Dude, You’re Getting a Smell: Dell Replacing Laptops After Customers Complain They Smell Like Cat Pee

Customers claim their laptops smelled like "a tomcat's litter box."

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Leslie Morris / Getty Images

The possible location of Dell's laptop manufacturing plant.

You know that great “new computer” smell? This is the opposite of that.

According to The Guardian, Dell has offered to replace certain affected models of its Latitude E6430u laptop after customers complained the machine stunk of cat urine. The return program was initiated after laptop buyers took their grievances to Dell’s support forums, expressing disgust — and no small amount of confusion — over their new computer’s scent.

A Dell customer, going by the name of “three west,” first reported the malodorous defect to Dell’s support website in June 2013. “the machine is great,” posted the disappointed buyer,  “but it smells as if it was assembled near a tomcat’s litter box. It is truly awful! It seems to be coming from the keyboard.”

Since then, the computer maker’s forums have been flooded by buyers with similar stories.

“Well .. here I am Sunday doing some work on the couch and my wife says ,’What stinks like cat pee?'” recounted one user. “I said … I think its this laptop … she puts her nose up to the keyboard and BAM! It really stinks’.”

Another commenter begged support staff for a solution after complaining the odor was so strong it made the computer “unusable.”  Other customers chose a different route, expressing their frustration in the Internet’s shared language: memes.

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Luckily for future laptop buyers, Dell says it fixed the manufacturing problem responsible for the cat pee scent in October. “If you order an E6430u now, it will not have the issue,” a senior technical consultant for Dell promised support forum members. The consultant also reassured users that the odor, while unpleasant, is “not at all health hazard.”

Dell has asked affected Latitude E6430u owners to contact technical support and arrange an exchange for a better smelling unit, but the Guardian warns that not all users have been happy with their new laptops.

“I just received my 5th replacement 6430u yesterday and the smell is still there …” complained one support forum member.

Maybe after the 4th try, it’s time to just buy an iPad.

1 comments
bjruffner
bjruffner

I am currently on chat with Dell Technical Support and their suggestion was to replace the palm rest of the computer.  I told them I had done a lot of research and that is not working for the users and sent the person a copy of this article.  His reply is:

"Unfortunately that is not the case B*****. Dell is currently issuing palm rest replacements for this plastic smell issue. I don't know what Time is reporting B******, all I know is what I have been instructed to do based on Dell policy."

The odor is so bad, it has ruined my computer case and my coworkers get whiffs of it while we are in meetings.  I have to wash my hands multiple times a day to try and keep the scent off of me.