You know there's something wrong with the market when it's news that someone managed to get a refund for a product they didn't want in the first place. Dave Mitchell of Sheffield, UK will go down in history as the first guy to get a refund from Dell
--or any major PC vendor, for that matter--for the "Windows tax," i.e. the $100 or so almost every major PC manufacturers will make you pay even if you never intend to use or even activate the copy of Microsoft Windows the machine ships with. Of course, Dell isn't the worst offender when it comes to the Windows tax, and has for several years now allowed you to buy desktop machines without Windows, but laptops have been a different monster entirely--until now. The license agreement for the OEM version of Windows Mitchell received read, "If you do not agree to the terms of this EULA, you may not use or copy the software, and should promptly contact manufacturer for instructions on return of the unused product(s) for a refund in accordance with manufacturer's return policies," and historically most manufacturers have only accepted returns if the customer returned the PC as well. After sending a letter to Dell UK's offices on November 1, Mitchell received his refund today, which seems alamingly prompt to me. Mitchell was diligent in collect proof that he had not used the product, saying, "I booted the laptop, then photographed every step of the boot process up to and including clicking on the XP 'no I don't accept' button. I also scrolled through each page of the EULA, taking a photo of each page."
While Mitchell's success, the story of which is rather anticlimactic, isn't exactly earth-shattering, it may well embolden a whole generation of would-be Windows-returners. Maybe 10 years from now the "Windows tax" will be but a hazy memory.
Reader thewildman points out that it's been done before
. Anybody got any other Dell return stories?