When you buy a laptop, you get a warranty for if it breaks. Changing the Operating System on a laptop voids that warranty.
That seems to be the belief of a London PC World store, if the experiences of one man are anything to go by.
The poor chap in question shared his woes with the world via nerd news bastion Slashdot. A sure fire way to get the most militant of consumer rights activists on-side, especially when the mighty penguin is in the fray.
So, the fault at hand was a cracked laptop hinge. A classic error that this hack has seen on many laptops, and on almost every laptop from a particular manufacturer, who we won't care to mention in this article... it'd just be mean.
The diligent laptop owner took it back to PC World, knowing the problem could only worsen. But the staff at the PC World store refused to repair it: "PC World said that installing Linux had voided my warranty and there is nothing they will do for me. I spoke to a manager, who said that he has been told to refuse any repairs if the operating system has been changed."
Intrigued by the odd sounding policy, we gave PC World's customer service line a ring, to pose them the question "If I purchase a laptop from you, then change the Operating System, do I void the warranty?" The response was a definite "no" from the helpful rep we spoke to.
The warranty covers the hardware, so the OS shouldn't have any bearing on the warranty.
But it seems that message isn't being received at some stores.
The lesson here? If you're up against it because you've put Linux on your laptop and are being refused a hardware repair, fight it. You can probably get on the blower and straighten things out there and then.
Linux doesn't damage hinges. Not yet, anyway.
Update - 16/09/07
We thought it was over, but it isn't. Not just yet.
It seems Tikka took the laptop back to the store, only to find that the manager there still hadn't received word from head office that refusing to repair a laptop due to Linux was stupid.
However, it does seem that "wear and tear" has quietly been added to reasons why the laptop won't be repaired.
So we've come up with an action plan.
In the event that a company tries to tell you that a new laptop, sold less than 6 months ago, has a cracked hinge due to wear and tear...
Shout bollocks at the top of your voice. Because that's what it is. The laptop is bollocks, the customer service is bollocks.
It remains to be seen whether installing Linux is considered "wear" or "tear".
The saga unfolds at the link below.
The laptop tale, in full.