If you bought a PC between 1998 and 2010, chances are it came with Microsoft products already installed. And if it did, you could be eligible to get back hundreds of dollars without proof of purchase.
A class-action lawsuit alleges that Microsoft and Microsoft Canada inflated prices and were engaged in anti-competitive behavior.
As a result, Canadians are now eligible to get back up to $250, without a receipt, for PC versions of Microsoft software they purchased individually or that came pre-installed on computers.
“It almost sounds too good to be true, but it is legit,” said Carmi Levy, a tech expert and director with Info-Tech Research Group of London, Ont.
The class-action that began in Canada 15 years ago has settled with Microsoft agreeing to pay an amount capped at $517 million with more than $400 million available for Canadians.
Levy said “the allegation is that Microsoft drove prices up and reduced consumer choice."
“The company admits no wrong doing here, but is paying the amount to avoid long-term litigation and just wants this chapter to be over with,” said Levy.
The eligible software includes Windows, Office, Word, Excel, Works Suite, Home Essentials and MS-DOS, among others.
Naomi Kovak, a lawyer for Camp Fiorante Matthews Mogerman LLP, one of the firms handling the settlement, said more than 150,000 Canadians have filed claims against Microsoft since the lawsuit’s application period opened.
“We know that most people don't have the proof of purchase for the products, so you can make a claim of up to $250 without receipts," Novak said.
Companies that bought Microsoft software licences in bulk for multiple employees can file claims of up to $650 without receipts, but any claim above that number must include proof of purchase.
To make a claim, go to the website www.thatsuitemoney.ca.
After providing your contact information click on the products you purchased between December 23, 1998 and March 11, 2010.
“I would just like to encourage people to go to the website and make their claims," said Novak.
Claimants must swear the information is accurate. Levy says if you owned a computer at that time, it's worth checking.
“If you bought a computer in that 12 year span you may as well take a look," said Levy.
Canadians have until Sept. 23, 2021 to submit a claim, but the law firm say the claims process will not be completed until early 2022.
After the end of the claims period, some K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions in Canada will be eligible to claim vouchers to purchase software if there are settlement funds remaining.
With files from CTV's Brooklyn Neustaeter