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Italian Judge Tells HP To Refund Pre-Installed XP 225

Posted by kdawson
from the fair's-fair dept.
Paolo DF writes "An Italian user asked for a refund after buying a Compaq computer that came with Windows XP and Works 8 pre-installed. HP tried to avoid the EULA agreement which states, approximately: '[I]f the end user is not willing to abide by this EULA... he shall immediately contact the producer to get info for giving back the product and obtaining refunds.' The court ruled in favor of the user (Google translation from the Italian), who received back €90 for XP and €50 for Works. Here is the ruling (PDF, Italian)."
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Italian Judge Tells HP To Refund Pre-Installed XP

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  • Progress. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nozzo (851371) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @10:28PM (#21144751) Homepage
    This is progress, the more this happens the better the choice for the consumer. It shows the vendors that users prefer OS choices a la Dell.
    True, this is but 1 user but every little helps as we say in the UK.
    • Re:Progress. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AusIV (950840) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @11:25PM (#21145085)

      True, this is but 1 user but every little helps as we say in the UK.

      It's not just one user. It's a legal precedent. Now Italian Linux users may be more likely to request refunds for Windows licenses that come with computers, and since there's a legal precedent, the vendors may be more likely to comply.

      • Re:Progress. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by houghi (78078) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @04:12AM (#21146465)
        And do not forget people and companies who still have already bought XP legaly previously.

        This is good news for the consumer. The ad news is that this will not harm Microsoft in the least, even if EVERYBODY would do this. It will be the computercompanies who will need to caugh this one up.

        They will not be able to get their money back from Microsoft. So either they will start loosing money (because they do not make that much on a PC) in Italy, or stop selling PC's altogether.

        Most likely the latter will be happening with other companies, like Dell. The result will be that larger companies will not be selling computers in Italy. Tghis will result in lower quality and people who want Windows paying more. So if the consumer wants the same product, he will end up paying more then he does now.

        The solution? Have this implemented in the rest of Europe. The European market is big enough to force a change and balsy enough to force Microsoft to pay back the companies in full.

        After that South America will follow and then Asia. Africa, Austriala, Canada and Mexico will follow after that. The USofA? They will follow the moment the consumers have some rights, except the right to shut up and spend money. Sorry.
        • by pipatron (966506)

          So either they will start loosing money (because they do not make that much on a PC) in Italy, or stop selling PC's altogether.

          Or start selling PCs with linux, and have Windows as an add-on with a price tag.

        • by Teun (17872)

          The ad news is that this will not harm Microsoft in the least, even if EVERYBODY would do this. It will be the computercompanies who will need to caugh this one up.

          I'm not so sure about this, last May I wanted to buy a HP computer in The Netherlands but without the Microsoft (XP) operating system as I wanted something more robust.
          I contacted HP through their website and their (in Dutch) reply was:
          Het is niet mogelijk om de HP Pavilion Slimline s7730.nl pc te ontvangen met Windows XP of zonder besturingssysteem.
          Wij HP kunnen u hierover niet verder helpen, u heeft de mogelijkheid om via Microsoft te genieten van de terugbetalingsvoorwaarden.
          Voor meer informatie h

          • It sounds like typical Dutch bureaucratic intransigence. It should be the unofficial motto of the Netherlands: "Dat kan niet"

            Tell HP you'll take them to court. You didn't pay Microsoft for Windows XP, you paid HP. And you want your money back.
            • by Teun (17872)
              Well if you'd want it "The typical Dutch way" then it's the shops responsibility to do any refunding.
              Legally they are the only party you as a consumer have a contract with.
          • by Fred_A (10934)

            Translation:

            It's not possible to receive this PC without XP or OS.

            We of HP cannot help you any further, you have the possibility to enjoy the payback conditions via Microsoft.

            I contacted MS by phone and they claimed I could get a payback in the order of 51 euros.

            Because XP costs nearly 300 euros I decided not to take their offer and make this a dual boot computer.

            In other words, at least here in The Netherlands it's Microsoft that sells the OS on a HP computer.

            What I find surprising is that MS actually replied.

            This kind of inquiry typically goes like :
            Shop : not our problem go see MS
            MS : not our problem go see your shop
            goto Shop

            In your case it also contradicts the EULA (and basic commercial principles in which you deal with your seller not its sellers as pointed out by others).

            The amount is also fairly low. Although it's probably close to what HP actually pays to MS when it buys a million licences for resale.

      • Re:Progress. (Score:5, Informative)

        by lbbros (900904) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @04:48AM (#21146623) Homepage
        Although it is a legal precedent, it must be noted that Italian law is not based on precedents, like UK or USA. Even the rulings of our "Corte di Cassazione" (akin to the Supreme Court) are not completely binding (i.e. they show the "correct" interpretation of the law but judges can decide differently).
        • And Court of Cassazione decisions often contradict previous ones, e.g. asserting that a person wearing jeans could be raped as removing the jeans was an impossible operation to perform without the victim's consent.
          http://tinyurl.com/2vomdd [tinyurl.com] (Italian)
  • MS Tax (Score:5, Insightful)

    by indy_Muad'Dib (869913) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @10:38PM (#21144799) Homepage
    90 euros for XP, $130

    50 Euros for Works, $70.

    so why do we only get back around $10 for a XP turn in?
    • Re:MS Tax (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JoshJ (1009085) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @10:44PM (#21144831) Journal
      Because Microsoft owns a significant chunk of the American political machine, but owns very little of the European one.
      • Re:MS Tax (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sterling Christensen (694675) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @11:49PM (#21145221)
        It's probably because US retailers think it should count that they bundled Windows with sponsored crapware bringing net cost down to $10, while the Italian Judge (quite reasonably) thought it shouldn't.
    • Re:MS Tax (Score:5, Funny)

      by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann,slashdot&gmail,com> on Saturday October 27, 2007 @10:46PM (#21144843) Homepage Journal

      90 euros for XP, $130
      50 Euros for Works, $70.

      Telling Microsoft to take their software to the dumpster: Priceless.
    • Re:MS Tax (Score:5, Funny)

      by jollyreaper (513215) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @11:06PM (#21144961)

      90 euros for XP, $130

      50 Euros for Works, $70.
      Canadian dollars, right? So in American that guy just got back $10k, right? Payday!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by falconwolf (725481)

        90 euros for XP, $130

        50 Euros for Works, $70.

        Canadian dollars, right? So in American that guy just got back $10k, right? Payday!

        According to the X-Rates [x-rates.com] currency calculator 140 euros is 201.46 US dollars and 193.784 Canadian dollars.

        Falcon
      • by canuck57 (662392)

        Canadian dollars, right? So in American that guy just got back $10k, right? Payday!

        Never heard of a Canadian getting a XP or Vista refund have you?

        So in Canada is is worth less than $0. Remember you had to pay non refundable GST/PST on that too.

  • by cygtoad (619016) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @10:45PM (#21144837)
    Assuming the EULA is the same in the US and elsewhere, I wonder why this has not been tried before, and if it has, does anyone know the outcome? This has far reaching implications beyond HP. Any computer manufacturer would be affected, but the EULA seems to point heavily to the refunding procedure, not of Microsoft, but of the reseller. It should be interesting to see how HP responds.
    • by Aehgts (972561) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @11:15PM (#21145015) Homepage Journal
      As a quick google search's [google.com] first few results show: this has been done in the US and Australia in the past with at least Dell and Toshiba and has been followed on slashdot [slashdot.org] before.
    • by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Saturday October 27, 2007 @11:15PM (#21145021)

      Assuming the EULA is the same in the US and elsewhere, I wonder why this has not been tried before, and if it has, does anyone know the outcome?

      It may be a hassle but people in the US have been getting refunds for years. Here's an article, "Windows license opens door for Linux refund" [cnn.com] on how people in the late '90s were requesting refunds. It mentions /. and how /.ers got involved.

      Falcon
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by JohnBailey (1092697)

      Assuming the EULA is the same in the US and elsewhere, I wonder why this has not been tried before, and if it has, does anyone know the outcome? This has far reaching implications beyond HP. Any computer manufacturer would be affected, but the EULA seems to point heavily to the refunding procedure, not of Microsoft, but of the reseller. It should be interesting to see how HP responds.

      It is and it has. There was a case recently in I think a French court where one of the big names was being awkward, and the court awarded the customer the full retail cost of all the software they rejected instead of just the OEM price. This was obviously a penalty for the company being difficult about obeying the EULA. And there have been a few others where people have demanded a refund as specified in the EULA, and reported their adventures in getting satisfaction.

      Its a case of "don't like it.. Don't buy

  • EULA agreement which states, approximately: '[I]f the end user is not willing to abide by this EULA... he shall immediately contact the producer to get info for giving back the product and obtaining refunds.'

    States approximately? I'd prefer to know exactly before I made any conclusions.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by joerisamson (824408)
      Well, this is probably a translation, so most of us are helped more with the translation, even if a translation has no binding value and is therefore only approximately correct.
    • EULA agreement which states, approximately: '[I]f the end user is not willing to abide by this EULA... he shall immediately contact the producer to get info for giving back the product and obtaining refunds.'

      States approximately? I'd prefer to know exactly before I made any conclusions.

      If you're in the US you want the version of the EULA for the US, the Italian version is only good in Italy. It's been years but when I had to agree after getting a new PC, in the US, it basically said if I didn't

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by JohnBailey (1092697)
      After a few seconds to get to the Google page, the EULA states exactly in the first paragraph.. http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/sp2/proeula.mspx [microsoft.com]

      "IMPORTANT--READ CAREFULLY: This End-User License Agreement ("EULA") is a legal agreement between you (either an individual or a single entity) and Microsoft Corporation or one of its affiliates ("Microsoft") for the Microsoft software that accompanies this EULA, which includes computer software and may include associated media, printed materials, "online" or ele
  • by moosesocks (264553) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @11:06PM (#21144955) Homepage

    Well, kudos to Italy for making the front page of slashdot 3 times in one day, finally constructing a mechanical device that didn't break down immediately, and ending up with a score in the green.

    Ciao!
    • 3 Italian stories on slashdot frontpage at short intervals... Who bets that Italian Internet will slow down to sub-28.8 speeds as Italy feels the slashdot effect?

      It would be fun (maybe not for the sysadmins though) to have organised country TLDs slashdottings, eg agree for one day to surf only pages ending in a particular country's TLD.

      It would then become more apparent that the modern Internet does not share the intended reliability and high-availability of arpanet. There are too many SPOFs in modern

    • by mennucc1 (568756)

      finally constructing a mechanical device that didn't break down immediately

      you probably missed two other Italian mechanical devices around:

      So what were you saying about Italian mechanical devices again?

    • by mattr (78516)
      Italy ought to be a fabulous space construction country given their amazing creativity and success with high performance machines (of which race cars are the most obvious). Heck I had an Alfa Romeo (you know the poor man's ferrari) when I was in high school and always kept a magazine page on my wall that said Victories in Series. They just kept winning. Sure the electrical system absolutely sucked but the rest of the car was amazing, far better than the price I paid at the Oldsmobile dealer. If you want to
      • Oh, I know that Italian sportscars can be fun (albeit impractical) if you're willing to throw enough money at them. I was more poking fun at the notorious unreliability of the low-cost Italian cars that made it over to the US (ie. Fiat).
  • It appears work still has to be done in getting the word out that in some cases, a Windows refund is still possible. I remember reading right here on Slashdot that a refund was possible. In fact there is s a website having info in this very topic. It went off-line long ago! It was www.wondowsrefund.net.
  • Don't get it (Score:3, Informative)

    by khallow (566160) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @11:23PM (#21145065)
    I think the EULA was clearly refering to the entire computer not to this software. My guess is that the reason this never happened before is because the entire computer is normally returned not just the software. My guess is that that HP ran afoul of some EU or Italian law governing bundled products. If that is indeed true, I will probably characterize such a law as "lame".
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dr. Donuts (232269)
      Read the article. The judge made the decision not based off bundling laws, but contractual.

      As far as the EULA clearly referring to the entire computer, I'd disagree. The EULA in question is Microsoft's EULA, not the manufacturers. If you go and buy XP off the shelf, you get the same EULA. You wouldn't go and return your computer just because you tried to install XP on it, now would you?

      "If you do not accept the conditions of this contract, you may not use or copy the software and should promptly contact the
    • If I couldnt build a cheaper computer myself, I'd buy a HP computer and if I couldnt get a XP refund I'd return the whole computer for the fun of it.

      It would seriously screw with their minds. :D
    • >I think the EULA was clearly refering to the entire computer not to this software.

      I'm not a lawyer, but I don't see how your interpretation can be applied. The EULA explicitly states [in part]: "computer software and may include associated media, printed materials, "online" or electronic documentation, and Internet-based services ("Software")." I don't see where in this list of items you could interpret to include computer hardware. MS or the vendor might be able to slip it into an addendum, but I do
  • He got costs, too (Score:5, Informative)

    by belmolis (702863) <billposer@alum. m i t .edu> on Saturday October 27, 2007 @11:27PM (#21145095) Homepage

    Not only was the buyer reimbursed 140 euros for the unwanted software, he was awarded 2,300 euros in legal costs. Refusing to abide by the EULA could get expensive for vendors.

    • by Gertlex (722812) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @12:14AM (#21145349)
      Oh no, a bit of legal costs!

      What I love about this case is that the reimbursement was completely in line with damages. None of that hundreds of thousands of dollars (euros) crap.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by pipatron (966506)
        That's usually how it works in Europe. Suing some company isn't like playing the lottery. If a company cause you damages, they will usually be forced to pay for the damages, legal costs, and possibly some small bonus on top of that, to compensate for the "discomfort" (can't find a good word here, I'm sure you get my point).
      • Why after factoring in the settlement, lawyers fees, court fees, missed income, inflation, risk hedging, emotional damage (because they're... y'know... priceless), instrument imprecision and error, the Earth's magnetism, and a little voodoo economics thrown in, the damages can easily soar past the 100,000 euro mark! You're obviously not a very good lawyer, if one at all.
  • I wouldn't be surprised if this issue ending up being so that nobody would sell you a computer before you have signed an agreement stating that you agree w/having Windows etc. in there. Then, if someone took this to court, it would probably end up so that you could get some other OS pre-installed, but w/extra cost, and they could justify this by saying that it causes them extra costs to serve a small group of users having e.g. Linux in there. So, you'd still end up paying the M$ tax in one form or the othe
    • by Sique (173459)

      I wouldn't be surprised if this issue ending up being so that nobody would sell you a computer before you have signed an agreement stating that you agree w/having Windows etc. in there.

      But that's actually the point! You can't read the EULA before you fire up the computer for the first time, and that's after the actual sale has happened. And the EULA explicitely states that it only covers software, documentation and services, but doesn't mention the hardware.

      That's why the court says: This little piece of text doesn't affect the transfer of hardware for money.

      If the EULA was printed out before the actual sale and had to be agreed upon as part of the sale, we had a completely different cas

      • by dangitman (862676)

        But that's actually the point! You can't read the EULA before you fire up the computer for the first time, and that's after the actual sale has happened.

        Can't you read the EULA on the company's website? And isn't it usually printed on paper that comes with the software?

        • Can't you read the EULA on the company's website?

          If you could, it would be a 'sample' or 'example' contract. But if you can't discuss it with somebody, it is *not*, legally speaking, a contract. No 'meeting of the minds' and all that.

          And isn't it usually printed on paper that comes with the software?

          Nope. It's almost invariably a text document that pops up as part of the install.

  • but so far all I got is an offer to get a refund for the whole unit, not just the OS. i suppose the reasoning goes that the PC is not a product by itself without the OS or something. since i buy notebooks, and there is practically no choice of cool notebooks without Windows, in the end i had to swallow it.

    has anyone got any other experience in Japan?
  • Regardless of how you feel about Microsoft, it is inarguable that consumers have little actual choice in the market place. Go to a store in the U.S.A. to buy a P.C. it will have Windows on it. You have go out of your way to get a computer WITHOUT windows, don't even talk to me about laptops.

    EVERYONE who has issues with having the only choice being Vista or mail-order bare bones should buy their computer at a store and return it because you don't agree with the EULA or that you think Windows is unusable, or
    • I recently went to this local store [pc-oke.nl] to get a new pc. I don't use Windows, and was expecting to have to haggle about not paying for it, but ... We configured my pc, tallied up the components, and then the guy says: "that price is without Windows, which Windows do you want on it?" Awesome!! So I tell him it's fine like it is. I'm very happy with the pc, and the price is great too.

      I think people should go to those stores that sell bare pc's, instead of just complaining about the companies that won't give yo

  • I can't believe no one commented on the fact he might already have a copy of XP and used the EULA policy to get a refund for the retail amount of the OS he paid for at a subsidized cost. Essentially, he got more back than he actually paid in for the OS and software. Brilliant.
  • only another hundred million left to go.
  • If he's saying he won't or can't abide by the EULAs, doesn't that mean he can't use any computers that have XP or MS Word installed?
  • Contract of adhesion (Score:4, Informative)

    by QuietLagoon (813062) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @03:09AM (#21146243)
    It is looking more and more that the court systems of the world are looking to EULA click-through "agreements" as contracts of adhesion [law.com].
  • by mennucc1 (568756) <d3@tonelli.sns.it> on Sunday October 28, 2007 @07:16AM (#21147117) Homepage Journal
    the Google translation is not very readable; when I proposed this submission [slashdot.org], I did summarize as follows:
    HP defended , claiming the terms of their contract with Microsoft; the judge ruled that the end user request may not be dismissed based on a contract between HP and Microsoft, since this latter is unknown to the end user. The end user, a member of ADUC (a consumer organization) was given 90euro for Windows and 50euro for Works; this is just a small symbolical amount, but it is a huge signal to HP and all other major vendor; in defending, HP claimed that the license and contract to Microsoft is unilaterally written by Microsoft; the judge ruled that nonetheless, HP is to be held accountable by the EULA; the ruling seem to suggest that it may be time for vendors to address this situation.
  • Windows Refund Day (Score:2, Informative)

    by magpi3 (913546)
    Brings back memories. http://marc.merlins.org/linux/refundday/ [merlins.org]

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