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  #1  
Old 30th November 2006, 05:30 PM
Scruffy Offline
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I've installed Linux, now give me my Windows refund

Not sure if this should go in this forum or the Wibble forum but ...

Ok, the topic of someone in the UK getting a Windows refund from Dell came up in the Linux Chat forum. As I have just purchased a new laptop that came with Windows Media Edition (wtf?) and that has been wiped to accomodate FC6 I have decided to have a laugh and attempt to get a refund.

This thread is going to be dedicated to that attempt. Whenever I contact or hear from Acer I will post the details in this thread.

Maybe, just maybe, if there is difficulties ahead people can advise me.

Anyway, today I sent an email to Acer (Euro). I checked out the UK site and there only seems to be one email address available. Typically it mentions technical support but what the hell, I email them anyway. Here is my email:
Enquiry into MS Windows refund
Dear Sirs/Madam,
I have recently purchased an Acer Aspire 5100 Series notebook from Insight (UK) Ltd through my place of employment. This notebook was pre-installed with a copy of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 (Acer Incorporated) which is not required as I use and have installed the Gnu/Linux distribution Fedora Core 6 on said notebook.
As I understand it, if I do not require the copy of Windows that has been preinstalled on this notebook and I have not agreed to the Microsoft Windows End User License Agreement (EULA) then I am entitled to a full refund to the OEM copies of Windows Media Centre Edition.
Please send me details as to how I can obtain this refund.
With regards,
Scruffy
Ok, now we will wait for a reply.
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  #2  
Old 30th November 2006, 05:44 PM
Dan Offline
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Oh, this I gotta watch! Well done, Scruffy!

Dan
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  #3  
Old 1st December 2006, 12:56 AM
rappermas Offline
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Good job, I'll stay tuned.

I still think it should be Microsoft that pays the bill, not the OEM.
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  #4  
Old 1st December 2006, 02:39 AM
kona0197 Offline
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Hope you took pictures of yourself clicking no on the XP EULA. That's how the other guy got his refund from Dell.
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  #5  
Old 1st December 2006, 06:02 PM
Scruffy Offline
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Refund update

OK. One day after sending my email I have had a reply from Acer:
Hello, Thank you for contacting Acer.
Regarding your enquiry,
The Acer OEM software installed on your machine is pre installed and activated in the factory. It is an integral part of the machine you have purchased and is bundled with the physical hardware of the computer. We are unfortunately not able to refund the operating system as it is not a separate item. It comes as part of the computer you have purchased.
As you can see they are not willing to refund any money. So what do I do? Well, first things first, let's see if they are lying. I have already removed Windows from the machine and the machine works perfectly, so it is not an integral part of the machine. They also say that Windows ...
and is bundled with the physical hardware of the computer.
It may be but I am rejecting the license itself, because I don't own Windows.

OK. Time to call their bluff. My first response is to get the Windows XP Media Center 2004/5 Edition EULA from Microsoft to see what my rights are for a refund. I have gone to their website and filled in a form asking for them to email me the EULA for this edition.

My response to Acer:
Thank you for your email.
Unfortunately, due to unfair licensing practices, Windows comes with most computers that are purchased and most people have to pay for Windows whether they like it or not, even if they are looking for a naked machine, ie one without an operating system installed. As you may well know that finding a naked notebook is difficult and can be expensive. Because of this several complaints have been put to the European Union asking them to investigate. This has been reported in the press (see http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/busine..._msfteu01.html). This, as you may have heard, is referred to as the 'Microsoft Tax'.
Now, I chose this notebook because I liked the specs and the price was affordable to me. My intention was to put Linux on the computer and use open source software so I have no need for the pre-installed version of Windows. I have looked at your website and cannot find any notebooks with equivalent specs not being preloaded with Windows. Also, I could not find another notebook with equivalent specs that was available at the same price without an OS preloaded. In essence, I cannot find a notebook provided by you or by a competitor that offers the notebook naked (no OS) or for a similar price/spec.
Unfortunately, your email to me does not ring true. You clearly state that the OS is an integral part of the machine but I have managed to not only wipe the OS from the system, I have managed to install a competing OS on the computer and the machine is still working ok. Looking up the word 'Integral' in a dictionary returns the following results:
1. (adj) Essential or necessary for completeness; constituent
2.(adj) Possessing everything essential; entire
3.(n) A complete unit; a whole
As Windows is not the only OS in existence then number 1 doesn't apply, as it is not essential for you to use Windows to use this notebook. As Linux contains everything I need then number 2 does not apply, as Windows does not posses everything I need because if it did then I would have no need to look at Linux. I have demonstrated that Windows on this notebook does not make it a complete unit, otherwise removing it would mean the machine could not function.
If I was to accept that the OS is an integral part of the computer then maybe you can explain to me why I cannot use the OS to it's full functionality without the need to purchase further parts. You claim that this is part of a bundle but without the extra partsthen this bundle is severely lacking any function. The system is supposed to be a media centre notebook but to actually get the media centre part to work I will have to spend extra money on a remote control, TV card, cables etc. This therefore tells me that the OS is not integral to the system. If it is then there are items missing from my bundle that I would like you to forward to me at no extra cost.
With regards to your other point in the operating system is bundled with the computer I would disagree. There has been numerous occassions where the bundled operating system was not required and, after a long fight, the end user has successfully negotiated a return of funds for the unwanted system. You claim that the operating system is bundled with the computer but you do not offer a computer that is operating system free therefore you limit customers options. The same also applies to other notebook manufacturers in that they too bundle Windows with notebooks and do not offer alternative operating systems therefore they limit customers options. It also seems your comment can be interpreted in two ways:
No.1 is not true. If it was then there would be no reason for an EULA from Microsoft. Since you do not provide an EULA for me to examine before the computer purchase you are automatically expecting people to agree with Microsofts restrictions of use.
2. Because there is actually a lack of Windows media disc in the bundle, which would be needed if the hard drive failed, the Windows setup media is located on the hardware itself, therefore it cannot be physically removed from the machine.
No.1 is not true. If it was then there would be no reason for an EULA from Microsoft, or at least an option as to whether you accept it or not. If I choose no to the EULA where would that leave me? You do not provide the EULA for viewing when I purchase the product so I would be left with a dead system, or a dead Windows license that cost me money.
No.2 is also not true. If it is, please tell me how, without a Windows media disc, I reinstall Windows. Please, consider my installation of Linux just a weird assimilation of the hard disc failing, where I would physically need to reinstall Windows. Please tell me how I do it without a media disc? Please remember that without an OS on the hard drive I also have no internet connection so I cannot download any files. Not until Windows is put on, that is?
Finally, I would like to point out something that is in the EULA for Windows. This is extremely important because you are clearly stating that the operating system comes bundled with the computer. In the EULA for Windows it clearly states that when you purchase a copy of Windows you are not in fact purchasing Windows but purchasing a license TO USE Windows under certain restrictions/conditions. It is this license that I am rejecting and the EULA clearly states that if I do not agree to the EULA I am entitled to a refund. I have emailed Microsoft and asked them to send me a copy of the EULA so I can clarify that. Let me make this clear that by purchasing this computer I have also purchased this license for Windows, the license is unwanted and I want a refund for it as the EULA says. I know I am entitled to it, as has been proven recently by Dell refunding a Linux user for the unwanted Windows user that came 'bundled' with the notebook he purchased from Dell, where he was essentially forced to buy the notebook WITH Windows because no system was available WITHOUT Windows. I paid you for the license, as part of the cost of the computer, so I am asking you for a refund for part of the computer that should not be a part of it but an option.
The fight starts.
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  #6  
Old 1st December 2006, 07:10 PM
pete_1967 Offline
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Don't forget that if they keep refusing, contacting Trading Standards Office often brings the results
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  #7  
Old 1st December 2006, 07:22 PM
sentry Offline
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Go Scruffy! Great letter, great points

This is very interesting, I can't wait to watch how they handle this. It seems to me that you're trying to exercise your legal rights as a consumer, so power to you.
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  #8  
Old 2nd December 2006, 01:09 AM
rappermas Offline
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Give 'em hell!

Everyone should be doing this...
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  #9  
Old 2nd December 2006, 04:27 PM
cypher543 Offline
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Very nice! I enjoyed reading those letters. You bring up many good points, and after reading the latest letter, I can't see how they could refuse. I would gladly jump on the bandwagon and try this, but my computer didn't come bundled with Windows.
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  #10  
Old 4th December 2006, 02:18 AM
Zotter Offline
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Tried to drum up a tad o interest - didn't get too far. Oh well.

http://digg.com/software/I_ve_instal...Windows_refund
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  #11  
Old 4th December 2006, 04:31 AM
cypher543 Offline
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From my experience, posting a link on digg about any kind of Linux-Windows feud is like posting a link to some AJAX tutorial. There have been so many that no one really pays attention to them anymore. Plus, it's a good way to start a very entertaining Linux/Windows/Mac debate.

Anyway, despite the comment by cday on digg, I think you have a pretty good chance of seeing this succeed.
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  #12  
Old 4th December 2006, 05:10 AM
scotta3234 Offline
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Even if you don't get a refund (although I'm hoping you do) enough people doing this brings light to the issue of manufacturers providing linux alternatives, especially when it comes to the hardware market. The more demand, the more support and cooperation. In theory at least.
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  #13  
Old 4th December 2006, 01:16 PM
techmatt Offline
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I am going to do this on my next laptop. hehe
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  #14  
Old 4th December 2006, 05:20 PM
Scruffy Offline
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OK, here is the next installment. At the moment this is basically Acers reply. I have to think about drumming up a return email to them. I am far from happy with this reply and you will see why from what they have written. I will try and detail in this post why I am unhappy.
Hello, Thank you for contacting Acer.
Regarding your enquiry,
The Microsoft OEM end user license agreement states that refunds of the windows operating system are made in accordance with the manufacturer's return policies. The following is quoted from the EULA on a brand new Acer Aspire.
'If you do not agree to the terms of this EULA, you may not use or copy the
software, and you should promptly contact manufacturer for instructions on return of the unused product(s) for a refund in accordance with manufacturer's return policies.'
Acer's policy is not to provide a refund for the windows operating system. This is because it is preinstalled and activated, thereby classed as used and not able to be resold with another computer. As previously stated it is a part of the product you have purchased and not a separate item, you were invoiced for the entire computer upon purchase, not for a computer and an operating system.
The Acer OEM installation of windows can be reinstalled in two ways. The first time the machine is used you are requested to create a set of recovery cds. These can be used to restore the original installation, further sets can be made at any time with the eRecovery software. You can also use the hidden partition for restoring windows to the factory installation by tapping Alt + F10 on bootup of the machine.
Regards
As you can see from their reply there are several interesting points. First and foremost they kindly quote the MS EULA for Acer's XP Media Centre Edition. To quote again:
Quote:
'If you do not agree to the terms of this EULA, you may not use or copy the software, and you should promptly contact manufacturer for instructions on return of the unused product(s) for a refund in accordance with manufacturer's return policies.'
Since the EULA is Microsofts restrictions for the operating system we have to assume that the 'unused product(s)' is the operating system itself. If it is to include the hardware then this should have been clearly mentioned in this paragraph.

I have clearly stated in two emails that I do not and have not agreed to the MS EULA for Windows XP Media Centre Edition 2005 for the Acer computer. My first email clearly stated that I did not agree and was enquiring about how to obtain a refund. So far I have followed this part of the EULA. Interestingly though, where do I stand with not agreeing with the EULA and the refund? Since I rejected the EULA I have also rejected this statement, have I not?

Also, as mentioned above, by rejecting the EULA I have rejected the operating system and not the computer itself. If the above statement is from the MS EULA on a brand new Acer Aspire then the EULA stands for the operating system itself, not the computer as a whole. If the EULA also represented the computer hardware then the person should have mentioned this. Mentioning it after the fact WILL NOT BE GOOD ENOUGH.

Secondly,
Quote:
This is because it is preinstalled and activated,
So what does this say to you? Well, to me it says that Acer took the liberty to assume that I would agree to the EULA. If the machine has been pre-activated then I have in essence agreed to the EULA. They are saying that even if you reject Microsoft's EULA then it is tough because we activated the product for you. In other words, whether you like it or not the product is forced onto you.

Which brings me to the third point:
Quote:
This is because it is preinstalled and activated, thereby classed as used and not able to be resold with another computer.
Classed as used? So before you even get the notebook out of the box and power it up the operating system is already second hand tat! It is a 'Used' product.

Finally, they mention that I was charged for a computer, and not a computer and an operating system. Well I know this. The Dell person was also charged in this way but he got a refund. In fact, everybody is charged this way. This is because Windows is pre-installed on the systems in advance. It is pre-installed in advance in an attempt to lock the users into this operating system. Why do you think they do not give OS discs out? Well, I cannot be 100% sure but IIRC this was encouraged by Microsoft and Microsoft encouraged the OEMs to charge extra if the user asked for a disc (which is good). By not giving the discs out you cannot give copies away. By not giving discs out the user may end up purchasing a full retail copy IF THEIR SYSTEM GOES DOWN ie., hard drive fails and needs replacing (which is bad).

Ok. I am now going to think about my reply. If anyone has ideas I would appreciate suggestions (apart from some of the above). At the moment I will hold off mentioning Trading Standards but I will compare this to the Dell issue.

In the meantime, to show I am not going away, I have sent this email because the advice I am getting is from Acer Technical Support and this issue is a Customer Support problem.
Thank you for your mail and your time once again. I do appreciate your comments on this issue.
I have noticed that you are part of the Acer Technical Support and although I appreciate your help on this issue I feel that this issue should be dealt with by Acer Customer Services. I originally got this email address from Acers UK website and that was the only email address available on the contacts page. Could you please forward me the address of your Customer Services department or at least get the Acer UK Customer Services department to contact me.
Again I thank you for your help on this issue.
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  #15  
Old 4th December 2006, 05:42 PM
JN4OldSchool Offline
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lol, give em hell! I wonder if we dont have a class action against MS here? Just on the principal I dont accept the EULA and want my money back!
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