Longtime readers of Consumerist are familiar with “Dell Hell” stories, in which something bad happens to a Dell computer and then the company does its best to do absolutely nothing about it. A recent news story about an exploding Dell laptop is a perfect example of Dell’s particular flavor of ignorance.
A 72-year-old woman here in Philadelphia was just sitting around watching the Phillies lose when the battery on her 6-year-old Dell laptop exploded.
Luckily, she was able to put the fire out (though her shirt, carpet, desk, and dog bed are charred) and she only had to be treated for minor chemical burns, but when the local NBC affiliate attempted to speak to someone at Dell, well… here’s the one sentence that epitomizes Dell Hell:
“NBC10 tried to contact Dell’s corporate office but the media number did not work and we received an error message when we tried to send an email.”
Not that we expect Dell to actually do anything about a laptop that was purchased six years ago, but at least pretend to give a damn and release a statement saying you’re taking it seriously.
UPDATE: Dell has indeed released the following statement regarding the laptop explosion:
Dell places the highest priority on the safety of our products. When Dell becomes aware of an incident, we handle it with the goals of assuring customer safety and a thorough failure analysis. Dell will take appropriate steps to investigate this incident. It’s also important to note that, in our product documentation, Dell tells customers that using an incompatible battery or a third-party battery may increase the risk of fire or explosion and that they should replace the battery only with a battery purchased from Dell that is designed to work with their Dell computer.
A company rep tells Consumerist that there was nothing wrong with the media contact phone number listed on the site.