Dell: vertical lines, what vertical lines?

Er, the dirty great big one on my Inspiron...


Dell seems to have got its sizeable knickers in a twist over where it stands with the recent heavily bemoaned vertical line problem affecting several of its notebook models.

As we reported in January, the firm had been hit by a fairly widespread problem with what looked to be a dodgy batch of LCD screens affecting some of its 9200 and 9300 range of Inspiron notebooks as well as its XPS Gen 2 systems.

The problem for customers was that the serious fault, where a pixel-wide line was visible down the middle of the screen, developed slowly over time.

So, although you might expect a laptop to have a shelf-life of around three years, the notebooks affected were rendered pretty useless much sooner.

What's the catch? Well, for most customers, their computer was already out of warranty.

Online forums revealed the extent of the problem with close to 1,000 cases to date having been reported and 621 cases yet to be resolved.

In fact, frustrated Dell customers took the matter into their own hands and created a website dedicated to drawing attention to the hardware fault.

According to the website, Dell has now completed a fairly lengthy investigation and "identified an issue that potentially affects certain 17-inch displays".

The computer giant redirected customers to its own Direct2Dell blog where further information about resolving the issue was said to be available.

A statement said: "On some 17-inch LCD displays shipped with Dell Inspiron 9200, 9300 and Dell XPS Gen 2 notebooks, a one pixel wide vertical line may develop across the LCD screen over time. Systems that may be affected by this issue shipped from Nov 2004 through Oct 2006.

"Here's what we're doing: for affected systems, Dell is offering to replace any LCD that develops a vertical line within three years of purchase, at no charge for parts and labour. Also, Dell will offer refunds to customers who paid Dell to replace defective LCDs with this issue."

However, a Reg reader called the firm's support helpline only to be told "that the direct2dell website was a third party website" and therefore Dell "wouldn't be able to replace the screens".

So, employing the Dire Straits technique, El Reg put a call into the helpline to see if lightning could strike twice, or if our reader had simply been fobbed off by a poorly informed Dell staffer.

A chipper chap at the other end of the line listened intently as I told him about my LCD screen fault.

I explained that I had bought my Inspiron 9200 back in April 2005 but was hopeful, having read the statement on Dell's blog, that the issue could be easily resolved without putting me out of pocket.

I was kept on hold while he consulted his supervisor. The stuttering song "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" merrily played in the background before he returned with the news that "there are no known issues with that model".

He went on to explain that he needed to look at the Direct2Dell website, and oddly said he didn't even know it existed.

I was promised a quick response, but several hours on, Dell is yet to return my call.

If this experience is typical, it seems affected customers can expect a long wait. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading
  • Conti: Russian-backed rulers of Costa Rican hacktocracy?
    Also, Chinese IT admin jailed for deleting database, and the NSA promises no more backdoors

    In brief The notorious Russian-aligned Conti ransomware gang has upped the ante in its attack against Costa Rica, threatening to overthrow the government if it doesn't pay a $20 million ransom. 

    Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves said that the country is effectively at war with the gang, who in April infiltrated the government's computer systems, gaining a foothold in 27 agencies at various government levels. The US State Department has offered a $15 million reward leading to the capture of Conti's leaders, who it said have made more than $150 million from 1,000+ victims.

    Conti claimed this week that it has insiders in the Costa Rican government, the AP reported, warning that "We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power, you have introduced an emergency." 

    Continue reading
  • China-linked Twisted Panda caught spying on Russian defense R&D
    Because Beijing isn't above covert ops to accomplish its five-year goals

    Chinese cyberspies targeted two Russian defense institutes and possibly another research facility in Belarus, according to Check Point Research.

    The new campaign, dubbed Twisted Panda, is part of a larger, state-sponsored espionage operation that has been ongoing for several months, if not nearly a year, according to the security shop.

    In a technical analysis, the researchers detail the various malicious stages and payloads of the campaign that used sanctions-related phishing emails to attack Russian entities, which are part of the state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec Corporation.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022