Acer and the Microsoft Tax

I bought an Acer laptop in October. It came with Microsoft Windows. I have no use for Microsoft Windows as I use GNU/Linux. In fact Microsoft is my competitor, so by paying money to Microsoft I would be supporting my competitor. Obviously I have no interest in supporting my competitor, so I have asked Acer to refund the Microsoft Windows license.

Email 2013-10-10:

To Acer <Support.Denmark@acer.com>

I have recently bought an Acer V3-771G-73638G50Maii (NX.MECED.005 S/N: NXMECED005326001AE7200 SNID: 32600043072). I have discovered that you have an official policy for refunding the Microsoft Tax (a.k.a. unused licenses for pre-installed software) <http://acer.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/280/~/how-do-i-obtain-a-refund-for-the-microsoft-windows-operating-system%3F> and that you actually honor your policy <http://phk.freebsd.dk/MicrosoftSkat/bilag_03.pdf> <http://blog.wpkg.org/2011/06/12/acer-accepting-windows-tax-refund/>

I understand you need proof that I have not accepted the license and have removed the pre-installed software and installed another operating system. I have made a video showing that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zbivmw9B9Ts . I also understand that
you want the Certificate of Authenticity removed (the sticker on the bottom). I cannot see how you can remove the sticker without destroying it. I will be happy to provide a video showing me removing/destroying it, so it is clear that I will not be able to claim that I have a license for the software.

I assume you will make a reasonable offer for the refund so you can avoid losing lawsuits like these:

Microsoft Windows 8 in Denmark costs 692 DKK according to http://www.edbpriser.dk/operativsystem/windows-8-dansk-licens-og-medie-id-6962552.aspx?q=windows+8

I will accept 692 DKK (92.7 EUR) as a reasonable offer. If you want to offer me less then please document that what you offer me is the correct price and not just a price you make up.

Please let me know how we should proceed.

Ole Tange <ole@tange.dk>
Nyelandsvej 40,4th
2000 Frederiksberg
Denmark

IBAN-account: DK2697970000804762
Swift: BRSLDK21
Account no: 804762

It required a reminder to get a reply from Acer 2013-11-06:

Hej Ole.
Vi har nu fået svar på dette.
For at kunne lave en refundering af operativ systemet på din enhed skal den sendes til værkstedet som vil undersøge om den har været aktiveret, og som så fjerner både label samt operativ systemet på enheden, vores værksted er dog i Tyskland, og du skal selv stå for fragtomkostningerne til værkstedet i Tyskland.
Med Venlig Hilsen
Brian
Supportspecialist

Acer| Support Danmark

My translation into English:

Hi Ole.
We have received an answer to this.
 
To do a refund of the operating system on your unit it must be shipped to the repair center which will examine whether it has been activated and will then remove both label and the operating system on the unit, however, our repair center is in Germany, and you are required to pay the shipping to the repair center in Germany.
 
Regards,
Brian
Support specialist

Acer| Support Danmark

Already here I have documentation that Acer is willing to refund something. I answered same day:

Thanks for the reply.

You have forgotten to write whether you accept the refund price of 692 DKK. If you want to offer me less then please document that what you offer me is the correct price and not just a price you make up.

In my original email I included a link to a video documenting me _not_ activating the Windows license, installing GNU/Linux instead and documenting that the machine no longer has Windows installed. In the mean time I have found a way to remove the sticker without destroying it, since these are the two tasks that the repair center is supposed to do, you will need to justify what actions the repair center will do that has not already been done. Otherwise this might be regarded as an artificial obstruction to deter people from applying for the refund.

Regards,

Ole Tange

Again it takes a reminder to get Acer to respond 2013-12-05:

Hej Ole
Vi kan lave en refund på 40€, da vi køber de her OEM licenser i bulk, så er det, det vi betaler for licens’s så jeg skal høre om du gotar det, så vi kan få afsluttet denne sag?
Med Venlig Hilsen

Keld

Supporttekniker
Acer| Support Danmark
My translation into English:
Hi Ole
We can do a refund of 40€, since we buy these OEM licenses in bulk, so that is what we pay for licenses, so I just want to know whether you accept that, so we can close this case.
 
Regards,

Keld

Support technician
Acer| Support Danmark
So Acer starts to be reasonable and not require me to ship the laptop to Germany. I reply 2013-12-05:

I will be happy to accept 40€ as long as you prove that the price is the actual price you pay and not a price that you make up. A copy of an invoice from your supplier will be sufficient to document this. Other documentation may also be acceptable, if you prefer not to send a copy of an invoice, but the documentation should be so good that it will hold up in court.You can email a scanning of the invoice to me and transfer the 40€ to:

IBAN-account: DK2697970000804762
Swift: BRSLDK21
Account no: 804762

Thanks in advance,

/Ole

PS: You may of course also choose to refund 692 DKK in which case you do not have to document that the price is correct.

2013-12-17 I received:
Jeg afventer at modtage den önskede dokumentation, derfor träkker tiden ud.
Med Venlig Hilsen
Klaus
Supporttekniker
Acer| Support Danmark
My translation into English:

I am awaiting the requested documentation, that is causing the delay.

Regards,
Klaus
Supporttekniker
Acer| Support Danmark
It took 3 reminders before I got the next answer on 2014-02-20:

Hej,

För att kunna få en refund för detta måste installation tas bort via Acers verkstad enligt de rutiner som finns på sharepoint. Kund kan inte själv välja att ta bort och därefter begära ersättning för detta.
Best Regards
Henrik
Second Line

Acer | Nordics

My translation into English:

Hi,

To get a refund the installation must be removed by Acer’s service center following the routines found on sharepoint. The customer cannot himself choose to remove it and the ask for a refund.

 
Best Regards
Henrik
Second Line

Acer | Nordics

So Acer seems to have reversed it’s position: Keld’s offer of 2013-12-05 of 40 EUR without requiring shipping seems in conflict with Henrik’s. I replied 2014-02-22:

Hi Acer.

Thanks for your reply.

Acer has already accepted to refund the license without shipping the system. On 2013-11-06 I asked Acer to justify why the system should be shipped, and Keld’s email of 2013-12-05 (see the history below) shows that Acer will not (or cannot) justify this, but is now willing to settle the case by paying 40 EUR without shipping the system.

I accepted the 40 EUR settlement on 2013-12-05, provided I received proof that the 40 EUR is the correct price (and not a price lower than what Acer really pays).

Acer has already lost a case in France concerning this: http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2007/09/26/acer_laptop_microsoft_windows_french_ruling/
where Acer was fined an additional 500 EURO for “abusive resistance and committed expenses”. Other companies have lost similar cases in Denmark: http://www.e-pages.dk/24timer/2667/2

If Acer now insists that the system must be shipped to Germany and that the refund will only be 40 EUR without proving this is the correct price, then please provide me with the correct address of the company to sue.

In a court case Acer will be asked to prove that the 40 EUR is the correct price, so you can save time and money by simply finding the proof for this now. It will also be argued that delaying the refund more than 3 months and requiring the shipment to Germany without being able to justify why is abusive resistance.

I hope Acer will agree saving a court case and a 500 EURO fine is a preferable outcome. So I will encourage you again to: Prove the correct price is indeed 40 EUR (in which case I accept this as a full refund) or refund the 692 DKK to:

IBAN-account: DK2697970000804762
Swift: BRSLDK21
Bank reg: 9797
Account no: 804762

Regards,

Ole Tange

The French verdict is here: https://aful.org/media/document/jugement-Gutzwiller-Acer-20070723.pdf
Acer responded 2014-02-26:

Dear Ole,

I deeply apologize for the extremely long handling time and lack of answers in your request to receive a reimbursement for your Windows 8 license.

This could have been avoided completely if our staff was up to date on the procedures regarding the reimbursement and for this I take full responsibility. This case will be used as an example in the future and we will make sure all members of our support staff are well informed about the reimbursement.

In order to be reimbursed for the license cost there is a specific workflow to be followed by the customer, including sending the computer in to us within 30 days of purchase, for removal of the product key.

Since this is no longer possible we are not capable of reimbursing the license cost.

However, we will gladly compensate you for the long handling time and lack of correct information in this matter. If you accept this as a settlement we will forward 692 DKK to the provided bank account details below as soon as you reply and accept.

We do not in this case expect you to send your computer in and thus your Windows 8 license is not being reimbursed since it is no longer valid for reimbursement by our license agreement. This is strictly a compensation for the time it has taken us to solve this.

Please reply as soon as possible if you accept this settlement so we can consider the matter solved on both ends.

IBAN-account: DK2697970000804762

Swift: BRSLDK21

Bank reg: 9797

Account no: 804762
Best Regards
Robin
2nd Level Support

Acer| Support Danmark

I of course accepted.
So did I manage to get at refund of the Microsoft Windows tax? I am not sure. But I am pretty sure that had I taken this to court the judge would have reasoned: “He got his money but he is still not satisfied. Ungrateful bastard.”
The Danish Consumer Agency requires the price of the object to be at least 800 DKK, so if I had to do this again I would make sure to find a supplier where the retail price of Windows is bigger than that limit.
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One Response to Acer and the Microsoft Tax

  1. Henry says:

    You could see it as penalty to Acer for bundling Window$

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