Consumer Nightmare: Vista Express Upgrade

April 2007

Since the upgrades started shipping in February, PC World readers have expressed concerns over a variety of issues surrounding their upgrades. The most common complaint has been that the buyer's COA number was not recognized when the owner attempted to register it.

According to reader Scott Copperman, who purchased a new HP PC with the upgrade program at the beginning of March, "I went to [the HP Web site] to claim the offer. As I went through the site, I was denied because my COA was no good. Or so they said." After five days of back and forth e-mail messages and phone calls with ModusLink--the company that handled HP's upgrade process--Copperman was finally able to get a confirmation that he would receive the upgrade. But Copperman says he is still waiting for the software to arrive. "I'm exasperated with them," he says. "I feel taken advantage of."

And Copperman is not alone. Paul Hughes, who purchased his new PC in late December, also had difficulty with his COA: "I thought the whole [upgrade] process stunk." After sending his proof of purchase and COA to ModusLink, Hughes received an e-mail telling him that his COA was not recognized. The e-mail asked him to be patient while ModusLink made adjustments to its system.

Hughes eventually managed to get his upgrade disc sometime later--in a broken jewel case. "I think Microsoft has really lost some of their more ardent supporters on this," Hughes says. " I have always been a die-hard Microsoft groupie, but this whole mess has left a very bad taste in my mouth, and I would be more than hesitant to get involved in an upgrade scheme like this again."
Erin Biba