If you have read my blog, you will know that I chose to take Dell to court at the end of a long dispute regarding two Inspiron 1545 laptops I ordered pre Christmas.
My decision to take this to court was twofold:
- First, to receive recognition and some compensation for the appalling customer service that I experienced that resulted in my 12 year old son Daniel not receiving his Christmas present in time
- Second, to demonstrate to Dell that they can’t expect to treat customers like this without consequences. I want to show that they need to treat their customers with respect and be responsive to complaints more effectively than in this case.
I was also claiming for loss of use of the laptop by my son and the value of missing software that was in the original order but did not make it into the replacement
In court today, attending on behalf of Dell was a barrister and a solicitor, whilst I chose to represent myself. I’ve had some experience of courts through my divorce, but I was surprised to see a barrister in attendance
My approach to the case was to claim that Dell were in breach of their own terms and conditions for not providing confirmed order documentation and not communicating with me in the manner or the timescales outlined in the conditions.
Dell’s approach was to focus on the minutiae of the law regarding : legal liability for an order; at what point was the order confirmed; what was a reasonable time to deliver it and what was a reasonable time to resolve a dispute
Interesting to note, Dell reserves the right in their T&Cs to change the specification of a system so long as the changes offer at least equivalent functionality
In my case, the original laptop included Napster software and a 12 month subscription to the online streaming service – this was not in the replacement laptop and dell offered me Office Home and Student as an alternative
Both I and the barrister had opportunity to put forward our case, answer questions from the judge and clarify and question each other on the evidence given
The judge then made a quick decision and in summary he found:
- Dell were in breach of contract to deliver the laptop in a reasonable time frame, although from a legal perspective “Time was not of the essence”
- There was a period of 2-3 weeks when there was a loss of use
- The missing software should have been replaced or an appropriate alternative
- I did not prove my case to receive compensation either for the amount of time or at the rate quoted
- I also received partial costs paid and did not have to pay Dell’s costs
The judge found that as I could have accepted that offer, worth more than I received today, I could have avoided the court listing fee for today.
Consequently, whilst I won, it is a pyrrhic victory and I am slightly out of pocket.
Despite this, I have no regrets for the action I have taken. I strongly believe that if consumers do not stand up to big business occasionally we will all suffer. I took on a multi-billion dollar company and won!
It is National Complaints Day tomorrow, Friday 13th and I support this wholeheartedly and have started to participate in the forum at Complaint Community which is a very interesting approach to resolving these emotionally charged and frustrating issues
Actually I do have one regret: if I had received larger compensation then I would have gone out and bought myself a new Apple iPad – sorry Dell not interested in the Streak
Off on holiday soon, but if you would like to contact me regarding this situation, email me