Italian consumers shouldn’t have to pay for software they don’t want – Letter to Regulators
FSFE and Italian consumer association ADUC, along with Italian group ILS, are asking regulators to take concrete steps to protect Italians from being forced to pay for software they do not want or need. Italy’s High Court ruled in September that computer vendors must reimburse customers for the price of unwanted non-free software that comes pre-installed on PCs and laptops. Today, FSFE, ADUC and ILS have sent a letter to the Italian competition authorities, calling on them to ensure that vendors will comply with the High Court’s decision, and respect the rights of their customers.
FSFE, ADUC, and ILS are asking the competition watchdog to take the following steps:
“Vendors can’t rightfully ask consumers to jump through hoops in order to enjoy their legal rights, and the authorities have a duty to protect those rights,” says FSFE’s President Karsten Gerloff. “The simple steps we are calling for today would lead to much greater freedom of choice for Italians. We are hopeful that the competition authorities will take action to implement the High Court's ruling.”
- When non-free software is pre-installed on a device, it must carry a prominent notice to users to make them aware of the possibility to receive a reimbursement for the price of the software license.
- Hardware vendors should put in place simple procedures for consumers to claim reimbursements for pre-installed software in line with market prices. Reimbursement procedures must not be unnecessarily complicated, and need to be easy for consumers to find and follow.
- Warranty and support provisions for the device must not be affected by whether a consumer chooses to have the price of the software reimbursed.
Alternatively, vendors could sell their devices pre-installed with Free Software, releasing them from the above obligations.
“Only Free Software allows users to fully control what their computers are doing, and where their personal data goes,” says FSFE’s President Karsten Gerloff. “Anyone who buys a computer should have the option of receiving it with Free Software pre-installed.”
In most European countries, it is difficult for consumers to acquire PCs and laptops without being forced to pay for a license for a non-free operating system at the same time. FSFE has long been pushing for vendors to end their current practice of pushing non-free software on consumers who do not want or need it. The organisation maintains a wiki page with advice for consumers. Here, buyers can also report their experiences in obtaining reimbursements from different vendors in various countries.