My brand new computer cost me a job. The device crashed, not just once, but twice during a job interview over Skype. I took it back to the origin of purchase where it was diagnosed as a having software issues, it was subsequently wiped and the operating system was reinstalled fresh. The laptop was purchased two or three months ago. I'm curious as to whether there is any sort of compensation available for situations like this? Of course, winning any sort of lawsuit against a large corporation is unlikely and nobody want's to set precedents taking responsibility for inability to procure work.

The exact cause of the crashes can be found here: -20 shutdown, what to do?

  • 22
    So, you can prove categorically that the only reason you didn’t get the job was because your computer crashed? And not, say, because there was another candidate who might have been better than you?
    – Dale M
    Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 11:56
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    Really? Tech glitches happen all the time. You would need to prove that this particular cash caused you specific harm.
    – Dale M
    Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 12:11
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    @DaleM yet surely we can consider the hypothetical case in which it is possible to prove that, however unlikely that might be, or even if we know that it is a contractual assumption for the sake of the analysis. One reason to do this would be to determine whether it's worth going into the question of whether it's possible to prove: perhaps the computer manufacturer has no liability for the interview failure even if they were the sole cause of the failure. If that's the case then we can save ourselves effort and anguish by just writing off the loss and moving on.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 14:51
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    If the computer manufacturer was liable for this then you wouldn't be able to buy a computer. Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 20:19
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    I think you should take the opposite approach. Get the report from the vendor stating that you presented a laptop, it showed to be faulty, etc. and repaired. Then contact with the company apologizing for the interview troubles and showing what you did. It may help or not. If the company still hasn't filled the position (there could be several weeks -or months- of interviews, and them still ongoing), and you wasn't already discarded from your failed interview, you might get another one to fill. (1/3)
    – Ángel
    Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 21:35

1 Answer 1


Almost certainly not

You note that "it was diagnosed as a having software issues," so you'd have to figure out exactly what software issue happened, and whose fault that was (assuming that it wasn't your fault). This would be pretty difficult, especially given that they wiped the system. Even assuming you have a backup copy and could figure out the exact problem, you probably also agreed to waive any such claims against the software authors that may have caused the problem when you received the software, because software companies don't want to pay for the consequences of every computer crash. Microsoft, for instance, requires you to agree that:

Except for any repair, replacement, or refund that Microsoft, or the device manufacturer or installer, may provide, you may not under this limited warranty, under any other part of this agreement, or under any theory, recover any damages or other remedy, including lost profits or direct, consequential, special, indirect, or incidental damages. The damage exclusions and remedy limitations in this agreement apply even if repair, replacement, or a refund does not fully compensate you for any losses, if Microsoft, or the device manufacturer or installer, knew or should have known about the possibility of the damages, or if the remedy fails of its essential purpose.

Most software has similar disclaimers. Stack Overflow has one, too, for instance. So even if you did somehow track down exactly which piece of software caused the crash, you probably already agreed that they aren't responsible for paying your damages.

  • 2
    plus, Palsgraf v LIRC
    – Trish
    Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 12:32
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    I expect that the hardware warranty also disclaims consequential damages. But terms of license agreements and warranties are not always valid at face value: there could be some statutory provision or legal precedent that allows a claim of consequential damages nonetheless.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 14:58
  • @RyanM I don't know if we want to go down this rabbithole but I've updated my question with a link to the exact cause.
    – Mou某
    Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 15:01
  • Not just software, but almost all products have such a clause. Otherwise, ridiculous lawsuits would pop up like a Gucci handbag breaking and a $20k bottle of wine falling out and being broken - obviously Gucci will replace the handbag, but they're not replacing your bottle of wine.
    – J...
    Commented Aug 31, 2020 at 17:38
  • Or ore on topic and pre-covid: "My car broke down on the way to an interview and caused me to lose the job" or "My alarm clock broke and..." or "My power was own and..." or anything else. None of these manufacturers (or the power company) can be held liable for your lost job. Commented Aug 31, 2020 at 19:16

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