Bad sales advice from Dell - Do I have rights?

  climb45 00:11 12 Jan 2005

In April 2003 I wanted to buy a new PC. I had picked out, from the Dell website, the Dimension 8250 (Rambus memory) and the Dimension 4550 (DDR) as possibilities and approached Dell for advice over which would best meet my requirements, i.e. a good specification PC, capable of handling a number of business type applications at once – Word, Excel, Outlook, IE, etc. I was advised to purchase the Dimension 8250.

From the beginning, I felt that the system responded more slowly than I had expected, but I put this down to demanding Office software. It was only in July last year, that I read reports that, because of its higher latency, Rambus memory is more suitable for running individual programmes which involve lengthy streams of data, for example gaming and video editing, rather than for use in a more business orientated environment, where many small transactions are initiated regularly.

My other main criteria, when discussing the purchase with Dell, was that future PC upgrades should be easy and cost-effective. Memory upgrades surely fall into this category. However, Dimension 8250 Rambus memory costs nearly £900 for 512Mb x 2 from Dell's recommended supplier versus £240 for Dell's Dimension 4550 DDR memory.

I have been in correspondence with Dell customer services since July, but keep getting the standard response that it's more than 7 days since I bought the PC and that Dell’s terms and conditions of sale and standard industry practice are such that Dell cannot compensate me.

My arguments are that the information on the Dell website did not make the disadvantages of Rambus clear, that I was given poor advice and that I was then sold a system that does not fulfil the role for which it was intended, ie an easily and economically upgradable system for business type work in a domestic environment.

Do I have any legal grounds for demanding more compensation than the paltry 10% discount finally offered as a "Goodwill Gesture"?

  961 11:37 12 Jan 2005

In view of the time span I suspect it will be difficult - and expensive

I suggest a personal letter to the MD in an attempt to get the goodwill gesture bumped up to what you consider a reasonable level

  spuds 13:25 12 Jan 2005

If you purchased your Dell system on a contractual specification basis, which states that Dell knew your full requirements, and agreed to supply a product to meet those exact requirements, then I would suspect that you have a case for remedy. But like all computer products the market changes from time to time, and I would suspect that Dell offered you a 'suitable' production line machine, which you excepted at the time of purchase.If there were problems from the very beginning,and you have suggested just that, then this should have been taken up with Dell straight away.Twenty one months later is not going to help your case, for compensation or a replacement.

  shellship 15:21 12 Jan 2005

Hi Climb45

Join the club. I bought a Dell 8200 in August 2002 with 512 Mb Rambus. Thought it might be an idea to increase RAM at back end of 2004 - guess what, cheaper to buy a new computer. Once bitten..... I'll always check cost of upgrading memory in future or just insist on 1024 to start with.

  bfoc 16:00 12 Jan 2005

That in Law you certainly have an arguable case. Dell owed you a duty of care and you stated what your requirements for the machine were and, verbally at least, you were assured that this machine would meet your needs.

There are two main problems I can see:

1. What proof do you have of this whole advice process that would be acceptable in court?

2. Could Dell argue that the advice they gave then was 'reasonable' in the light of knowledge at that time. In other words could it be proved that they should have reasonably known, or have been expected to know, that Rambus memory would be so much more expensive?

There really is a difficulty with arguing now that it wasn't suitable from the moment you bought it unless you can show that you raised the matter with Dell and have since been waiting for them to resolve the matter.

I'm sorry to be negative but there is a difference between having 'legal grounds' and having any realistic chance of winning!

  climb45 16:32 12 Jan 2005

Thanks for all your comments. My argument regarding the time delay, is that the slow response is intermittent and obviously not the result of faulty hardware. Initially I put it down to the software and therefore felt it was inappropriate to bring this up with Dell. It was only later when I read about the disadvantages of Rambus memory that I linked this to the slow response. Was it not Dell's responsibility at the time of sale to advise of this type of technical information which, as a consumer, I should not be expected to know.

Incidentally, I first started communication with Dell over this issue in July 2004, i.e. at the point of my improved knowledge of RIMM.

Regarding RIMM costs, RIMM has always been more expensive because of royalty payments and Dell should have known this. I believe Dell stopped producing machines with RIMM just one month after my purchase. This move was bound to increase prices.

Finally, with verbal sales advice, is it not the responsibility of the seller to prove that they did give you appropriate advice?

  Stuartli 17:09 12 Jan 2005

Why? It should reduce new system prices as the alternative memory would be cheaper.

  bfoc 17:35 12 Jan 2005

But if you were to instigate legal action you would have to show that Dell failed in their duty of care to you.

This means the onus of proof is on you to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that the advice was incorrect and that it was not 'reasonable' advice at the time it was given. It would not be up to Dell to prove that their advice was appropriate.

As I said you do have an arguable case but, IMHO, it would be tough. Of course you could get a professional opinion.

  Forum Editor 18:09 12 Jan 2005

could you answer one question for me please?

Are there any empty memory slots on your motherboard?

  climb45 18:37 12 Jan 2005

Yes, there are two slots vacant, in other words space for one pair of RIMM

  bremner 18:57 12 Jan 2005

Not that this answers your question but the memory is half the price Dell have quoted you from here click here

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