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French Judge Orders Refund For Pre-Installed XP 663

Racketiciel writes "A French user asked for a refund after buying an ASUS computer that came with Windows XP and other software pre-installed. ASUS tried to apply a procedure which cost more money to the consumer than they will give back... The court ruled in favor of the user, who received back 130 Euro (~200 $) for the software. Here is the ruling (PDF, French). In France, this is the fourth victory for refund seekers during the last two years, and many people are now filing for refunds (in French). Two French associations (AFUL and April) published a press release on this victory the same day an important hearing happened." The English-language press release linked above gives a pretty good idea of what happened here, for those unsuited to wading through French.
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French Judge Orders Refund For Pre-Installed XP

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18, 2008 @11:10PM (#23458114)
    welcome our anti-XP French overlords.
  • by Ctrl+V ( 1136979 ) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @11:13PM (#23458130)
    I don't know that I have anything solid to base this on, but I've always guessed that the real cost per copy that larger systems makers have to pass on to Microsoft is more in the $30 range.
    • by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @11:55PM (#23458398)
      If you look at the extra USD100 as punitive damages it is not so bad.

      This will force the PC vendors (in France anyway) to provide better Linux options.

      • by Xzzy ( 111297 ) <sether AT tru7h DOT org> on Monday May 19, 2008 @12:38AM (#23458640) Homepage
        It doesn't force them to consider Linux at all, there's no law on the books that says "if Windows is a pain in the ass, you must offer Linux."

        What it will do is encourage the companies to not force bundled software. Either they'll make a point of selling bare-bones PC's, or they'll start honoring refund requests. If their licensing with Microsoft prevents that, then maybe they'll consider another operating system (which Microsoft would never allow to happen, Microsoft will just lower the price of licensing to make sure sales continue).

        Nothing says it'd have to be Linux, it could be joe schmoes Perl-based OS if that's what Asus thought was a good deal for customers.
      • I am French (and I glanced the ruling). However, the 130Euros cost for the software is somehow realistic (100Euros for Windows, 30Euros for extras). It is even a bit more than that. A "laptop sold with "Windows Vista Edition Familiale Premium" on http://materiel.net/ [materiel.net] (some home version of Vista, without any extra software) has a price tag of 1000Euros and exactly the same laptop without any OS is sold 870Euros. So the customer price tag for this Windows is 130Euros. (it is quite difficult to buy a laptop without OS, but there are some few offers). So the 100 euros estimate by the French judge is probably a bit too small but not far from the reality. And the judgment is based upon consumer laws. The price tag should be what the consumer has to pay, not what the seller paid.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MadCow42 ( 243108 )
        What's to stop them positioning Windows as a "Free bonus", and giving it a value of $0? Sure, you can select not to have it, but there's no financial benefit.

        If they're not charging the customer for it in the first place, then the customer cannot expect a refund.

        • by vidarh ( 309115 ) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Monday May 19, 2008 @07:14AM (#23460548) Homepage Journal
          The law.

          Making free offers that are contingent on a purchase is illegal in most European countries, both because it's considered false advertising (if the offer is contingent on a purchase, then it's not "free" - you are paying, no matter how much the vendor tries to convince you the price is all for the other part of the product), and because it's tying (bundling without an offer to offer the two products separately at their respective prices). False advertising is considered serious in itself.

          False advertising and illegal tying combined is not a way to make people happy - that you can't make offers like that is something people tend to learn very quickly here...

          Of course they could do this if they were prepared to offer people free Windows licenses without buying a computer, but somehow I doubt that would work out very well for the.

  • by jejones ( 115979 ) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @11:13PM (#23458134) Journal
    .."système d'exploitation". In the case of Windows, that seems appropriate.
  • Wait... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Vectronic ( 1221470 ) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @11:17PM (#23458166)
    Did he know it came with XP Pre-Installed?... If he did, I don't agree with this, if he didn't, then I do, provided it wasn't his own negligence.

    ASUS (or wherever distributor) probably has the option of having a barebones components only option for purchasing, so do that, or at least ask if you can get one if its not advertised.

    If it says "Comes With Windows XP Pre-Installed"... and he bought it, and then said "hey wait I dont want this"... too damn bad... keep the machine, or send the entire PC back... its not like it failed (jokes aside) as if it was a dud NIC or something...

    "ASUS tried to apply a procedure which cost more money to the consumer that they will give back..."

    Tried? it seemed to have worked.

    Anyone have a more informative non-french link to exactly what he bought, and what was advertised, etc?
    • by Nicolas MONNET ( 4727 ) <nicoaltiva@nOSPAm.gmail.com> on Monday May 19, 2008 @01:23AM (#23458876) Journal
      1. It's the law. If you don't like French law, stay out of the fucking country, it's not like Asus was forced to come here anyway.

      2. It's the fucking law.

      3. The EULA says that if you don't agree, you are entitled to ... A FUCKING REFUCKINGFUND. The judge said that a refund should be a full, no question asked, no bothersome bullshit ship your computer at your own cost pseudo refund.

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

      by vidarh ( 309115 ) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Monday May 19, 2008 @06:33AM (#23460364) Homepage Journal

      Did he know it came with XP Pre-Installed?... If he did, I don't agree with this, if he didn't, then I do, provided it wasn't his own negligence.

      Completely irrelevant. French law, as in most of Europe, does not allow tying (bundling two or more products and refusing to sell them independently). If someone wants to buy a product by itself and the reseller refuses, then the approach of buying the product and requesting a refund for part of the bundle and suing if they refuse is perfectly reasonable - it's a way of ensuring that there's a real reason to comply with the law, lest they have to deal with a spate of lawsuits.

      These laws have been on the book for decades, and they've proven time and time again to be good for consumers and good for competition.

      Don't like it? Then don't do business here. Just as you have to comply with a buttload of other laws to do business anywhere, we expect people to adhere to laws to protect consumers and competition.

  • by flyingfsck ( 986395 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @12:38AM (#23458646)
    Tied selling, whether applied to banks forcing you to buy insurance to get a loan, even when you are already insured, or to buying a PC with MS Windows pre-installed, is illegal in many jurisdictions. The MS EULA also says something to the effect that you can refuse to use it and get a refund. These lawsuits simply hold the sellers responsible for all their promises.
  • This is dumb (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19, 2008 @01:07AM (#23458790)
    The fact is the Windows EULA is presented on first boot of any new computer that comes with windows.

    This agreement states that if you do not agree to the terms you may turn off the computer and request a refund for Windows.

    Anyone and Everyone who buys a new computer with windows pre-installed has the right to get a refund for Windows.

    The reason this went to court was because ASUS was charging the customer more for shipping than they were refunding for Windows.

    Anyone who says this shouldn't have gone to court is shooting themselves in the foot.. Even us in the USA have the right to return windows if we disagree with the EULA. I don't want OEM's making it cost me money to do so!
  • by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:07AM (#23459056) Journal
    After all, they're only interested in their customer's benefit. Surely MS is glad that french customers have now more choice than ever.
  • by Fluffeh ( 1273756 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:23AM (#23459132)
    This whole argument has nothing to do with IF the supplier offers systems without the product. The whole argument here is that as a user you can choose not to agree with the EULA and therefore are not buying the software.

    What the court has said was that it was not fair to charge you $200 for the software but only refund you $25 if you didn't choose to accept it.

    And doesn't matter where you are from or how you buy your software/systems/pc - charging you $200 for something and refunding you $25 for it in an unused state is simply not fair.
  • by distantbody ( 852269 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:29AM (#23459152) Journal
    MSI announced two versions of the "Wind" UMPC notebook, Windows versions and Linux versions.

    They are pulling this scam too by making the linux version with 50% less RAM, 50% less battery and taking away bluetooth!

    Needless to say, many are miffed that they would have an unwanted software charge attached to the price just to get the more capable hardware!

    Independent of this article I was bloody well going to ask for a refund on the unused XP as the precedent is already several years old IIRC. This news just makes my surety to demand it off them go from 50% to 95%.
  • by dunkelfalke ( 91624 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @03:17AM (#23459338)
    I can still remember that some years ago the slashdot crowd cheered at the people who have tried to get a refund for OEM Windows preinstalled on their computers.

    Either the people here are different now or it is french bashing time. Maybe both.
  • by Fallen Andy ( 795676 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @04:10AM (#23459584)
    Sigh. It was either waste some of my mod points or comment. Given the amount of noise about "surrendering french" etc. on this thread I feel moved to comment instead. Here goes: Most of the slashdot crowd (being from that insular part of the world known as the United States of America) seem to have difficulty understanding any other part of the world.

    A heck of a lot of us live in countries where the native language isn't English. I'm English from the UK, but living 20 years over here in Greece (Europe).

    Most of the laptop vendors ship *only* the local native language version of (mostly) Windows Vista. If you're really lucky then you might see the English version. I spend a lot of time "cleaning" bloody Greek Vista *off* new Acers, HP notebooks and replacing it with English XP. You see - here in Athens (Greece if you forgot) we have lots and lots of people from all over the world (who don't want a Greek system but got stuck with it when they bought their nice new shiny whatever).

    I have the pleasure of babysitting a friends internet cafe (on sundays it's more like Manilla than Athens because that's the day the girls from the Phillipines get their day off - eat yer heart out basement dwellers (grins)).

    Some of this nonsense wouldn't be needed if Vista shipped MUI out of the tin . (Curiously though the MUI version of XP seems to be the norm amongst my friends from the arab world).

    If a machine ships with what is essentially a "useless" system, then you should be able to refuse the EULA and get a refund. What i'd really like to see is some EU wide ruling as to the *size* of that refund so that consumers would be aware of their rights . Fitness for use etc. is an issue.


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