Dell's notebook delays infuriate customers

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

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.