When Consumers Strike Back

I was reading Ars Technica today when I came across an interesting read, “Users strike back against corporate customer service.” The article made references to several legal proceedings that have taken place this month.

“First up is California’s Dennis Sheehan, who received a Gateway desktop computer with a monitor malfunction. Because the monitor did not properly display graphics, Sheehan says that he was never presented with Gateway’s onscreen EULA that shows up on first boot. That agreement says customer problems won’t be handled by the court system but by arbitration.

Sheehan, who wanted no part of arbitrating, took the matter to a local small claims court—no lawyers allowed. Sheehan convinced the judge that he had not accepted Gateway’s agreement, even though Gateway insisted that a paper version also came in the box.

With this one, I wasn’t too sure about the legality of such a claim, but nonetheless I’m sure he got Gateway’s attention.

Now for my personal favorite, Pat Dori vs. Dell

“A New Jersey resident also used small claims court to solve his own computer problem. Pat Dori sued Dell after the company lost his laptop, which had been sent in for repairs. But here’s the twist: instead of serving the papers to Dell’s corporate headquarters, Dori had them served to a local Dell mall kiosk. The predictable upshot was that when Dori showed up to court, he was unopposed. Being unopposed, he won a default judgment against Dell. The company, which initially planned to appeal, has now agreed to just cut its losses and move on.”

Now that’s what I call creative. If you like tales like this, make sure to read the full article here.

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