A class-action lawsuit against Dell computers could force the American company to pay out compensation to customers that bought their Alienware Area 51M R1 gaming laptop. A class-action lawsuit against Dell computers could force the American company to pay out compensation to customers that bought their Alienware Area 51M R1 gaming laptop.
In essence, the suit alleges that Dell knowingly misled customers, leading them to believe they could install newer hardware into the portable device when it became outdated. Users who bought the top-end version, with the highest available spec, were in fact not able to upgrade at all according to the suit, while others were only given limited options.
The idea of a laptop that can be upgraded in the way a desktop can has long been a coveted one in the space and would have been a unique selling point for many. Quoted in an article in Tom’s Hardware, a lawyer for the plaintiff alleges that "Dell’s advertisement to the public didn’t place any restrictions on the upgradeability of the laptop" and that Dell "never disclosed that those with the highest spec CPU and/or GPU that their device would not be upgradeable."
What does the lawsuit state?
Dell’s website currently describes the machine as being “unlike any mobile gaming machine ever created. With unprecedented desktop-level processing power, CPU and GPU upgradability, advanced cooling and a premium, revolutionary design, a true desktop-gaming experience is now available in the form of a laptop”. The lawsuit alleges that this is not only false, but the company knew at the time of release they could not deliver, and simply over-promised to assuage user concerns about the laptop quickly becoming outdated.
The site also claims that “CPU upgrades can be done using standard desktop-class processors, while GPU upgrades can be done with GPU upgrade kits". Crucially, the plaintiff and his attorneys claim that Dell was aware of the misinformation in their advertising, due to the fact they include Intel and Nvidia components in their machines and have roadmaps in advance.
According to Tom’s Hardware, the case, which at its core appears to center on false advertising, could “potentially set a sort of precedent about how far out a motherboard needs to support a CPU”. Dell has declined to comment on legal matters at this point in time, and we will continue to update this article as the case progresses.