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Microsoft is dishing out vouchers to disgruntled Surface customers burned by delays and confusion over shipments of their pre-ordered fondletops.

The company has been handing over vouchers worth £50 to those whose Windows-RT tablets have not arrived despite pre-ordering before Thursday’s launch.

Surfaces went on sale on 25 October but were available for pre-order from 16 October.

It seems that customers who pre-ordered were promised delivery on 26 October, but they have not received their machines – and there’s also been no word on when they will arrive.

Further, some customers have received emails from Microsoft saying their 26 October delivery date had changed to November, with subsequent emails then putting back to the original.

The confusion and delays have hit customers in the UK and Canada only.

In a statement, Microsoft told The Reg customers in the UK and Canada will receive their Surface devices by the original dates given at the time of their orders, between 26 and 30 October.

Microsoft said: “We apologize for any confusion caused by emails stating an earlier or later arrival date. To make up for this inconvenience, we are giving impacted customers a single-use coupon for up to £50 (or $50 Canadian dollars) toward their next purchase from the Microsoft Online Store.”

There was no word on what had caused the delays and confusion, or how many vouchers had been issued. Orders are shipped using UPS.

Pocket Gamer wrote of the confusion on 21 October when it said it had received an updated order shipment date of 2 November for its Surface.

That date was then retracted, with Microsoft blaming an “internal processing issue” for the email and saying the shipping date hadn’t changed.

But on 26 October, PocketGamer hadn’t received the pre-ordered Surface.

Pocket Gamer has now received an apology from Microsoft for the “confusion” over the dates along with one of the £50 vouchers to spend at the Microsoft Store.

.NET consultant and Windows Phone developer Per Kastman, who lives in Stockholm, Sweden, tweeted this morning: “Can’t say I’m blown away with the pre-order experience @surface. No info from Microsoft and still no device.”

Three days after the official launch in New York, Kastman Tweeted: "Where’s my surface? Ordered from UK, but I get no updates anymore.”

Microsoft News wrote on 26 October that Microsoft had revised the language of the pre-orders to say delivery would be “from” the 26th, and devices could arrive as late as 30 October.

Readers of Microsoft News said they’d received confirmations saying their orders would be delivered on 26 October. MobileJaw here, too, confirms the delivery date of 26 October. ®

Bootnote

Signed up for the Windows 8 Media Center Pack and still waiting for your activation key? You’re not alone, as eager upgraders are taking to the net to complain they’ve been waiting at least 24 hours for a key and still nothing’s arrived. Microsoft is giving away free upgrades to the Media Center Pack for free to customers who buy Windows 8 Pro between 26 October and 31 January, 2012. We're waiting to hear from Microsoft on reasons for the delay and when it will be fixed.

Meantime, one Microsoft MVP here, said the problem could be the fact that Windows 8 is new "so there will be many thousands of people trying to obtain both the software and the free Windows Media center product key." Exactly. It's not as if anybody knew this thing was coming, is it?

Thanks to Reg reader Sameer, who flagged this up.

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