I would estimate that 7 in 10 copies of Windows sold on eBay is a counterfeit copy manufactured in some country like China, so its important that you know the facts before buying...
Why you should avoid buying counterfeit Windows 7
The majority of counterfeit copies of Windows 7 being sold come supplied with a key stolen from MSDN (Microsoft Software Developer Network), a program designed for developers and IT professionals to test software by Microsoft. Producers of this counterfeit software are supplying keys generated through this program, in violation of the licence agreement which prohibits personal use or resale. The same key is supplied in deceptively real looking packaging to hundreds of unsuspecting buyers. Buyers mistakenly think that just because their copy passes "genuine activation" then everything must be OK. Unfortunately this isn't the case, the key supplied will only work for a limited time and sooner or later will send a red flag to Microsoft and be blacklisted for abuse, leaving the people using the key with a "limited" copy of Windows.
In reality those buying counterfeit copies of Windows 7 aren't buying it at all but only really renting it for a limited period of time. Usually just enough time for the 45 day refund period with PayPal to have lapsed.
This is the main reason why you should avoid buying a counterfeit copy of Windows 7, there are of course many others. i.e. proceeds funding terrorism, jobs no longer being created, vat/import duty avoidance, adverse affect on small businesses.
How you can avoid buying counterfeit Windows 7Don't think that by buying a certain edition of Windows 7, you can avoid buying a counterfeit. The counterfeit copies come in all flavours, that being: Basic, Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate.
Unfortunately its very difficult to tell if a copy of Windows 7 is real just from the picture the seller supplies (or doesn't supply in some cases).
However, the best way to avoid buying a counterfeit is by following these simple steps:1- Buy from a seller that specifically states that the product is genuine in their listing.
2- Buy from a business and/or top rated seller. Business sellers are much more likely than private sellers to have the contacts and the means to stock the genuine thing.
3- IMPORTANT- Don't expect something for nothing. If someone happens to be selling something for £70 that should be £200, ask yourself why they're doing that. Can they even buy it wholesale at that price? Think about it.
These are the general retail prices for the different versions and editions of Windows 7:Windows 7 Home Premium Full - £110+ (RRP: £149.99)
Windows 7 Professional Full - £150+ (RRP: £219.99)
Windows 7 Ultimate Full - £160+ (RRP: £229.99)
Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade - £80+ (RRP: £99.99)
Windows 7 Professional Upgrade - £130+ (RRP: £189.99)
Windows 7 Ultimate Upgrade - £150+ (RRP: £199.99)
Windows 7 Home Premium OEM - £70+
Windows 7 Professional OEM - £90+
Windows 7 Ultimate OEM - £130+
Just in-case you're wondering what the different versions mean (Full, Upgrade, OEM). The full version is the retail version that can be sold to anyone and be used on a new or existing machine. The upgrade version can only be used to upgrade an existing copy of windows on your machine (XP, Vista, lesser edition of Windows 7). The OEM version works in almost the same way as the full version does, except that it should only be sold to system builders to install it on a new computer, and unlike the full version, it can't be swapped between machines since its tied to the make/model of the motherboard of the first machine it was installed on.
Know if your copy of Windows 7 is genuineUsing the Microsoft online genuine check is an inaccurate way of knowing if what your product is genuine or not, because what may pass as genuine now can be flagged as misused/counterfeit later.
The key to knowing is in the packaging, while the counterfeiters may have cloned the packaging on the surface, the many anti-copy techniques deployed by Microsoft on their products give the the counterfeiters away.
Find out if your Windows 7 really passes the genuine check by viewing the "How to Tell" web page:
http://www.microsoft.com/howtotell/product.aspx?pID=d73ebba4-e52e-4188-b1a3-874086bdd62a&cID=ea710cad-37b0-4975-bcd6-abfee19961df&method=retail&displaylang=en This will check the legitimacy of the Certificate of Authenticity and the physical media. This is by far the most accurate way of checking your purchase, counterfeit copies will inevitably stick out like a sore thumb.
What to do if you got sold a counterfeit copy of Windows 7If you're within the 45 day window to dispute the PayPal transaction, open a dispute and tell PayPal why you think the item is counterfeit and supply them with photographic evidence to back up your claim (if possible).
In most cases if you're outside of the 45 day dispute window with PayPal, the unscrupulous law-breaking sellers will refuse to refund you. When this is the case, its unlikely you're ever going to get the money back.
Regardless of if you get a refund or not, you should always report the breach of policy to eBay. If they get enough complaints then the seller usually gets suspended.