January 16, 2007 6:47 AM PST

Dell hit with class action suit over Inspiron

A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.

Dell, which struggled last year with a massive battery recall, now faces legal action in Canada from a user who complained the company continued to sell some models in its notebook line after it knew they suffered from problems.

The class action suit was filed in the Ontario Superior Court by Thad Griffin, a resident of Ontario, on behalf of other users of Dell Inspiron laptops. It alleges design defects make certain Inspirons susceptible to overheating and that this overheating will cause extra wear to the motherboard, resulting in premature failure.

While the class action is not directly related to a massive recall of overheating Sony laptop batteries last year, the publicity from that issue has haunted Dell. The company's share price plummeted after the news broke in August and only slowly recovered through November. Dell has attempted to rebuild its image by accelerating initiatives such as its carbon-neutral strategy, announced last week.

The legal action, filed at the end of last week, applies to Inspiron models 1100, 1150, 5100, 5150 and 5160. It seeks to have Dell Canada replace the defective computers or cover the cost of repairs. The justification for this, according to a lawyer in the case, is that there appears to be "a systemic problem."

"Generally, we're seeing these symptoms or problems occur after the warranties run out. And it would appear as though it's a systemic problem that's inherent to all of these Inspiron models. At least, that's the feedback we're getting," Joel Rochon, a partner of Rochon Genova, the firm conducting the case, said in an interview with the Canadian press.

According to Rochon, there has been a "steady flow" of people bringing their problems to his firm.

But Dell computers do not have any inherent problems, according to Which, an independent product evaluation site in the U.K. that looked closely at Dell laptops after the company's August laptop battery recall because of reports of batteries overheating and catching fire.

"Our surveys show that Dell is one of the most reliable brands out there, but this type of incident could harm Dell's image badly," Kim Gilmour, a Computing Which magazine senior researcher, said at the time. "Dell did react quickly, but it could have reacted faster. It took the company several weeks to issue this mass recall of batteries."

A Which spokesman said the organization has not yet had to time to consider the current issues around the alleged problems with Dell's Inspiron.

When contacted on Monday, Dell would say only that it "does not comment on pending litigation, as a matter of corporate policy."

Dell customers still concerned about the overheating issue should check Dell's Web site for updates.

Colin Barker of ZDNet UK reported from London.


Correction: This story inappropriately linked the class action lawsuit to the Sony battery recall. The suit is directly associated with alleged Inspiron design defects.

See more CNET content tagged:
class action, class action lawsuit, Dell Inspiron, recall, Ontario


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purchased an Insperion 1720 less than a year ago, about 1 month ago I noticed a large amount of heat coming out the vents it then begins to lock up I have removed programs tried raising the bottom up for better air flow and even shut it down for a couple hours however when it heats up all that will help is shutting it down over night, question is, is there a heavy duty high cfm fan,or a heavy duty mother board or both ,will Dell fix under warranty?or does this and many others(more than likely) require a class action suit aginst Dell to rectify this problem? comments opinions E-mail George @140gmrd@bellsouth.net
Posted by gepops58 (1 comment )
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There is an issue also with Dell Inspiron M5010 model(bought for $700 from Bestbuy in Glendale, California) motherboards (7-beep problem). Dell is aware about this problem but does not accept that. I believe we should start class lawsuit action because many people have the same problem with motherboards and Dell charges $200 for fixing that part.
Posted by AnnPa27 (1 comment )
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