PC user refunded for not using pre-installed Windows OS

Bitterwallet - WindowsWant your computer without the operating system bundled in with it? Easy - don't use the OS and demand the manufacturer refund the cost of it. Well, it's not that easy, but it's a cracking precedent that's been set.

The Register tells the story of Graeme Cobbett who was paid £70 by Dell, after he bought a Studio 1555 notebook and installed Ubuntu-based Linux Mint - instead of using the pre-loaded Windows Vista complete with a free upgrade to Windows 7.

The Microsoft Windows End User License Agreement means accepting terms of use as soon as you fire up Windows, but a clause in the EULA states:

"By using the software, you accept these terms. If you do not accept them, do not use the software. Instead, return it to the retailer for a refund or credit. If you cannot obtain a refund there, contact Microsoft or the Microsoft affiliate serving your country for information about Microsoft's refund policies."

Cobbett got around the problem by booting up the notebook from the new operating system on CD. Because he didn't open up Windows, he didn't accept the terms. It only took two months and 14 email exchanges with Dell but eventually he was paid his refund for rejecting Windows.

[The Register] thanks to Bitterwallet reader Mark Pearson


  • CompactDstrxion
    This could be really useful for me actually as I am buying my own full copy of Windows 7 and so will not need to use the preinstalled Windows if I replace my computer. If I boot off my own Windows CD and wipe the computer then I'm well within my rights to reject the preinstalled copy and basically get money back.
  • McBastad
    Cheapskate bastids!
  • Gunn
    Why not just offer the option at point of purchase? I'd rather install anything from scratch anyway, they have a habit of putting on trialware and general useless bits of software.
  • Jack V.
    gunn, they make money by installing these trials in the hope that the you buy the software. companies pay dell to put this junk on! there was a great bit of software that removes all the trials and junk software off the pc for you!
  • CompactDstrxion
    As stated above I pre-ordered my own full version of Windows 7, which will basically allow me to get refunds on preinstalled Windows until I choose to stop using it. Windows 7 full version pre-order offer = £50 Refunds = £50 X number of PCs I buy to replace existing one while using it Nice little earner every few years for me from Microsoft there! Also will allow me to wipe the preinstalled crap/trialware off every PC I buy easily.
  • Jonsend
    I tried this when I got a Samsung Q210 with Vista. I was told my only option was to return the laptop.
  • CompactDstrxion
    Jonsend, you should have threatened to take them to the small claims court, then actually done it. You'd have probably gotten the full retail value, which is about twice the refund they should be giving in the first place (what they actually pay Microsoft for each copy of Windows).
  • CompactDstrxion
    Where did you buy the laptop from incidentally? And I presume it was the vendor you contacted, not Samsung right?
  • Paul
    He's obviously smart enough to have pulled this off, but I can't get my head around why someone that switched on would buy a Dell.
  • Jonsend
    I contacted Samsung - here's their response: "Thank you for contacting Samsung regarding your Q210 notebook. If youdo not accept the licence agreement for Windows Vista then you can either choose not to install Vista and use an alternative operating system or you can return the notebook to your retailer. If you wish to use an alternative operating system such as Windows XP Samsung would not supply this but you could purchase a retail copy of Windows XP to install and then get the Samsung specific drivers and software from our website."
  • CompactDstrxion
    You should have contacted the vendor. The EULA says if you do not accept the software's EULA then you may return the software to the vendor for a refund. Common comebacks: 'It's bundled'- The EULA refers to the software, and says the software may be returned 'It's free'- No it's not, it's included in the sale price, which is not the same as free. If it was free, we could get it for free elsewhere.
  • Mike
    I dont get why dell would give £70 back, I get thats how much it costs elsewhere but it doesnt cost dell that much does it.
  • mike
    He didn't get £70 back - it's just someone making up a story for 5 minutes of fame - just another idiot...
  • gravy
    @mike Of course he didn't........and neither I guess did all the others who posted similar (and links) in the comments... http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/10/19/windows_dell_linux_refund/comments/
  • Hi O.
    Hmmm...I checked the EULA on my wife's new Dell Inspiron and nowhere does it say return said operating system it for a refund. It says something along the lines of 'if you do not agree to the terms and conditions, return the software to the vendor'. nothing about a refund. Tsoftware is came with is getting posted back to Dell, unopened. It came with Vista preloaded, along with all the usual vendor crap which slowed the notebook to a crawl. That lasted abouit half a day, until my wife asked me to install Kubuntu linux. Nuked the partition, including the recovery one, and it's a happy laptop, uses a third of the RAM, boots faster and is snappier to use, very intuitive, everything 'just works'. I would prefer it if these computer companies gave people the option of not having an operating system, especially Dell, they're very keen on getting you to build your own PC on the hardware side, but you're still stuck with crappy windows. meh.
  • CompactDstrxion
    Hi from Orange- you lost the ability to return the software for refund when you booted into Windows.
  • Hi O.
    CompactDstrxion: Whether we booted the laptop into Vista or not, there is simply no option of a refund - there's nothing in the EULA, and Dell even said before we purchased the laptop that they were not prepared to refund the cost of a Windows licence; if we wanted a refund, we would have to return the whole laptop for a refund of the original purchase price. My wife wanted the laptop, but she didn't want any of the software or windows it came preloaded with... As consumers, I think we ought to at least have a choice whether or not we want an operating system installed on a new PC, and we ought to be charged or not charged extra for that choice. Anyway, it's a moot point now, as all the software on CD/DVD it came with has ben posted back to Dell, unopened along with a snotty letter.
  • Marc F.
    Can I just point out that it's the Microsoft Retail Boxed (FPP) EULA which states that the software may be returned to the vendor for refund. The Microsoft OEM EULA does include a similar clause, however it specifies contacting the manufacturer rather than the vendor in this instance. So, if you buy a machine with a Microsoft OS preinstalled and choose not to accept the terms of the EULA, you would need to contact the manufacturer rather than the refund if you wanted to claim a refund for the value of the license. Cheers!!
  • Desmond
    Surely If you didn't agree to the terms of the EULA, and the supplier will not give a refund then you are free to sell the license

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