back to article HP strikes back on charges for 'free' Windows 7 upgrade

Hewlett-Packard has refuted complaints that it isn't fulfilling a promise of a "free" Windows 7 upgrade on PCs and laptops saying it had never made any such offer in the first place. "The UK communication regarding the Windows 7 upgrade from HP has never stated that this was available for free," a company spokeswoman told The …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. john loader

    as the old saying goes

    There's no such thing as a free launch

  2. The Indomitable Gall

    Daylight robbery.

    Ok, a postage and handling charge is one thing, but this is a fair bit north of a reasonable charge. It certainly shouldn't cost 10 times as much to send out 10 copies as to send out one.

    And Microsoft shouldn't be shrugging their shoulders on this one: they should have done this by electronic distribution. Their choice, their fault.

  3. John Geddes
    Thumb Down

    Greedy or incompetent?

    £27 "shipping and handling" is sheer incompetence if it is the true cost to HP, and dishonest greed if it isn't.

    I had spotted the "shipping cost" caveat when considering purchase of an HP laptop, but had been unable to find any detail of how much it would be.

    I don't have a problem with companies dressing up their charges in any way they like, as long as they are open and honest about the amount. If the HP website had said "You can have the upgrade at a charge of £27" then that is fine. But to mention a cost but not to say how much it will be - that is only OK if the customer can trust that the company is honest and competent. Clearly such trust in HP would be misplaced.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Of course you have to pay shipping and handling. DUH!

    But what I want to know is, why can't they just give you a link to a webpage so that you can download the software with a key? We do it on our business license with Microshaft.

  5. Dick Emery

    HP are great!

    Well their 24" display I am using is as well as their customer service. This is typical marketing BS. Marketing depts in ALL companies are complete arse. I would not be surprised if someone took this to court as an unfair hidden surcharge and false advertising (sorta).

  6. Bilgepipe
    Thumb Down

    A Bit Pricey

    While it's not unreasonable to charge for shipping - the post isn't delivered by the magic parcel fairy, after all - £22 seems a bit steep for a CD and a bit of paper with Balmer's pawprint on it. I can get cheap crap from eBay shipped from Hong Kong for less than a quarter of that.

  7. Tricky Dicky
    Thumb Down

    Of course it's free!

    Just like the "free" laptops you get with mobile broadband packages.

    Yes you may pay £15 extra a month for the service for 24 months, but the laptop is "Free!

  8. SuperTim

    Not Just HP!

    Toshiba do it as well.

    It is advertised as free but with shipping/handling. So if i "obtain" windows 7 elsewhere , i am still justified in having it for free, but then dont need to be sent anything, right? Cheeky gets didnt even supply vista on a disk, just preinstalled with the option for ME to burn MY OWN BACKUPS!

    Phew! I feel morally justified in downloading the Win7 RTM now.....

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Shipping costs

    Lets face it, twenty odd quid for shipping etc is not bad value considering you will probably get a box, within a box, within a box which in turn will be in a box strapped to a pallet - delivered by an 18 stone weight lifter in an articulated lorry.....

  10. Michael C

    it was never free

    Microsoft told everyone from the beginning that the Os upgrade would be free to qualified purchasers, but most OEMs would charge a nominal fee for shipping.

    $5-10 I can expect, but $2 (in the us that would be nearly $40!) is rediculous for a small DVD case, if it was not just a disk in a paper cleeve with a sitcker on it...

    HP should be slapped for this. Further, it should not be BY REQUEST, the disks should have been sent out automatically to those who bothered to register for them, and HP could have simply included $3-5 in the price to cover it...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't buy HP in the future.

    If you are one of the people/companies being conned - Simply do not buy anything from HP ever again.................... their support is pretty bad anyways. You will also know you are doing your bit not to line the pockets of these piss taking pricks.

    TBH all kit is much of a muchness these days laptops/desktops/printers/cameras/phones etc etc etc. You can usually find a product from 2 or 3 other companies that would be just as good.

    HP as a brand does not really mean anything anymore.............. a great shame............

    If you are a large customer of HP - simply threaten the boycott........ you will soon receive your free upgrades! If not, do the above, it's not going to hurt your bottom line is it.........

  12. Alex Pepper


    Acer Windows 7 Upgrade = £12

    A bit more reasonable I suppose, and at least I get an OS on disk for once...

  13. codechimp

    It's not just HP

    I got stung a 16.75 euro shipping & handling charge for my free* upgrade to Win 7 from Lenovo so it's a standard practice.

    Didn't notice the small print either so was disappointing but not as bad as almost half the promotional price that HP are charging.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @as the old saying goes

    Oh yes, it is! It is called breastfeeding but you're too old to remember.

    Changing the topic, there are several OSes that are totally and really free to upgrade, especially useful when you're moving away from Windows.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Free my arse

    Nothing is free, it's like mobile phone contracts.

    Chav - How much is this mobile phone with this contract?

    Salesperson - £15.99 a month....but you do get 500 free minutes

    Chav - Wikid! I'll take it!

    Salesperson - could go for the platinum deal that comes with 1000 free minutes per month.

    Chav - How much is it?

    Salesperson - £31.98 per month, and you also get a free signup to spamtones R' us.

    Chav - Wikid! <fingersnap>

  16. Alan Gauton
    Thumb Down

    Tosh 2

    Toshiba are £27.90 for the Win 7 update - which again I find excessive. However, as well at the Windows 7 disc, you also get a driver disc for your machine. Still expensive. Tosh claim it's not just P&P but the cost of a driver disc....

    HP did the same last time with XP upgrades to Vista - except, iirc, that time is was £13. They shipped Vista and a driver CD in paper sleeves that time round.

  17. Richard 81
    Thumb Down


    £27 ain't bad for an OS with disk and if they told people up front, I'm sure no one would mind much. Why that reader was going to be charged £220 for shipping of 10 units, which weight a few 100g each, to the same address, probably in the same box (albeit strapped to a pallet), is beyond me. Assuming the distribution centre is somewhere in the UK (or even some parts of Europe), you could easily go there yourself and pick it up by car, train, even plane for less.

  18. Urs Keller

    At least one company is transparent

    "If you’ve purchased a qualifying computer or Xserve on or after June 8, 2009 that does not include Mac OS X Snow Leopard, you can upgrade to Mac OS X Snow Leopard for $9.95.*

    *Covers product plus shipping and handing fee. U.S. customers add appropriate sales tax"

    From Apples website

  19. James 49


    Bought a HP laptop a couple of weeks ago, my upgrade charge is £39.99. If this really is a shipping/handling charge why the descrepency. Needless to say I was not very happy.

  20. Jason DePriest

    Dell laptop vs HP laptop

    I bought my wife a Dell laptop about a year ago. It came in a fairly large box with a nice carrying handle. It had the laptop nestled in polystyrene, the manuals, and all of the CDs needed to rebuild the system from a blank drive.

    I bought myself an HP laptop about six months ago (I wanted an AMD + ATI right for mobile gaming). It came in a much smaller box (really!). There was no polystyrene, just cardboard nooks. That was the pleasant part. It also came with minimal manuals and no CDs. I can get the CDs from HP if I want to pay $12US for shipping. Or I can burn my own set of 3 DVDs directly from the recovery partition on the system. I plan to do that when I have some time to kill. I'd like to recover the 12 GB of space it takes up.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Read the terms anyone

    Am I the only person that actually reads the T&C's that come with offers to find out the truth about what you are signing up for.

    If you fail to read them there is only one person to blame, and no matter how much you bleat, it is going to change the fact that whatever the charge is, you are going to have to pay it.

    And given that HP are famous for the amount of packaging they use £27 is a small amount to pay.

  22. Bernie 2

    For £27 S&H

    I'd expect to receive the disc within an hour of placing my order.

    Is that what happens?

  23. mrweekender


    Win 7 hasn't even been released officially and already people are complaining.

    THE FUCKING WOW STARTS NOW! - Yeah, my arse.

  24. steward

    Maybe HP's marketing group got their start selling on eBay

    This reminds me of the auctions on eBay where they list the item for 99 cents, with a shipping and handling charge of $50.00 for something that weighs about 6 ounces...

  25. Mad Hacker
    Thumb Down

    They should let you return the computer for a refund

    If the computer was purchased less then 90 days ago, dispute the charge on your credit card and try to return it.

    That price is excessive. They should email you your CD key and give you a link to download the DVD image, all for free.

    Mail? I need that for hardware, not software!

  26. Kevin 9

    The Law

    I keep wishing it for us here in Canada. Looks like you guys in the UK could use it too. We need a law which states that if a charge is not optional, it must be included in the upfront price. In this case, the S&H is not optional, so the word free should have been nowhere in the advertising schtick. Here in Canada, it really pisses me off that you can advertise a cell phone plan for $20 a month, but you cannot opt out of the 911 access fee or the system access fee or whatever other additional fees they wish to add.

    I also love the idea of VAT. Not the having the pay tax part, but the posted price including all applicable taxes seems like a great idea. I encounter so many people who can't wrap their heads around adding 10-15% to items and can't understand what they are paying...

  27. slider5634
    Thumb Down

    Epic Fail

    If you're going to go through the trouble of charging people for shipping the upgrade, at least be upfront about what it's going to cost. Don't offer me an upgrade, let me choose to get it, and then say "Oh, BTW it's going to cost this much" after the fact. Jerks!

  28. David Simpson 1

    Hmmm ?

    The guy who bought 10 PCs from HP surely only needs 1 disc and a piece of paper with 10 keys on it.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Why is HP's name on this article?

    From the article:

    "Having purchased a shiny new HP EliteBook Laptop for over a grand, I was looking forward to my free Windows 7 upgrade to Vista Business, as widely advertised splashed across banners on the various e-tailers stores," said Reg reader Neil.

    E-TAILER STORES. Not HP. Why should HP be responsible for anything an e-tailer says? If I start a web business and post banner ads saying HP will give you eternal youth, a pony, and a pot of gold with every purchase, is HP responsible to make good on my claim?

    On top of all of that, the HP release says 'free' not 'at no cost to you'. If you don't want to pay shipping, drive there and pick it up yourself. If anything, people should be complaining to THE E-TAILERS for a.) false advertising and b.) not picking up the shipping costs.

    The whining in most the comments above makes me fear for the future of humanity. The fact that people cannot identify the source of the issue and libelously blame HP is frightening. Then again, it explains the whole socialism direction the world is heading.

  30. Frostbite

    Taking the P

    HP are really taking the P on this one....... (P=piss)

    Does this mean that 'HP' should now be known as 'H'

    or should they be known as HPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP as they are really taking the P.

    Coat icon because HP are already digging in my pockets.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    HP?...Windows?....Sympathy?....I think not. If someone is stupid enough to spend money on a Microsoft "product" then you deserve all you get frankly. Morons!

  32. Puck

    HP are at the cutting edge of innovative sharp practice!

    ...Not just with shipping but with the business plans for their products generally: my dear mother bought the HP 7280 all-in-one printer for the handsome price of £149.99. It looks beautiful. But it has six ink cartridges, ALL of which are used, if, say, one copies a black and white page, or, receives a fax, or prints a fax confirmation. If one prints B&W only from the print driver, still, colour cartridges are used. There is NO way to perform 'black only' printing.

    I asked HP why there was no way of performing 'black only' printing/copying/faxing. They told me, that it was because the black produced through the combination of six colours, was BETTER. Better.

    I studied fine art for six years full-time, I went to Chelsea and St Martins, and I feel that qualifies me to assert that black is black. If one wants to make a very, very special black, for a one-off piece for a special collector, fine: use as many colours as you want. But to photocopy a recipe or receive a fax, that would be insanity.

    The cartridges, each of the six of which have been replaced three times in the past year, despite my mum having never printed anything in colour, cost up to £14.99 each.

    One of these days I'll get round to getting redress, but my mum and I are gutted, enraged. GRRR!

  33. Tam Lin

    2,500% markup on DVDs

    At HP, everything needs to pay as well as their self-clogging, predeformed plastic-byproduct containers of low-performance, auto-smearing, unstable mock-ink liquids (or dried up solids) in batch-dependent random colors.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Provisioning built into the price

    In Canada:

    I wanted a "free" Vista upgrade for my (C$1030/£475) LG laptop in 2007, but there was a C$60/£33 shipping charge, so I didn't order it.

    For my HP DV6-Artist laptop (C$999/£555), they did not charge any shipping fee for the Windows 7 upgrade in Canada - perhaps because this is not a value laptop (unless you are a gaming enthusiast)

    My theory: They can "afford" the provisioning cost because this laptop model was announced after the Windows 7 promotion. The cost of provisioning the Windows 7 upgrade was built into the price.

    For laptops announced before the Windows 7 promotion, the costs are passed onto you because the laptops in the channel have fixed profit margins already.

    Microsoft needs to control/subsidize the shiping cost charged by the OEMs' distributors/provisioners if they want people to upgrade from Vista. But since Windows 7 is just an OSR2 release of Vista, that's not likely.

    (prices are ex VAT)

  35. John F. Jackson


    If you are outraged by excessive delivery charges then you could hope that the vendor fails to deliver your disks before Nov 22nd. The UK distance selling act states that goods must be delivered within 30 days. After this period you are entitled to buy the product (if generally available) at retail. So find the dearest store suppying the same W7 version and send the bill to your PC vendor. If he doesn't like the price of the retail version versus his OEM price ... then he can see you in the small claims court, should he wish to pay not only the retail price but also for your time in attending the hearing. Maybe you make a profit! One might think that delivery within a month is a sure thing but DELL for one took 3 months with Vista.

  36. Fuzz

    Price range

    Looks like people are getting charged a lot of different prices. I'd be interested to know how they compare.

    Do you pay more if your original purchase was more or less?

    Do you pay a different price if your machine came with premium/business/ultimate?

    x64 or x86?

    It's obviously not just a shipping and handling fee because that would be the same regardless of the PC but just on here we've got people being charged between £22 and £39.99 by the same company.

    £39.99 is beyond a joke, we wouldn't pay that for actual licenses on our VLK agreement, and why don't they offer 1 CD + 10 licenses?

  37. Anonymous Coward

    don't buy an HP anyway

    My HP laptop died on month 13 of a 12 month warranty. The NVIDIA graphics turned to toast which in turn turn the rest of the motherboard to toast - they basically told me to eff off when I contacted them regarding this matter.

    Shoddy equipment and now it sounds like they are behaving shoddily on the software side as well. No more HP products for me.

  38. Chris Tierney

    Gotta love Microsoft.

    Imagine dragging Dell into this fray in their statement. MR Dell hope your reading this but don't let me pay the same S&H for my Windows 7 upgrade & I'll buy more of your stuff. Or send me a free Alienware or Precision system and I'll happily pay S&H on that.

  39. Apocalypse Later

    Yes Virginia, there is a free launch

    Ubuntu will ship you their latest OS on a disk completely free, no postage charge even. And most people would consider it an upgrade to Vista, at least, if not XP.

  40. Martin 71 Silver badge

    @ac 19:06

    If you're in the UK, the sale of goods act still covers you even after the 'warranty' has expired. Unfortunately if you're elsewhere, you're probably SOL

  41. Anonymous Coward

    MS shrugs

    After their "I'm a PC and I'm six years old" adverts, the only way is up for MS marketing.

    It Isn't MS' responsibility, but the whole OEM "you may not install from any media" Windows thing is a big con. Gouging customers when selling my products would be something I'd get upset about and pretending the fee is to cover S&H is plain dishonest.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Kevin 9

    Just a few weeks ago the federal government here in Australia did exactly that.

    The result.... certain industries (notably new car sales) removed pricing from all advertising material. If you want the price you have to go in and speak with a sales droid.

  43. Simon B

    No surprise there, HP dont care about customers!

    Desn't surprise me, I've avoided HP for years, I experienced their lack of interest in its customers once and haven't touched them since :)

  44. William saywell

    @Jason depriest

    "Or I can burn my own set of 3 DVDs directly from the recovery partition on the system. I plan to do that when I have some time to kill. I'd like to recover the 12 GB of space it takes up."

    Just make sure you do it before the drive crashes and takes both partitions down!


  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mine is free

    Bought a laptop from Dell, went to relevant website, put in details and job done. It clearly says "Your order does not incur any shipping costs for this upgrade." so for once MS are telling the truth.....

  46. Slackness


    You are obviously forgetting the cost of shipping a box the size of a smart car.

  47. Anonymous Coward

    I'm Waiting

    No one gets any money until they can play nice. I'm waiting until the dust clears after October 22 2009 before buying my new PC and saving my money to buy beer.

  48. Neil Spellings

    Neil's response

    Hi, I'm the "Neil" quoted in the article.

    The "tagline" on the online adverts read:

    "Purchase any eligible Windows Vista® Home Premium, Vista Business or Vista Ultimate PC and get a free upgrade to Windows 7"

    Note the word "free".

    There is a line in the terms and conditions that read:

    "Each vendor will charge shipping and handling fees. These charges vary by vendor."

    Still, I consider HP's charge of £27 for shipping and handling obscene when I'm capable of downloading the same thing for free.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like