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Dell Refunds Vista/Works With Two Emails 277

Posted by kdawson
from the try-this-at-home dept.
look@thealternative.ch writes "Although many people have asked for pre-installed Linux, and Dell seems to have listened, some still think that buying a naked PC won't be easy. But what about stripping it naked after you buy it? I managed to get Windows Vista (and a bit more) refunded from Dell Germany last week. The process was surprisingly simple: 1) After delivery, ask Dell Support for refund by email. 2) ??? 3) Refund!!! Read the full email conversation in the original German or my English translation. For the impatient reader: The refund is €77.54 for Windows Vista Home Basic plus Works 8.0 (that is 15% of the total amount I paid). The whole process took 2 emails, 2 more to say thank you, and less than 48 hours. The money is already in my account. Kudos to Dell Customer Care (esp. 'Veronika') for being efficient and customer-oriented!"
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Dell Refunds Vista/Works With Two Emails

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  • I hated dell... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by catbutt (469582) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @05:08PM (#18481267)
    back in the day, after buying two computers from them and having generally bad support experiences.

    This makes me want to give them another chance.
  • Automation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NekoXP (67564) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @05:08PM (#18481275) Homepage
    I wonder if they could automate the process the same way you track the shipment of your PC.

    Enter your order ID. Enter your Vista key.. and then a refund is processed. The Vista key could be submitted to Microsoft such that it no longer authenticates copies of Vista on Dell PC's (XP/Vista activation and WGA knows the difference somehow, somewhere) and Dell can have the money sent to the user without tying up their customer support line.

    Microsoft might be concerned that they don't get their money for this, but then again it would be against the law for them to do anything like force Dell not to do it, or insist that users do not get a refund anyway (the EU would have a field day and think up some higher billion dollar amounts for fines).

    I bet it costs more to process it through 'Veronika' than clicking a website button would.

    The uptake on this? I dunno. Maybe a lot of people would use it.. but a far higher number would not give a crap and carry on running Vista. I think shipping a naked/bare PC is extremely user-unfriendly and it also gives Dell a burn-in-test nightmare (how do you burn in a laptop which is supposed to have never had an OS installed on it? Do you then perform a military-grade disk wipe after you put the burn-in software on there? I dunno..). Putting the most popular, most needed for most people OS on the system (Vista I guess) is an okay thing to do. But I do think if you don't actually want Vista, you should be able to go through and click the Refund button..
  • Finally Uh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @05:13PM (#18481311)
    For almost 10 years, the lock on OSes to hardware with companies like Dell has not been mandated by MS, and finally we see one of these companies stepping up to the plate and doing the right things.

    The Windows and or OSes tied to hardware are for pure support cost reasons at this point with companies like Dell/HP/etc.

    Even prior to the dissolving of MS only contracts, any hardware company had the choice to not buy into an exclusive package from MS and pay the $5/10 bucks more per copy. And even though MS took the flack for this, it was not an uncommon model in the software/OEM industry and it was also something that the greed of OEMs were eager to take advantage of to the loss of their customers.

    I was part of a fairly large OEM company during this timeframe, and we chose not to save the $5 a copy on OEM Windows, and still maintained a great relationship with MS even still we sold naked and *nix preloaded on many systems.

    Sure we could have signed a bundling deal, just like we were offered by Corel and even IBM in the early years for OS/2, however saving a couple of $$ per Windows system was less important than providing our customers what they wanted.

    So Kudos to Dell for finally stepping up and taking responsibility for the product they are selling...
  • Re:Automation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zappepcs (820751) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @05:15PM (#18481319) Journal
    I recently bought a Dell SR2030, mostly because the price it was selling at was more than 25% cheaper than I could buy the hardware. To me, that is a deal. It also came with Windows XP on it. I swapped that hard drive out with a 300GB SATA drive and installed Linux before the sales ticket cooled off.

    I kept the Windows HD as sold because I can't get any money for it, and it might, read *might*, come in handy some day. Not that I'm counting on it, but hey, whatever. If I could go to the website and get the refund, that HD would be mounted as a Linux drive before breakfast!

    I'm all for making the refund easy!
  • The best part (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wes33 (698200) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @05:15PM (#18481321)
    So far as I can see, the guy could take the money and still be using vista. At least, I don't see anywhere any verification of the non-use was requested. so how does this work? what's to stop someone lying to Dell and getting 77 bucks
  • by hugorxufl (1071598) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @05:18PM (#18481347)
    Since IANAL, do any of you know of differences in consumer laws/regulations that may have made it easier for the German or European customer? Previous slashdot stories suggested that a Windows refund have been a mess for US customers in the past.
  • Re:Automation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Sunday March 25, 2007 @05:41PM (#18481489) Homepage

    Or, if you don't want Windows, buy an N-series desktop or laptop [dell.com]. People keep complaining that you can't buy a naked PC from Dell, but there it is.

    Now, whether it's much cheaper (or even cheaper at all) to buy a naked PC than the same PC with Windows is a different issue. I've heard plenty of speculation that, with the discounts Microsoft gives Dell and the money crapware vendors pay Dell to install their stuff, installing Windows on a machine costs Dell pretty close to nothing. I don't really know. I bought an N-series desktop a while back and only saved about $40, but I would have done it on principle even if it didn't save me a single dollar. I wouldn't use Windows on that machine even if it were free, and I'd like Dell to know that some of us simply don't want Windows.

  • by jimicus (737525) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @05:45PM (#18481505)
    Note the following line:

    Vista did not manage to recover from the aborted install process the previous day and got lost in an infinite loop of reboots. (I wonder what people do with a power outage during install as there was no such thing as a Vista-CD delivered...)

    And I've noticed that some OEMs aren't setting up a "recovery" partition (basically, a second partition which can be booted directly from the BIOS which reinstalls the OS) any more. Not good at all. Heck, I took delivery of a PC only last week where there was no hardware fault from the factory, but there was something wrong with the OEM Windows install and it was stuck in a reboot loop. Didn't bother me as we've got a Windows site license so I could rebuild from our own media anyway, but that's not really the point.
  • by jt2377 (933506) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @05:47PM (#18481519)
    At least you can get refund for Vista. Let's see if Apple will do that with Mac. hey, i don't want Mac OSX, Can i get refund on it?
  • by mark99 (459508) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @05:51PM (#18481547) Journal
    So how do they know you really formatted it, and aren't using Vista Home.

  • by bradavon (1066358) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @06:34PM (#18481839)
    I'm impressed to hear you got the crud Works refunded too. I didn't realise that was possible. I bet if more knew/could be bothered Dell and the like would be issuing loads of refunds. I bet less than 10% of users ever use Works.
  • Re:Automation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shaitand (626655) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @08:21PM (#18482513) Journal
    'Too damn bad then. They offer some of their product line without Windows. If that's not to your liking take your business elsewhere. Yes, it really is that simple!'

    I do take my business elsewhere and for that very reason. I also choose to actively let Dell and others know about my displeasure whenever the subject arises. Forgive me if I don't choose to be put in my place and silenced by a few words from a coward. Especially when they do nothing but state the obvious.
  • Re:Old news (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @08:29PM (#18482553) Homepage
    The Firefox Web Developer Extension has an option to uncheck all radio buttons. I wonder what happens if you click that on dell's site. I Run off to dell.ca. I am amazed they sell vista desktops with 512 MB of Ram. Well, even if you uncheck all the radio buttons, it still thinks you chose windows vista. It doesn't even report any errors. I think i'm going to email dell and tell them about the bug.
  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @08:39PM (#18482617) Journal
    In the US it's possible (for at least the major utilities and other large businesses) to tap your checking account with just your account number, bank routing number, and name.
  • Re:Great ! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @08:42PM (#18482639) Homepage
    According to wikipedia [wikipedia.org], the list of "dot countries" includes India, China, United States, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, and many other very populous countries. Therefore I'm pretty sure more people use the dot. The list of "comma countries" seems to be quite a bit longer but contains a lot of lesser populated countries like Switzerland, Cuba, and Belgium, and most of the rest of Europe.
  • by Solder Fumes (797270) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @08:52PM (#18482697)
    Actually, I know someone who called ASUS technical support to unload on the poor phone-girl about the faulty motherboards (this was the plague of Bad Capacitors). She decided to unload right back. He was ashamed and ended up sending some flowers to the support office. One thing led to another, and now they're married.
  • Re:Great ! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tomhudson (43916) <.barbara.hudson. ... bara-hudson.com.> on Sunday March 25, 2007 @09:10PM (#18482793) Journal

    "find it weird because they say cinq point cinq, yet they write it as 5,5."

    That's nothing - a quarter is pronounced "trente cents" - thirty cents.

  • Re:I hated dell... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Iron Condor (964856) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @09:45PM (#18483039)

    I don't mind outsourcing in theory, I can handle the language barrier difference, but it's the sheer incompetence that pisses me off! I thought most call centres back home in the UK used to be incompetent but you don't realise how good you have it until it's too late and those jobs have been shipped abroad.

    Outsourcing isn't monolithic - there's no such thing as "outsourcing in theory" that you can have (or not have) a problem with. Outsourcing a development lab is a completely different thing from outsourcing a call center. The latter is always, unmistakably, wrong. And here's why:

    If you force your engineers to staff the phone support, they have an incentive to minimize the number of support calls. They will thus pay close attention to the things people call about and will do their best to eliminate those problems in the next generation product.

    The moment you create a dedicated "call center", you're already going downhill: Now you have people who did not make the product trying to explain to people for whom it doesn't work, how to make it work. But the call-center staffers, at least, are employees and thus they're still motivated to pass on enough information to engineering to minimize future workload on them.

    But when you now ship you call-center to india, you have now created a corporate entity that has no interest in minimizing call volumne. To the contrary - they get paid by the number of calls or the number of minutes spent on calls and thus it is in their best interest to have as many calls as possible. The survival of the call-center rests on there being as many service calls as possible. Thus no information is ever passed on to engineering about the main faults people keep finding (how convenient that engineering is on a different continent now) and if the customer hangs up irately then that just means they'll be calling right back tomorrow after noodling around trying to fix their stuff for another 24hours themselves.

    I'm against outsourcing of call-centers even "in theory". And "in practice". And "in anything else I can think of". It's just a bad idea all around - the brand suffers, the customers suffer, the engineering suffers. All that happens is that a bunch of hobos in India get rich.

  • Re:I hated dell... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Eskarel (565631) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @09:57PM (#18483151)
    Dell gets a lot of flack, but in my experience they're usually the best of a bad lot. If you are an average user and you want an affordable pre-built PC which you can get support for, it's about your best bet.

    The first dimensions sucked, but they've gotten better, and they even seem to have worked through the problems they were having with their business models(the Optiplex 270's and 280's were pretty shocking, the 260's were ok though and the 520's are reasonable). I'd personally never buy one, but that's because building the PC is half the fun of buying one for me.

    As for their support experience, yes you'll end up talking to someone from Southeast Asia(Dell left India some time ago) who barely speaks English, and yes they will be working really hard not to send the technician out to see you(assuming you have on-site support in the first place), but if you are sufficiently obnoxious and forceful(I hate doing it, but when I was working in support I just got tired of playing the game), they'll do what you want them to do and fix your problem. HP's support on any of their consumer grade products is much worse, at least it is over here.

    When people ask me what computer to buy, I generally recommend Dell simply because their products are as good as most, they're prices are reasonable, and they'll be around in 5 years. I don't build PC's for people because I don't support home PC's, so Dell is as good a solution as any.

  • Re:I hated dell... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xtracto (837672) on Monday March 26, 2007 @05:57AM (#18485853) Journal
    But when you now ship you call-center to india, you have now created a corporate entity that has no interest in minimizing call volumne. To the contrary - they get paid by the number of calls or the number of minutes spent on calls and thus it is in their best interest to have as many calls as possible. The survival of the call-center rests on there being as many service calls as possible.

    My girlfriend used to work in a call centre (not in India of course). There are several points you ignore:

    1. Some calls are recorded and workers are examined each week or two weeks.
    2. You do not want to spend much time on each call, there is an average call time and if you more than the average it means you are being inefficient (or sometimes that the caller is a dick, but that is checked in the weekly tests).
    3. You do not get paid by the number of calls (you work from 9 to 5 and get paid a specific salary). Usually you want *less* calls.
    4. The survival of the call center only rests on the company wanting to provide that service.
    5. The people working there are humans, lots of the time there *are* software problems and whatnot.

    Of course it all depends on the company policy. My girlfriend worked in an outsourced insurance policy call center. It is not until you know somewhere on the *other* side of the phone that you realize what kind of job is that.

    Nowadays, if I need to call to some call centre I am more polite and calm with the guy/girl at the other side. If you do not like something about the company ask for the manager and tell her, or write a letter. You will not achieve anything by yelling to the girl who answers the phone, she does not have the power to do *anything*, youd better talk to a manager or someone else.
  • no proof required? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Zwaxy (447665) on Monday March 26, 2007 @05:58AM (#18485857) Homepage
    Judging by the emails, they didn't want to see any proof that you had uninstalled Windows, or even that you had actually bought a Dell machine.

    Is this offer of free money available to everyone? Or did they check more than you show in the emails?

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