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French court orders Windows refund

Le bundling est interdit
Mon May 19 2008, 10:49

ICI EN FRANCE, there has been a grande victoire for Vole-hunters, as the French consumer association, UFC-Que Choisir, has won a court case entitling consumers to return their pre-installed copies of Windows XP for a decent discount.

The facts of the case, m'learned fiends, are these: one of my estemeed countrymen wrote to Asus - after having bought an Asus machine which came with XP pre-installed - requesting a refund for the price of the software, given his predeliction to open sauce. The manufacturer told the consumer that the refund procedure it would apply would end up costing more than the actual value of the refund - a not-so-paltry €130. Understandably, the fellow was a little miffed and took his case to court, where UFC stepped in to lend a helping hand.

In France, it is illegal to bundle software and to refuse to reimburse the customer for unwanted licences, under Article L.122-1 of the French Consumer Code. The Tribunal de Grande Instance ruled that offering an expensive refund option was tantamount to offering no refund option at all, hence finding for the consumer and requiring that Asus stump up.

It now seems that French computer companies will be required to streamline their processes to enable buyers to remove Windows on their slightest whim. We don't imagine this will play well for Vista.

Those so inclined can take a look at the full ruling of the court, here. En Francais, naturallement. µ


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