Microsoft Revamping Terms of Service Agreements to Block Class Action Lawsuits

If this whole software and hardware business doesn't pan out for Microsoft, the Redmond outfit might have a future in used car sales. Need proof? Just wait until you see Microsoft's pitch on why altering its various Terms of Service agreements to forbid class action lawsuits is a good thing...for you!

"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," Microsoft explains. "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."

Gee, thanks? Microsoft goes on to give an example of how its updated TOS agreements could benefit you better than a class action lawsuit could.

Image Source: Flickr (m.gifford)

"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," Microsoft says.

Still not convinced? According to Microsoft, by agreeing to never sue the company as part of a class action complaint, it will be in better position to resolve your disputes more quickly, and with "generous compensation" if an arbitrator ultimately agrees with your position.

Finally, Microsoft points out that it has a 45-day refund policy for select software and hardware purchased from retailers, including reimbursement of up to $7 in shipping fees.