A few weeks back I bought a nice new Dell Dimension C521 baseunit (AMD X2 3600+, etc, etc) to replace my homebrew server with the intention of running several VM’s on it using Ubuntu as the operating system of choice. I’ve been using Ubuntu for quite a while now (deflecting from Gentoo as that proved a little more maintenance heavy than I was looking for) and so I had no intention what-so-ever to use the included Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic installation that came with the PC. As there have been several successful reports in the media of people getting a refund for the forced Microsoft inclusion, I though it was worth a punt over here too.
I contacted Dell UK using the contact form on the website and wrote to them the following:
I’ve just taken delivery of my Dimension C521 which came with a copy of the Microsoft Vista Basic operating system. As I will be using the Ubuntu linux operating system, I have not agreed to the Microsoft EULA and installed Ubuntu linux on the PC. Could you please forward me an address where I can send the Microsoft Vista Basic operating system CD to for a refund? Please note, I am not looking to return my PC, just the accompanying Microsoft operating system.
I hit the Submit button and the website told me to expect a reply within 24 hours…
So imagine my surprise that I received a reply within 4 hours from Dell:
Thank you for contacting Dell on-line customer care.
Please be informed that you need not return the CD and I will arrange for the refund of £10, which is the cost of the CD.
I will call you on 27th July with an update regarding the same. If you have any further queries do not hesitate in responding directly to this mail and I will be glad to assist you further.
Of course, by now I had realised that I had forgotten to mention the Microsoft Works 8.5 CD that came with the order, so I replied with:
Thank you very much for the quick reply. Is it also possible to receive a refund for the Microsoft Works 8.5 CD that came with my PC? Again, I am quite happy to return the CD unopened to you if you forward me an address to send it to.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained ;)
Sure enough, within 30 minutes another reply arrived:
Further to your email, Iam also arranging for the refund of £10 for the works CD. I will call you on 27th with an update regarding the refund.
Please be informed that you need not return the CD. If you have any further queries do not hesitate in responding directly to this mail and I will be glad to assist you further.
How easy was that? It is comforting to know that true customer care still exists, although it would have been a whole lot easier if Dell UK just provided a tick box on their website to decline the operating system when ordering.