A noxious feline odor has some Dell Inc. customers caterwauling.
Some people who own Dell Latitude 6430u laptops are saying that their new computers are emitting a smell similar to cat urine. Some of them said on the company’s online customer forums that the odor seems to be coming from the keyboard or palm rest.
The Round Rock-based company originally advised buyers through its forums to try cleaning their keyboards with a soft cloth or compressed air, but the smell persisted.
“The machine is great, but it smells as if it was assembled near a tomcat’s litter box,” wrote a customer using the handle “three west” on a Dell forum back in June. “It is truly awful!”
On Wednesday, another customer writing under the handle “passflips” said he felt terrible for repeatedly scolding his cat Jerry, because he thought the elderly cat kept spraying the computer. The poster also said he wasted money on veterinarian bills in an attempt to determine whether his cat had a medical problem.
Dell said Thursday that its investigation revealed strange scent is related to a manufacturing process, which the company has since fixed. But if your portable PC has the odor, Dell recommends contacting the company’s technical support team to have your laptop’s palm rest assembly replaced.
Company spokesman David Frink said the odor isn’t related to a “biological contamination” and doesn’t present a health hazard. He said newly assembled laptops that are currently in stores aren’t affected.
The laptops in question are ultrabooks designed for business use. The base model starts at $900 on Dell’s website, but Dell charges close to $1,300 for higher-end versions that include Windows 8 and Intel Core i5 processors.
Dell is the largest private employer in Central Texas, with about 14,000 employees in the Austin area. The company this week ended its 25-year run as a publicly traded company, as the computer maker formally became a privately held company again.
Dell confirmed the completion of the $24.9 billion buyout by founder and CEO Michael Dell and his investment ally, Silver Lake Partners. Those two will be the principal owners of the company going forward, with Michael Dell expected to own about three-quarters of the company.
The completion of the buyout ended a 15-month struggle for Michael Dell, who told his board he wanted to pursue a buyout in August 2012. The campaign to take the company private involved resistance from major shareholders, led by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who said the company was being bought for a bargain price. Eventually Michael Dell and Silver Lake upped their offer for the company and the board of directors changed the rules for approval. Shareholders voted to approve the deal Sept. 12.