Class-action lawsuit alleges Dell misled buyers with ‘unprecedented upgradeability’ claims

Last updated on
June 7th, 2021, 11:37 pm

Dell is suing for fraud related claims of upgradeability of Alienware laptops

Apple makes it clear that customers will need to buy a new MacBook to upgrade. In 2019, Dell’s subsidiary Alienware launched the Area-51m R1 laptop, claiming it offered “unparalleled upgradeability.”

A troubled customer has filed a class action lawsuit against Dell for “false and misleading” marketing that promised the core components of the laptop could be upgraded in the future.

2020 laptop components were not available as upgrades for the 2019 variant

2020 laptop components were not available as upgrades for the 2019 variant

Dell’s Alienware Area-51m debuted at CES 2019 with 8th and 9th generation Intel CPUs (including the i7-8700, i7-9700K, and i9-9900K processors) paired with NVIDIA’s RTX 2070 and RTX 2080 GPUs were.

When the Area-51m R2 laptop launched in 2020, its internals, including the 10th generation Intel CPUs, RTX 2070 Super, and RTX 2080 Super GPUs, weren’t available as upgrades to the R1.

The plaintiff is demanding damages, legal fees for himself, other clients

The Verge reported that Alienware customer Robert Felter has sued the company in a California court. Felter claimed that Dell “deliberately misled and deceived” buyers. He is demanding damages, relief, and legal fees for himself and affected customers in California and eight other states.

Dell promised support for Intel processors compatible with the Z390 chipset

Dell promised support for Intel processors compatible with the Z390 chipset

In 2019, Dell stated that the laptop only supports Intel processors using its Z390 motherboard chipset. The chipset is compatible with the processors the R1 shipped with, but Intel’s new 10th generation processors used a new 400 series chipset.

Intel typically releases a new motherboard chipset and processor pair every year, and that’s out of Dell’s control.

Eligibility applies to low-end laptops that have been upgraded with parts from siblings with higher specifications

Thanks to Intel’s annual chipset redesign, the R1 cannot borrow the components of the R2.

In terms of GPUs, Dell The Verge said in 2019 that it wanted to say “yes (to upgradeability); at the moment we have no idea ”.

In essence, Dell’s “unparalleled upgradeability” claim applies to upgrading low-end R1 laptops with components available for the high-end R1 laptops.

Suit claims that Dell knew laptops couldn’t hold future components

Suit claims that Dell knew laptops couldn't hold future components

Robert Felter’s lawsuit alleges that Dell should have known product specifications prior to public launch because Dell works closely with Intel and NVIDIA.

“Knowing in full that the Area-51m R1’s design would not work with future Intel and NVIDIA chipsets, Dell launched a global campaign to mislead the public that the Area-51m R1 was upgradeable,” claims the suit.

Dell has not announced that the highest spec laptops are not upgradeable

Dell has not announced that the highest spec laptops are not upgradeable

In an email, Felter’s attorney, Tom’s Hardware, said that “Dell’s publicity does not impose any restrictions on the laptop’s upgradeability.”

“They also never revealed to those with the highest CPU and / or GPU that their device was not upgradeable,” added the lawyer.

Robert Felter is reported to be petitioning the court for a jury trial.

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