[clug] Dell EULA

Darren Freeman daz111 at rsphysse.anu.edu.au
Wed Apr 14 03:21:24 GMT 2004

Hi all,

now I've had the misfortune to receive a Dell computer as part of a
piece of equipment we have been delivered. The problem is that I have to
accept the Dell EULA by pressing any key, presumably as part of the BIOS
or bootloader.

The summary given on screen is that the supplied CDs are not original
discs, oh no, they're *backups* of what's on the hard disc. Even though
they are most likely OEM copies of everything. Why on earth insist that
these are backups? To prevent me from claiming backup rights in
countries like US or NZ where these exist? (can't backup a backup). So
where are the originals that I paid good money for?

The EULA is not included, contrary to the on-screen prompt, nor is the
phone number for customer service, also as indicated in the prompt.

The Dell service website passed me on to three local call centres, one
of which I've called without being put onto an operator. It hung up on
me due to a bug in the menu system. The other put me in a long wait,
then I got somebody in India, she gave up and put me back in the queue,
then it sounded like I got an Indonesian. She insisted that there is no
license agreement other than what's on the screen, which can't be true
because it forces me to read something else which was supplied with my
computer. She insisted that it refers to the EULA on the Windows XP CD,
but this agreement is between Microsoft and myself, not with Dell. So it
can't be it. Back in the queue I go. Finally somebody agreed to FAX it
to me. We'll wait and see how it goes. Fortunately I was working with
the phone on my ear so I didn't lose productivity for the half hour I
actually waited.

Also the website has a nice banner above the phone numbers which reads:
"Dell recommends Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional". Charming for a
company that also sells Linux boxes.

It royally pisses me off that this clearly impossible situation exists
in Dell's license agreement and yet none of the operators have heard
complaints before. What are customers doing agreeing to things they
can't even read? That's about as dumb as agreeing to a treaty between
countries when the citizens can't read it. Oh wait, we just did that
with the US-AU FTA.

What's worse is if I was to take this to the next level and do what is
legally required of me, I would have to return it to Varian and possibly
return the $100k spectrometer it came with. Or I can enter the
University into what claims to be a legally binding contract without
reading it. So much complacency and ignorance, I can't handle it. I have
to lie down now ;)

Have fun,

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