Dell Outlet Sent Me A Barf-Covered, Gum-Filled Refurb Laptop

Frank ordered a refurbished laptop from Dell Outlet last week, and got a great deal. He hadn’t anticipated that the machine would come with extras: some gum in the CD drive and an unidentified substance that we can only hope is soup, but looks more like vomit.

I bought a Dell Insprion N411Z on Janurary 1st, 2012 for $565.68. It’s a refurbished model directly from the Dell Outlet ( It was intended for a family member who needs a laptop to carry around campus. Unfortunately, what I received was covered in an unidentifiable substance.





I realize that refurbished units are usually pre-owned, however this is unacceptable. The substance looks like dried vomit, and shows definite signs of water damage. I have contacted Dell Support, who originally tried to blame this on Fedex (I had to suppress laughter). Although I am willing to give Dell one more chance at redemption, I highly doubt that I will shop from them again.

Consumerist, I need help. Any contact information for a higher-up at Dell would be mostly welcome. The intended owner of this computer is having to attend college classes without a laptop for notes because of this incident.

As hard as it may be to believe, Consumerist readers have had great luck with Dell by contacting Michael Dell himself. Well, technically the Dell executive relations team. You can reach them at

UPDATE: Frank just wrote in to let us know that’s he’s heard from Dell’s Twitter team, but might just replace the system with a Lenovo instead.

Thus far, @DellCares has replied back to my tweet, however, I have also been in contact with Lenovo. They have an brand-new identical system with a 2-year in-home warranty, and can have it at my doorstep by Wednesday. I’m willing to work with Dell, but that have to at least come close to matching Lenovo’s offer.