EULA and software returns

When I install software, I notice more often than not that the EULA says something to the effect of, “if you don’t agree to the terms, return everything that came in the software package and return it to the place you got it. The merchant will refund your money.”

Now, I’ve never known a merchant to do this. They say (IME) that they will only exchange opened software for other copies of the software and I’ve seen some people try to return software and being refused “as it’s their policy.” Granted, I don’t think that the returners are arguing that they disagree with the EULA, but I doubt that the retailer would acquiesce even if this were the case.

My question is: would the retailer be bound by the terms of the software it is selling, or would the store’s policy trump the EULA?

I think it would logically appear that the store’s policy trumps the EULA (as the store has no say in what goes into the EULA), but then again, I presume that the store has some degree of responsibility in respecting the manufacturer’s wishes (elsewise the manufacturer wouldn’t have allowed the retailer to sell the items).

Or, would I just email the manufacturer and say, “Best Buy said your EULA return policy can suck your dick, gimmie my money?”

I am responding as someone who spent far too much time in the software industry, rather than as a consumer of software or as a retailer. I’m pretty sure about the bits I talk about, but your question is more one about an area I’m unsure of - what retailers do.

Wow, EULAs are getting soft. They used to say “by putting the disk in the drive, you have given us permission to come over and sodomize you, your mother, and your cat. Press any key to continue”.

Well, technically, you need to say “Best Buy said your EULA return policy can suck your dick and your product sucks, is full of bugs, and does not do what it says it can do gimme my money”, but yeah, that’s the gist of it.

Retailers and software companies are not typically on really great terms in my experience. To make matters worse, an unhappy customer (that is, one who calls tech support or who wishes to return the product) destroys the profit margin on a software sale, assuming a mid-sized software company selling desk top or utility software - that is, ignoring Microsoft and high-end products. So, the software company would rather the customer returned the product to the store, and had the store deal with the paperwork/refunds and send the product back with all of the unsold inventory. The store doesn’t want to do that, and would prefer the publisher handle the unhappy customer. In my experience, the software company really doesn’t have much choice about taking the product back, especially if the customer is insistent; certainly, at the companies I’ve worked at (I was on the technical side of the shop, but I drank with the CS reps) or dealt with, the company would issue RMAs rather than have a really pissed of customer.

I have no idea if the EULA is actually legally binding, in that it somehow forces the retailer to take back defective products. I would be vaguely surprised if it did.

One classic variation along these lines are people who try to return for refund unused MS-Windows NT-line OSes that came with PCs they purchased. MS says the PC maker owes them the money, the PC maker says they have no way of doing such a refund. You see a lot of grumbling about this in the Linux forums. Since whole companies are switching to non-MS OSes now, bigger bucks are involved and a few makers are starting to actually do the refunds.

Basically, if you want your money you have to sue. The only way that works is you go class action. But lawyers now use class action as a scam itself to ripoff both sides.

Well the whole OEM refund on software bundled on a system is an entirely different arena. But yet, the OEM bought the OS from Microsoft. Microsoft has not had any real transaction with the customer.

Now to the other issue. I know Microsoft offers a 90 day gaurentee for it’s software if the customer bought a full product in the store (not OEM) and doesn’t like the EULA they can return it for a full refund. Ths info is included in the EULA on how to contact them for the refund.