Posted on Tuesday 20th of March 2007 at 13:20 in Linux

Acer asks for ?50 more for a notebook WITHOUT Windows?

I covered this in an article earlier but felt that it actually needed a proper write-up with further explanation. All I was trying to do was work out whether certain vendors would supply me a sensibly priced laptop without Windows installed - because I want it for testing Linux distros. Today I received a response from Acer that really made me smile.

If you want to have a read of this information yourself then please download the Acer information form and see what you deduce. Update - PDF available here.

Acer won't supply a notebook without Windows, but they will remove it and refund you

"Good news" I thought "I can get a laptop with ?50-60 removed from the price - bargain! Unfortunately I was wrong. I'm going to explain what information they provided to me, explain (with examples) what this actually means in terms of money and I'll also provide a link to download the information form.

What Acer told me

tuxAcer informed me that I could indeed get a Laptop without Windows installed - but what would actually happen is:
1. I buy a laptop
2. Whoever I buy from will ship me the laptop
3. I fill out the form (attached to this article)
4. I pay for shipping to the Acer repair centre
5. They remove Windows
6. They send me a cheque for *VALUE OF OPERATING SYSTEM*
7. I pay for shipping back to my house
8. I pay the cheque into my bank account
9. Smile

Ok so the smarter readers amongst you will have spluttered at points 4 and 7 where I'm responsible for paying for shipping back to the repair centre - which seems to be in Plymouth. I'll discuss the cost of shipping shortly during my example. But first things first...


Acer disclosed the value of the refund as being:
" XP Home, Vista Home Basic and Vista Business = 30 Euro (approximately ?20)
XP Professional, XP Media Centre and Vista Home Premium = 60 Euro (approximately ?40)" which is a slightly odd figure. I'd be amazed if an OEM of XP Home costs the same as an OEM of Vista Home Basic. I'd be even more amazed if they cost ?20. However, it's only when you place it all together in an example that it becomes astonishing.

The Example

acer laptopTo the right we have a sample laptop that I spyed from Ebuyer that costs ?379 (at the time of writing). It weighs roughly 3kg and would be sufficient for my needs.

So say I buy it from Ebuyer, I've spent ?379 (I have a pending free delivery token from Ebuyer). I then decide I want to remove Windows from the machine so I can review various Linux distros on it. So I decide to fill out the form and send it back to Acer.

I live in Cambridge and the Acer repair centre seems to be in Plymouth which is around 280 miles away. I've had a look around and the most sensible shipping is ParcelForce. Using their cheapest service (ParcelForce48 - where goods are delivered within 48 hours) and insurance up to a value of ?500 (to cover the cost of the laptop) brings a one way price of ?24.25

So this means that if I was going to get my Windows refund I'd be spending just shy of ?50 purely to get the machine to them and back - just so I could get ?20 for the pleasure of a Windows-free notebook. But what happens if I wanted a more advanced laptop? If it cost more than ?500 then my shipping insurance would bump the overall price up to around ?70.


Laptop = ?379
Shipping = ?50 (or ?70)
Refund = +?20
Total = ?409 (or ?429)

So I could spend ?379 for a Laptop with Vista Home Basic that I could then uninstall myself and put Ubuntu in it's place (or whatever I was reviewing) OR I could spend around ?410 for a Laptop that I buy, then spend a week or two without, then get back and THEN install Ubuntu on (or whatever). Excuse me if I don't "do the happy dance" with that one Acer.

Good work - spend more, get less

So I could essentially spend ?30-50 more to get an operating system less than I would receive originally? Somehow I think that the open source community aren't going to be taking up this offer anytime soon...


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