Dell Admits to Shipping Stinky Laptops

Dennis Faas's picture

Dell has confirmed that, due to a manufacturing fault, an unknown number of laptops shipped with an unpleasant smell. Many users who complained about the odor likened it to cat urine.

The problem affected the Latitude E6430. The first complaints appeared online this past June, with one person insisting their laptop smelled "as if it was assembled near a tomcat's litter box." (Source:

The stink was so bad that one customer who used his laptop for business said he no longer dared switch on the machine for fear of grossing out his clients.

At first Dell approached the issue on the basis that the smell was literally caused by cat emissions. It pointed users towards the instruction manual to learn how to remove the keyboard from the computer and clean it with a soft cloth. It also suggested using cans of compressed air to blast the smell away.

Feline Population Wrongly Accused

As the weeks went on, the complaints steadily mounted. All pointed to the keyboard as the source of the smell, but some users who'd sent their laptop back to the company noted that the replacement unit had the same problem. It also became clear the issue was affecting people who didn't own cats.

One user suggested the problem was caused by the polymers used to create a soft-feeling keyboard casing. The user suggested that the natural odor of these polymers, which should have been kept within the laptop itself, had somehow emerged.

While most users made clear and reasoned complaints, others appeared to be somewhat less than serious. One user demanded Dell compensate his cat for hurt feelings and stress after being falsely accused of creating the stink.

Another suggested that Dell give everybody affected by the problem a pair of free tickets to the musical 'Cats'.

Dell Confirms Manufacturing Fault Created Odor

After lengthy investigation, Dell confirmed that the problem was caused by a manufacturing issue, which it has since addressed. It says anyone ordering a Dell laptop now will not experience the problem. (Source:

The company also stressed that the odor was "not in any way related to biological contamination," and that it posed no health hazard.

Dell has now announced that anyone affected by the problem can call 1-800-456-3355 or visit to report the fault. Dell will then send out a replacement palm rest, which the firm says will solve the problem.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet