Consumer Product and Service Agreement Updates

Posted by Tim Fielden
Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft

Microsoft, like other businesses, relies on user agreements that we ask consumers to read and accept before using our products and services. We revise and update these agreements over time. This post discusses a change we have begun making as we update user agreements across our consumer products and services.

Microsoft is updating user agreements across its consumer products and services.

When a customer in the United States has a dispute about a Microsoft product or service, many of our new user agreements will require that, if we can’t informally resolve the dispute, the customer bring the claim in small claims court or arbitration, but not as part of a class action lawsuit. Many companies have adopted this approach, which the U.S. Supreme Court permitted in a case it decided in 2011. We made this change to our terms of use for Xbox LIVE several months ago, and we will implement similar changes in user agreements for other products and services in the coming months as we roll out major licensing, hardware or software releases and updates.

We think this is the right approach for both Microsoft and our U.S. customers. Our policy gives Microsoft powerful incentives to resolve any dispute to the customer’s satisfaction before it gets to arbitration, and our arbitration provisions will be among the most generous in the country. For instance, we permit arbitration wherever the customer lives, promptly reimburse filing fees, and, if we offer less to resolve a dispute informally than an arbitrator ultimately awards, we will pay the greater of the award or $1,000 for most products and services—plus double the customer’s reasonable attorney’s fees. Most important, this approach means customer complaints will be resolved promptly, and in those cases where the arbitrator agrees with the customer’s position, the customer will receive generous compensation, and receive it quickly.

It’s also worth noting that we have a 45-day refund policy for certain Microsoft software or hardware purchased from a retailer which provides for a full refund and reimbursement of shipping costs of up to $7. (See for more information about this return policy).

Microsoft is proud of the products and services we offer consumers. When we do have a dispute, we commit to resolving it quickly and fairly. We believe this policy reflects that commitment. 

Comments (21)

  1. CLuELeSS says:

    A very sad day for consumer rights.

  2. steveb says:

    I'm ashamed to have a lowlife like you working for me.

    You're fired.

  3. W says:

    Does it have any effect in EU?

  4. cmonMicrosoft says:

    It does not have an effect in the EU, because -for example- in germany you can't give up such basic rights whatever you may do. Having something like that in the agreement may even render the entire thing void.

  5. Vegard says:

    Wow…this license would be illegal here in Norway, as you cannot have agreements to bypass the law in any way. In most cases this would nullify the entire agreement, pretty much making windows either freeware or illegal.

    Interesting to see how MS works hard to get around those pesky consumer right laws though.

  6. NotHappy says:

    I've recently moved from Linux to Windows and have become quite a fan of it but with stunts like this (and also the recent Visual Studio Express thing) Microsoft is pushing me back into the arms of the free (as in speech) competition… and being German I'm not even affected by this.

  7. Matthew Graybosch says:

    Do you really think the portion of your EULA requiring users of Windows 8 to refrain from participating in class-action lawsuits would be considered enforceable by any sane court in the civilized world? Not that it matters to me; I only use Windows when I'm getting PAID to do so.

  8. Matt'sNotGetting8 says:

    Microsoft, the EULA for comapnies operating within my home gives me the full right to do what ever I want.

  9. Skipping Windows 8 says:

    Class Action lawsuits are for consumer protection from abusive corporations. You've pretty much assured that I will skip Windows 8.

  10. JW says:

    Just so you all know Ubuntu is a great alternative. Its what I used to get away from it at home stuck on windows at work but home I am free.

  11. Roger Webb says:

    It's because of companies like this that class-action suits are necessary.  Brazil has been making the switch to Linux, and the US government should do the same for the same reasons.

  12. observer says:

    how does it feel working for a company that cannot innovate and everybody hates?

  13. nobody4 says:

    Uhhh… good reminder. Almost forgot to cancel my Xbox Live subscription

  14. Mike Rosoft says:

    Well, looks like I'm not getting windows 8.

    what's a good alternative?

  15. Christian says:

    Well, what else do you expect from Microsoft, or from any large company for that matter?  A precedent was set in a legal case that can now be used by other companies to protect their revenue streams.

    Still, class actions can be launched outside the USA – maybe US citizens could joing them?

  16. vaettchen says:

    No idea why people pay for getting screwed

  17. 3247 says:

    In Germany, for example, this would be blatantly invalid… if there were class action suits in Germany in the first place.

  18. Bye Microsoft says:

    You way overstepped the mark. What makes you think you can mess with our constitutional rights?

    Your greed-based actions has cost you my business. I will never buy another Microsoft product.

  19. Niz says:

    Wow most of the changes in Windows 8 were already sounding too user-unfriendly for me. I need a real desktop not a smartphone interface. I also don't like the whole 'always connected' and everything in the cloud' concepts. This EULA pushes me over the edge.

    Now where's that Linux CD?

  20. JER says:

    There are many reasons people dislike MS, and this decision will only solidify that notion in people's minds.  Talk about arrogance.  If past performance is any measure, this will allow them to produce another bug-riddled product.  Only now they're protected.  What motivation do they really have to settle small claims and arbitration cases fairly?  Smart in the short run, but screwing your customers is the WRONG way to do business.  

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