'Free' Windows 7 upgrades not always free, says consumer group
Fees for supposedly free upgrades range from $11.25 to $17, says site
By Gregg Keizer
October 1, 2009 01:34 PM ET
Computerworld - The free Windows 7 upgrades that Microsoft has promised buyers of new PCs powered by Vista are not always free, a consumer watchdog Web site said today.
"To me, whether it's $12.99 or $17.03, the charges are all outrageous," said Edgar Dworsky, the editor of Consumerworld.org and Mouseprint.org. "It's just a single disc they're sending, and with media mail rates, it costs just over a dollar to mail."
Last June, Microsoft kicked off a marketing campaign dubbed "Windows 7 Upgrade Option Program" to keep PCs sales ticking. The program, a rerun of a similar deal in 2006 before Windows Vista's launch, gives people who buy a PC equipped with Windows Vista Home Premium, Business or Ultimate a free or nearly-free upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional or Ultimate once the new operating system ships Oct. 22.
Consumers who purchase an eligible PC between June 26, 2009 and Jan. 31, 2010 qualify for the upgrade.
Dworsky, however, found that while some computer makers are giving away Windows 7 upgrades, others are charging fees as high as $17 for what's characterized as "shipping, handling, and fulfillment fees."
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