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Dell's Delays Anger Customers
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A group of Chinese consumers irked by Dell's delivery delays are launching a grassroots campaign online and is considering a lawsuit against the US computer maker.


"Since June, more than 150 consumers have posted complaints on our website," said Zhou Tao, an employee at 12315.com, a local consumer rights advocacy website. "They are now trying to gather 10,000 people to lodge complaints to local consumer associations."


The computer maker declined to reveal the number of people affected.


Dell launched its latest laptop models XPS1330 and Inspiron 1420 last month in China. The company says it has met with unexpected success because of the laptops' colorful design.


But a shortage of computer parts, including LCD displayers and built-in cameras, caused the company to postpone delivery. In the past two months, angry consumers have posted complaints against the company on major local websites such as Sina.com and Sohu.com.


Zeng Jin, an entrepreneur in Shanghai, ordered a Dell Inspiron 1420 on July 19 and was expecting to get it in a week, as promised to him by a Dell sales representative. But the company postponed the delivery date, not once but four times, to September 3.


"The sales representative has stopped replying to my e-mails since August 7 and all my calls have been transferred to their voice mail," complained Zeng. "If a group complaint still fails to nudge Dell into action, we will consider legal measures."


Other consumers have similar tales. A Shanghai-based office worker surnamed Zeng decided to cancel his order after the delivery date was changed five times.


"I have no idea when I will get my money back," he said.


Responding to rising complaints, Dell China posted an apology to consumers on its official blog on Monday.


"It may still take one or five weeks from now for users to get the Inspiron 1420 models and more than 20 days for XPS1330," company officials said in the blog, adding that it may take about three weeks for the refunding.


"We are now spiking up manufacturing capacity to deal with these delayed orders," said an official of Dell China, who declined to be named. "But it's still difficult to give a time frame for the problem to be completely solved."


(China Daily August 9, 2007)


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