Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

WRDII event to coincide with LinuxWorld Expo New York, January 2003.

Why is there a call for action: Computer manufacturers must be held accountable for their refusal to provide consumers with a refund for unused copies of the Windows operating system shipped with today's computers.

Where do I need to take action: Courthouses around the globe.

When do I need to take action: Thursday, January 23, 2003. This date has been selected to take advantage of the fact that courthouses in all boroughs of New York offer extended hours of service (as late as 9PM in some areas). People living elsewhere should check with their local courthouses about available hours of service.

Who can take action: People who are entitled to a refund as defined by the End User License Agreement (EULA) included with their bundled Microsoft operating system(s). Typically, this would include two groups of people:

  1. People who have not accepted the terms of Microsoft's EULA and who have decided to install an alternative OS on their system(s). Those who feel they are entitled to receive a refund should be prepared to offer supporting evidence; this may include proof of purchase and copies of any correspondence with the manufacturer, as well as the unopened software/documentation that may have been included with the computer system(s).

  2. Windows users who were not permitted to transfer an existing license to a replacement computer but, instead, were forced to purchase the bundled copy of a Microsoft OS.

How do I take action: WindowsRefund.net and the New York GNU/Linux Scene (NYLXS) are asking eligible refund seekers to file a complaint with their local courthouse on the abovementioned date. Participants should know in what state or province (international claimants) the computer manufacturer is headquartered, and they should contact their local courthouse to determine whether the complaint should be filed in Small Claims Court or Civil Court.

This global event will take place during the same week as the LinuxWorld New York Conference & Expo. Additional advocacy efforts will take place at the NYLXS booth at LinuxWorld. I, the creator of WindowsRefund.net, will leave the show on Thursday and file my complaint in Queens County Court against Toshiba America, Inc.

Official WRDII bumper stickers will be given to all persons who file their complaints on the day of this event. Write to bumpersticker@windowsrefund.net for additional information.

Through open discussions with the LinuxWorld community, signature gathering efforts (to be used in future litigation if required) and case filings, the scope of Windows Refund Day will shift from the picket lines into the courtrooms. Future details and updates will be posted on WindowsRefund.net.

______________________

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Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

Whoah! Hold the horses there.. Most of the EULAs I've seen with new machines since the last Windows Refund Day have been modified to read along the lines that if you don't agree to the terms they've laid down, you must return the ENTIRE product the software was bundled with for a refund - they specifically cut out the idea of returning just the Windows license for a refund.

Anyone here have the time and budget to challenge that one in court? ;-)

My solution? Spurn the vendors that won't sell you what you want. If you want a machine without paying for a useless Microsoft software license, go to a vendor that will sell you one. Microsoft was in really no way discouraged from any but the most flagrant acts by the recent fiasco put on by the US legal system, so the situation of them making sure that it's extremely uncomfortable for vendors to ship any OS but the one Microsoft dictates isn't going to change in the near future. Unless you can take their EULA on, giving them money and then asking for it back is going to be little more than a futile gesture.

-P

Just an idea...

Anonymous's picture

I think I have an effective solution for the bundled notebook-OS problem. It goes like this:

  1. Select the notebook you want to buy.
  2. Select the runner-up notebook from another vendor.
  3. Call runner-up vendor and ask them if they would provide you with the machine without the OS. Tell them you want to use the OS you already purchased. They will refuse to do it (or this whole scheme does not work ;-). Just make sure to spend some time with them, trying hard convincing them to change their mind. Tell them that you REALLY love and prefer their product to other's. At the end make sure you get the contact information from the person you talk to (name, title, email, etc.).
  4. Buy the notebook you originally selected.
  5. Contact the second vendor's CEO, president, and the officers of the company in charge of marketing and sales to let them know about how unhappy you are with their refusal, and to mention your new purchase. Tell them that you selected the other notebook vendor in protest, even when they also bundled the OS with the box. Use contact information of the person you originally talked to in ALL correspondence (they may even review your call so try to be really good during the convincing try in step 3 ;-)
  6. Repeat all steps as many times possible.

The beauty of this scheme is that you are not really giving up on anything, but you are still making a big difference. It works even when you are not really in charge of the purchase, like when purchasing on behalf of your company, family or friends.
I think that if enough people did this, some of the vendors that are most desperate to grow profits and/or market share will cave in to the pressure. Therefore, keep that in mind when selecting the second-choice vendor ;-).
Please let me know what do you think about it.S

Re: Just an idea...

Anonymous's picture

and youll likely get the poor lad who sold you your pc in trouble, even if he did no wrong, simply by his name appearing too many times. leave the phone person out of it, its not their war. theyre just trying to get food on their table like everybody else.

Re: Just an idea...

Anonymous's picture

too many microserfs and people who just plain don't care

could never get enough people to do it to make a difference

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

Jesus.... Linux this, Linux that. Why don't you use what makes you happy and stop trying to convince everyone and their brother to use one OS over another? Yeah, Microsoft sucks soooooo bad. That's why all the big companies use MS OS's for clustering technologies, SAN's, Intranets, etc, etc. If it's such a big deal, build your own system from scratch and put whatever the hell you want on it. Oh yeah, you might want to take your winnings (not that it will amount to an ant pile) and get another hosting provider for windowsrefund.net since the page cannot be displayed. Get a life..

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

Why stop trying to convince people that they can use one OS over another? Who else is going to do the convincing? Linux has no marketing campaign, it has no sales reps. Hell, it hasn't even been found guilty by the US DOJ yet! Obviously this means it is not a viable alternative, and any attempts to convince people otherwise are futile, because it is just crap (tm).
Personally I find someone putting forward their own personal opinions has more weight than some Microsoft sales rep, who is paid to spout crap, reading a script.
You are as blind as a bat.
You are looking at an OS that is still quite early on in development as far as user interface goes - give it time and this will be up there with MS. Think, in 40 years time, you will have a choice of OS that can't easily be stifled by illegal deals, and general thugery by the monopolistic company that Microsoft is. Not only this, but the competitors won't be hording mountains of cash from the sales of said operating systems, and then telling customers that the pricing is equitable.
Microsoft is absusing the free market, it's going to take the man on the street to stop this.

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

All you Linux assholes that ***** and moan about MS should forward your complaints to Linux. Maybe then they will push a marketing campaign and acutally try to give solid reasons why people should use Linux OS's over MS. Until then, keep your compaints to your nerdy little user groups and LAN parties.

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

Is it mere coincidence that since Microsoft killed off its last major competitor that operating system prices reversed their downward trend (competition drives prices down, which is the direction they were going until the mid 90's) and are suddenly going up much faster than they were declining?

Equitable, my foot.

They could charge 1/4 the price they do for XP and Office and still profit handsomely. Oh wait. That wouldn't give them billions to pour into their money hemorrhaging fiascos like MSN and the Xbox - they'd actually have to *compete* in a new market instead of simply bludgeoning everything in sight with the titanic excess income generated by their 'equitable' pricing.

-P

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

Funny - I didn't see Jesus post anything here about either windows or Linux.

Loser. Microserf.

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

I'll give you 3 guesses of where you can stick your pinguin....

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

Oh, you must be a religious jackass, sorry.

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

Actually, no, I'm not. That is why I can say F*ck you, Microserf Loser.

Go post over at MSN or something. We like you less than your parents did...

Merry Christmas! :-)

(Gad, I love making fun of micro$oft sheeple...)

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

I'll be you do. You're one of those geek assholes that has no life and nothing better to do than try to ensue a riot of similar assholes to take advantage of a situation to make money. ***** loser..

What about so-called "Configuration" or "Restore" CD's?

Anonymous's picture

WinME came on my Toshiba laptop. After less than 1.5 years, the hard drive broke, quite completely. I replaced it with a larger hard drive, and afterwards, was not able to reload all of the software that *I paid for* onto my computer (these CD's will work ***only*** with the default hardware that comes installed on the system).

So, the M$ license and software, which is for *that specific computer*, is not being used illegally or in any other manner than what it was intended for, yet I cannot install that software. In short, I feel that I am entitled to a refund (or replacement) as well - I am not breaking any agreement that I am aware of, have paid for the software, and yet cannot use it - it is broken.

Am I entitled to a refund, or is there some sneaky clause in the agreement that I missed that says it can only be installed on *the original HDD* in *the original computer*? I'd love to file a claim against Toshiba, as they were most unhelpful...

Re: What about so-called

Anonymous's picture

This is the sort of thing which leads to "piracy" or "abuse" - by not being able to use the OS paid for, then it is a simple matter (and easily justifiable) to use a similar, yet unpaid-for, copy of that same OS. If I paid for it once, then screw 'em - I feel I have the right to get it back on my system by Whatever Manner Possible(TM) - if that means using a bootleg copy, then that would be fine by me...

Oh, quit whining!

Anonymous's picture

It would be one thing if the spec sheet for the system you bought didn't have windows listed but came preinstalled on the box. But when you can tell that windows is preinstalled, after all you did read the spec sheet before ordering you don't have a right to complain.

For example: The first thing that I did after buying my car was to rip out the factory stereo, speakers and wiring to install my own. I certainly don't think that I have any right to, or hope of, a rebate from Dodge on the stereo that I'm not using. I knew that the stock stereo came with the car just like when you buy a PC and the spec sheet says "MS Windows XP Home Edition installed" you know that there is already an operating system that you don't want installed on the machine.

I can understand wanting a refund for something that you didn't order, but you did order it when you bought the machine with the OS pre-installed. If you didn't want the OS pre-installed you needed to shop around until you found what you were looking for. If you really didn't want the OS then resell it, don't take it out on the PC manufacturer who was just doing what you asked for. Annoying the PC manufacturer because you weren't smart enough to realize that "Windows XP pre-installed" means that it already has an operating system installed, isn't fair to them and just a waste of your time.

Re: Oh, quit whining!

Anonymous's picture

Your logic is specious. Can you find me a laptop without Windows installed, exempting MacOS X, from a large vendor? You can't. Maybe SGI or Sun or HP sell high-end Unix-based notebooks in the $7000+ range. But these are intended for very specific uses, and cost exorbitant amounts of money. The point is, such devices are few and far between, and cannot be found for the bargain prices that brand name products from Toshiba, HP, Sony, etc. can in retail outlets. Finding a machine without a M$ OS installed is a challenge, if not near impossible, and therefore, even if you WANT a machine without an OS, you have to "order" it with one. [Which, BTW, going into a retail outlet and purchasing something off the shelf is not 'ordering']

Re: Oh, quit whining!

binder's picture

The MAIN problem is that you can't hardly BUY a computer without having an OS pre-installed on it. You can build them yourself (which is what I do), but when it comes to laptops, you simply can't get one without an OS on it. When I ordered my Dell laptop, I specifically told Dell that I DID NOT want XP Home. The sales guy told me that he HAD to sell me the copy of XP Home. So, I told him that I would refuse the MS EULA and return XP Home and he didn't really have any response to that one.

A lot of us don't ASK for a preloaded OS, we forced to have one. So, since almost all preloaded OS's are from Microsoft AND their EULA states that if you don't agree to their terms to return it for a refund, we are entitled to return it and get out money back for the software.

Re: Oh, quit whining!

Anonymous's picture

Yes, but what proportion of the value of the car is the stereo worth? In the cheapest cars it won't approach 0.05 of the value of the car and in general it is negligible compared to the total cost of the car.

In the cheapest computers the m$ tax can be around 0.25 the price of the system and quickly approaching as much as half the system value., as computers get cheaper.

I think you'd be complaining too if the cost of the stereo which you weren't going to use took up a quarter of the cost of your car

Not even talking about the EULA!

MG

Re: Oh, quit whining!

Anonymous's picture

You're missing the point. The point is that the EULA specifically says that if you do not accept the license that you can get a refund for the license from the manufacturer. This is about choice and not being forced to pay the Microsoft tax just so you can buy a pre-built system. People everywhere who are not going to run Windows are either forced to build from the ground up (ok for geeks) or pay for windows they're not going to use (the only choice right now for non-geeks who want to buy popular brands)

The car radio does not cost half the cost of the car. If it did, I bet you'd be whining, too!

Re: Oh, quit whining!

Anonymous's picture

The inclusion of Windows is not the problem; it is the EULA. They expect you to hold up your end of the EULA while they are not upholding their side of it.

The EULA says that by using the software (or even just opening the box) you agree to the EULA, and if you don't agree then send it back for a refund. If they aren't willing to provide a refund, they shouldn't put those conditions in the EULA, and they don't have a right to assume that you agreed to it when they put it there without giving you a chance to back out of it and get a refund. You also don't see the EULA until AFTER buying the product.

When you buy a car, you don't find a EULA that puts tighter restrictions on your use of the car than the traffic laws allow.

Re: Oh, quit whining!

Anonymous's picture

But when you can tell that windows is preinstalled, after all you did read the spec sheet before ordering you don't have a right to complain.

For example: The first thing that I did after buying my car was to rip out the factory stereo, ...
Did your stereo come with a license agreement which said, in part: ``If you don't agree to this license, you may return the unused stereo for a refund.''? If not, I fail to see the relevence of your example.
I can understand wanting a refund for something that you didn't order, but you did order it when you bought the machine with the OS pre-installed.
Again, the MS license tells us that if we don't agree to their terms, we may return the unused product (Windows, only, since the license is not for the hardware, but only for Windows) for a refund. This isn't our idea, it is Microsoft's idea. Why would you object to our following the terms of their license? Why do you think that the PC manufacturer (the one who took your money, after all), should not be prepared for us to follow the terms of the take-it-or-get-a-refund license agreement that they are selling on MS's behalf?

Re: Oh, quit whining!

Anonymous's picture

Using your car radio analogy doesn't make sense.

1st the OS in this case often adds about 10% to the cost, but if not needed 0% to the value. Now in a $30000 car if they forced me to buy a $3000 radio that I was not going to use I would be upset.

2nd the OS is virutally unsellable, whereas the car radio at least has value.

3rd - I am virtually forced to buy the OS even if I don't want.

4th - As pointed out above, the EULA offers me the choice to accept or not accept and recieve the refund. I've never seen a sticker like that attached to my radio.

Re: Oh, quit whining!

Anonymous's picture

And if the mfg choose to enter into or become part of a legal contract where the cost of the refund is greater than the cost of windows to them, this is their own fault for they contractually accepted the liability. Again, the user is simply asserting his own contractual rights to do this, as permitted by the same said EULA. The fact that the system mfg has been given a deceptive contract is one they certainly could and should discuss with their vendor seperately.

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

Just to let you know, on a low end system, around the

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

Oh, boo-hoo. Vendors get major kickbacks and rebates for offering only M$ products. If you didn't install an operating system, you wouldn't have the problem. Or you could preinstall Linux, and make users go out and purchase their own copy of Windows. This would negate your argument...

If this is your would-be response...

"But I can't sell computers without Windows on them because most people only want Windows..."

then perhaps _you_ should take that up with MS.

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

If you don't want to pay full then offer all PCs and Laptops as stripped of OS and then add the payment for the OS on top--no reason I have to pay a MS tax to buy a laptop, just because most companies refuse to risk MS wrath.

Get with the times and stop promoting illegal bundling.

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

So don't include the os if a customer requests than none be included.If YOU choose to install windows without the customer's permission,then you should be responsible for the cost.

I am an OEM system builder--there is NOTHING requiring you to preload windows on your PCs.It's your choice.

Larry Samuels MS-MVP (XP Shell/User)

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

Yes, thats exactly what I said.

But, a lot of people are seeing this as a way to get money for nothing. Buy a computer, claim you dont want windows, get some money.

Even though you just get out another Windows CD and install it again...

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

EXACTLY!!! they already own a copy! why should they have you charge them said amount for selling them something they already own? and they arent making money for nothing, they are claiming back what you charge them in the first place!

why not just ask in the first place the simple question "do you want me to install windows for an extra

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

Then offer your systems without windows!! Let's say I bought a computer with Win2k, and that computer is stolen or in some way rendered inoperative, why should I have to pay

Who are we speaking to?

akosmin's picture

Am I missing something? I don't see a major OEM represented but yet see what appears to be a one sided conversation brewing.

Best,

Adam Kosmin

WindowsRefund.net

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

No thanks: We'll take it to you. Start loading Linux on your PCs and you won't have these problems.

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

Correction: start *learning* how to install and configure a working Linux or other ..nix system - and pocket some well-deserved profit. You can always opt for charging what it really cost to purchase, install, configure an alternative propriatary license.

Better yet, get in touch with one of the Linux vendors - they are eager to get your business, and will not give you nearly as much legal trouble..

Best Regards,

Sandor

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

Then let us buy the computer without windows. Do a full format and mark the price of the computer down

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

AZhun's picture

It is most reasonable that the consumer should get a break on the cost to the OEM for the MS Windows. This would be less than the on-the-shelf or MSRP price we consumers at store see. It would reflect the cost actually charged to the PC maker or hardware integrator.

Labor for installation would be similar hidden charges to the consumer.

This would not eat into the profit margin of the original poster, unless the 55 pounds he pays over on that side of the Atlantic ditch is not actually his cost. ;-)

US retail version used to be less than $80; when consumer MSRP was around $125. Offsetting that that ws several years back and without the desire to look like a 'friendly monopoly' probably makes up for the 149 MSRP so I'd be willing to bet that todays cost is about that still for several of the MS OSs. Then at 55 pounds at 1.55/pound exchange rate that is $85.25 for the gent in the UK. Apparently, Microsoft needs the 6.5% extra rate in the UK version for 'nationalizing' the different Engish dictionary (?). Yo buddy, this is not a friend.

Just looking around periodically at the sites offering Linux desktop PCs I note that sites seem to charge more for their Linux loads than at least one of the MS Windows loads. Still others do not readily allow for a clean order for Linux. Most do not offer a choice between 'desktop' and 'professional' versions. By doing this these outlets ensure that the Red Hat professional at consumer rate looks more expensive than say Win XP home or Win 98SE.

Why not SuSE Pro vs R.H.?

Why not the Red Hat 'Personal'?

Why not Caldera/SCO OpenLinux?

For that matter why not Debian?

The OEMs seem to be operating under constraints of some sort not to play fair.

Accordingly. consumers need to be vocal and vote with their pocketbooks.

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

Yes, I quite understand. You do not wish to loose money.

You should refund

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

" by claiming the full price for the OS from your system builder, its quite likely theyre loosing[sic] money."

Aw. My heart bleeds.

Then go ahead and charge the end user the whole whack, or better yet, don't sell an OS with the system unless said end users asks for it specifically. I, for one, don't buy "name brand" boxes because you guys do this sort of thing.

Cheers,
Dan
yo*****@fnal.gov

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

Just to justify my post to a certain degree.

Microsoft DO NOT, I repeat, Microsoft DO NOT have any terms what so ever in their OEM agreement which forces system builders to ship only Windows with their PCs.

The issue is with support companies.

The third party company who provides on site support for my company refuse to deal with us unless we provide support for every machine we ship. And, since they only provide support for Windows, we must therefore either ship Windows with the PC, or completely waste the money we have to pay them for each sale.

If you dont want Windows, go with a decent company who is willing to preinstall another OS in the first place (like mine) but for god sake, dont go buying a computer then demanding money back. Thats not the way to fix the problem.

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

The third party company who provides on site support for my company refuse to deal with us unless we provide support for every machine we ship.
I'm very sorry you've shot yourself in the foot. I'm afraid that you'll just have to limp along as best you can until it heals. I hope your company lasts long enough to benefit by this experience.

Have you considered contracting with a shop which will also provide support for non-MS systems? They might be cheaper in the long run.

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

Perhaps an arrangement with a company that isn't following Microsoft's strongarm tactics - you WILL provide support for EVERY machine - even if you don't we're still going to charge you. Gads, what kind of photos are they blackmailing you with? ;-)

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

Your problem is that you have made various business deals that have limited your mobility. This is not the problem of the consumer. Your business deals were made to cut your costs in the short term. However, the your short sightedness is no excuse for your lack of anticipation that you may be liable for more money than the investment yields. That element is called 'risk'. Perhaps you should have your attorney do some research into recouping some of the cost from the retailer, or your will have to change your business practices. Either way... this is the price of buying into hedged deals.

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

Microsoft DO NOT, I repeat, Microsoft DO NOT have any terms what so ever in their OEM agreement which forces system builders to ship only Windows with their PCs.

Obviously you've never read the Finding of Facts. If you honestly think that your OEM license for your copy of Windoze (or those you sell on a machine) are even remotely close to the agreement of a multi-billion dollar PC manufacturer like Dell, IBM, or HP, then you are nieve beyond belief. It's apples and oranges.
Don't be a Micro$oft PR wh0re - learn the facts before you go spouting off.

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

If Dell chooses to enter into a custom agreement with Microsoft in order to make more money from its customers, it is free to do so.

If you disagree with that, buy from an OEM like me, where you can have any OS you like.

Re: Windows Refund Day II: a Call for Action

Anonymous's picture

Please build me a Toshiba Portege and I will buy it from you. Until then....

Signed,

Matt (mattc@fuckmicrosoft.com, this is a real address)

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