Windows Refund: Bought Laptop from Dell Outlet. Dell Refusing to Give me a Refund for Windows Vista
October 4, 2007 10:22 AM   Subscribe

Dell Outlet Windows / OS Refund.

I recently bought a laptop from Dell Outlet. It came with Windows Vista Home. As I use another OS, I did not accept the EULA when I turned on the system for the first time. Doing some research on the net, I discovered that Dell had refunded many customers who did not wish to use Microsoft Windows.

So, I emailed Dell asking for a refund. Here's the reply I got:

"Thank you for contacting Dell Online Customer Care regarding your order.
As you order was bough in our outlet store, this in built in on the Inspiron. It's not possible as it's built into all the system's that are sold in the Dell Outlet as there refurbished tags they are purchased from new sales.
When they are sent back to Dell we do not remove the OS Vista Software we resell it the way it was sent back.
If you require any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me."

I replied:

"I bought a laptop form Dell. Laptop came with Microsoft Windows Vista.
This means I paid for Microsoft Windows Vista.
Microsoft don't give out free copies of their operating systems.
The system came with a C.O.A.
The fact that the laptop was bought form the Dell Outlet should have nothing do do with it.
Dell pay Microsoft for Windows Vista regardless whether the system is sold on the main Dell website or in the Dell Outlet!
When the laptop arrived, I turned it on.
The EULA appeared. I did not tick any of the Boxes.
The EULA stated:

"By using the software you accept these terms. If you do not accept
them, do not use the software.
Instead, contact the manufacturer or installer to determine their return
policy or a refund or credit"

The EULA was:

I then rebooted the system and installed another OS.
I have taken pictures of the above procedure.
Other users have received refunds for the above products."

Dell replied:

"Thank you for your mail below.
You have not paid for this software, it is part of the package when you bought this order.
Dell do buy the software from Microsoft and they add the software to customer's orders free of change as promotion offers. Dell pays for this software not the customer.
Your order is refurbished as you bought it from the Dell outlet. I have sent this mail to our Technical Support Department to see if they can help you with query as Customer Care cannot refund this."

Do I have less rights because I bought a system from Dell Outlet?

posted by BillyRayMae to Computers & Internet (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think what Dell is trying to say is that you received a used, refurbished computer on which a Microsoft OS has already been used, by the previous owner. That means the OS can't be returned; the "package seal" has already been opened, even if not by you.

In essence, as part of the deal you made when you bought a refurbished unit, you took the whole thing as a package -- including the OS that you don't want and don't intend to use.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:32 AM on October 4, 2007

I don't think Dell is under any obligation to refund your money. It would be great if they did, and you might try escalating up the chain of command and emailing managers, CEOs, etc, if you really want that refund.

As I understand it, though, they're well within their rights to sell everything together as a package deal. For example, your laptop comes with a power cable. If you already have a compatible power cable at home, would you write in and ask Dell to refund the money for the cable? Doubtful.

I'm a linux user and abhor the 'windows tax' as well, but if you really didn't want to pay for windows, you should have found a laptop that is sold without it.
posted by chrisamiller at 10:36 AM on October 4, 2007

I"m all for squeezing the last dollar out of a deal, but this is ridiculous.

When you bought the computer, you got an itemized list of products that came with the computer; there weren't prices on that list, though, because you are buying the whole deal for X dollars.

I don't think it's fair for you to try to negotiate a new deal with Dell after you agreed to the previous deal by purchasing it.

If you didn't want to pay for the OS, you shouldn't have bought a computer with an OS bundled in.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:43 AM on October 4, 2007

Response by poster: To Steven:
Not sure if there was a previous owner. The laptop was brand new. Was probably a canceled order. Anyhow, I was give the option of accepting the EULA or not.

To Chirs:
Dell have give out refunds before. This guy got a refund after one email.
posted by BillyRayMae at 10:44 AM on October 4, 2007

Response by poster: To Mego:
Here's a google search for "Dell Windows Refund"

Maybe you don't know that to get a refund is possible?
posted by BillyRayMae at 10:46 AM on October 4, 2007

BillyRayMae, all of your examples are for regular Dell purchases, not the outlet store.
posted by nomisxid at 10:49 AM on October 4, 2007

Sometimes people get lucky. Sometimes they don't. That guy is also not in the U.S.

What's all this about your "rights"? There is no "right" in question here.
posted by mkultra at 10:51 AM on October 4, 2007

I agree with the above postings. You are paying for the used system. That is the hardware, the software, and anything else that may come with it. From the Outlet Info Center and then the FAQ link there are a couple FAQs that cover this sort of question:

Q: 'Can I customize a Dell Outlet system? Can I make changes to the configuration?'

A: At this time, system configurations cannot be changed or modified. You can, however, upgrade systems by adding hardware, software, monitors, printers, and many other electronics and accessories.

A FAQ that covers your question further would be:

Q: 'What software is included?

A: All refurbished desktop and notebook systems from Dell Outlet ship with the operating system they were originally sold with, which varies by model and line.....[continues]

You can add whatever you want, but you can't subtract. Dell is trying to make up for what they lost when they refunded or replaced this system and the cashola for the OS has already been paid to MS. Even if you upgrade the OS, I can see that they are charging you the full cost of the OS and not the upgrade price. So if your system comes with Vista Home and you upgrade to Premium, you are getting Vista Home on your PC and a Vista Premium disk with your package (also shows 'Self Install' on the order page.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 10:52 AM on October 4, 2007

Response by poster: To Nomisxid:

Correct! Hence my question here.

I don't see why the Outlet should be any different.

Are Dell paying MS any less?
posted by BillyRayMae at 10:55 AM on October 4, 2007

BillyRayMae: A possibility and a right are two different things.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:58 AM on October 4, 2007

Response by poster: To Boyo:

Dell is trying to make up for what they lost when they refunded or replaced this system and the cashola for the OS has already been paid to MS.

That's the cashola I want! I'm not asking Dell for any money.
posted by BillyRayMae at 11:03 AM on October 4, 2007

You asked a question but won't accept the answer, so here it is bluntly: You are out of luck. You will not get a refund. You have no right to a refund. The sooner you accept this and get on with your life, the better off you'll be.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:08 AM on October 4, 2007

Exactly. You have asked thousands of people for a non-bias opinion, which they have given you, but you don't want their answer. I don't think any of us get paid by Dell and we are almost all giving you the same answer.

It is not us that you need to convince though. We don't agree with your logic, neither does Dell. But it is Dell that you need to get to agree with you, not us.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 11:14 AM on October 4, 2007

Response by poster:
But if everyone gave up that easily nothing would happen.

My question was a very simple and reasonable one.

If Dell gave buyers from their main site a refund of the fee they pay to MS, then why not to customers from the Outlet?
It's not costing Dell anything.

When I replied to posters replies, I wasn't simply disagreeing, I was trying to provide more information to explain where I was coming from.

I think the problem is that I was looking for other people experiences with this situation and what I got was opinions. When I didn't agree with these points of veiw, some posters started to get aggressive.

I will post back here to let you all know how I get on.
posted by BillyRayMae at 11:32 AM on October 4, 2007

My question was a very simple and reasonable one - If Dell gave buyers from their main site a refund of the fee they pay to MS, then why not to customers from the Outlet?

Because the Outlet is not necessarily subject to the same terms and conditions of the rest of Dell's business, because they sell two different groups of computers.

You don't seem to understand that their Outlet sells refurbished computers. Here's a definition of refurbished from Wikipedia: "Computers and laptops that are refurbished usually means that it did not initially pass quality standards of the manufacturer. They then fix or recertify the unit and sell it at a discount price (Up to 30% off). Most of them carry a 30 day store warranty and 90 days with manufacturer."

This is in contrast to computers that have passed the quality standards test, which are the ones that are retailed in their stores.

To answer this portion of your question:
Do I have less rights because I bought a system from Dell Outlet?
posted by Meagan at 11:47 AM on October 4, 2007

Response by poster: To Megan:

I understand quite well.

Dell Outlet is a division of Dell Products, selling refurbished computer equipment. This is product, which has been returned to Dell for a variety of reasons including cancellation and specification changes.
All products have been tested and repackaged to Dell factory standards and come with a full Service Pack. High demand - so start shopping NOW - to get the system that's right for YOU!"
posted by BillyRayMae at 12:03 PM on October 4, 2007

Why are you spending time arguing with us? We don't work for Dell and can't get you what you want. You should put your effort into talking with Dell instead of random people on the Internet.
posted by Meagan at 12:20 PM on October 4, 2007

I think it can be simplified thusly:

when you buy this computer from dell outlet, do you have (as you do when buying from dell retail) a choice of customizing what (windows) OS (viz xp home, pro, vista, etc.) is installed?

a) yes. then maybe you have a case like other aforementioned internet peoples.

2) no. then, you really don't have a case, in accordance with the way dell has illustrated.
posted by dorian at 12:25 PM on October 4, 2007

Response by poster: I had actually finished and stated that I would let you all know how I get on.

Then you stuck you oar in with a spurious point about Dell refurbished systems.

I merely pointed out the correct information.

This is my final reply about this matter.
posted by BillyRayMae at 12:29 PM on October 4, 2007

Think of it this way. You have a car, and you decided to buy four new tires for it. So you buy the tires from The Tire Store and it's a done deal. Then, unexpectedly, you decide to sell the car.

So some guy comes along, likes the car and buys it off you. But when he gets home he realizes he has four great tires that would fit the car just fine sitting in the garage. He figures he shouldn't have shelled out for the ones that came with the car, so he calls you back and explains that he doesn't want your tires and would like the cost of them refunded.

What would you say? Think about it. What if the guy told you he didn't want YOUR money, but that you could give the tires back to The Tire Store and then give the money to him.

Do you honestly think that makes sense?

The deal about Refurb/New Return/etc is a completely moot point. When you bought the laptop, you bought it part and parcel per the terms of the Dell Outlet Store agreement, whether you took the time to read it or not. I know this too, because I just bought a Dell Vostro from the Outlet store this week.

It's exactly the same as if you bought the laptop from eBay. If you didn't want Vista on it, and didn't want to pay for Vista, you should have bought a laptop that didn't have it.
posted by sprocket87 at 12:55 PM on October 4, 2007

The deal about Refurb/New Return/etc. is not moot. For those who weren't paying attention, there was a very big court case where it was decided that Microsoft needed to give refunds for users who did not want Windows bundled with hardware. In other words, one can get a refund when one was NOT offered a choice of what operating system to have, because of anti-monopoly laws.

However, I still think you're out of luck, because like a lot of people have said, it's a refurb, which handily skips around a lot of things by being offered as-is, and the outlet store is likely not set up to decide weather or not you are the sole user of the computer, and then prove that to Microsoft, etc. You might have luck by just calling and pestering them, but you would have to make it more miserable for them to ignore you than to actually try and get money back from MS...sounds like a tough job.
posted by anaelith at 2:41 PM on October 4, 2007

If Dell gave buyers from their main site a refund of the fee they pay to MS, then why not to customers from the Outlet? It's not costing Dell anything.

Because it would cost Dell something. They wouldn't get the money back from Microsoft because that particular instance of the OS software has already been opened and used, even if not by you. So if you got a refund, it would be money out of Dell's pocket, for which they'd get nothing whatever, because they would not be able to reuse/resell the returned OS software.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:38 PM on October 4, 2007

You know Dell sells units preloaded with Ubuntu, right? You could have gone with one of those, but you wanted the cheaper laptop from the outlet store. Live with it, or keep asking Dell.
posted by achmorrison at 8:01 PM on October 4, 2007

it's a refurb, which handily skips around a lot of things by being offered as-is

This may not be true. The user appears to be in the EU, which has very strong consumer-protection laws (too strong, in some cases).
posted by oaf at 5:03 AM on October 5, 2007

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