Dear Lifehacker, I was recently in hospital and wanted to try out some streaming services in Australia. I have a Linux laptop. I tried out Stan on the free 30-day trial but then realised it uses Silverlight so I cancelled that straight away. Then I wanted to try Presto which has no free trial.
I signed up because it was only 10 bucks and on the supported devices it lists PCs and Macs, with no qualification, but much to my dismay the service doesn’t work on Linux machines. Foxtel refuses to give me a refund. Is this false advertising, and is there any way to submit a complaint about them? Thanks, No Light At The End Of The Tunnel
This is a tricky one. The Presto website plainly states that the service can be enjoyed on “any PC or Mac computer” on its compatible devices page. This could be construed as misleading to Linux users.
However, the minimum hardware requirements that appear further down the page are restricted to Windows/Mac OS. This information is presented clearly and not buried in small print. All you had to do was scroll down a bit to confirm Linux wasn’t supported.
To further muddy the waters, “PC” has become synonymous with Windows-based computers, as you well know. This is especially true when the term is used in conjunction with Mac, which is the context used on the Presto website. The assumption that Foxtel literally meant any personal computer – from the Kenbak-1 onwards – obviously isn’t reasonable.
With that said, we agree that the initial statement on the website could have been spelled out more clearly. Simply adding “Windows” to the sentence “Enjoy on any PC or MAC computer” would have eliminated all possible confusion.
In any event, we think it’s a bit mean of Foxtel to not refund your $10. This is poor customer service, especially when such a small sum of money is involved. We contacted Foxtel about your issue and a spokesperson replied with the following statement:
It is correct that Presto does not support Linux computers. We are very transparent on the devices that Presto supports and these are clearly outlined in detail on the devices page, which is linked to from the home page, the disclaimer at the bottom of every page on the site, and a similar list of supported devices and operating systems is contained in a devices FAQ in our community section.
These pages make it clear that Windows and Mac OS are the only supported Operating Systems on personal computers, and also provide the detail of which Operating System versions are supported as well as supported browsers and other system requirements. Presto also needs to adhere to industry standard DRM mechanisms that the major studios support in order to allow us to stream their content, and support for industry standard DRM is not fully supported on Linux computers.
In short, Foxtel is sticking to its guns. If you feel the promotion was misleadingly vague, you can contact the ACCC or your state consumer affairs office. This is a bit of effort to go to over a measly $10, so it really comes down to principle. The chief lesson here is that it pays to do some actual research before slapping down money for a software subscription service; especially if you require Linux support.
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