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Dell XP Refund

Wed 19 Nov 2003

Laptop arrives today. I turn it on, EULA appears and I take a photo and turn the machine off. Insert Debian boot cd and begin installation. Once the drive had been formatted and the install was going I called Dell's support number (1800-812-393). Chose the 'tech support' option and start speaking to Derek Mathew. I explain what the issue is, that I don't accept the licence and want a refund. He says I should contact customer service. By this time it is past 5pm in the Eastern States (Australia) so I wait for tommorow.

Clause from Microsoft EULA

Thurs 20 Nov

Call Dell customer service, speak to Andrea, who I explain the problem to. She tries to say that no refund will be available but after a bit of talking she speaks to her manager and decides to open a service request to look into licencing. I am told it will take 24-48 hours.

Mon 24 Nov

I get a call from Mr Ching at Dell, Re the 'Problem with Notebook'. He goes on about a 'popup window' and doesn't speak English well. I try an explain its a licencing issue but against my advice they decide to send engineer out on thursday. (They would have come Wednesday but I was going away for 3 days)

Wed 26 Nov

Mr Ching phones again and leaves a message to call tech support on 1300 6555 33 then option 1

I get back, give Dell a call on the number above, wait for 1 hr on phone, and hang up

Thursday 27 Nov

Phone Dell again on 1300 6555 33 then option 1. I'm told to call call 'Customer Advocacy in Sydney on 1800 812 393 then option 6. Apparently the number I was given is tech support in India (who would have guessed ?). Person I spoke to was Ashley.

Phone customer advocacy, go for #6 then #1. Jolene answers. I give the service tag and have to explain the story again. We talk (argue?) for a bit and then Jolene goes away to talk to her manager. She tries to tell me the licence was for online services which I politely refuse and ask to speak to her manager. She goes away again and says the problem will be sent to the escalation team. They will get back to me today or tommorow.

Mr Ching phones from India. As much as I try to explain to him its about licencing he thinks its a technical problem and asks that I take a picture (which I did when the EULA was onscreen) and send it to him at

Prashanth calls from Dell regarding pics. Finally they understand its not a technical problem. I explain whole story for like the 4th time, and mention installing Linux. Prashanth says that tech support won't support Linux, and I said that I knew that when I bought the machine and everything works fine :). Prashanth says he will escalate it to customer support.

Monday 1 December 2003

Mr Ching phones (from Customer Advocacy, wait a minute he was in tech support last month!) , he tells me the OS is goverened by an OEM licence (and that concerns me why?) but as a gesture of good will he will credit me $77 and I get to keep the copy of XP. I accept and offer and he seems very relieved and thanks me.

Wed 10 December

I phone 1300 6555 33 option 1 then 2, (get to tech support) and ask where my refund is. They transfer me to Customer Advocacy. I'm told my refund has been approved and the guys says he will check with the finance dept as to when it will be credited. They will get back to me.

Mon 15 December

Refund is credited to my VISA card :)

Now the question is, I've rejected the Microsoft EULA, except that I still have a copy. Does this mean I'm no longer bound by the terms of the EULA ? Am I free to copy / modify / reverse engineer and re-distribute at will ? Guess I need to find a lawyer :)