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Hiccups in Dell's Windows 7 upgrade program

Some customers who recently bought PCs at retail stores were unable to sign up for the free upgrade to Windows 7, but Dell says it's now resolved.

Dell has been back in the retail game for two years now, but there are still a few kinks being ironed out.

Some Dell customers are reporting serious confusion over the process of registering a new PC and signing up for the free Windows 7 upgrade. Dell's earlier announced policy is that PCs purchased after June 29, 2009 will be granted a free update when Microsoft's newest operating system arrives in October.

But since that date, some reported that when they go to register their new PC (purchased after June 29) from third-party retailers like Best Buy and MicroCenter, the date of purchase appears much earlier than the day the customer made the purchase. Instead, the date that appears in many cases is the day that Dell sold the computer to the retailer, sometimes weeks--or months--earlier.

One customer from Florida, Richard Lurton, who ordered a Dell Inspiron 15 notebook, went back and forth with Dell customer service, only to be told that the date the retailer purchases the computer is the date that matters.

Similar complaints were received by Best Buy, which acknowledged the problem and established a special message board for the topic. The support forums on Dell's own Web site show customers who bought Dell computers at Best Buy and retailer MicroCenter also having difficulty registering for the Windows 7 upgrade.

Dell acknowledged the company knows about the problem and is currently taking steps to resolve it. There is a page set up for retail customers where they can change the purchase date from the retailer's purchase date to the customer's purchase date.

Regarding customer service employees who were erroneously telling customers that the retailer's purchase date determined upgrade eligibility, Dell spokesman Bob Kaufman said that over the last two weeks, "customer care has received updated information and it is now handling calls appropriately."

Those still experiencing this problem can call Dell customer service.