Experiences of people seeking their Windows-Tax-Refund in Belgium.
Experience of Tim Speetjens, Belgium:
Tim Speetjens Monday 05 March 2007
Here is my story. Feel free to contact me if you need help, or if you would want to get an example letter.
End 2006/early January 2007: I started by doing some research on the net about legislation, mainly reading magazines (TestAankoop had a good article) and talk to collegues about it, clearly saying I would try to get my unused software refunded. A collegue pointed me to an article on BBC, so I read that, as well as some others I found on google. Also I read the terms and conditions, policies on the dell.be site, especially looking for the business address for Dell here, in Belgium. January 10th, ordered.
January 24th, delivery. I opened the box, looking for EULA's etc, but I didn't find any. Later that evening, I switched on the computer, and there it was. It said that you can contact the Manufacturer for a refund if you do not accept the terms. I wrote a (registered) letter in which I quoted the relevant part (but omitted the definition of the Dutch term 'Producent', which might be interpreted as the company supplying the Software ). I explicitely asked for the refund of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, and MS Works, as well as to give me instructions to send back the media, as the EULA sais to do this. January 25th: My mother in law brought the letter to the postal office to have it sent registered, to the address I found in the terms and conditions, for Belgium, and on my electronic order confirmation. This was the crucial step.If I had just emailed them, I don't think I would have succeeded. This same day my invoice arrived, with the same business address I used, mentioned.
February 12th: I send them another inquiry by email, and I included the registered letter, just for their information. I also again asked for a refund and I repeated that I was still convinced to be entitled for one.
February 14th: I received an invitation for a customer survey from Dell. I took the time to think about what I would put in, so the next day, I filled it in, rather honestly. I was served profesionally, but my case was not yet solved, despite my registered letter, my call and my email.
February 19th: I received a call from Dell. This was clearly someone that didn't serve everyday issues, but rather the more difficult ones. I repeated I was convinced to be entitled for a refund, for both Windows and Works. He explained me that indeed, I would have been entitled, as is written down in the terms and conditions, accompanied with the software policy, but that I should have returned the media in the first seven days after arrival. This I objected strongly, having sent the explicit request how to do it the day after the arrival in a registered letter. He agreed, and said I was entitled. He took his list, to get to the prices of both software. Windows, he said was EUR 85, and Works would be EUR 5. I was quite surprised about both of them. I had thought that they would get a massive discount compared to the retail price for both, but Windows was say 80% of retail price whereas Works was about 10%. I had checked the prices quickly when I wrote my letter. Also I would be charged EUR 11.90 to get the media back to them. There is an address in Holland, for which people there do not have to pay to send things to, but this would surely not apply to us, so I made this remark. He didn't know, but he gave me an alternate address to send the media to. I received his full name and direct phone number.
February 20th: I didn't agree to pay twice for getting my media back to Dell. Also I didn't want to leave it to chance, now I almost got to get a refund. I reread the policies, and these said that a courrier would come and pick up the returned goods, and indeed EUR 10 charges for this. Therefor, I called back to the number I was given the day before. I told him that they could either charge me for getting the media picked up, as they say in the policies, or charge me nothing and have me pay for the return. He agreed, so I wouldn't have to pay the EUR 10. I sent the media registered to the real address. February 22th: EUR 91.52 arrived on my account.
February 26th: My credit note arrived, only mentioning Windows XP, but not MS Works. I thought about calling them back, but I didn't, since the refund was exactly the amount as customer department and I agreed upon, so it wouldn't make any real difference.