Dell denies that they lied to consumers over faulty parts

Dell has finally admitted that they have shipped out millions of computers with faulty capacitors.  On their blog today, Lionel Menchaca outlined the issue as one with its product supplier and that they acted diligently to amend the issue, but stopped short of saying that they were deceiving customers who were plagued with the faulty part. 

What the official response fails to touch on is that Dell continued to ship out their computers with the faulty capacitors. According to the New York Times, Dell may have shipped as many as 11.8 million computers with the affected parts and continued to ship them even after complaints came in from vendors such as Wal-Mart.

"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." 

Further, an email exchange between Dell and its law firm stated, “We need to avoid all language indicating the boards were bad or had ‘issues’ per our discussion this morning”.  While other companies, including Apple and HP, were affected by the bad components, only Dell has been accused of covering up the issue in court. 
 

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I recently bought a Dell INSPIRON zino HD computer and almost immediately found the blueRay player was very fragile. The cover FELL off with no more than a nudge!
I sent the system back to have it replaced but took the precaution of secretly marking it.
Returned, same player, same mark! I have since found out that others have complained about the same problem

To be fair, it has proved to be, otherwise, an excellent product. However, instead of disposing of my Sony (8 years old) with up-to-date XP installed, I have tucked it away as insurance knowing that in an emergency I can copy whatever I need from my Windows 7 back-up!

May I comment on one thing, some of your contributers obviously have massive technical knowledge but their English ....oops!

This is a caps issue. Can happen to any company at any time. Dell is not unique in this position. Obviously we can't control what computer manufacturer's use but if we build our own machines use motherboard with only solid capacitors. Gigabyte always uses solid capacitors.

No it was intentional.he fought them on it and they said HE was mistaken on the date he bought it.They are crooks....

spike21 said,
No it was intentional.he fought them on it and they said HE was mistaken on the date he bought it.They are crooks....

Did he check the website or have proof of purchase?

lol..so since they did not offer a PC for free after mail in rebate they are crooks? Maybe it was a mistake?

About 16yrs ago,a good friend of mine bought a PC from them for around $600.w/ rebates it was free,he tried to get me to buy one but at the time I really didn't have the money to do it.Well come to find out Dell changed the purchase date so the rebates didn't work.So from that time on I new Dell was run by crooks and will never buy anything from them.It's about time people are finding out how crooked they are...

As a computer repair technician, I love Dells. Those pieces of junk give me a lot of business. If you are dumb enough to buy a Dell then you can pay thru the nose to get it fixed when it dies. Not if it dies but when...
Dude...you got a Dell?? muahaha

ozyborn said,
As a computer repair technician, I love Dells. Those pieces of junk give me a lot of business. If you are dumb enough to buy a Dell then you can pay thru the nose to get it fixed when it dies. Not if it dies but when...
Dude...you got a Dell?? muahaha

What in your opinion is an awesome machine Mr. Wise One? Do you have any data to back up your claims or just trolling? Ever heard of you get what you pay for? Why dont you buy some precision workstations and tell me what is wrong with them.

ozyborn said,
As a computer repair technician, I love Dells. Those pieces of junk give me a lot of business. If you are dumb enough to buy a Dell then you can pay thru the nose to get it fixed when it dies. Not if it dies but when...
Dude...you got a Dell?? muahaha

I'm sorry but I prefer Dell's because the parts are easily obtainable. You can also get most parts directly from them via Dell Spare Parts if need be. I have a Gateway laptop and I'll be damned if I can get a replacement hard drive bay cover for my laptop. They have 2 3rd party distributors that they referred me to but both indicate that the part has not been released to them. The part suffers a manufacturing defect where 2 out of 3 holding tabs break loose after an extended time since they were never properly fused. My laptop and a friend has the same exact issue. They also have screws on them so it holds but it shouldn't happen at all.

P.S. - My next laptop is probably to be a Dell. At least it will be a different company other than Acer/Gateway/eMachines. Have you ever dealt with their tech support? Worse than moronic.

shinji257 said,

P.S. - My next laptop is probably to be a Dell. At least it will be a different company other than Acer/Gateway/eMachines. Have you ever dealt with their tech support? Worse than moronic.

I think the same, just i will ensure to extend the warranty but still Dell usually is cheaper than the competitor (that also are plagued with troubles).

ozyborn said,

Dude...you got a Dell?? muahaha

Fortunately yeah. My girl had her Inspiron for almost 4 years and no probs. So I'm giving Dell a try.

Somewhere along the line, testing is not being done properly and it's the end users/it dept and companies which suffer. If a problem exists it should be dealt with because a lot of money are spent on these units. There should be a law which states a minimum of 5 years warranty on systems (be it desktop, laptop, server, whatever). This should force some of those companies to properly test/ not use faulty components. Btw, I'm rocking a dell inspiron 1464 and it had better continue to function properly.

The company I used to work for was contracted with Dell, and they called in a Dell tech to fix a "grinding noise" in one of the computers. I said that i was probably the fan grinding on the grill-Dell puts a grill on the inside of the computer exhaust fan for some reason. He "fixed" the grinding noise by bending the grill and ten minutes after he left it started again. My boss said, "O.K., now you can fix it." I opened up the computer, took off the grill and the sound never happened again. Sans the dirty look the Dell guy gave me when I offered advice on the sound, they are wonderful to work with (sarcasm).

grewnd33 said,
The company I used to work for was contracted with Dell, and they called in a Dell tech to fix a "grinding noise" in one of the computers. I said that i was probably the fan grinding on the grill-Dell puts a grill on the inside of the computer exhaust fan for some reason. He "fixed" the grinding noise by bending the grill and ten minutes after he left it started again. My boss said, "O.K., now you can fix it." I opened up the computer, took off the grill and the sound never happened again. Sans the dirty look the Dell guy gave me when I offered advice on the sound, they are wonderful to work with (sarcasm).

I would of forced him to stick around. I've had them do good work for me though. Sometimes it take a bit of work to get through Dell but once they know what's going on you get it done. Once they send out a replacement *laptop* video card for an obvious faulty video card fan (the fan test failed for that particular part) and when I spoke to the tech before he arrived he ended up calling Dell himself to order the correct part and I ended up getting it replaced a week later by a different tech. Could of cost me my laptop since it was running at 80C+.

Micheal Dell should have never tried to dupe anyone..it is all about GREED and projected profit vs. penalties and litigation costs. They Dell in-house 'hush hush' memo should be all anyone needs to read to understand Dell's motivation. Same same with Toyota and several others they cover-up and gamble according to the best bet the think they have...the most $$$ in their coffers after the dust clears. It's have NEVER been about customers. It has ALWAYS been about profit.

Charlie Bear said,
Micheal Dell should have never tried to dupe anyone..it is all about GREED and projected profit vs. penalties and litigation costs. They Dell in-house 'hush hush' memo should be all anyone needs to read to understand Dell's motivation. Same same with Toyota and several others they cover-up and gamble according to the best bet the think they have...the most $$ in their coffers after the dust clears. It's have NEVER been about customers. It has ALWAYS been about profit.

Sony is about neither, they just make what ever they feel like making and release it.
the playstation has cost Sony millions and millions of dollars, they didnt earn a single dime from the playstation project.
MS doesnt really care about neither aswell, they just wanna be controlling.

Shadowzz said,

Sony is about neither, they just make what ever they feel like making and release it.
the playstation has cost Sony millions and millions of dollars, they didnt earn a single dime from the playstation project.
MS doesnt really care about neither aswell, they just wanna be controlling.

I'm hoping this is sarcasm...? Sony is profit driven (Hence their replacing the head of the PlayStation Unit since it's been doing poorly). This isn't a hobby for them...

Wow, Dell even burned their lawyers? I hope they pay through the nose. Their computers used to be good but are pieces of **** anymore. I had to have my XPS Laptop repaired 4 times (One time they didn't even do a repair, they just broke my keyboard and mailed it back to me. LOL). What a horrible company.

Lucas said,
Man, I thought technology was moving forward, not backwards.

Technology is moving forward. But it is now mainstream in every home almost. Company's have 100's of PC's quality control is suffering in my opinion at the hands of mass production. Company's need to slow down the output of so many different company's at such a high rate.

Things change that quickly that they seem to be rushing more and more things out the door without the proper testing. I had a Dell XPS m1330 that suffered from an Nvidia graphics card fault, it overheated. Wasn't a dell issue, was an Nvidia mess up. All company's seem to be suffering from different issue's at different times. Apple, Nvidia, ATi, Dell + loads more.

joemailey said,

Technology is moving forward. But it is now mainstream in every home almost. Company's have 100's of PC's quality control is suffering in my opinion at the hands of mass production. Company's need to slow down the output of so many different company's at such a high rate.

Things change that quickly that they seem to be rushing more and more things out the door without the proper testing. I had a Dell XPS m1330 that suffered from an Nvidia graphics card fault, it overheated. Wasn't a dell issue, was an Nvidia mess up. All company's seem to be suffering from different issue's at different times. Apple, Nvidia, ATi, Dell + loads more.

I have to agree, but Dell is particularly poor. They used to be good too. I wish Dell would get their acts together, but I don't think I'll ever own a Dell again. And I've bought 8 over the years.

S*it like this is the main reason I prefer to buy the components and assemble the computer myself, instead of buying it from companies like this. At least this way I can do some research about various components and see what others have to say about them before spending my hard earned, crisis hit income.

Alex_The_Cat said,
S*it like this is the main reason I prefer to buy the components and assemble the computer myself, instead of buying it from companies like this. At least this way I can do some research about various components and see what others have to say about them before spending my hard earned, crisis hit income.

You can have a GREAT product with great reviews and performance...the same product can also have a series of issues. All depends. I have seen new systems PC/Macs DOA out of the box. Mistakes happen and then its up to the company to make things good.

Alex_The_Cat said,
S*it like this is the main reason I prefer to buy the components and assemble the computer myself, instead of buying it from companies like this. At least this way I can do some research about various components and see what others have to say about them before spending my hard earned, crisis hit income.

I prefer that too. Newegg reviews

Alex_The_Cat said,
S*it like this is the main reason I prefer to buy the components and assemble the computer myself, instead of buying it from companies like this. At least this way I can do some research about various components and see what others have to say about them before spending my hard earned, crisis hit income.

And how would you know if you bought one of those bad boards until after it died? And who would be responsible for fixing it then?

S7un7 said,
I guess Dell was hoping the computer would be replaced (because of age) before the capacitors leaked.

Interestingly the capacitors on motherboards can be replaced. It looks like it is time consuming and some good sodering skills are needed though.
http://www.capacitorlab.com/re...-capacitors-howto/index.htm

Still, this situation should have never happened.

I don't think I'd trust a Dell tech to soder a new capacitor onto my motherboard... I watched one of their techs try to rig up something and monkey it all together at my home once (After doing something and yelling "Oh S***")... He couldn't even get the case together... *shakes head*

S7un7 said,
I guess Dell was hoping the computer would be replaced (because of age) before the capacitors leaked.

Interestingly the capacitors on motherboards can be replaced. It looks like it is time consuming and some good sodering skills are needed though.
http://www.capacitorlab.com/re...-capacitors-howto/index.htm

Still, this situation should have never happened.

Takes about 20 mins all up I've replace a lot of burst/bulging caps over the years the hard part is finding caps that match the one on the mobo some are weird ufarad ratings

The capacitor problem plagued EVERYONE. From motherboard makers to car makers.

My Gen1 Eagle Talon ECU was prone to blown caps. We replaced a crap don of Apple computers that came out in that time frame all because of blown caps. I had 2 Asus motherboards go for the same reason.

This problem is much bigger than Dell.

necrosis said,
The capacitor problem plagued EVERYONE. From motherboard makers to car makers.

My Gen1 Eagle Talon ECU was prone to blown caps. We replaced a crap don of Apple computers that came out in that time frame all because of blown caps. I had 2 Asus motherboards go for the same reason.

This problem is much bigger than Dell.

From what I've heard/read, an industrial spy stole the incomplete formula for the chemical that went inside the cap housing from a Japanese firm(s). Millions of *knock-off* capacitors were made/sold, to the point that other manufacturers couldn't get the *real* thing if they wanted to, & the old style wasn't available anymore. The problem was wide-spread enough that m/board manufacturers started offering solid state caps as a premium feature on more expensive boards -- a move that would have made zero sense if it wasn't for a wary market that had been badly burned by the knockoffs in the past.

**If** Dell had this problem, there really wasn't anything they could do about it other than replace boards with blown caps. If you replaced every board regardless, most every replacement would have the bad caps too, which would be a disservice to those lucky enough not to have a problem board in the 1st place. Far as PR goes, it's a toss-up. If you've worked CR &/or CS, you *know* people are not always reasonable, nor do they listen to honest answers when those answers aren't what they want to hear.

If today Dell explained the situation in full, 1) it wouldn't change anything, 2) it would open them up further to litigation, 3) it wouldn't hugely effect their number of customers -- wouldn't get any customers back who were turned off by the news. & 4) would likely loose additional customers because long answers are ill received, accurate or not, & a short answer in this case wouldn't IMHO be believable.

mikiem said,

From what I've heard/read, an industrial spy stole the incomplete formula for the chemical that went inside the cap housing from a Japanese firm(s). Millions of *knock-off* capacitors were made/sold, to the point that other manufacturers couldn't get the *real* thing if they wanted to, & the old style wasn't available anymore. The problem was wide-spread enough that m/board manufacturers started offering solid state caps as a premium feature on more expensive boards -- a move that would have made zero sense if it wasn't for a wary market that had been badly burned by the knockoffs in the past.

**If** Dell had this problem, there really wasn't anything they could do about it other than replace boards with blown caps. If you replaced every board regardless, most every replacement would have the bad caps too, which would be a disservice to those lucky enough not to have a problem board in the 1st place. Far as PR goes, it's a toss-up. If you've worked CR &/or CS, you *know* people are not always reasonable, nor do they listen to honest answers when those answers aren't what they want to hear.

If today Dell explained the situation in full, 1) it wouldn't change anything, 2) it would open them up further to litigation, 3) it wouldn't hugely effect their number of customers -- wouldn't get any customers back who were turned off by the news. & 4) would likely loose additional customers because long answers are ill received, accurate or not, & a short answer in this case wouldn't IMHO be believable.

Thank you for the informative and well-thought response.

necrosis said,
The capacitor problem plagued EVERYONE. From motherboard makers to car makers.

My Gen1 Eagle Talon ECU was prone to blown caps. We replaced a crap don of Apple computers that came out in that time frame all because of blown caps. I had 2 Asus motherboards go for the same reason.

This problem is much bigger than Dell.

Perhaps these companies need to specify quality Japanese caps only please instead of relying on whoever the hell is cheapest at the time and quality be damned

Dell didn't lie to us. They told us straight up that they had defective batches of mobos and replaced everyone of them. Now, there were a few times that I'd call Dell and some of the techs didn't know what I was talking about when I explained that we had more defective mobos from their screwup.

We had a ton of GX280s, and those things were dropping like flies. We ended up with about 40-50 of them in our warehouse for recycling because the motherboards were fried and they were too expensive to replace.

Joey H said,
We had a ton of GX280s, and those things were dropping like flies. We ended up with about 40-50 of them in our warehouse for recycling because the motherboards were fried and they were too expensive to replace.

I remember buying up a used SX260 on ebay and then reading about the bad caps issue. Apparently they were replacing the boards for those regardless of warranty status.

they have had there share of faulty computers...no doubt....it's all about Quality Control...you can't let it slip....look at other companies....i.e HP, Toyota...etc...people want what they pay for...

.Kompressor said,
they have had there share of faulty computers...no doubt....it's all about Quality Control...you can't let it slip....look at other companies....i.e HP, Toyota...etc...people want what they pay for...

Exactly. Dell's Quality Control is **** poor...

In Dell's defense, when we had this issue on dozens of PCs, they were quick to replace the mobos (free) and even sent technicians out to our offices to fix a bunch of them (free). Of course this was a few years ago and after the mobo issue, we have not had a problem since. So for me, they admitted their was a problem (techs/support on the phone actually told me the problem) and went out of their way to fix it.

techbeck said,
In Dell's defense, when we had this issue on dozens of PCs, they were quick to replace the mobos (free) and even sent technicians out to our offices to fix a bunch of them (free). Of course this was a few years ago and after the mobo issue, we have not had a problem since. So for me, they admitted their was a problem (techs/support on the phone actually told me the problem) and went out of their way to fix it.

Dell only will replace them AFTER they die. they could have just replaced all the motherboards. So they arent doing the right thing.

majortom1981 said,

Dell only will replace them AFTER they die. they could have just replaced all the motherboards. So they arent doing the right thing.

Before or after they die, doesnt matter. There will still be down time either way and cost the same. We never had any other components die because of the mobo.

techbeck said,

Before or after they die, doesnt matter. There will still be down time either way and cost the same. We never had any other components die because of the mobo.

(sigh)
Before they die is VERY different than after.

You can schedule a "before" without any loss to productivity by doing off-hour replacements. Haven't found a way to do that with "after" the PC dies when a user is updating their spreadsheet (or playing minesweeper).

Different.

markjensen said,
(sigh)
Before they die is VERY different than after.

You can schedule a "before" without any loss to productivity by doing off-hour replacements. Haven't found a way to do that with "after" the PC dies when a user is updating their spreadsheet (or playing minesweeper).

Different.

Agreed, it's very different to have Dell say "Your servers are faulty and may fail, when should we come and replace them" vs a number of your servers failing and the IT dept scrambling to avoid data loss etc, all the while trying to schedule a Dell engineer visit.

techbeck said,
In Dell's defense, when we had this issue on dozens of PCs, they were quick to replace the mobos (free) and even sent technicians out to our offices to fix a bunch of them (free). Of course this was a few years ago and after the mobo issue, we have not had a problem since. So for me, they admitted their was a problem (techs/support on the phone actually told me the problem) and went out of their way to fix it.


We're dell certified and Dell sent us refurbished boards and PSU's, some failed to power on at all.

markjensen said,
(sigh)
Before they die is VERY different than after.

You can schedule a "before" without any loss to productivity by doing off-hour replacements. Haven't found a way to do that with "after" the PC dies when a user is updating their spreadsheet (or playing minesweeper).

Different.

Agreed. +1

markjensen said,
(sigh)
Before they die is VERY different than after.

You can schedule a "before" without any loss to productivity by doing off-hour replacements. Haven't found a way to do that with "after" the PC dies when a user is updating their spreadsheet (or playing minesweeper).

Different.

Didnt matter for us...and they did offer to come out and replace all effected motherboards before the died...but they were not dieing all at once and only a few a week. Would of caused of more disruption if we had a bunch of dell techs running around...plus they would have to be escorted at all times.

And Dell techs only work certain hours. Its not like they can come in after 10pm and do the replacements. Dell contracts their work and in Phoenix, Unisys is what Dell uses. And Unisys is not a 24/7 shop.

techbeck said,
Didnt matter for us...
Fair enough.

But you can see, how in the rest of the world, that such timings and coordination of repairs/replacements *before* failures would be beneficial over replacements *after*.

Euphoria said,
We have 30 Dell Optiplex workstations at work and 13 died in the same time....
Way to go Dell!

You got lucky. We had more than 200 fail from dead caps.

dvb2000 said,
In other news Apple are denying their new iphones have a reception problem - apparently its all the users fault.

See, now that wasn't really funny or witty, although I'm sure you put quite a lot of thought into it. Yes, iPhone 4 antenna omg. It's old hat now, bud.

LiquidSolstice said,
See, now that wasn't really funny or witty, although I'm sure you put quite a lot of thought into it. Yes, iPhone 4 antenna omg. It's old hat now, bud.

OK I'll explain it for the dummies.

My comment was to highlight how these big companies now have a tendency to deny any faults in their products, rather than do the right thing and fix them. It boils down to cost cutting, and a race to the bottom in labour/parts and especially design & testing and what they think they can get away with. Rather than design & test a product properly, the exec's are driven by big bonus's for pushing a product out the door so the company can make more money.

It's about time these companies were bought to heel, and yes it is happening. Toyota for example, once used as a shining example of how to run a business, has fallen on its sword and those following its example will do the same (US/UK banks are another example). They will be forced by lawmakers to "make good" all the issues they have created and will suffer many years of losses as they do.

The existing CEO's have to pick up the pieces of their companies that were run into the ground for a quick profit by the CEO's long gone with their greed is good mentality, quarterly return focus, and their golden parachutes.