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Israeli Linux fan squeezes Windows refund out of Dell

Settles out of court over EULA dispute

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A Dell customer has struck an out of court settlement with the computer giant after being refused a refund apparently guaranteed under the terms of Microsoft’s Windows licensing agreement.

According to Ynetnews.com, Ziv Devir from Haifa, Israel, sued Dell in the small claims court for the cost of the Windows operating system installed on his computer – NIS 550 ($137).

The customer simply read the small print on the Windows end-user license agreement (EULA) that stated:

"By using this software, you accept these terms. If you do not accept them, do not use the software. instead, contact the manufacturer or installer to determine their return policy for a refund or credit."

Devir didn’t want to run Vista on his newly-purchased Dell laptop, so he rejected the Windows EULA terms and installed Linux on the machine instead.

Like many other computer manufacturers Dell has an OEM agreement with Microsoft. It allows the firm to install the Windows OS on the vendor’s machines before they are shipped. Packing in Windows can inflate the computer’s selling price by up to 10 per cent.

However, Dell told Devir: “All sales, services and technical support are handled by licensed distributors." It said he should call on the local distributor CMS for the refund.

Dell eventually settled the case out of court after claiming that Devir failed to follow the return policy and had knowingly bought a laptop which had Windows already installed on it.

Devir was handed a cheque for $137 from Dell that had been signed by CMS.

Dell Israel didn’t comment directly on the case and instead gave Ynetnews.com this statement: "Dell manufactures computer components in accordance with the customer's purchase order and requests. That included the operating system."

This isn't the first case of its kind. In October 2007 an Italian judge ruled in favour of a Hewlett-Packard customer who asked for a refund because the Compaq notebook he had bought came pre-loaded with Microsoft's Windows XP and Works 8.

The customer complained to HP that he had no choice but to buy the laptop with the software giant's operating system and application pre-installed.

The computer maker initially refused to budge so the customer took the firm to court where the judge found that HP had failed to adhere to the EULA. ®

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