Getting a Refund on Windows

By Deane Barker on July 30, 2003

Getting a Windows Refund in California Small Claims Court: This guy bought a machine with Windows XP loaded on it, but he installed Linux instead. Then he went to court to get his $199 back from the manufacturer for the cost of the Windows license bundled with the machine. Here’s an extremely detailed account of how he did it.

“After you file suit, you’re going to get a phone call from someone at the company to see if the case can be settled. Unlike most of the people you find handling the customer service line, these people are allowed to think and given the authority to do the right thing, even if it costs the company money.

In my case, the manufacturer called a week before the trial and sent me an offer the night before. The offer was for $199, but I had to agree to a gag order and could not talk about the case. That was unacceptable to me; I wanted $199 and court costs. (Court costs in this case were high, $135, because the company was located out of state.) Also, I wanted to be able to tell people what happened. So I went to court.”