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  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Disgruntled Dell customer finds crafty path to lawsuit settlement

    http://www.engadget.com/2006/12/10/d...uit-settlemen/

    Pat Dori, a disgruntled Dell customer who found no resolution to the issue of a broken laptop after five long months and 19 wasted phone calls, decided to go legal and sue the company for failing to adequately address the problem. The method by which Mr. Dori initiated the claim is the juicy core of this story: instead of going through the normal process of sending the court papers to Dell's headquarters in Texas, Dori thought to have the papers delivered to a Dell shopping mall kiosk instead. Quite unsurprisingly, no-one from Dell turned up in court on the stipulated date, resulting in Dori winning a $3,000 default judgment and a ruling to allow bailiffs to close the kiosk and seize items if the judgment was not paid......

  2. #2
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    wow, what a cheap move by him, if hes that much of an idiot at trying to fix a pc then he shouldn't be owning one in the first place.
    Kerry Jones

  3. #3
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    But the Dell shopping mall kiosk is probably a franchise deal, and not owned by Dell, so this just hurts the kiosk owner?
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Bob
    But the Dell shopping mall kiosk is probably a franchise deal, and not owned by Dell, so this just hurts the kiosk owner?
    then they shouldn't have ignored the summons.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by fromage
    then they shouldn't have ignored the summons.
    Who, Dell or the Kiosk owner?

    It's a pretty crappy and smart alek thing to do though. That's like me suing BP and delivering the papers to an employee at my local gas station.

    Booo hooo, he had issues with a Dell laptop. It happens. Rather than serving the papers to Dell direct (which is the proper thing to do here), he decided to be a smart alek and serve them to a Dell shopping mall Kiosk. What a tosser.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Jones
    wow, what a cheap move by him, if hes that much of an idiot at trying to fix a pc then he shouldn't be owning one in the first place.
    Who said he tried to fix anything?

    From what I read, he called 'em 19 times, over a 5 month period trying to get a resolution to a defective product. He got fed up, he found a loop-hole and snuck his way through in a legally acceptable manner.

    The question is, was it the kiosk the location where the product was purchased (or where the sale was at least initiated)? The kiosk should be at least somewhat responsible for the quality of the products they sell.

  7. #7
    It'd cost Dell more to appear, and even read it.

  8. #8
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    It'd cost Dell more to appear, and even read it
    Unfortunately that's probably the truth of it.

  9. #9
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    If Dell were to file a simple appeal this would be thrown out, as the person did not serve the corporate address. Most states and even counties/parishes have a legal means to serve notice, and it is typically not to any address and person that is just an employee at a kiosk.

  10. #10
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    As mentioned above, all this does is hurt the kiosk owner. Dell probably won't see any affect from this. This definitely is the wrong way to go about getting Dell's attention and winning a lawsuit.
    Quote Originally Posted by porcupine
    The kiosk should be at least somewhat responsible for the quality of the products they sell.
    How do you figure? The kiosk has nothing to do with Dell technical support and as others pointed out, they probably aren't even owned by Dell. Just because Dell tech support is lousy and they didn't properly handle this situation doesn't mean that other representatives of Dell should be affected. I think this guy went completely the wrong way to get a resolution. Regardless if he won or not.
    Mark Blair

  11. #11
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    I just thought of another thing here, and that is if this was in small claims court, some areas do not even require the person "serving" to be a member of law enforcement. If the employee at the kiosk was "served" by someone they may very well have even thought it was a joke from a friend and not given this to their boss. Not saying this is by any means the right thing to do, but it very well could have happened.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by markblair
    As mentioned above, all this does is hurt the kiosk owner. Dell probably won't see any affect from this. This definitely is the wrong way to go about getting Dell's attention and winning a lawsuit. How do you figure? The kiosk has nothing to do with Dell technical support and as others pointed out, they probably aren't even owned by Dell. Just because Dell tech support is lousy and they didn't properly handle this situation doesn't mean that other representatives of Dell should be affected. I think this guy went completely the wrong way to get a resolution. Regardless if he won or not.
    I think when you sell a product, you are liable to a reasonable extent for the quality of your product. If you're a reseller, or a franchise owner, its your responsibility to ensure the product you base your business off is solid.

  13. #13
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    That's impossible considering who the company is that is being referred to and how they operate (i.e. Dell sales, tech support, kiosks, etc.) There is no way a kiosk owner can guarantee that tech support is actually going to do their job. Next time you're in the mall go ask one of the kiosk employees how they can make sure that Dell tech support is always 100% of the time going to take care of their customers. It just isn't possible. This should be an eye-opening event that maybe this is a company that at least this person shouldn't be purchasing products from in the future. If he did get the PC from a kiosk and they had anything to do with the failure to resolve the problems, then yeah he shouldn't go back there either.
    Mark Blair

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by markblair
    That's impossible considering who the company is that is being referred to and how they operate (i.e. Dell sales, tech support, kiosks, etc.) There is no way a kiosk owner can guarantee that tech support is actually going to do their job. Next time you're in the mall go ask one of the kiosk employees how they can make sure that Dell tech support is always 100% of the time going to take care of their customers. It just isn't possible.
    Well first off, I'm basing my side of the argument on the idea that the owner purchased the item from the kiosk in question. If the kiosk owner has little control over the quality of the product (which is the case in most franchises), thats a liability they should be aware of when they set up shop.

    If the customer picked up the laptop from another location, then yeah, its underhanded.

  15. #15
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    If Dell failed to fix the defect/problem after 5 months and 19 calls, that would classify the product to contain latent defect. If the product has latent defect in it, the company that sold the item is expected either to give the customer a new product or pay for it. The law is the law and it is what happened. Why the drama?

    The truth is, even if this guy would have sent the documents to headquarters, Dell most likely would not have showed up anyway. Too minor a case for them to bother.

    If I was the customer, I could care less who picks up the bill. As far as I am concerned, I took the extra risk by having the lawyer prepare documentations in the first place.
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  16. #16
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    For those that don't know, Dell isn't a franchise, which means there's no independent owners. The Kiosk where he served the lawsuit is owned directly by Dell.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by inogenius
    For those that don't know, Dell isn't a franchise, which means there's no independent owners. The Kiosk where he served the lawsuit is owned directly by Dell.
    Sure, Dell itself is not a franchise, but they could have distrubution channels in shopping centers, like this kiosk. That kiosk could have been an agent for Dell.

    Artashes, yeah, Dell probably got the papers and ignored them. A poultry $3k judgement compared to multiple tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. I guess they made their pick.
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  18. #18
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    Dell also contracts their service work to outside vendors. Not everything that Dell does is Dell owned. I am in constant contact with Dell through my job and every time I have some technician bring a replacement part, they are not a Dell employee. They are simply someone that works for a company that has a contract with Dell to replace those parts. I am not sure but those kiosks could be setup the same way.
    Mark Blair

  19. #19
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    The issue here is, if you have separation between the various aspects of a company, should you, as a consumer give a damn? As a consumer, do you have a moral right to protect yourself, by any legally available method?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by porcupine
    The issue here is, if you have separation between the various aspects of a company, should you, as a consumer give a damn? As a consumer, do you have a moral right to protect yourself, by any legally available method?
    I understand that this customers sole interest was to get this problem resolved. However, he probably would have had the same result (a winning judgment for $3,000) if he sent the legal documents directly to Dell. Since he didn't he also won't know if Dell would have paid him more to keep quiet as they may have not wanted the negative press. I have no idea if that would have happened but he also will never know. Finally, by him going the route he did, he ended up hurting someone that in my opinion had nothing to do with the problem. Now the only thing I'm confused about is why the kiosk owner (if it isn't owned by Dell) didn't show up to defend himself. That doesn't make much sense to me. Maybe that proves that Dell does own the kiosks and they really don't care.
    Mark Blair

  21. #21
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    fyi, dell kiosks are not franchises.

    http://www.dell.com/content/products...=19&l=en&s=dhs

    Dell Direct Stores are mall kiosks - not franchises - with the same prices and promotions available on Dell.com. The latest Dell Notebooks, Desktops, Printers, LCD and Plasma televisions, AximTM handhelds and more are all here. You can talk to a Dell expert face-to-face and find the perfect PC, TV, or Printer just for you. Then customize it, order it and have it shipped right to your home!
    so this:

    Quote Originally Posted by aussie bob
    But the Dell shopping mall kiosk is probably a franchise deal,
    And a majority of the other posts in this thread are wrong.

  22. #22
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    Good for him. I wish he had gotten more. 5 months and 19 phone calls to get a laptop fixed is unacceptable.
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  23. #23
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    Good for him. I wish he had gotten more. 5 months and 19 phone calls to get a laptop fixed is unacceptable.
    A lot of people are forgetting what is stated by IPsecure.

    Also, companies use legal loopholes all the time. Lets not hang this guy because he used one.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ub3r
    And a majority of the other posts in this thread are wrong.
    Learn to read properly. I said "probably". That doesn't mean they are.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Bob
    Learn to read properly. I said "probably". That doesn't mean they are.
    And look at how many people took your word as the gospel truth.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by porcupine
    From what I read, he called 'em 19 times, over a 5 month period trying to get a resolution to a defective product. He got fed up, he found a loop-hole and snuck his way through in a legally acceptable manner.
    Dell must have better after sales service here in Aussie. My new Dell has power issues, so I ring them up and 2 days later they have a repair guy at my house, with a brand new PSU. Guess I'm just lucky.
    The question is, was it the kiosk the location where the product was purchased (or where the sale was at least initiated)? The kiosk should be at least somewhat responsible for the quality of the products they sell.
    Good point. If he bought the Dell laptop from the kiosk (or ordered it from the kiosk) then that's probably his logical place to lodge the court papers. If he ordered it online, maybe he didn't want to pay registered post and have the court papers delivered to Dell HQ, and the kiosk was closer and easier?

    That's a probability.
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  27. #27
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    I once filed a small claims court suit against Olympus America. In that case the marshal served an agent in Boise that was listed with the Idaho Secretary of State's office. By an interesting coincidence the agency listed was the same office as the legal services plan attorney who advised me to do that. He said that was not a conflict of interest because their only function as an agent was to receive the papers and forward them to the corporate office. He didn't represent Olympus for purposes of responding to the complaint. The Olympus office in New York wound up agreeing to replace the camera they twice failed to repair with a better model, so I reported the case as being settled.
    Anyway, if there were no agency listed with the Secretary of State's office, could a local distributor count as an agent for purposes of accepting the summons? I don't know, but I suspect it could be a flop.
    Of course I had concurrent complaints to BBB and NY Attorney General's office, and any of these could have been an attention getter.

    My own experience with Dell has not been bad. An external floppy drive failed before the warranty expired, and they arranged to exchange it for a replacement, which is still working.

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