'Free' Win7 Upgrade Taxed with Surcharge by Manufacturers

Dennis Faas's picture

Computer manufacturers have been accused of excessive shipping charges for a supposedly free Windows 7 upgrade scheme. The fees mean some buyers could wind up paying as much as $17.03 for shipping: far more than the actual costs of delivering the upgrade.

According to the free Windows 7 deal, people who buy Vista machines before the Windows 7 release date of October 22nd, 2009 will be able to get a "free" copy of Windows 7 upon its release. The aim of the scheme was to minimize the drop in computer purchases over the summer among people who'd otherwise have waited for the new system rather than buy something which was about to become outdated.

The scheme's operation means that buyers must deal directly with the PC manufacturer to request the upgrade rather than get it from the computer retailer. The manufacturer then sends them an upgrade disc in the mail.

Some Retailers Free, Others Not

Consumer World is now complaining that some manufacturers are charging customers a handling fee to receive the upgrade package. At most this should contain two disks (one with Windows 7, one with drivers) and a short installation manual, which would likely cost the firm a couple of bucks at most. (Source: mouseprint.org)

However, while Acer and Dell are providing the upgrade without charge, firms such as Compaq, HP, Sony and Toshiba are charging between $11.25 and $14.99 to some customers. Lenovo is not only charging all customers, but is hitting them with a $17.03 fee. (Source: pcworld.com)

Retailers Keep Quiet

Several of these manufacturers are only listing the fee during the later stages of the upgrade application process. With most retailers not mentioning the possibility of fees while marketing the scheme, it's likely many people won't find out about the charge until after they've bought their computer.

Upgrade May Not Arrive Until February

There's also little guarantee that customers will get the upgrade any time soon. Most manufacturers simply say it will be shipped after Windows 7 is officially released, but Toshiba is listing a 60 day delivery schedule and Samsung appears to indicate some customers may have to wait until the end of February before receiving the upgrade.

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