.
  • The reasoning could be that the EULA binds you if you use the software, the sale has nothing to do with it...
  • i see you read the newsletter.


    they called the manufacturer - no joy. each manufacturer. microsoft and the vendors laid out a policy in the eula, and now aren't implementing it. the eula was created with each vendor: microsoft and toshiba, microsoft and dell, microsoft and compaq, microsoft and gateway... sensing a trend here?

    the people requesting a refund are speaking to the one company in common, the one company that has their money, and the one company who's product they aren't using.

    seems pretty simple, eh?
  • Except one issue that you seem to have forgotten: Prior attempts to get refunds from the vendors have failed. The top 6 OEM's have already been on record as NOT giving refunds for MS-Windows because of their own policies. If both the OEMs and MS refuse to give refunds, then we have grounds for a class-action suit. But in order to be successful in court, we have to give both the OEMs and MS a chance to make good on their EULA. We have heard from the OEMs. Now we need to hear from MS. Then we can pull the OEMs and MS into court. Let them (MS and OEMs) do their finger pointing their and let a judge make their choice on who pays for the refund.
  • How could something authored by Microsoft and called "End User License Agreement" (aimed at the end user; note that "agreement" is a synonym for "contract" in many cases) NOT be a contract between Microsoft and the end user?

    It only has anything to do with the OEM if they've agreed to those terms. I don't have any evidence that they have.

  • > It would, indeed, be reasonable to bring a suit
    > against Toshiba, Dell, Compaq, Gateway, et al.,
    > but the EULA gives no basis for including MS as
    > a defendant. Oh, yeah, take this with a grain of > salt since IANAL.

    Wrong! The EULA is a contract between Microsoft and the End User. In fact, that's part of the TITLE (End User License Agreement = contract between Microsoft and the End User). A contract cannot bind a third party (such as the OEM) to action without their consent (and valuable consideration to them from Microsoft).

    This is what the OEMs have been saying: our contract with MS has no provisions for a refund. I.e., "*we* are not the ones liable for this refund that MS promised."

    For this reason, I think taking the issue direct to Microsoft is appropriate.

  • You don't KNOW that the vendors know the provisions of the EULA.

    Consider, for a moment, that the OEMs know NOTHING about the EULA. They never agreed to it. Then who is supposed to refund the $?

    For example, my EULA came in a shrink-wrapped brick showing only the cert of authenticity #. I would consider it a reasonable defense if they knew nothing about the refund M$ offered the end user since that offer is made directly FROM M$ to the end-user via the EULA.

  • I like the idea except that I think the vendor isn't necessarily the one at fault. Why does everyone, who doesn't USUALLY believe MS propaganda, believe that the OEM is liable? We've seen no evidence.

    If I get no satisfaction today (I expect I won't), I will be one of the people spearheading the class action suit.


  • "You are bound by your licences?"
    "These people, wanting to use Be and Linux, were refused a refund, as per your licence, were they not?"
    "So you did not honor your licence?"
    "No, The refund is from the third party. If these people want a refund they should contact the OEM"

    That's what they said always.
  • Well, you could just as well do what you want with it then, couldn't you? I mean, you don't agree to the terms and then they don't agree with the terms, the contract becomes void, doesn't it? You can then do all the things they say you can't do with it (excluding copyright violations, of course), like reverse engineer it.


  • Fine, so if you don't like that dialog how about this one.

    Prosecuter:"Mr. Dell(or anybody else representing a major OEM), isn't it true that you installed and distributed MS-Win9X under the agreed to terms in the MS EULA stating that if the end-user does not agree then he must return the software to the vendor, you, for a refund"

    Mr Dell:"Yes"

    Prosecuter:"Well, I have evidence that there have been many such requests that were denied. How can you explain this?"

    Mr Dell:"(Pauses but is forced to answer the question clearly loaded question))Well we also have an agreement with Microsoft that under no circumstances are we able to get a refund from Microsoft in order to provide a refund to the end user."

    Prosecutor:"So would it be correct to say that Microsoft clearly has had a significant influence in your decision to violate the terms in the EULA."

    Mr. Dell: "Yes"
  • Well, if they can disregard the EULA as they see fit, then so can I. So I'll just make 100 CD burns of my Win95 CD that I got with this DELL Latitude that I'm using and distribute them to 100 different people. If some of the EULA is null and void than all of it is.
  • Ok I agree with that
  • Are CompUSA branded PCs overpriced or something? Anyway, this is a big statement. Wow!
  • If the impeachment scandal has taught me anything, it's that 1. polls are stupid and 2. I must be totally out of touch with reality. I'm a 24 year-old liberal Democrat who thinks Bill Clinton lied under oath, and is a total scumbag who should've been removed from office. Plus I think Micro$oft is a abusive company that has been leveraging it's monopoly power to eliminated the competition
  • I got to this headline a bit late; between the time that it was posted and when I read it the URL had changed. The new address: []

    I love seeing this story in major news sources. I can't wait to see the rest of the articles and fallout. Knock 'em dead with the lawsuit, eneryone who's in on it!
  • The address works too, but you have to do a reload to actually vote. It's an ASP thing. Also, I sent a note asking for the poll to be included as a headline to get it more attention.

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