Dave found his original files eventually, but he did not recover the temper he had lost in his transaction with Hal. Instead, he wrote to me to intervene. I forwarded his letter to Microsoft to find out whether Dave had any recourse but to upgrade (as Hal had suggested) in the event that he hadn't found those files.
It turns out that the problem was not with the download system at all. Rather, Hal was making things up.
A representative told me, "We have the site www.getmicrosoftoffice.com, which lets customers download Office 2007 software if they need to re-install it (though they'll need to enter their product key)."
Microsoft is still looking into why "Hal" is giving out bad information.
Got gripes? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.