Getting your Microsoft Tax Refunded: 10/10 for Amazon UK! [Updated]
The PC itself looks brilliant and I can’t wait to use it. However, it is unfortunate that Asus seem to have been bought-off by Microsoft so they will no longer sell these devices with anything other than Windows software. Software that I for one have absolutely no intention of using.
Turning the machine on for the first time I was amazed at just how long it took for the first-time-run license window to appear. Anyway, it did eventually:
If you can read the text in the EULA on the left, the important bit states:
“If you do not agree to the terms of this EULA, you may not use or copy the SOFTWARE, and you should promptly contact Manufacturer for instructions on return of the unused product(s) for a refund in accordance with Manufacturer’s return policies.”
Do also take a look at the conditions imposed in the second box too (click the images for a big piccy). Basically it says you can’t change your mind once you have said yes and that they don’t actually provide any “warranty” anyway. What complete and utter claptrap. Why on earth do people continue to put up with this rubbish?
And so, when you say you do not want to accept their unfair and ridiculously one-sided licenses, you are told to turn of the machine. Fine. Suits me.
First off I thought I’d ask Amazon what the correct procedure is for requesting a refund. So I sent them an email from my Amazon account last night (at about 10:00pm):
This morning I had one of those slightly annoying automated replies telling me that because the order wasn’t actually to do with my account (which is correct):
“For security reasons, we can only take action on an account when the request comes from the e-mail address related to that account. Hence we request you to contact us from relevant account.”
There were a couple of helpful links in the mail – one of which was to use if you found the email response hadn’t been helpful or resolved your issue. Clicking that took me to a page on Amazon’s site where I was invited to get them to call me. Within 20seconds or so I was talking to a real person (probably in Ireland from his accent). I explained that I didn’t want the Windows XP software and was intending to format the drive and install Linux (he seemed to understand exactly what I was talking about). He asked what version of Windows was on the computer, and then basically said ‘OK. We’ll refund the cost of the license to the buyer’. And that was it.
I should point out that the chap at Amazon also suggested that I check with Asus that removing the software might invalidate my warranty on the device. I have searched on Google and on Asus’ website and read the Warranty card that comes with the device. I couldn’t see anything that would indicate my warranty would be void if I change the software. I have mailed Asus to try and confirm it will be OK. [Update: I've just had a message back from Asus saying my Warranty will fine. They don't "support" other operating systems but I can understand that completely] Frankly, it would be a pretty USELESS warranty for a computer if it became void by installing new software. But I am not a lawyer so don’t take my word for this and YMMV.
Within a minute or so of ending my phone call with Amazon a copy of an email to the Miserware account holder at Amazon dropped into my inbox.
Dear Melissa/ cc Alan
I have requested a refund to your payment card for this purchase in the amount of 40.00 GBP for this order, as Alan will not be using the Windows XP Software. Refunds usually go through within 2 to 3 business days and you will see this amount credited on your next statement…
Brilliant. I can’t really praise Amazon enough for that. It was easy, simple and no fuss.
I guess my only concern is that the cost of this refund might not get passed back to Asus. But at least the information is in the public domain on this blog. Also, I should think if Amazon had to do this more than occasionally they’d be asking some hard questions of Asus…
Now I need your help dear readers…
I am not yet sure what to put on this machine: Ubuntu Desktop, Ubuntu Netbook Remix, Cruchbang (which I have heard some good things about but not tried) or something else… Suggestions are more than welcome I have plenty of choice! And I plan to use it!
Come on Asus, you have some really nice products crying out for a proper operating system and it’s a real shame you have allowed yourself to be stitched-up by Microsoft. If you would like me to put you in touch with the guy responsible for OEMs at Canonical (Ubuntu) Just let me know. I’m sure he’d be delighted to talk to you.