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Getting a refund for Vista

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Old 07-23-08, 04:07 PM Thread Starter   #1
TempliNocturnus
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Getting a refund for Vista


Here's a neat story on someone, who supposedly got a refund of $200 for an OEM copy of Vista, that came bundled on his new HP computer.

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http://equiliberate.org/?q=node/3

How I got a Windows Vista refund from HP

Sun, 07/20/2008 - 18:26 — uncle_benji My laptop was stolen, so I went down to Best Buy and picked up an HP dv6815nr since it was on sale for $599.99+tax. After powering it up, I was confronted by the Microsoft Windows Vista EULA and the HP EULA:



If you take the time to read the Microsoft EULA it is disturbing to say the least. But I won't get into that here - many others have bashed this EULA to bits. Notice that there is no option to not accept their terms - you agree, or else... Or else what? I stared at the screen, and decided it was time to take the leap to Linux.

I found an 800 number on the HP website and made Phone Call #1:

PHONE CALL #1 - Saturday, 5/24/2008 - ~5 PM

After talking through the voice-activated menu, I finally got a fellow who identified himself as Jack Marcelo at 5:15 pm. I explained to him why I was calling, and he tried to get all my personal info of which I would only divulge name and phone number. He explained the store warranty was 14 days and I should contact Best Buy to return the laptop and get a refund. I told him I did not want to return the laptop (hardware), just the Windows Vista operating system (software) that came with it. Then I explained again that the EULA for Windows Vista said to contact the manufacturer, presumably HP, for a refund.

He said that HP is bundled with the laptop and they cannot be separated.

He said there are other computers like Compaq that come with Windows XP that I could get instead. I told him again that this is not what I wanted. I turned on my new HP laptop, and read him the license agreement. I told him the EULA says I can be refunded for the software. He said a “case manager” would call me Monday or Tuesday at the latest since they do not work over the weekend.

Tuesday came and went, and I had not heard from HP so I called them:

PHONE CALL #2 - Wednesday, 5/28/2008 - 12:06 PM - Total call length = 39 min, 25 sec

Again I called the HP 1-800 number and had to spend several minutes getting through their voice activated menu before getting a person on the line. The woman that answered said her name was Luv Garcia. After explaining my problem to her (I did not have the service ticket # handy), she put me on hold and I was transferred to a man who identified himself as Andrew. I asked Andrew for his last name, for my record, and he said he could not give that out but he could give me his ID #. I said okay then, and he gave me the ID #: 2725239. I then explained what I wanted and he said he would get his “supervisor” on the line. I was put on hold a third time.

Minutes later, a man who identified himself as Eric came on the line. I explained the issue again. He explained that HP laptops are made to work with Windows Vista and that downgrading to Windows XP could be problematic (e.g. incompatible drivers, etc). He explained HP does not support open source platforms like Linux and that there are no drivers available from HP for Linux. He tried to convince me that getting rid of Windows Vista would be a pain and is not in my best interest. I told him I just wanted a refund for Vista.

He said to please hold while he reviews his notes.

He came back on the line and again tried to convince me, by explaining that there would be technical difficulties with using a non-Windows-Vista operating system on this HP machine, to return the laptop and get a different one. I told him again that was not what I wanted, explained what I wanted, and reminded him that he just said HP would not offer tech support for other operating systems. I told him nicely that I would worry about the technical problems of using a non-Windows-Vista operating system but he should help me get my refund.

He said he would try to get a hold of a “case manager” because they are the only ones that can authorize refunds, and said he would put me on hold.

A “case manager” was not available so he said he would “re-escalate the case” and a case manager will call me within 24-48 hours.

Needless to say, 48 hours came and went, and I had not heard from the phantom "case manager". By now, I had wiped Vista off my computer and was running Fedora 9 32-bit. I called HP back a third time:

PHONE CALL #3 - Friday, 5/30/2008 - 12:53 PM - Total call length = 50 min, 19 sec

I called the 800 number again and spent several minutes talking my way through their menu. Finally I got in touch with a real person who claimed his name was Surya Deet. I explained the situation to Surya. He asked for the case # to pull up the case. He said the case was escalated to a higher level and that I need to speak with a “case manager”. I said, yes, how do I get a hold of one? He put me on hold.

Over four minutes passed.

Surya came back on the line and said there was no case manager available. He said they are located at the corporate office in California and they only work from 8 am to 5pm PST, Monday through Friday. He said they will not be open tomorrow (Saturday).

I told him this was the third time I was calling and each time I got the same story. I asked politely if there was a shortage of staff. He said that was not the problem. I asked if he could give me a direct number to the corporate office so that I could try calling the “case manager” directly. He said he had no authority to give this number out. He said he can't get in touch with a case manager within the next 45 minutes (it was now about a quarter after 1 PM HST, supposedly 4 PM PST) and that I should try calling before 4 PM PST since the headquarters are in California and the case managers are very busy within the last hour of their day.

I made him try again.

Over six minutes passed.

Surya came back on the line and said his “supervisor” would be available in 15-20 minutes and the case manager would not be available for another 30 minutes (it was now about 1:20 pm). He kept saying HP will contact me Monday and that I must wait until then. I asked if he was in India and he said yes (just curious).

I said please try one more time. I explained that at 8 AM PST M-F I am already at work, and at 5 PM PST M-F I am still at work so it is not easy for me to make these phone calls over and over again. After some polite coaxing, Surya put me on hold again.

Over four minutes passed.

He came back on the line again and said HP would call Monday at the latest.

I politely explained that now, about 1:30p HST, it would be only about 20 minutes until the case manager was free to resolve this issue. I told him I would prefer to wait on the line until 1:50 PM HST when the case manager is available. Surya put me on hold again.

This time, Surya's “supervisor” came on the line. He introduced himself as Ravi Kashyap. He spelled his name letter by letter so I would get it right. I thanked him. He asked what the problem was. I explained, yet again, and he put me on hold.

Two minutes passed.

Ravi had put me through to a case manager at last, and 9 minutes before Surya had said she would be available!

A woman that identified herself as Dawn came on the phone. I asked for her last name. She said she could not give that out but that she was the only one here (around 1:43 PM HST). She said the direct number was 1-877-917-4380 ext 95. She said she works 12:30 pm to 9 pm EST. I had to explain the problem to her again. She said I would have to buy Windows XP and have it installed if it is possible to get a Vista refund. I asked her to clarify – would I have to buy Windows XP or is it presumed that I would have to buy it because I would be operating-system-less after I got rid of Vista. She said the latter.

She then asked what the contract said exactly. I told her that it says if I don't agree to the Microsoft EULA to contact the manufacturer for a refund. She said does it say “notebook manufacturer” or “computer manufacturer” or something to that effect because it being a Microsoft EULA she would assume that manufacturer means Microsoft if it doesn't specify notebook/computer/hardware/etc.

I was at work so I didn't have the document right in front of me to quote word for word. I told her I thought it just said “manufacturer” and didn't define this. She said in this case I would need to contact Microsoft. I told her I wasn't 100% sure and I would need to go home and verify.

She gave me an email address, hp_sbel_support_en@mail.support.hp.com that I could send the EULA language to or she said I could call back Monday between 12:30 pm and 9 pm EST. I agreed to do this.

Note that I was first told case managers are in the office 8-5pm PST. Now Dawn, the case manager, told me her hours were 12:30-9pm EST. In her emails you will see that she sometimes says her hours are 12:30-8pm EST, but other times 12:30-9pm EST. Either she's a real moron and doesn't even know when she is supposed to be at work, or it is another HP tactic of deceit.

Also note that Microsoft will NOT refund you for an OEM OS (see the "What products are NOT eligble for a refund" section)!

Here is the first email I received from Dawn, on 6/4/08, asking for a copy of the Microsoft EULA and my receipt of purchase:



I sent her a copy of my receipt and the screenshot (at top of post) on 6/13/08. After not hearing back for 3 day, sent a follow up email. On 6/17/08 I resent the documents even though my emails never got bounced back. I received this email later that day:



Finally! She admitted I am entitled to a refund of $200, which is not bad considering it retails for ~$240. I didn't hear from her again until 6/24/08 (despite that I sent an email every 3 days asking when I'll get the $200):



I promptly sent her my mailing address the same day. Didn't hear back from her (despite, again, sending an email every few days) until 7/2/08 when she called and left me a phone message asking that I call back. I sent an email asking her to correspond via email (for sake of convenience and record, in case I go to court). She sent me this email in response:



At this point I was ROFLMAO. Need to dicuss refund amount?! Hah! I promptly sent an email back saying we have nothing to discuss, seeing as she received a copy of my receipt long before she told me how much she could refund me. I never heard back from her after that. In the last email I sent Dawn, I said I was filing a formal complaint with the BBB and if I didn't get immediate confirmation that the check was being sent I would pursue legal action.

On 7/15/08, nearly TWO MONTHS since I first asked for a refund, I went to HP headquarters website and tried to send a letter of complaint to Mark Hurd, CEO and President of HP via HP's online form. The page this form is on automatically reloads every minute or so, making it nearly impossible to type a message and hit the send button before your message is erased. I type faster than anyone I know, so I jotted off a super short, very angry email and was able to hit "send" on my second try. I received confirmation of receipt from HP but no other response to date.

I had been thinking about donating some $ to the Electronic Frontier Foundation for some time now, and figured this was a good time to do it. I sent them some coin along with a plea for legal advice on the best way to proceed with the HP case (it is not about the money but the principle!).

Fortunately, I received a check from HP in the mail for $200 on 7/17/08:



So, world, it CAN be done - this is ~34% refund bringing the total cost of my laptop to $399.99+tax. Don't take NO for an answer. Know your rights and enforce them, or you may one day no longer have them.

This will be my last HP product - I have read Dell customers get OS refunds in a matter of days.

Bid starts at $250 for the check Smile Use the contact form to make an offer. I'll be taking bids till 8/14/08. All $ over $200 will either be donated to Ralph Nader's presidential campaign or the Electronic Frontier Foundation, winning bidder's choice.
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Old 07-23-08, 05:05 PM   #2
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WOW! good to know!
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Old 07-23-08, 05:34 PM   #3
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ROFLMAO. That's HP for ya!

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Old 07-24-08, 04:30 AM   #4
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HAHAHAHAHAH ZOMG WTFBBQ.. cant believe i read that entire post at 230am

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