Finnish Consumer Disputes Board: Microsoft has to compensate for “Forced upgrade to Windows 10”

[German]The Finnish Consumer Disputes Board decided, that Microsoft had no contractual right to install a new operating system without asking for permission. Microsoft has to compensate Windows 10 "Forced Installation" damage to consumer.


The news was distributed a few hours ago by Tero Alhonen via Twitter to his followers..

Some background

In the first year of Windows 10 release, from July 2015 to July 2016, Microsoft offered existing Windows 7 and 8.1 systems a free upgrade to Windows 10. More or less tricky approaches by Microsoft were used to tempt unwilling upgraders to update to Windows 10. I had some articles on this topic in my blog.


In Finland, Microsoft had also committed itself in 2018 to forego the Windows 10 compulsory upgrade – in Germany, a cease-and-desist declaration became effective. Now back to the current case. A Windows 8 computer from a Finnish user has been forced in May 2016 to upgrade to Windows 10 without the customer's consent. After the installation of Windows 10, the device, which was not even two years old, provided an error message that the device should be repaired.


The device has also been used for camera surveillance of the user's property. The object in question was probably located in another town, so that remote surveillance by camera was possible. This function of the camera software was no longer available with the updated Windows 10 system.

According to this Finnish article, the customer contacted fifteen Microsoft service representatives who were not able to solve the problems. The affected person stated that he had spent a lot of time recovering files and had some expenses for spare parts and maintenance costs.

Compensation claim against Microsoft

The owner of the computer demanded 3,000 euros in damages from Microsoft to compensate for his efforts to correct the forced upgrade. Microsoft argued that the user had received the necessary help from free customer support. According to Microsoft, there is no responsibility for the control programs created by users (here for video surveillance).

Interestingly, Microsoft did not deny that the new operating system could be downloaded without the user's permission. But in other cases, downloading without consent led to Microsoft accepting out-of-court or injunctive relief long after the end of the forced update period.

In Finland, there is the Kuluttajariitalautakunta (Consumer Disputes Board). The board of this organization has to judge about this case. The board then came to the following conclusions:

  • According to the Consumer Disputes Board, the updates included in the Windows 8 license purchased by the consumer are services under the Consumer Protection Act. The vendor must be able to demonstrate that the service has been properly provided. 
  • According to the board of the Consumer Disputes Board, it is clear that Microsoft had no contractual right to install the new operating system without the user's permission. 
  • According to the Consumer Disputes Board, the service was not provided professionally and carefully and in the interest of the customer, as required by the Finnish Consumer Protection Act.
  • The Board notes that there was an error and that Microsoft did not dispute the connection between the error and the damage caused.

Microsoft considered the man's demands inappropriate. These included, among other things, 2,300 euros for the workload to be approached. But the man believes that Microsoft should also pay him for new surveillance cameras unless Microsoft makes sure he can work with the new operating system.

The Consumer Disputes Board rejected the claim in some parts, for instance, the user could not give any explanation for the purchase of the new security cameras. In addition, the members of the board agreed with Microsoft's argument that the estimated 2,300 euros for the workload were not documented.

However, the user's claim for damages was not rejected. The Consumer Disputes Board estimated that the man incurred immediate replacement and service costs of around one thousand euros and travel costs of one hundred euros due to the error generated by the Windows 10 upgrade. Microsoft has to compensate for this.

The proposals of the Consumer Disputes Board are not binding, but the companies usually agree. Otherwise, a case goes to court – and this means that a company could get a verdict. But Microsoft seeks settlements in such cases.

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