Chips could prove a hot potato for Dell
By Cao Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-08-11 08:43

SHANGHAI: Computer manufacturer Dell is facing the possibility of hundreds of lawsuits over claims it deliberately lied to customers about a chip used in its machines.

Customers say their computers were fitted with cheaper, lower quality processors than advertised and accuse Dell of deliberate fraud.

A first case brought by a single claimant was launched in Shanghai on July 26, but was joined on Tuesday by a further suit, filed by 19 claimants, at a court in Xiamen, Fujian Province, site of the company's China headquarters.

Xiamen Huli District People's Court has ruled there is a case to answer, and now the suit brought by the 19 from Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chongqing, Guangxi, Hebei, Shandong and Fujian could be joined by many more.

An online bulletin board set up by disgruntled consumers to publicize the issue registered more than 500 people whose computers had different chips to those advertised all could follow with lawsuits of their own.

"My clients bought the Dell Inspiron 640M this June, but found out later that Dell used an inferior CPU (central processing unit)," lawyer for the 19, Guo Zhongfang, told China Daily yesterday.

The trouble first arose in early June when one computer owner discovered the CPU in his Inspiron 640M was a T2300E instead of the T2300 Dell specified on its website, in advertisements and on specific invoices.

He posted the grievance on, a popular online bulletin board, and uncovered hundreds of similar stories.

The T2300E chip costs an estimated US$32 less than the T2300 and reportedly has fewer functions.

Zhang Min, the Shanghai man who filed the first lawsuit, says it is a typical case of double standards, with Chinese customers being deliberately ripped off.
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