Teri Goldstein – who manages a travel agency in Sausalito, just north of San Francisco – told The Register she landed the compensation by taking Microsoft to a small claims court.
Rather than pursue a regular lawsuit, she chose the smaller court because it was better suited to sorting out consumer complaints. Crucially, it meant Microsoft couldn’t send one of its top-gun lawyers – or any lawyer in fact: small claims courts are informal and attorneys are generally not allowed. Instead, Redmond-based Microsoft had to send a consumer complaints rep to argue its case.
That put her on an equal footing with the multibillion-dollar software giant, giving her a fair fight.
Goldstein told us “Microsoft needed to be held accountable for its negligence regarding the forced Windows 10 upgrade, which rendered many users’ computers useless.”
“Microsoft cannot just say ‘read our user agreement form, we hold no responsibility, you cannot sue us and go away.’ Just because they are a large corporation does not make them exempt from consumer business rules,” she said.
Goldstein told the Marin County Superior Court in San Rafael that in August last year, “Windows 10 forced its upgrade on my business computer without my knowledge or permission.”
This update caused the Windows 7 Home Premium PC to crash and, even when it booted back up, made it “mostly unusable.” Goldstein had no idea what the problem was – she hadn’t even heard of Windows 10 at this point – so complained to her cable provider, thinking it was a problem with her internet connection. After Comcast told her the problem was entirely at her end, she contacted Microsoft.