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Author Topic: Dell knowingly shipped millions of defective computers?  (Read 7993 times)

mouser

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Dell knowingly shipped millions of defective computers?
« on: July 02, 2010, 01:50:29 AM »
This is not cool -- looks like we are talking about millions of pcs that were defective.

Quote
Documents recently unsealed in a three-year-old lawsuit against Dell show that the company’s employees were actually aware that the computers were likely to break. Still, the employees tried to play down the problem to customers and allowed customers to rely on trouble-prone machines, putting their businesses at risk. Even the firm defending Dell in the lawsuit was affected when Dell balked at fixing 1,000 suspect computers, according to e-mail messages revealed in the dispute.



from http://hardware.slas...l-Selling-Faulty-PCs

mwb1100

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Re: Dell knowingly shipped millions of defective computers?
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2010, 02:31:31 AM »
Yup, not cool.  I got bit by that problem on a couple of Dell 400SC machines: http://www.interslic...400sc/capacitors.htm

Aside from how Dell handled the problem (or rather, didn't), one of the worst aspects about the failures was that the symptoms were intermittent. As I mention on the above page, I spent a significant amount of time thinking that I had malware of some sort or a goofed up configuration causing the problems.

One interesting thing is that both my 400SC's had the problem with the capacitors but only one showed any instability. Surprisingly, the one that had capacitors that actually burst was the one that remained stable.  The machine that behaved poorly had caps that "only" bulged, but didn't actually burst.

zridling

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Re: Dell knowingly shipped millions of defective computers?
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2010, 07:37:36 PM »
Gateway did the same thing for years in the early-mid-90s. Their feeling was, make the money on the sale and wait until the customer complained. Then make it so difficult for the customer to get it fixed that they would give up. As you can see, they eventually lost zillions.

parkint

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Re: Dell knowingly shipped millions of defective computers?
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2010, 08:34:05 PM »
Yes. I got stung by Gateway in those days (a dozen machines that represented an entire company's computer assets) and, for that reason, I have NEVER purchased another thing from them.
It caused me many headaches and much embarrassment.

J-Mac

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Re: Dell knowingly shipped millions of defective computers?
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2010, 01:29:20 AM »
I have one of their rotten XPS M-1310 notebooks; has the same overheating that some HP notebooks had. After ignoring the problem altogether for some time Dell finally released an update that "fixed" the GPU overheating issue... by forcing the fan to run overspeed 100% of the time. Grrr...

Never again, Dell.

They screwed me big time five years ago and I stopped buying Dells. Then I decided to "try" the M1310 because it was on sale for lower than any comparable notebook I could find. Duh (as I start beating my head on my desktop again, over and over!) Thought I would have learned. I have now.

Jim

40hz

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Re: Dell knowingly shipped millions of defective computers?
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2010, 01:08:57 PM »
Are we really that surprised? Anybody that's done PC support in the last 10 years has known there were major quality problems with certain Dell products. My company has strongly advised against buying any Dell PCs since Sept/Oct 2003 because of widespread reliability and service support problems we were seeing at our client's sites.

I think I have an idea of what might have happened...

1) Dell went public with an IPO in 1988.

2) Dell made the Fortune 500 in 1992 at which point Wall Street started paying closer attention.

3) Since so much of their market value is now determined by stock analysts, business decisions are being made with an eye towards placating the investment community rather than doing what's right for their customers.

From my experience watching "high growth" tech companies, seeing something like this happen at Dell was only a matter of time. Sooner or later, most public companies resort to playing ill-advised 'games' to keep their valuations up.

If there is a surprise anywhere on this mess, it's just how egregious a violation of customer trust Dell's actions were.

Oh well...I guess it's all over - except for the lawsuits and potential criminal charges.


Like Vonnegut said: So it goes.  8)
« Last Edit: July 04, 2010, 01:13:02 PM by 40hz »

rxantos

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Re: Dell knowingly shipped millions of defective computers?
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2010, 10:55:39 AM »
This happens when a company becomes too big and hubris sets in.

Lawsuits are not a deterrent as following a lawsuit takes money and at the end is the lawyers that win big. Instead there should be laws that criminalize when people knowingly sell faulty equipment without first disclosing it to the buying party.

There are far too many CEO's out-there that are far more criminal than any person in jail. (BP execs come to mind)


40hz

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Re: Dell knowingly shipped millions of defective computers?
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2010, 11:11:21 AM »
^There are such laws.

Unfortunately (at least in the USA) private citizens cannot force the government to pusue criminal investigations.  They can only file charges and ask that they do. And even if there Is an investigation, it's up to the Prosecutor's office to decide when or even if a case will be brought to court.

If the governent declines to investigate or prosecute then your only recourse is a civil suit. 

Innuendo

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Re: Dell knowingly shipped millions of defective computers?
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2010, 11:44:59 AM »
You can buy a Dell (or HP or Gateway or Acer or....) cheaper than it would typically cost you to build your own PC.

Typically users who build their own PCs use high quality components.


I leave it to the reader to read between the lines and come to one's own conclusions.

sajman99

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Re: Dell knowingly shipped millions of defective computers?
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2010, 12:26:47 PM »
Well crud, I was thinking the Dell Studio 17 laptop was looking pretty good, but this thread has only added to my serious doubts.  Evidently the overheating/fan issue mentioned by J-Mac is a continuing problem which persists on several models.

I had *thought* when Michael Dell took over the reigns a few years ago he would steer the company back on course. But it sure seems the ship is still sinking. :( It's just one lawsuit after another.

darklight_tr

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Re: Dell knowingly shipped millions of defective computers?
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2010, 08:50:54 AM »
While I can't comment on the specifics of what Dell may or may not have known internally, this was an INDUSTRY WIDE problem at the time.

Here is more info on DailyTech: http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=18921

I dealt with the GX270 model in the field, and in my experience Dell was quite good about the issue.  They preemptively replaced all of the GX270 motherboards at one site before they had the chance to fail.

All of the major PC manufacturers had their models with bad caps.  The HP equivalent was the D530.

The previous two companies I worked for used Dell exclusively for their PCs, laptops and monitors and I found them to be very reliable overall, including OptiPlex GX270 after a motherboard replacement.  I own a Studio XPS 16 laptop and have no problems with it.

My current job uses Lenovo and I haven't been very impressed with their reliability so far.  It makes me wish we had some Dell PCs here...
« Last Edit: July 06, 2010, 08:54:24 AM by darklight_tr »

Renegade

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Re: Dell knowingly shipped millions of defective computers?
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2010, 08:58:53 AM »
I have a Dell Studio 15, and it's fine. Well, the Sony DVD writer is total crap (as in it doesn't work worth s**t), and the upgraded video card (ATI) has BSOD issues on x64, but other than that, it's been peachy. A few repairs, but Dell has been good with them. No complaints here (other than the DVD player -- a slimline -- that is just worthless -- a very bad design decision.)
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J-Mac

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Re: Dell knowingly shipped millions of defective computers?
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2010, 02:41:33 PM »
First, the problems with the XPS M1310 wasn’t industry-wide; it affected many HP and Dell notebooks. Secondly Dell did not deal with it well at all. Sounds like someone is speaking of business machines and naturally Dell addresses business PCs rapidly. Personal machines are a whole different story.

Jim

darklight_tr

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Re: Dell knowingly shipped millions of defective computers?
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2010, 03:50:49 PM »
First, the problems with the XPS M1310 wasn’t industry-wide; it affected many HP and Dell notebooks. Secondly Dell did not deal with it well at all. Sounds like someone is speaking of business machines and naturally Dell addresses business PCs rapidly. Personal machines are a whole different story.

Jim

I have a Studio XPS 16 laptop that I purchased personally where the hard drive clicked itself to death (Seagate Momentus 7200.4; apparently the Maxtor poison is infecting their drives as well) and Dell support was great about replacing the drive.

I understand what you are talking about, though.  A major oversight with my laptop is that it shipped with a 90W AC Adapter when that really isn't up to stuff.  A quick ping to support and they will send you a 130W replacement.  Otherwise, it is a great laptop.

Armando

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Re: Dell knowingly shipped millions of defective computers?
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2010, 11:08:38 PM »
You can buy a Dell (or HP or Gateway or Acer or....) cheaper than it would typically cost you to build your own PC.

Typically users who build their own PCs use high quality components.


I leave it to the reader to read between the lines and come to one's own conclusions.

For a laptop it's a bit more complicated (yes, it's possible... But... Less choice).

almost everything on my Dell 6400 laptop had problem at some point or another. First Year : DVD writer, Battery, Power supply. Then : LCD, Battery, and DVD writer again.

It's anecdotal, I know... I'm even wondering if another company would really be better anyway. Still... I complained about Dell here a while ago and AFAIC, Dell isn't the brand of my next laptop. Too bad, I'm giving my money to some other company next time. They can't be worse and maybe I'll actually get lucky.

At some point I tried to see if there were some statistics about laptops and quality/durability somewhere, but didn't find anything convincing. That would be a nice start -- not the end of the story, of course (remember Toyota ?). Just a table with numbers about returns, defective parts, etc. At least one could see what the company has been doing for the past year(s).

And, no, I won't buy a toughbook, sorry... I'm not a construction worker.

steeladept

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Re: Dell knowingly shipped millions of defective computers?
« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2010, 08:47:46 AM »
My only suggestion for a laptop is buy a business model.  I don't care what vendor you chose (I am partial to HP, myself, but any are reasonably good), but if you choose a consumer model right now, that is what you will get - a consumable consumer model.  The business models don't generally have the higher video cards (though they are often an option) but all the other hardware is of significantly better quality as is the support and warranty.  Actually, give it several months and the fallout from this may make Dell's business laptops a steal (since so many will shy away from them).  Just make sure the manufacture date is after June 2010....

SchoolDaGeek

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Re: Dell knowingly shipped millions of defective computers?
« Reply #16 on: July 03, 2011, 06:25:01 PM »
My current job uses Lenovo and I haven't been very impressed with their reliability so far.  It makes me wish we had some Dell PCs here...

IMHO, it is up to the IT director to figure out what they will be using.  If you are looking for a certain configuration find the best off-lease at least one generation back.  The companies that overspend on their technology encourage companies like Dell to empower Intel and tell us how much "cutting-edge" technology we need and at what price.

Once we use multiple vendors for product specific items we will greatly decrease this ignorance to fault capacitors.  It is like the new GM collapse.  Rubycon, Panasonic, and Nichicon will become standard practice, even if they have to buy up their competitors and take over the plants that make their designs but with seriously inferior standards.
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