Do you remember the insistent messages sent out by Microsoft in 2015, urging consumers to download the Windows 10 operating system on all their Windows devices?
If so, you aren't alone. However, a group of Illinois residents says that the messages were more than just annoying and intrusive -- they were outright destructive because they sometimes resulted in software downloads that users didn't expressly consent to have. Those downloads ultimately destroyed data and devices alike and gave users no option to restore their old operating system. Many had to purchase new devices altogether.
The class action suit states that the software wasn't designed for consumers with older devices. The lead plaintiff states that the software ruined her hard drive, leaving her with no choice but to get a new computer. Another plaintiff states that some computer applications wouldn't run once he downloaded the software. One man claims he tried to avoid downloading the upgrade for months. Once he finally gave in, he had to give up after 3 unsuccessful tries to install the new operating system. He ultimately had to choose between paying for repairs or having a non-functional computer.
The suit is being presented as a product liability claim and a breach of warranty claim. The plaintiffs also allege negligence and consumer fraud, saying that Microsoft made it seem like the product was safe for all Windows devices, and they were promised they could restore their previous operating system without a problem if Windows 10 failed to work.
Litigants are seeking actual losses (which includes the time they lost while unable to be productive), punitive damages to punish Microsoft for its coercive, misleading behavior, litigation costs, attorney's fees and any other relief the court determines to be proper.
Microsoft, naturally, says that the claims are "without merit." The company claims that Windows 10 was the most secure, productive version of its software available, and it never forced plaintiffs into upgrading. It also says that it provided customer support freely to those who had problems and that consumers did have the ability to revert to their previous operating system within 31 days of downloading the new one.
In today's world, it's important to remember that digital downloads and software upgrades are subject to the same product liability laws as any other consumer good. If you need assistance with a product liability claim, talk to an attorney today.
Source: Consumer Affairs, "Class action claims Windows 10 upgrade damaged computers," Christopher Maynard, March 28, 2017