… well, ok, so “scam” may be a bit harsh, but here’s the thing. If you buy an eligible PC/Laptop between June 2009 and March 2010, with Vista on it, you’re entitled to a free upgrade to Win7. Go check it out. I’ll wait… OK, so you saw that, and we’ve established a fact. Good. Now try and get it … get it “free”, that is. I bought a Compaq laptop a couple of weeks ago, and over the last few days I’ve ended up in a bit of a flame-war with HP (they own Compaq) Customer Service over their £21.99 charge for the “free” upgrade. Yep – £21.99! It’s a DVD data disc, no doubt with some fluffy paperwork telling you how you’ve just upgraded to a cool OS (i.e. this one might just actually work properly), but even so… I emailed them and asked how they justified charging £21.99 for something that is advertised everywhere as free.
Now, I understand that they are perfectly entitled to cover costs of shipping/handling – no problem, I’m comfortable with that, so I asked how come it cost this much to ship a DVD. They said that it comes directly from Microsoft in America (what – they couldn’t burn a few thousand DVDs here in the UK?) via a “third party” (er, that would be the postal system). I went to the Royal Mail web site just to see how much it would cost to go the other way… In order to actually spend £21.99 sending something to the US, it would be the size of a small stack of glossy magazines, and weigh over a kilo. Oh, and I get insurance (£500) with that, too, along with a “sign-for” service. To anywhere in the US.
When you consider how many DVDs will ship, and how many instances of £21.99 that equates to, this is nothing short of profiteering. Now, I know some of you will be thinking “£21.99 for an OS? – Hey, that’s pretty good value”, and you’d be right to think that – I think that. I will, of course, shell out the bloody £21.99, but what sticks in my craw is the fact that it’s being touted all over the tinterweb as a free upgrade. It’s not, and this needs shouting from the rooftops (or at least in my kitchen, at my girlfriend, or anyone else who’ll stick around for me long enough to rant at them).