Windows Refund Day II: Next Steps

Getting ready to go to court. was created in September 2002 to provide a central point of collaboration for refund-seekers all over the world. As many people already know, computer manufacturers have been pushing the "Microsoft Tax" onto consumers for years. Today, this situation has gotten worse, as many customers are forced to pay for multiple versions of Microsoft's operating system when purchasing a new computer. For some, this may come as a shock when the growing momentum of "Desktop Linux" is considered or when the publicity generated by the original Windows Refund Day event is remembered. However, the reality is this: no major computer manufacturer has gone on record as having defined a company-wide refund procedure designed to honor the language of Microsoft's End User License Agreement (EULA). In other words, if someone managed to obtain a refund for the unused Windows software they were forced to pay for, it was simply because they were in the right place, at the right time, dealing with the right person.

I am currently in the process of making my case against Toshiba America Information Systems (TAIS) in Small Claims court. I will be making my court appearance on June 30, 2003. TAIS has made it clear they are not going to budge an inch. They will spend thousands of dollars in legal fees to protect the hundreds that would be paid out for this individual refund request. Does anyone honestly think that they would continue to follow this path if only 10 additional customers filed similar actions? Personally, I don't think it is unreasonable to expect at least one case to be filed against a major computer manufacturer in every state of the US. Multiple concurrent claims (regardless of which manufacturer is targeted) will open their eyes to the magnitude of this situation. This is the logical course of action for us to take in order to achieve the change we are seeking.

Small Claims is not a big deal. It's simple to do if you follow the HOWTO I published on After filing, you can publish your story on the site so we all can see how many of us finally have taken action. It's okay if you lose. It even happened to Walt Pennington because of a minor technicality. The important thing is to bring the manufacturers into court so they know we are serious about this.

We need to do more than debate this issue on mailing lists and Slashdot. I am suggesting that those of us who agree consumers should not have to be forced into accepting the unwanted expense of a preinstalled Microsoft product need to step up to the plate and bring this into the courtrooms. I have laid the groundwork, and I know this is strictly a numbers game at this point.

Windows Refund Day II, held on January 23, 2003, was born out of a simple idea. Rather than trying to organize a group event dependent on physical location, we recognized a distributed approach could be both easier to manage and more effective. The idea was to declare a day where refund seekers all over the world would take their cases to court. In preparing for the event, I was able to accomplish a few things:

  1. A Refund HOWTO was written and published on The purpose of the HOWTO was to provide as much of my knowledge and real world experience to people who had never filed a Small Claims action in court and who may have otherwise felt intimidated by the process.

  2. An official Call for Action was written up and published on the LJ site. Over the next few weeks, this news spread like wildfire all over the Internet.

  3. Several interviews were given on popular Internet radio shows, including CNET and The Linux Show.

  4. Signature gathering was organized from several booths in the .org pavilion during LinuxWorld Expo New York 2003.

  5. Finally, I filed my Small Claims action against TAIS on January 23, 2003.

What we have here is low hanging fruit that we are not grasping. After all of the Slashdot debates, mailing list threads/flames, petition signing and general applause that I have heard from our community, it appears we still are waiting for the market to correct this injustice. But remember, the market created the problem in the first place. We don't need another article written or another thread started. We need people who are willing to get up from their couches, stand in line and file their claims, so this issue can start getting its recognition in court. We have a unique opportunity to introduce change and correct this problem once and for all. But, it's going to take commitment and a showing of hands. We should not confuse this issue with the efforts underway to see Linux deployed as an alternative OS on computer systems. The refund issue is a much easier battle to win, one that is absolutely critical if we're ever going to get to that point anyway.



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Re: Windows Refund Day II: Next Steps

Anonymous's picture

Linux moron : "Its about what obligation MS/HP has towards those customers who are simply following what is written in the EULA.:

In case you are deaf as well as stupid, listen up:


We don't want you buying WindowsPC if you don't want to buy Windows PC.


Why on earth a linux fanatic who cliams he doesn't want Windows will set out and deliberately go and buy a PC with Windows pre-installed is beyond me!

Its like you want tobuy a Hybrid car. Ford doesn't make hybrid cars.
Toyota and Honda do.
So what do you do?
You go and buy a car from Ford ( which naturaly is not a hybrid car) and then turn around and moan that the car you bought is not a hybrid car!

Its stupid and childish!
Go and buy you precious linux pc fron Wal-Mart or wherever, and take it to bed and make it love to it, like you linux freaks usually do.


People buy MS / Windows

Tvienti's picture

People buy MS / Windows because it's popular and user friendly, not superior. It's like saying people eat food from McDonalds because of its delectible taste and fine dining atmosphere. No, it's well known and convenient.

Linux isn't perfect, Windows isn't perfect. In my opinion, Linux fails in far more innocent and correctable ways than Windows. Windows consumers aren't all stupid, but Windows most definitely takes advantage of the uninformed by making decisions for them. Microsoft is devious in its software design and philosophy and this is precisely why it is so hated.

Linux would take the market if...

  • There were more supportive support groups.. the Linux community tends to have "high horse" syndrome and tends to shun and mock "n00bs", rather than giving them a helping hand (generalization)
  • It had wider support from software vendors. This is a catch-22, of course.. nobody wants to develop for Linux until Linux takes the market, at which point everyone would want to develop for Linux.
  • It was built with a more newbie-friendly philosophy. As it stands, you can't reasonably expect somebody new to computers to start using Linux and "get it" without a lot of support from others (which is hard to find without getting abused in forums, chat channels, etc). Linux could benefit from some fool-proof touches.
  • It had a less elitist community. Again, a generalization, but it's largely true and intimidating to those trying to break into the world of Linux.

I would say Linux's failing is its community - something you can ignore in the meantime, and something that can reform in the long run. But I would say Microsoft's failing is its philosophy and lack of respect for its consumers, something that lives in its very foundation. MS' deceptive techniques have worked so far, but they won't work forever.


Re: Windows Refund Day II: Next Steps

Anonymous's picture

Why should i have to go buy that. Its called being a consumer. We are consumers and if I want to buy a ***** hp laptop then i will. If their EULA states in it that I can recieve a refund for my unused microsoft software then i will. If companies like Microsoft are going to use the EULA to make the consumer a slave to the software then I think its time the consumer fight back. The EULA is a legally binding document. Meaning that it is a legal contract. If we consumers have to abide by it then manufacturers, OEMs, and Microsoft have to abide by it to. The rules are set but they dont want to play them.

Re: Windows Refund Day II: Next Steps

Anonymous's picture

linux whiner :"Why should i have to go buy that. Its called being a consumer. We are consumers and if I want to buy a ***** hp laptop then i will."

No no no!
Its not called being a cunsumer. Its called being stupid.
Its not part part of the American consitution.
HP is free to sell whatever computers they like with whatever operating system they like .
Same as Dell is free to use only intel chips if they like ( like they do now) without any AMD chips.
Its called the freedom of expression.
America is not Stalinist Russia.
You can't force anyone to pre-install your terrible, crap linux in their PC if they don't want to.
That is why the Appeals Court just recently RECERSED the lower court order that Microsoft must carry Java in Windows.
You just CAN'T force anyone to carry you peice of linux rubbish!
If you don't like JVC car stereos, and Toyota has only JVC car stereos in their cars, you can't force Toyota to remove JCV car steroes from their cars and put in say Panasonic steroes.
What you do is go and buy ANOTHER car, with the stereos that you want pre-installed already.

I repeat, you don't like Windows? Go to Wall-Mart and buy a lindows PC. No windows installed there.
If you are stupid enough to deliberately go and buy a Windows PC, when you could have bought a lindows PC, and then you turn around and whine about EULA's, you should be shot!
Its that simple!

You just don't seem to get

Anonymous's picture

You just don't seem to get it. Microsoft themselves say that you can get a refund if you buy a PC with Windows pre-installed. They and the PC manufacturers are not honoring that. They have a legal obligation to do so. Does Bill Gates himself have to read you the EULA before you'll get it?

Re: Windows Refund Day II: Next Steps

Anonymous's picture

If you hate linux so much why do you keep reading linux articles.

oh come on, you cant POSSIBLY tell me linux users dont do this with windows threads looking for converts :P

Re: Windows Refund Day II: Next Steps

Anonymous's picture

"Why don't you get a life"

I have one, oh btw mom says hi.

Re: Windows Refund Day II: Next Steps

Anonymous's picture

If comprehension did not provide for you an overwhelming challenge, you would recognize the article is about obtaining refunds for a product you don't want and don't use but have paid for. I appreciate that forcing people to pay for what they don't need or use is as much a Microsoft characteristic as is the requirement for reset buttons, but many of us throughout the world believe that natural justice precludes paying for that which you do not derive benefit from.

From the sophisticated nature of your prose I assume you are an educated and worldly individual. As such, it behooves you to conduct at least rudimentary research before opening your feeding tube:

"The People's Republic of China is emerging as one of the world's Open Source Linux operating system strongholds in software development, a new report has found.

The Evans Data 2002 Chinese Developer Survey, Vol. 2, released this week, found that two-thirds of Chinese developers (65%) expect to write an application for Linux in the next year.

In addition, close to half (44%) have already done so.

Completed last month, the research also revealed that intentions to use Linux as a primary host OS next year are expected to increase by 175%."

And the research lab which recently cracked the genome for SARS conducts their research on a Linux cluster.

The world does vote with their feet. But sometimes they are slow in moving.

Re: Windows Refund Day II: Next Steps

Anonymous's picture

From your post:"I appreciate that forcing people to pay for what they don't need or use is as much a Microsoft characteristic as is the requirement for reset buttons,... "

Explain to me exactly how Microsoft is forcing anyone to buy Windows to day, please?

Like I said before, VA Linux used to sell ONLY linux PCs, until they went into a deep financial funk due to lack of consumer demand for their product. They didn't pay any so-called "Windows tax" to Microsoft did they?
Microsoft’s settlement with the Justice department PREVENTS Microsoft from charging PC makers per processor.
Microsoft can only charge PC makers by the ACTUAL # of Windows PCs shipped. So you can't pay "double" for the OS if you wish to use linux.

Dell USED TO ship Linux desktops...until they realized there was little consumer demand and promptly put a stop to it.
Dell continues to ship linux on servers because there IS a demand for it.
Dell like every other OEM is a business. They are not the linux improvement charity!!

You can buy a "naked" PC or a linux pre-installed PC from any number of PC makers, albeit small ones.

Why on earth would you go and deliberately buy a Windows PC and then moan about it, if not for the purpose of causing mischief?

Re: Windows Refund Day II: Next Steps

Anonymous's picture

Huh let me think...Can you get a "blank" laptop from any manufacturer? NO! That is how this started. The guy bought a Toshiba laptop but didnt want the multiple OS's he paid for. He rejected the EULA and asked for a refund. You cant get a laptop from a small vendor they are just dells, hp's, toshiba's, gateway's, etc.

Re: Windows Refund Day II: Next Steps

Anonymous's picture

This goes well beyond Just Linux.
I have bought many systems. When and where I can I buy them without an OS and put what I want on. But that is rarely possible. Even when I want an M$ OS it is rarely the one that came with the computer. So M$ gets paid for the OS that came with the machine and again for the one I want. Sometimes even when I want the same M$ OS, I am still obligated to buy another - according to M$ EULA's you can not RIS a corporate install onto a machien without buying another license even if the machine came with a license for the OS you want to install.

M$ is entitled to be fairly compensated. I do not think anyone is trying to claim that M$ should not get paid for what people are using. But when the OS that came with your PC is not the one you intend to use on it, and the only way you could get that particular machine is with that OS, then you have been forced to pay for something you do not need. M$ put the refund language in the EULA. If the EULA is a valid contract it has to work both ways. That means that M$ has committed to making a refund available through the OEM.
It does not matter whether I wish to run Linux, W2K, Some M$ server, or XP Pro, if the machine came with XP Home, or W98 and I am not ever going to use them, I legitimately should have to pay for what I will use and I am entitled to a refund for what I will not.

Re: Windows Refund Day II: Next Steps

Anonymous's picture

Why on earth would you go and deliberately buy a Windows PC and then moan about it, if not for the purpose of causing mischief?

And herein lies the stupidity of your wisdom. It does not become a "Windows PC" (as loose a term as "black shirt guy" for a guy wearing a black shirt) simply because the hardware happens to have the software on itself. The PC hardware is not windows. Its is the software that is windows. The central issue is that the buyer does not want the software with the hardware, and the EULA for the software does say "return the software to the manufacturer for a refund". Obviously, this does not apply to fine folks like you who are dying to pay for a "Windows PC".

Don't feed the troll

Anonymous's picture

Just leave it alone...

Re: Windows Refund Day II: Next Steps

Anonymous's picture

Hey Bill, you are going to have to stop posting on these groups or you are going to burst a blood vessel. Just get Ballmer to suck your ***** and tell you that Linux will go away and all will be well again.

Are you really this sad for real ?


Re: Windows Refund Day II: Next Steps

Anonymous's picture

Typical response from a typical linux fanatic!
But hey, what is new?
linux anarchists have always been, and will forever remain nasty, stupid, and the lowest form of life there is, resorting to vile abuse and rabid attacks at the slightest challenge to their "linux good, windows bad" dreamland!

Luckily for humanity, Windows RULES on the desktop (over 92% share), and Windows has a RISING share ( Windows server pre-installed on over 60% of all new servers) in servers, is spite of all the linux FUD, lies and propaganda that is spewed out everyday by sites like this one and the notorious slashdot site.

That alone is revenge enough against you guys. :)

Re: Windows Refund Day II: Next Steps

Anonymous's picture

This reply leads me to believe that you haven't even read the article. This is not, in fact, a complaint against Microsoft, but against computer manufacturers who are not following Microsoft's own EULA/policies. If succesful, it would not force these companies to preinstall linux on any PCs. All it would mean is that users who did not want windows installed on their computers would be allowed a refund.

I find your manner on this forum disgusting, and it is a shame you have not been banned from the site (which the anonymity of the internet makes almost impossible... separate issue.)

Richard Hunt

Re: Windows Refund Day II: Next Steps

Anonymous's picture

linux moron : "All it would mean is that users who did not want windows installed on their computers would be allowed a refund.
I find your manner on this forum disgusting, and it is a shame you have not been banned from the site "

I am gonna repeat it again, because you linux fanatics are simply too dumb to comprehend anythng which doesn't say linux is God.

If you don't want to pay for Windows, go buy a PC that does not have windows pre-nstalled. Period!
Walk into any Wall-mart store (the biggest retailer on the lanet by far), and you can buy a PC with lindows(a version of linux) pre-installed already.
Take your money out, and then pay the shop cashier and hey, you have a PC without paying a penny to Microsoft.
Its that simple. Even a 5 year old can do it. (unless that 5 year old is a linux fanatic too of course).

Explain to me why you or anyone else will deliberately go and buy a Windows PC, when you can easily buy a linux pc, and then around and whine about it?

Are you pathetic or what? YESS!

Errm..about me being banned, so you can't stand the heat can you?
Its very ok for the linux cretins to abuse everyone and anyone who as much as cohjs against linux, but let anyone as much as challenge linux and he has to be banned?
You linux creeps are mentally deranged. No question about that.

Re: Windows Refund Day II: Next Steps

Anonymous's picture

It is an issue of Hardware Eric. =)

If I want a thinkpad with QNX on it, I should be able to do that without paying for something that I am not going to use.


James Leone

MS and Communism

Anonymous's picture

Communism there was no free market without it's the goverments control-MS in no way encourages a free market without anti-capitalistic controls over it's products.
Communism demands it's *fair* share of capital, with developing tools for MS products starting at 2500 and up, developing for this platform hardly sounds like capitalism. Plus you usually end up competing with Microsoft over the software you created-hardly developer friendly.
Communism, you had no choice in supporting one company or ideal regardless because it was all pretty much the same anyways,whether it was in your best interest or not-MS, ditto.
Communism, state run media and censorship and irrational controls, here's MS again, strike three.

Disimilarites of MS and U.S.S.R communism -opponents don't go missing (unless they're in the popular media), yet.

Microsoft is a collection of lawyers, mediocre programmers, and distubution system parodies the long bread lines of communistic Russia. The MS windows platform is in no way an even playing ground when it is willing to compete for the same user resources, (but of course, only after the *open* community or MS developers customers show a demostratable profitability).

Re: MS and Communism

Anonymous's picture

Hey dude, you obviously know very little about what communism really is about.
Nor do you know anything about the Soviet Union and the now defunct Warsaw Pact countries.

Microsoft is equal to communism? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
You are deluded as well as confused and illiterate.
I'd advice you go back to first grade, boy!
And this time listen to what the teacher says, ok?

Re: MS and Communism

Anonymous's picture

What is the relevance of this bull***** ? Here's one idiotic Steve Ballmer (see ) claiming linux to be "communist" and yet another slashdot junkie claiming MS to be the equivalent of a communist state. And ironically, it is communist China's govt which is kicking MS's butt. And so is capitalist Germany (with city of Munich going for FLOSS). In other words, its just plain idiotic to draw such stupid parallels.

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