Hypothetically, what would the proper response be to the following situation?  You purchase a laptop from a reputable vendor.  It comes (naturally) with some flavor of Windows installed.  You wipe the installed OS and install some flavor of Linux.  You then discover a real, bona fide hardware deficiency with your new laptop.  You request an RMA refund authorization from your reputable vendor, and receive it.  

You send the laptop back. 

Days later you receive an email from your reputable vendor that your RMA refund request has been denied, because you installed Linux on the laptop. You contact your vendor's customer service group, and are again  told, "No refund.  You installed Linux."

What do you do?

Well, if you are me, you don't take "No" for an answer.  The first thing you do is get mad.  REALLY mad!  Then you get even.  Here's how.

The first thing to do is write a factual account of your shopping experience.  Keep it simple, keep it factual.  A little humor won't hurt; the time for being angry is past.  But, don't lose your edge -- your respected vendor has suddenly become your enemy -- do not lose sight of that.

Ok, you've pounded out that factual, yet humorous account of your Shopping Experience From Hell.  Now what?  I suggest that you send a copy to the customer support group of your well-respected vendor, along with the suggestion that if they do not reconsider their ill-advised decision to invalidate your RMA refund request, you will circulate your story.  You might suggest that a wide circulation of this story would damage the positive cash flow status of Reputable Vendor.

Then, when your overture is ignored (it will be), go nuclear.  Get that story you have written published.  Pick a well-read online publication like Linux Today. Once you've done that, you're half way home.  Now all you have to do is let the people who count know that the story is out there, with the potential to really damage your reputable vendor's bottom line.  

Here's were social networking comes to play.  Go to Facebook and find out if your reputable vendor has a page there.  If they do, bingo!  Most vendors who make use of Facebook encourage Facebook users to subscribe to their page as a "Fan".  Do so!  Subscribe yourself as a fan of your reputable vendor's Facebook page.  

Then post a comment which suggests  that parties interested in your reputable vendor should go read a story over on Linux Today that they might find informative.

Then, just sit back and wait.
 
In my case, I only had to wait about 12 hours before "Reputable Vendor" was calling me to discuss how best to remediate what was obviously a huge misunderstanding.  It probably didn't hurt that Newgg.com has a fan base of about 250,000 on their Facebook page.  That's a lot of potential lost sales.

In the course of my brief, yet fairly intense contratemps with Newegg,com, I received a couple of very good suggestions for how to handle this situation, should it occur  again the future, one of which is also an excellent Strong Arm tactic -- contact your credit card company and initiate a CHARGEBACK action against the offending vendor.  Make them prove that the terms of your purchase explicitly stated that installing Linux on your new computer would invalidate the warranty.  They will not be able to do so, and they know it.

Bottom line:  when a vendor, reputable or not, choses to shirk their responsibility for refunding the cost of a defective computer that they have sold you, simply because you installed an alternative operating system on it, GIVE THEM BLOODY HELL!  The gloves are off.