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By | John Oates 24th January 2011 15:51

Italy sues Microsoft for box-bundling bungling

Windows tax is unfair

The Italian consumer watchdog is suing Microsoft over the "Windows Tax" – the near impossibility of an ordinary user getting a refund if they decide to delete Microsoft's software from a new computer or laptop.

The class action case says Microsoft makes it too difficult for people who buy a computer with Microsoft software on it to remove that software and get their money back. Most users do not realise that starting the software means you have accepted the end user licence.

The statement from the Italian authorities made it clear that they do not believe that hardware manufacturers are entirely blameless, but said: "the principal cause of the failure is Microsoft itself..."

The Associazion per i diritti degli utenti e consumatori (ADUC) has filed a case in Milan and invited anyone who might have paid the tax to join up.

ADUC noted that it had already won a "pilot case" – against HP.

ADUC is calling for private users who bought a computer bundled with MS software, and then did not use the Microsoft software – but presumably installed Linux or their own alternative operating system – to contact it. Such users are supposed to be entitled to a full refund on the cost of the products.

The battle to win Windows Tax refunds has been a long-running bugbear for techies. The victory of a Reg reader who finally squeezed some money out of Dell for deleting Microsoft's crud might bolster the regulator's case.

The consumer watchdog's statement is here in Italian, or Google Translate's version of Italian class action against Microsoft is here. ®

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