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View Full Version : Recovery Cd - PC Company - Time for a lawsuit?



DMcKenzie
11-07-2003, 05:44 PM
Hello everyone,
I am looking for some advice to a problem that I have and I welcome everyones input and opinions.

//-//
I bought my computer from the PC Company in 2001. A while ago I upgraded my computer and put in a large, new hard drive. To get the computer to recognise all the space on the drive I had to flash the bios. That all went well and I have been using the computer fine with Windows XP.

Just the other day I tried to install Windows Millenium on a different partition, using the recovery cd I was given with the PC when I bought it. It just kept coming up with an error saying "You cannot use this cd on this computer". I have even tried installing it on the previous hard drive that came with the computer, still a no-go. I was thinking maybe the cd needs some special code in the bios to install.

I would prefer a proper cd with Millenium Edition on it. Not one of these crippled "recovery" cds. My warranty with them has expired but surely they should have to give me a working OS as I paid good money for it.

Anyway I emailed the PCco. and this is a copy of the response I got:

//
Hi There

The Product Recovery Disk is the OEM version sold with OEM computers. This CD is "locked" to PC Company computers only, as per the "OEM licensing requirements" put in place by Microsoft.

Because you have flashed the BIOS, you have deleted the "patched" version that allows the CD to function on the PC. In order to get the CD to function again, you will need to take the PC to the nearest showroom where a technician can flash the BIOS. Because this is not a warrantable issue, you may charged for the service.

We are not able to give to you patch required to run the CD on the computer, as it can only be used by PC Company in order to help stop privacy, as per the OEM agreement.

We do not carry nor sell retail versions of Windows ME as we are an OEM computer manufacturer only. However the OEM regarding is the "same" as the retail, except it is "locked" to PC Company computers.
//

What a load of rubbish! They want me to send my computer back to the nearest repair place which happens to be 300km away, and they want me to pay for it as well. Imagine the courier prices alone for such a trip, all at my expense. I could buy a new copy of ME for that cost. From what I've heard in numerous forums, their repair services take about 3 weeks. This is completely unacceptable and I will not be wasting valuable work time doing that.

They should give me a full refund for the money I paid for Millenium, or buy me a proper copy. If someone can't add new hardware to their computer without having to go through all this, then why buy a computer in the first place. I'm certainly not going to be buying from this company ever again and will reccommend to everyone I know not to purchase from them either. They'll lose 100 potential customers in a week. For the 3rd largest distributors of computers in NZ, you would think they have better service than this. This reminds me of the Rainmaker by John Grisham - Deny, deny, deny!

Anyway, I've finished my rant so what do you think people? Time for a class action lawsuit you reckon? ;)

Terry Porritt
11-07-2003, 05:56 PM
It is "unfair" but that's the way it goes with OEM supplied computers and software.

These things are not pointed out when purchasing such computers. People should try to negotiate a purchase price for a computer without any pre-installed software and then buy their own retail software if the OEM deal is not to their liking. Else just accept the pre-installed stuff and go out and buy your own retail versions.

If you build your own and buy a motherboard and cpu , you can often buy full OEM OS at the same time (not a recovery CD).

You would have no show of success in any legal action, sorry.

Jen C
11-07-2003, 05:59 PM
When you purchased your PC it would of been clearly indicated that the Operating System was an OEM version only. The inclusion of an recovery disk is standard practice amongst large PC manufacturers instead of the actual Windows disk.

It is unfortunate that because you have flashed the bios you are unable to now use this recovery disk, and also since you live some distance to the nearest showroom you need to return it by courier. BTW, you should only need to courier the box only and not the whole PC - the courier charge for this is not much, and certainly not equivalent to the cost of a retail version of ME.

Perhaps you could suggest in future to the PC Company that they include a warning about flashing the bios rendering the recovery disk unusable?

godfather
11-07-2003, 06:06 PM
>surely they should have to give me a working OS as I paid good money for it.

Your purchase price included an OEM version of the OS.
Thats a lot cheaper than a full version, and comes with limitations as to hardware. Thats a fact of life, and is likely well covered in the EULA.

There are ways around this (but too late for your case now I am afraid). One is to use a program such as "ghost" to take an image of your system, and then restore this onto any new drive. This is the method I use, and it means recovery disks are not required, and BIOS versions do not matter.

CYaBro
11-07-2003, 07:14 PM
That does sound a bit off!

The company I work for sold hundreds of PC's with Windows ME on them (with recovery disk) and I have flashed the BIOS on some of them before doing a restore and it always worked fine.

IMHO I don't think that flashing the BIOS should stop the recovery CD from working. As you have found out there was a problem with the old BIOS of not being able to detect the bigger HDD, and to fix this you had to update the BIOS. Why should you have to go back to an older version just to get the OS back on??

Compaq's / HP PC's and Toshiba and Acer Laptops all had Windows ME recovery CD's and I updated BIOS on those too and still had no problems running the recovery CD's.

CYaBro
11-07-2003, 07:16 PM
Forgot to say that the PC's sold were OEM software (i.e. that company's own recovery disc and not a standard Windows ME CD) so I'm pretty sure that the recovery process would be similar to PC Co.

tweak\'e
11-07-2003, 08:07 PM
just want to make something clear here. the OEM version of windows is different to a recovery disk. you can actually buy an OEM ver, most smaller sellers sell them. basicly they are a retial disk without the fancy wrapper and are not keyed to the hardware in any way.

a lot of recovery disks are keyed to the hardware, no doubt a requirement of MS. if you change the hardware then it won't work. tuff go buy another OS cd.

some brands are known to be worse. with some a simple change of a hardrive will render the recovery disk useless. thankfully you have a recovery cd not a recovery partiton.

PoWa
11-07-2003, 08:34 PM
> thankfully you have a recovery cd not a recovery partiton.

Hardly a cause for celebration :p

Why should this guy settle for sending his pc back to the company so they can flash it with an inferior bios consequently making his new hard drive stop working??

Can we look up the consumer purchasing act (or whatever), ignoring EULA's for a minute?? Isn't there a clause in there somewhere saying you sell them crap and you gotta give them a refund?? Its not working as it was advertised??

Could this person say, download WinMe from p2p (if anyones actually dum enough to waste bandwidth sharing it), and use the cd-key that came with their computer? That should be legit?

Mike
11-07-2003, 09:01 PM
> Can we look up the consumer purchasing act (or
> whatever), ignoring EULA's for a minute?? Isn't there
> a clause in there somewhere saying you sell them crap
> and you gotta give them a refund?? Its not working
> as it was advertised??

What PC Co did here was quite legal and was very common (I don't think it is so common anymore), and they've done nothing wrong. The money spent bought the computer and a license to use the supplied software on the computer. The computer has now changed, but the license hasn't, so technically he's not licensed to use it on that computer anymore anyway.

> Could this person say, download WinMe from p2p (if
> anyones actually dum enough to waste bandwidth
> sharing it), and use the cd-key that came with their
> computer? That should be legit?

No, that's piracy :)

Mike.

Tobas
11-07-2003, 09:12 PM
Time for a lawsuit????

It's been over a year already Micheal - get over it.

Stumped Badly
11-07-2003, 09:18 PM
Pretty bum deal, they should make the situation clear when sell a computer.
I think they rely on joe average not to know the pitfalls of OEM & recovery CD's
You would think they would be sick of this type of hassle with their customers by now, as it's not exactly the 1st time they've been raked over the coals in public forums for this practice.

I would borrow a copy from a mate & install it with your CD Key
You will have to have the correct ME build number as ME came out in several different builds & not all keys work with all builds (did that make sense?
I did one on a Hewlett Packard for a lady a couple of weeks ago, she had scratched her recovery CD & it was going to be 2 weeks for a replacement to arrive, so I installed my retail version with her key.
Biggest hassle was downloading the necessary drivers which are obviously supplied on the recovery CD's
Lets' face it who's going to know & who's going to care?
It's not exactly piracy as you did purchase the OS.
Maybe robo or one of his pals could get clarification from Microsoft NZ as this has come up several times before & post the response here.
Or ring/email Msoft yourself for an answer.

tweak\'e
11-07-2003, 09:26 PM
>Why should this guy settle for sending his pc back to the company so they can flash it with an inferior bios consequently making his new hard drive stop working??

his optoins are.....

1. revert the hardware back to orginal or close enough to it for it to work.

2. buy new software.

> Isn't there a clause in there somewhere saying you sell them crap and you gotta give them a refund?? Its not working as it was advertised??

yes and no. his pc was working as advertised. it only stopped working after he upgraded it so he won't get a refund.

at the end of the day he has found he has got what he paid for. thats what you get for buying a supermarket pc.

PoWa
11-07-2003, 11:34 PM
I have to disagree. They say that the recovery cd will restore the computer to the state it was in when it was built.

If it doesn't do exactly that, then its not performing as advertised.

The issue of upgrading it has nothing to do with it. Somone should be allowed to upgrade their PC and still be able to use the software that came with it. They paid for the software and its not a different computer, its the same one.

No-one should have to keep their PC the way it is when they bought it. Upgrading is part of computing and is essential. What type of computing is keeping the same old thing and not being able to upgrade?! That would mean having to purchase a completely a new pc to get better performance. Ultimately the most stupidest thing I've heard of all year.

The pc company should have thought all this through. How can anyone expect to upgrade their pcs without having this problem?

- Oh I get it. Its a scam! Disable them from upgrading, and make them buy a new OS if you add a new hard drive.

tweak\'e
12-07-2003, 12:15 AM
> They say that the recovery cd will restore the computer to the state it was in when it was built

correct. unforunatly the pc isn't in the state it was in when it was built.

> They paid for the software and its not a different computer, its the same one

they paid a very cheap price for the software and once the pc has been modified it IS a different pc. how many toyota owners have chevy engines and complain when a honda gearbox won't work properly exspecially after its all out of warranty.

>No-one should have to keep their PC the way it is when they bought it

a lot of people do keep them stock.

>The pc company should have thought all this through. How can anyone expect to upgrade their pcs without having this problem?

almost EVERY main pc manafacture does this and most geeks know not to buy one with a restore disk and to exspect to buy new software when they do any magor upgrades. pcCo is not doing anything new that no other company has done before and is still doing asfaik without being sued for it.

don't forget big brandname hardware manafactures do the same thing. i have several programs that will only run on my pc (which i built myself) as they are keyed to the companies hardware.

really.......whats the big fuss about this ?? its been done for years and is comman knowlage, its been mentioned in serveral "why buy supermarket pc" threads. you buy a supermarket pc, use it for a number of years, when it no longer meets your requirements you throw it out and buy a new one.

Jester
12-07-2003, 12:36 AM
Although I suspect that any action to argue the point that OEM products are less than what they represent themselves would be fruitless, you MAY have redress under the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993, IF the person you purchased the PC off lead you to believe that you could upgrade, reinstall the operating system, etc.



CONSUMER GUARANTEES ACT 1993
PART 4 - SUPPLY OF SERVICES.


Section 29: Guarantee as to fitness for particular purpose—

Subject to section 41 of this Act, where services are supplied to a consumer there is a guarantee that the service, and any product resulting from the service, will be—

(a)Reasonably fit for any particular purpose; and
(b)Of such a nature and quality that it can reasonably be expected to achieve any particular result,—

that the consumer makes known to the supplier, before or at the time of the making of the contract for the supply of the service, as the particular purpose for which the service is required or the result that the consumer desires to achieve, as the case may be, except where the circumstances show that—

(c)The consumer does not rely on the supplier's skill or judgment; or
(d)It is unreasonable for the consumer to rely on the supplier's skill or judgment.

Source:
NZ Legislation Statutes (http://www.legislation.govt.nz/browse_vw.asp?content-set=pal_statutes)

J.
:D

Pheonix
12-07-2003, 01:19 AM
Interesting that with XP OEM software, you are still entitled to do 5 "major" changes before another licence is required. Would not his set a precedent, in argueing a case, as to what MS expects?

PoWa
12-07-2003, 02:49 AM
Don't you love it when people break down your text and analyse the specific sentences? All it does is take it out of context from the paragraph it was written in. If I wanted to make specific statements I would go like this:

xxxxx x x xx xx xxxxxxxx xxxx xxxxxx.

xxxxxx xxxxxxxx xx x xxxxxxxxx xxxxx x xx xxx.

But if thats how you like to do it, then so be it.

> They say that the recovery cd will restore the computer to the state it was in when it was built
>> correct. unforunatly the pc isn't in the state it was in when it was built.

SOFTWARE wise. The cd should just install windows. Usually its pretty good at detecting new hardware.

> They paid for the software and its not a different computer, its the same one
>> they paid a very cheap price for the software

Exactly how cheap would have Millenium Edition been in 2001?? My guess would be over $100 included in the package. To find out a year later that the $100+ has gone down the drain is rip-off.

>> how many toyota owners have chevy engines and complain when a honda gearbox won't work properly exspecially after its all out of warranty.

Bad analogy. Upgrading a computer is completely different to upgrading a car. Computers change every minute of the day, and thus require constant upgrades for newer software. Hell, the city council doesn't change what the roads are made up of and require you to buy new tyres every month.

>No-one should have to keep their PC the way it is when they bought it
>> a lot of people do keep them stock.

Well what a waste of an investment. Why not spend a few dollars to upgrade it, rather than buy a new pc every time.

>The pc company should have thought all this through. How can anyone expect to upgrade their pcs without having this problem?
>>almost EVERY main pc manafacture does this and most geeks know not to buy one with a restore disk and to exspect to buy new software when they do any magor upgrades. pcCo is not doing anything new that no other company has done before and is still doing asfaik without being sued for it.

How can you become a computer geek? By actually owning a computer. Theres no way a first time buyer is aware of these recovery cds and how limited they are. Hell to make matters worse, PC World magazine blatantly puts in advertisements for PC company every month. People reading the magazine get duped into thinking they are a respectable company.

Where are the reviews for these companies? Why doesn't the magazine take a look at these issues? Sure there are always reviews for specific hardware and software. But when you see a company like PC.Company advertising the same things, you think its the same as everything else. Where as its not - you will be stuck with a piece of crap that you can't do anything with.

>>really.......whats the big fuss about this ?? its been done for years and is comman knowlage, its been mentioned in serveral "why buy supermarket pc" threads. you buy a supermarket pc, use it for a number of years, when it no longer meets your requirements you throw it out and buy a new one.

Well the fuss is, no one knows about supermarket pc's. First time I've evr heard of them reffered that way. Consumers are not warned about such things.

Tweak'e I'm wondering, why would you support this companies actions? Its daylight deception! Do you work for them or are affliated with them in some way?

// Jester how does that excerpt explain how you could get a refund or whatever? I'm not really understanding it - maybe its late ;)

Steve Askew
12-07-2003, 08:27 AM
At least the big outfits like HP make bios updates available on their websites to address such issues as larger Hard drives & XP operating systems,ETC.
Does The PC Company do this?


Cheers Steve

sam m
12-07-2003, 10:15 AM
I'm struggling to see your logic here about your anger towards PC Co.

If I bought a V6 car. It went well but after a while I wanted to make it go faster by installing a bigger V8 engine. The engine mounts for the V6 would not fit the V8 so I throw them out and put in V8 engine mounts. Everything works fine but the fuel economy sucks so I want to go back to the V6. I could not take it back to the car dealer and demand that they buy me new engine mounts for the V6 because I changed it. Seems simple to me.

I tend to agree with the letter provided by the PC Co although comments made by others that a warning should be made clear about flashing the bios does seem a reasonable ask albeit too late for you.

Steve Askew
12-07-2003, 10:57 AM
Maybe you can find the correct bios file for your PC Company PC here (ftp://ho.thepccompany.co.nz/Drivers/Bios/)?

For obvious reasons use at your own risk.

Cheers Steve

Thomas
12-07-2003, 11:11 AM
>If I bought a V6 car...........

Surely the difference is,that 60% of people upgrade there compus,where 2% of people upgrade there cars thus?

tweak\'e
12-07-2003, 01:17 PM
firstly i'll get one thing straight........i don't like supermarket pc's (and i don't work for one either) however i do have lots of customers who do like then and i can understand their point of veiw. personally i would much rather sell them a custom built pc. however competing against supermarket pc's and the elcheapo custom pc makers down the road is not easy.

>Why not spend a few dollars to upgrade it, rather than buy a new pc every time.

have you ever tried to uprade a p1 to a p4 ?? most customers simply go buy a whole new pc.

>> They say that the recovery cd will restore the computer to the state it was in when it was built
>>> correct. unforunatly the pc isn't in the state it was in when it was built.
>SOFTWARE wise. The cd should just install windows. Usually its pretty good at detecting new hardware.

no why should it. the restore cd is keyed to the hardware as per the agreement. why should it work after you change the hardware. the recovery cd's are desighed so it WILL NOT work on other hardware. even pcCO state this.

>Computers change every minute of the day, and thus require constant upgrades for newer software. Hell, the city council doesn't change what the roads are made up of and require you to buy new tyres every month.

no they don't. if you are upgradeing a pc every day what are you doing buying a supermaket pc in the first place. i havn't upgraded the hardware on my own custom built pc for years and majority of pc i fix havn't been even opened up for 5 years let alone upgraded. and BTW the council DID change the road and i had to change my tyres to suit the road.

>Theres no way a first time buyer is aware of these recovery cds and how limited they are.

correct. most companies do not blantly say the EXACT limitions of the restore disks.

however it is "buyer beware" and good research before buying anything is a good idea which explains why we get people asking what brand pc is good to buy.

unfortunatly companies like pcCo are kinda caught between a rock and a hard place. most costomers want a windows OS and to get a competive price they have to sign an agreement with microsoft ...if memory serves me correctly...they have to do a restore disk. they could do a OEM disk but i bet MS will charge them more for it which would make the overall price of the pc uncompetive. what customer is going to pay an extra few hundred dollars for a pc when they can get one with a restore disk cheaper esle where.

also don't forget for most people useing a restore disk is far easier than useing an oem windows disk....after all powa you make and use your own restore disk :)

>Don't you love it when people break down your text and analyse the specific sentences?

yep...makes pf1 kinda interesting for a change ;-)

ugh1
15-07-2003, 04:10 PM
I have been too small claims court twice over such problems and won both times, even on appeal.

Unless you where told in writing that the recovery disk would not function if any of the hardware was changed then take them too small claims court and sue for a working version of the software.

You have the right too change the hardware as the computer is designed too be upgraded unless specified at the time of sale in writing.

Things like hardware / software conflicts are hard too argue / prove, but if the recovery disk is telling you it will not work just because you have changed a component in the computer and not because it is not compatible with the new hardware you installed then it might be worth the money too file a claim.

Good luck.

Thomas
15-07-2003, 04:21 PM
Thought there was no appeal in small claims court??I am obviously wrong!

Graham L
15-07-2003, 04:24 PM
I don't think you have a chance. If you want to feed lawyers, go ahead. :D

The way to go would be: on plugging it in, format the disk, in front of witnesses. Return the special Recovery CD, with a request for repayment of the OEM licence cost, because you do not agree with Microsoft's EULA. Then buy a full retail version.

You can see how people go about this when they want to use Linux in Australia (http://www.netcraft.com.au/geoffrey/toshiba.html), and at Linux Mall (http://linuxmall.com/refund/).

ugh1
15-07-2003, 04:38 PM
> Thought there was no appeal in small claims court??I
> am obviously wrong!

Yes, but the grounds are fairly limited and you must appeal in district court.

DMcKenzie
15-07-2003, 06:41 PM
Hi, thanks everyone for your input.

>I have been too small claims court twice over such problems and won both times, even on appeal.

>Unless you where told in writing that the recovery disk would not function if any of the hardware was changed then take them too small claims court and sue for a working version of the software.

>You have the right too change the hardware as the computer is designed too be upgraded unless specified at the time of sale in writing.

>Things like hardware / software conflicts are hard too argue / prove, but if the recovery disk is telling you it will not work just because you have changed a component in the computer and not because it is not compatible with the new hardware you installed then it might be worth the money too file a claim.

Hi this is especially interesting :)

Lets say thats all true (because it is). They never say that the recovery cd would not work if I was to upgrade the hardware. The hardware works fine with the bios upgrade and is not incompatible with the hardware. And your right, the computer is designed to be upgraded. How can I double check on the licence though?

Brett, Do you think you could contact the email address in my profile and help me out a bit more, i.e. some of the specifics of the case and how you actually won? It would help a great deal :)

How much does it cost to take them to the small claims tribunal? Can you charge the Pc Company for some of the fees and for wasting my time with it etc?

Thanks to GrahamL for the links. The first one is a good laugh, second link is dead ?:|

DMcKenzie
18-07-2003, 08:18 PM
hello? ugh1?

Mike
19-07-2003, 09:42 AM
> How much does it cost to take them to the small
> claims tribunal? Can you charge the Pc Company for
> some of the fees and for wasting my time with it
> etc?

Not sure how much it costs, but it isn't that much. If you win then the company you're suing will be told to cover your costs. However if you lose you may be required to cover their costs, which will likely be a lot higher than yours.

Mike.