Dell's notebook delays infuriate customers

Dell's notebook delays infuriate customers

Summary: Dell says it has resumed shipments of some Dimension and XPS notebooks but a big 'backlog' means that customers will still have a long wait

TOPICS: Hardware
Dell says it has resumed shipments of its Inspiron XPS and Inspiron 9100 notebooks, after halting their production for a short time to replace a component that did not meet specifications, but angry customers still face long waits for some models.

A company representative declined to name the part that caused the suspension, but shipments of affected models appear to have been pushed back to April. The Dell Dimension XPS 3.4 800FSB Extreme Edition P4 base system is on a 45-business-day lead, said the company in a posting to its forums, where customers were sounding off last week about a lack of information on the delays. As this 45-day lead does not include weekends and public holidays, customers who order this model are looking at a two-month wait.

Other models have lower lead-times, but some customers still say they are too long. Several Inspiron models, including Inspiron 9100 base systems, and the Inspiron XPS with Extreme Edition P3200HT and P3400HT processors are on 20 business-day lead times. Dell UK could not say what effect the delays are having on customers here.

According to Dell's Community Forum, orders placed for the Inspiron XPS at the end of February shipped for about a week before production stopped. Some customers reported on the forums that Dell recalled their shipments the very day they were supposed to be delivered to their homes.

On the forums, Dell said the delays were due to a shortage of parts. The conflicting reasons for the delays did little to calm the ire of customers, one of whom signed off a missive with "Dell -- The leprechauns stole the battery and GPU."

"This has got to be the biggest joke I have ever heard," wrote one customer. "It is utterly ridiculous for paying customers to wait a total of six weeks for a laptop that was promised to them in a matter of two. My specs on the 9100 I ordered were almost the complete base. The only upgrade I got was the added 512 MB of memory and a wireless card."

Dell has a five-day average for lead-times, said the representative, who added that Dell will work to fill the orders as quickly as possible.'s John G. Spooner contributed to this report.

Topic: Hardware

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Of course, for Dell, it's more important that they can buy the component at the lowest price - that's the shortage, it's only the shortage of parts that meet their margins - customers be damned.

    They know that when the next buying cycle comes up, you might still loath their customer service but you can't very well go to your boss to explain that you're accepting the second lowest bid just because last time, you had to wait 2 months until Dell was able to get pricing on a trackpad for $.11 versus $.15.

    Every company's downfall starts in this little way - when the margins become more important than customers. And it'll start small. They'll lose the casual buyers first and then eventually the 15,000 order to HP or to Legend because they're still negotiating to save $200 on a container ship.

    And Dell will not see it coming.
  • I live in the UK and ordered a 9100 on the 2nd of March. I asked about lead times, and was told there were none, but as soon as I gave my credit card details I was told there was a "future order SKU", meaning it would take longer. The date given was the 16th. This has changed 4 or five times since, and yesterday my estimated delivery date went from 1st April to 6th of May! They keep telling us this is becaause of a huge demand, yet I know of no-one in the UK who has received one yet, and I ordered the day after they started accepting orders!
  • I'm a US customer who ordered a Dell Inspiron 9100 on March 1, and have been waiting since then for information or status on the order. The only information I HAVE received from Dell was a prerecorded phone message on my original ship date (March 23) that I shouldn't expect my order to ship before April 19.

    Dell has made the strategic decision to respond only to the media on these issues and bypass their customers. Only time will tell if this was the correct path to take.
  • Exactly the same as James in London said, even down to the order date! Dell have shown themselves to be utterly pathetic through the lack of information and vague responses to direct questions. To be told "we will do better next time" is pointless. Doing better 'this time' is all that counts - there will not be a next time! If Dell are not capable of fulfilling orders within a reasonable time they should be been up front about it and contact their customers directly, rather than hiding behind hollow press releases. If the delays are indeed due to Dell penny pinching as some have said, rather than true shortages, this mess is going to cost them a huge amount - I would never risk it again and I will make sure my company avoids Dell. To add insult to injury, Dell have charged my the full amount 6 weeks prior to the current guess at a delivery date - SHARP PRACTICE!! Methinks a lame attempt to stop me cancelling my order and going elsewhere.
  • I ordered an Inspiron 9100 on 10/3, the spec coming to 1336GBP. The day before the "orderwatch" said delivery was to take place on 31/3 the delivery date changed to 3/5.
    Bad enough, but when you go to the dell site again the price for the same spec p.c has decreased to 1286GBP !!
    Talk about two kicks in the teeth.
    Dell have since promised 50 GBP off if i keep the order, we shall see.
  • Dell is utterly a waste of anyone's consideration. They are completely focused on nothing else but dollar growth and f*ck the customer anyway they can. One of my co-workers ordered a system from them and got it yesterday, the price charged was 2x the TV price because the "special had ended" and the system was total piece of junk all made in China.

    My opinion is: Don't Ask, Don't Dell!

    Go buy a locally built system, less headaches, better quality parts and the price will be fair. PLUS LOCAL SERVICE NOT INDIA!

  • I ordered my 9100 laptop on March 15th, and the estimated delivery date is 05th May! (51 days/ 7 weeks 2 days)
    I rang customer support today and they mentioned some problem with batteries. I know the lifespan of the 9100 battery is quite low due to the power drain, so I hope that maybe a better battery will be installed.
    I also questioned if the system price will have fallen by the time of delivery would I be compensated? The (?South African) lady on the phone did not understand what I was trying to communicate and insisted that I would not be charged extra - how considerate.
    Anywho, I just hope it impresses when it does arrive - my other Dells have been solid machines.