Beware of Microsoft Support and Refunds

On Nov. 25 I decided I thought Windows 8 was interesting and pretty enough to give a try. I downloaded and ran Microsoft's upgrade advisor tool and, initially, there was a bios setting that needed to be changed. I changed that setting and the only issues that were warned against was that my Microsoft Office was too old. (Office 2003) and a couple of open source apps either didn't work or needed to be reinstalled. No big deal.

From this tool I was given the option of purchasing, downloading, and installing Windows 8 Professional for $39.95 -- after taxes it was $43.79. The only payment option available was via PayPal through a place called Arvato Digital Services in Valencia, CA. Once PayPal did its thing the software downloaded and installed.

Once installed, I asked Windows to update and after almost 2hrs it told me the update failed. In the event log there were a couple of messages about the failure, some DLL's and some error codes. After a couple attempts at this with failures taking as much as 5 hours -- the whole time my computer being unusable -- I contacted Microsoft Support.

A support technician asked some questions and asked to use my computer remotely. I agreed. This was an informal arrngement and there were no terms or conditions specified by the tech or Microsoft. During the course of this process she looked at things like the computer properties and device manager, she attempted an update of 1 update and that worked. She did not look at the event log and she did not read any of the error codes. She fiddled with drivers and ultimately after almost 4hrs across two different sessions on different days, she uninstalled my video driver, installed a couple of 3rd party packages to which I didn't agree to the licensing (she did that on my behalf without asking) and determined that my computer was suitable to run Windows 8 but that there were issues with my video card and that updates had to be manually done, one at a time, and, that I had to live with random explorer crashes.

I wasn't terribly happy but I figured I could live with that. After we concluded our session I had some reason or another to reboot and found that, upon boot up, my computer was now in 800x600 VGA mode -- on a 21" screen. The tech uninstalled my video driver. If she had told me that I would have told her that was completely unacceptable. A week later the system started crashing randomly with messages such as "The system cannot continue and must restart".

I called Microsoft and asked for a refund on Dec. 8. I was told that I needed to visit a site, enter my order number and sign an electronic letter of destruction which I did.

On Dec. 18 I received an e-mail telling me my refund had been processed. Not terribly surprisingly there was no refund in my PayPal account nor on my debit card.

On Dec. 21 I called Microsoft and they insistently told me that the refund was made and that I had to wait for the next billing cycle. I informed them there was no billing cycle for PayPal and they suggested I call PayPal.

PayPal took some time to research the issue and told me that there was nothing pending from Microsoft or Arvato Digital Services.

I called Microsoft and was told that there must be an issue with their system and they would have to escalate it as a priority issue. This would take 3-5 business days, or, in other words, potentially until Jan 2 -- of next year. I told them that didn't much sound like a priority and asked to speak to a supervisor. I explained my level of frustration and the unethical and, in my mind, questionable actions of the support person who didn't really help much and the fact that I now have no Windows OS because I cannot find a legal copy of Vista to which I have a license, to then install Windows 7 for which I have an upgrade license. He offered to give me sell me an activation key for Windows 8 that would not expire and all I had to do was make yet another charge that would be refunded. I told him that while I would like the key as a concession that I would not make another payment to be refunded at some unknown time. He told me he would transfer me to someone who could give me said key without a purchase and gave me a number to use in case I was disconnected. I was transferred to a bad number and disconnected and the number I called had no clue what I was talking about but was apologetic none the less.

I did ask about how to get around the upgrade installation issue and be able to install from scratch window 7 and the support guy said you cant and when I explained the only way to do that would be to find a pirate copy of vista to install first and then upgrade from there he agreed that was my only option. I was actually told by a representative of Microsoft to pirate their software.

All in all Microsoft has been exceedingly polite in telling me they understand my frustrations and are exceedingly polite in telling me to go to hell.

As far as Avarto Digital Services goes, they have no contact information in their website which is not accessable directly from the PayPal recceipt as it is mispelled. The only information I have for them is an email address that at this time has yet to respond to inquiries.

So to recap, I was lured and fooled into upgrading a perfectly good system with software that did not do a good job of reporting its abilities, paid for software that did not work and was told by its manufacturerer that it is "good enough" only to find problems down the road. When asked for a refund I was told I had one without ever receiving any money and that their priority service leaves me waiting 26 calendar days for a resolution.

Sorry to hear your frustrations.
I used the same method as you for Windows 8 installation and through the same source, but, did not incur any issues.

Did you file a dispute in PayPal's Resolution Center?
You have 45 days to do so with this purchase, from date of purchase.

As far as Microsoft goes with your remote sessions;
A support technician asked some questions and asked to use my computer remotely. I agreed.
, that's all they needed, to do what they thought was necessary.
I know this is most likely not what you wanted to hear, but it was agreed to, by you.

You may want to continue your frustrations with Microsoft til you can speak with someone to get to some kind of satisfactory solution, for your Windows 8 dilemma.

Here is a link; How to replace Microsoft software or hardware, order service packs, and replace product manuals to get a replacement disc for Windows OS's, which usually cost about $10. You must supply a legal (purchased) Activation License key.

Good luck and let us know the outcome

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