I have not yet opened the box of the new laptop I have bought and want to run Ubuntu on it instead of Windows. The laptop i bought is a refurb so i'm not sure where i stand with regard to being able to claim a refund. Is it possible in theory?

  • Where did you purchase the laptop? I know, for example, that Amazon does pay out for this on new hardware, but I wouldn't know about refurb. – user3463 Sep 11 '09 at 13:27

You can only reclaim the Windows Tax if it is a new notebook (not refurbed). Unfortunately, since it's refurbished, you will not be able to claim it - since the discount is already there.

EDIT : added article

For a good guide on getting a Windows refund, you can check this article from Linux.com. The article explicitly states that a refund can only be gotten from a new computer. Inasfar as I know, manufacturers don't consider a refurbed unit as a new computer.

You can try your luck, but what if the service rep says this : "Oh the refurb discount you got factors in the entire cost of Windows." How are you going to answer then?

  • Yes but you paid for used hardware, the OS on it usually isn't used and cluttered with the last persons files, they do a fresh install and usually provide an install Disc. – John T Sep 11 '09 at 13:35
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    The OS may very well be used, just reinstalled. An OEM license is associated with a single computer and I would assume sticks with the laptop through the refurb process. – Will Eddins Sep 11 '09 at 14:08
  • I refer you to the link updated in my answer, direct from Linux.com. Essentially, a refund is only applicable for a new computer. Most manufacturers consider a refurbed unit as NOT a new computer. – caliban Sep 11 '09 at 14:10
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    'Windows Tax' a: inappropriate and uncalled for. b: wrong! the premium per license, which OEMs will have to pay if they don't agree to limit the sale of computers without operating systems, is referred to as 'Windows Tax', NOT the price for the OEM license itself. – Molly7244 Sep 11 '09 at 15:51
  • @Molly: I don't know. I may not be able to find the laptop I want without Windows, and this is due to its monopoly status. In this case, calling the license a "Windows Tax" seems fair to me. – David Thornley Sep 11 '09 at 16:08

It's refurbished, meaning it's used. Someone used that Windows licence (even if it was for only a minute). You can't get your money back from not using Windows because that Windows was already paid for.

That Windows licence cannot be applied to any other computer so there is no reason the retailer will discount the price of the computer because you don't want software that they can't resell.


You could always call the vendor you purchased it from. If you payed for a Windows license, you can likely get your money back.


I drive a car that has a cigarette lighter, and I don't smoke. I didn't get a refund for the cost of it simply because I don't use it. You purchased a system that came with Windows. It isn't up to the retailer if you use it or not. It really is up to you as the buyer to purchase what you want in the first place. If it is that big of a deal, return the system and shop around for one that doesn't come with an OS.

  • my dear troll, there aren't that many laptops being sold without an OS. just in case you didn't know... (though i'm guessing you did) – warsong Sep 11 '09 at 13:38
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    There aren't that many cars sold without a cigarette lighter. Just in case you didn't know... – Gnoupi Sep 11 '09 at 13:47
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    -1 for not even attempting to answer the question, instead going into a tirade of "you pay for it, you stick with it". Not helping at all. – caliban Sep 11 '09 at 14:13
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    I dunno. I thought this was a reasonable analogy. For a refurbished item you might expect much less flexibility from the vendor with respect to the laptop's configuration, especially if you're asking for money back. – Chris Farmer Sep 11 '09 at 14:21
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    This analogy would work if the car came with a statement saying "You can return the cigarette lighter for a refund or you can agree to legal restrictions on your use of said lighter." – Kevin Sep 11 '09 at 14:44

no refurb retailer will refund an OEM license. this license was part of the deal between the OEM and the first owner.

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