Consumer Product and Service Agreement Updates

Microsoft, like other businesses, relies on user agreements that we ask consumers to read and accept before using our products and services. We revise and update these agreements over time. This post discusses a change we have begun making as we update user agreements across our consumer products and services.

Microsoft is updating user agreements across its consumer products and services.

When a customer in the United States has a dispute about a Microsoft product or service, many of our new user agreements will require that, if we can’t informally resolve the dispute, the customer bring the claim in small claims court or arbitration, but not as part of a class action lawsuit. Many companies have adopted this approach, which the U.S. Supreme Court permitted in a case it decided in 2011. We made this change to our terms of use for Xbox LIVE several months ago, and we will implement similar changes in user agreements for other products and services in the coming months as we roll out major licensing, hardware or software releases and updates.

We think this is the right approach for both Microsoft and our U.S. customers. Our policy gives Microsoft powerful incentives to resolve any dispute to the customer’s satisfaction before it gets to arbitration, and our arbitration provisions will be among the most generous in the country. For instance, we permit arbitration wherever the customer lives, promptly reimburse filing fees, and, if we offer less to resolve a dispute informally than an arbitrator ultimately awards, we will pay the greater of the award or $1,000 for most products and services—plus double the customer’s reasonable attorney’s fees. Most important, this approach means customer complaints will be resolved promptly, and in those cases where the arbitrator agrees with the customer’s position, the customer will receive generous compensation, and receive it quickly.

It’s also worth noting that we have a 45-day refund policy for certain Microsoft software or hardware purchased from a retailer which provides for a full refund and reimbursement of shipping costs of up to $7. (See http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/productrefund/refund.mspx for more information about this return policy).

Microsoft is proud of the products and services we offer consumers. When we do have a dispute, we commit to resolving it quickly and fairly. We believe this policy reflects that commitment. 

About the Author

Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft