[linux-elitists] [tytanic11@comcast.net: Refund]

Jay Sulzberger jays@panix.com
Mon Jun 17 03:44:16 PDT 2002

On 17 Jun 2002, Patrik Wallstrom wrote:

> On Mon, 2002-06-17 at 06:17, Jay Sulzberger wrote:
> > On Sun, 16 Jun 2002, Nick Moffitt wrote:
> > > I have a story for you, as well as a request :
> > > Recently I got a new HP (Pavilion 521n) PC. Upon getting it home, I
> > > followed the procedure  at http://zork.net/refund/process.png. Last
> > > night I called HP to be told by a tech. support person that "this
> > > liscense does not apply to the OEM version" and "you can't return the
> > > software". I e-mailed support and got a similar response. My PC
> > > shipped with Windoze XP (Home) and I now am dual-booting Mandrake and
> > > Redmond Linux. My PC also came with a 6 month MSN trial, MS Works &
> > > Money 2002, does this apply to them ? As for getting my refund, whom
> > > should I talk with (@ HP), and how much should I expect back ?
> > >
> > > T. Morgan
> >
> > Immediately contact your state's
> >
> > 1. Office of Consumer Affairs
> >
> > 2. Attorney General
> >
> > Include all correspondence and an account of the telephone conversations.
> > Include a copy of the EULA.
> >
> > Insist that you be paid the full correct refund and not some smaller amount.
> >
> > Do not give up.  In many cases refunds have been paid.
> Does this apply to Sweden and IBM as well? Last week I bought a Thinkpad
> with a W2k license. Without the license the Thinkpad was exactly the
> same price, so I was actually thinking of getting it cheaper through the
> refund thing, but haven't actually done anything yet.

Do you have the EULA?  EULAs for Microsoft operating systems in the United
States once all had the famous refund clause.  The standard refund clause
states that, if you do not boot the Microsoft operating system, you get a
refund.  I believe that most Bureaus of Consumer Affairs will help you get
a refund, but you will have to press your case.  Once precedent is
established, others should be able to get their refunds more easily.

I recommend going after the full refund, which is either:

1. what the OEM paid to Microsoft in order to be able to put the copy of
   the OS on the hardware

2. what the retail stand-alone version of the OS is sold for.

If we accept anything less, then the OEMs will claim that a ludicrously
small amount is the amount of the refund.  Even if an OEM were to offer
something larger, if the amount is not the exact amount owed, then the
impression is made that somehow the OEM need not honor the plain and simple
language of the EULA, that indeed the EULA is not a serious
license/contract at all, but merely a declaration that the buyer has really
no rights that the OEM is bound to respect.  Or that the EULA does not
really bind either the buyer or the seller, and that the deal is really
just a simple sale, like the sale of a book.  No matter which happens in any
particular case, as long as we press for a full refund, the cause is
served.  To repeat: If the OEM refuses to fully abide by the EULA, well,
that shows them to be swindlers, and not honorable businessfolk.  If the
OEM simply ignores the EULA, and we press, then the OEM must eventually
claim that the transaction is a simple sale, and the EULA simply a fraud.

The defenses of the OEMs when faced by refund demands are:

1. You only get a refund on the OS if you return the whole system.

2. The OEM has an agreement with Microsoft that requires them to violate
the refund clause of the EULA.

ad 1: This is not what the EULA says.

ad 2: This is ridiculous on its face.

The first few people to respond to the request for a refund, if they are
not in the legal department, and also not in the office of the president of
the company, are incompetent to respond.  They do not know what the policy
of the company is, because there is no policy, beyond incomprehension and
unconsidered unreasoning fear of Microsoft.

No matter who repeats the absurdities listed above to you, simply persist.
The OEM will repeat the unpersuasive defenses, because that is all they

I believe that if you want to get a refund, and you are refused at the
first instance, than the next thing is to prepare a full account of your
request and the refusal, and send it to the president of the company.


PS.  You may be lucky.  You may get a decent sized refund upon making the
first request.  Such an outcome is also useful to the cause.

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