Microsoft just sent out an email to me, which I found quite a bit disturbing.
The email that was sent out addressed the backorder with my Office 2008 for Mac upgrade. I participated in the “Office Best. Friday. Deal” where Microsoft offered a $100 rebate on Office 2004, and combined that with the ongoing upgrade offer for a free upgrade to Office 2008. Microsoft even promoted on their blog the ability to combine these offers and, thus nabbing Office 2008 for as little as $25 (after rebate).
This, in turn, caused a mob rush on the offer. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if that one day accounts for half the copies of Office 2008 sold this quarter (and that offer took place last quarter). So, it came as no surprise when I got an email telling me I may not get my Office 2008 upgrade until late March.
But, what did shock me was the email required me to reply and say that I still wanted it. I find this to be troubling on two levels: first, it’s supposed to be for free, customers only paid a $7 handling and shipping charge… and two, it’s very easy to miss the email (much less the one line obligating me to reply to it).
“Dear CHRISTOPHER PRICE:
Thank you for your recent order. The product listed below is currently out of stock.
Microsoft Corp Order #(removed)
Item ID #FWA-00013 OFFICE MAC MEDIA EDITION 2008 EN DV
The new expected ship date for your product is 3/3/2008.
If you still wish to receive this product, if available by the new expected ship date shown above, please let us know by responding to this e-mail and placing an X in front of option #1 below, or by contacting our customer service department at 506-694-4328. If you do not respond to this e-mail or contact our customer service department within 30 days, your order will be cancelled and a refund issued, if applicable.”
The email goes on to require me to type an X, indicating a check mark, in one of two oddly-formatted email options. In over 15 years on the net, this is something I’ve never encountered before…
It’s not logical that anyone of sound mind would want to forego the upgrade to Office 2008 just because its shipment was delayed… even by a month or two. That’s abandoning software with a present value of hundreds of dollars… to recovery a $7 handling fee.
I have a good idea why this is happening. Microsoft is having their general processing facility handle this, and they do it with all orders (even rebates for really expensive software). However, they need to fix this. The Office 2008 orders should be changed from opt-in for keeping the order, to opt-out for those that want to get their $7 back. The way it is set up now benefits Microsoft, and will wind up scamming many consumers out of their copies of Office 2008.