User complaints are raining down on Microsoft's Express Update service, which offers free or discounted upgrades to Windows Vista for recently purchased Windows XP systems.
The issues centre on a special website that handles the upgrades, which has been operating extremely slowly at times. The site will not properly handle credit card payments, and sometimes fails to register orders.
Two users commented on vnunet.com's Silicon Valley Sleuth blog that they received an error message after entering credit card information, but later noticed that the credit card was charged nonetheless. Both users were unable to resolve their issues with the company.
In addition to faulty credit card charges, several users complained that the system failed to save orders after they had been completed.
"I hope that the website is just broken and I will be getting my Vista within the next couple of weeks," one user commented on a mailing list for Mesh Computers.
Systems running Windows XP and purchased after 26 October are entitled to a free or discounted upgrade to Windows Vista.
The upgrade promotion was designed to prevent a lull in new system sales as consumers and businesses awaited the launch of Vista.
Consumers are charged a shipping and handling fee to upgrade from XP Media Centre Edition 2005 to Vista Home Premium and from XP Professional, XP Tablet PC Edition or XP Professional x64 to Vista Business or Vista Business 64.
Windows XP Home users pay US$50 and US$79.50 for upgrades to Vista Home Basic or Vista Home Premium respectively.
The Vista upgrade service is hosted on the website for Moduslink, a supply chain company, which acknowledged that the service is suffering from a high volume of customer service inquiries.
"We have seen that some customers are experiencing some delays," marketing and communications manager Christine Pothier told vnunet.com.
Phone lines and email support are clogged up because the company is receiving a large number of questions unrelated to the upgrades.
Customers are inquiring about the software itself, and the company has hired additional staff to ensure that questions are answered in a timely fashion.
Pothier blamed the credit card issues on a misunderstanding. The order system automatically requests authorisation for the upgrade costs or shipping charges when customers enter their order, including orders that for some reason could not be processed. The credit cards will not be charged until the software ships.
Although Moduslink declined to address any specific cases, Pothier suggested that some customers might have mistaken the authorisation requests for actual transactions.
Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Complaints mount over Vista Express Upgrade
By Tom Sanders on Feb 13, 2007 9:41AM