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NVIDIA Gets Away With Bait-and-Switch

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the can-we-blame-moore-for-this dept.

HP 336

racquetballguy writes "As part of a December 2010 settlement agreement, NVIDIA agreed to provide all owners of laptops containing a defective NVIDIA GPU with a laptop of similar kind and value. In February, NVIDIA announced that a $279 single-core Compaq CQ56 would be provided as a replacement to all laptops — from $2500 dual-core tablet PCs to $2000 17" entertainment notebooks. Ted Frank, from the Center for Class Action Fairness, filed an objection to the court, which was overruled by Judge Ware today. Once again, the consumers of a class action lawsuit lose."

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Well that's a slap in the face. (1)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004628)

I don't care if they really do only spend $279 on replacements... but come ON... Compaq?? I'll keep the defective GPU, TYVM.

Re:Well that's a slap in the face. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004784)

I have HP Compaq laptop somewhere taking dust (bought for my mandatory Navy service). I must say its of very good quality, durable, cheap... and it was bought used. But from what I read, in the past notebooks were of much better quality than those made today. Now and then I see a story about notebook by company XYZ with some defect by design and honestly... brand is irrelevant. Everyone does that, maybe apart from Dell.

Re:Well that's a slap in the face. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004926)

Everyone does that, maybe apart from Dell.

Please be joking, please be joking, please be joking....

Off the top of my head:
http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/10/06/29/1618205/Dell-Selling-Faulty-PCs

Class action lawsuits are rarely good. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004636)

As a matter of course, you should always opt out of being part of the class. The settlements are rarely very big, and usually the company is better off if it can get everyone into the class and give up their individual rights to litigate.

Re:Class action lawsuits are rarely good. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004660)

How many corporations have you individually litigated against?

Re:Class action lawsuits are rarely good. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004688)

What would they do if you just went to small claims court?
For $2500 that seems like a reasonable place to seek relief.

Good Luck Collecting (4, Interesting)

jeko (179919) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005150)

Here's the problem with small claims court. You're responsible for collecting your own judgements. If you're suing "Bob's Restaurant and Bar," you can show up with a deputy and clean out the cash registers if necessary. If you're suing "Bob's Auto Yard," you can show up with a deputy and seize a car off the lot. If you're suing Bob, you can garnish Bob's wages.

Suing a multinational corporation is a somewhat different affair. If they don't have seizable assets within your jurisdiction, and they decide to blow off your judgement, your options rapidly dwindle. Once they decide to appeal, you find yourself in Big Boy court paying your own legal fees and any victory you might have had instantly becomes pyrrhic...

Re:Good Luck Collecting (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005234)

You can't appeal a small claims case and you are always responsible for collecting your own judgement.

What's the point? (5, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004684)

Except 99% of people in the class aren't going to sue anyway, so they gain nothing by opting out. I just got $16 from a Comcast Bitorrent blocking class-action lawsuit, which is more than I would have gotten otherwise.

Re:Class action lawsuits are rarely good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004896)

I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. I would imagine that it would be a matter of the corporation's legal council motioning or petitioning to have the case moved to regular civil so that his or her client can be represented. So, I hope you are not hoping for a default judgment. I suppose it would depend on the law of the jurisdiction, though.

Re:Class action lawsuits are rarely good. (2)

arbiter1 (1204146) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004964)

Yea the only ones that win in them are the lawyer, they get paid a percent of the judgement and rest is split up among the people involved.

Re:Class action lawsuits are rarely good. (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005174)

Class actions have worked well for me:

- $30 from the CE cartel
- $75 from Disney's baby einstein dvds
- $100 from paypal for "losses" that I never incurred

One thing I've noticed - they disguise the checks to make them look like junkmail. I almost threw the Disney check in the trash, until I realized what it was. It had no markings to indicate what it was for. (Probably done on purpose, to screw the consumer even further.) And screwing paypal was just pure pleasure.

$2500 Tablets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004646)

Who the heck spends $2500 on a tablet PC?

Re:$2500 Tablets (4, Informative)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004708)

Who the heck spends $2500 on a tablet PC?

Someone who bought a tablet PC, not an iPad or Xoom. It's a miniaturized laptop with a flip-around touchscreen. Expensive hardware.

Re:$2500 Tablets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004734)

Ah... my bad

Re:$2500 Tablets (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004746)

Mine (HP TX2512) was $1000 two and some years ago.

OTOH, it was an HP (ATI graphics though) and has issues due various stupid design decisions.

Re:$2500 Tablets (2)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004738)

Pretty much anyone who bought a tablet before the iPad came out.

seriously the average tablet computer back then was $2000 if you wanted a 10" screen or larger.

It is why every other company thought Apple would come out with the iPad for $1000 or so since they are a premium brand name and always charge more. The $499 price forced everyone back to the drawing board which is why 1 year later there is only one decent competitor and it will be another 6 months before a second actually hits the market.

Re:$2500 Tablets (2)

lowlymarine (1172723) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004826)

The iPad does not compete with devices like the ThinkPad x-series tablet and the Latitude XT. People who needed tablet PCs for real work still need tablet PCs for real work, because the iPad isn't a computer and doesn't run the specialized software people bought tablet PCs before.

Of course when Jobs starts banging on about the iPad controlling 80% of the tablet market, he's conveniently omitting convertibles like the above ThinkPad, which likely make up 90%+ of PC tablet sales.

Re:$2500 Tablets (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004972)

A convertible isn't a tablet. It is a notebook with a touch screen. All convertibles only have 2-3 applications which use the touch interface the rest you need the keyboard/mouse for.

A tablet shouldn't require a table to use after ten minutes.

I have wanted a tablet since 2002 when the first slates cane out. It took 8 years and apple to realize you needed to do more than add a touch sensor and have it duplicate the mouse.

Re:$2500 Tablets (2)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005244)

Uh... I disagree. Provided you have a decent mouse-binding to the touchscreen, mouse apps are generally perfectly usable with a touchscreen or Wacom Penabled-style tablet.
In the case of the former, you need to bind right-click to touching the screen for 0.5-1.0s, and left click to quicker taps.
In the case of the latter, a right-click modifier button on the pen will do fine.
Aside from that, perhaps add some drag detection in select apps and set that up for scrolling. Just about all you need.

I think the only reason they didn't take off is because of cost - Who wants a fragile transformer for 2x the cost of a regular laptop?

Re:$2500 Tablets (2)

alexhard (778254) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004836)

The difference being of course that the iPad is a large cellphone, while tablet PCs are PCs in tablet form. Completely different hardware and capabilities.

Re:$2500 Tablets (1)

steveg (55825) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005110)

Even now expect to spend above $2k if you want a precision tablet screen. Capacitive touch screens are fine for phones or anything designed for clicking on buttons. If you need the precision of a stylus (for "inking") than a capacitive screen is close to useless.

I just bought two Thinkpad tablets and one Motion Computing tablet for my users, and they were all over $3k. Admittedly, we got SSDs instead of spinning drives, but other than that we didn't fancy them up much.

Appeal (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004662)

This one has to go over the judge's head.

Re:Appeal (2)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004712)

I would hope something this blatant would end up with the judge not working anymore. THANKS FOR NOTHING PUBLIC SERVANT!

Re:Appeal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004796)

Judges are not public servants. They are constitutional authorities.

Re:Appeal (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005094)

You might want to read that Constitution again. Everyone in government, in this country, is a public servant.

I know judges, and especially Supreme Court justices, don't much care about that, but it was the point of the thing.

The list of companies to boycott (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004690)

is getting pretty long.

That's part of the reason I don't buy laptops... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004692)

All it takes is one terrible component built by one sleazy company to tank your entire $2000 investment.

I haven't had a single laptop last a single year past the expensive addon warrenty period. After my second lappy fail I bought myself a desktop for the first time in many years.

That desktop is starting to have problems, but even in a worst case motherboard fail, I've still got a large heavy pile of high end (3 years ago) components that I can recover and propagate to lesser machines.

I know lots of people need laptops, but many people really would be better off with a desktop. Especially folks with 17" screens.

Re:That's part of the reason I don't buy laptops.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004754)

My first laptop was a Dell. Lasted from 2005-2009. All 4 years of undergrad. Had stuff spilled on it, even had actual bugs in it (my freshman dorm room had an ant problem). Got beat to hell. Power jack is broken, keyboard is worn out, but it still functions. My latest laptop is an HP, harddrive died literally 1 week before my warranty expired. Oh, and both laptops we're 17" screens.

Re:That's part of the reason I don't buy laptops.. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005040)

I haven't had a single laptop last a single year past the expensive addon warrenty period. After my second lappy fail I bought myself a desktop for the first time in many years.

My current one is almost 5 years old and I'll probably replace it soon - because it's starting to feel slow, rather than because it's broken. The one before it I replaced after just over three years, for the same reason. Both were Macs and came with a 3 year warranty. I also have a ThinkPad that is getting on for 8 years old now, although the battery is completely dead (I could replace it, but I never use it as a mobile device, I just wanted a computer that was easy to move around).

My 386 laptop (CAF - anyone remember them) probably still mostly works, although the 60MB hard drive died after about 8 years of use - I could replace it, but I don't really have a need for a 386 anymore...

How much are you paying for an 'expensive addon warrenty[sic]'? Macs bought from the HE store come with a three year warranty, and I had the battery replaced in mine for free about a month ago, even though the warranty expired over a year earlier. But then, I live in a country that has consumer protection laws, and the fact that it didn't not retain capacity for as many discharge cycles as they claimed meant that they had to.

The consumers should shut up and be grateful (4, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004698)

that they didn't just get a gift certificate for a cup of McDonalds coffee.

Re:The consumers should shut up and be grateful (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004808)

The judge effectively told these people exactly that, and I'm the troll?

Eh.. dumbass mods don't get sarcasm

Re:The consumers should shut up and be grateful (3, Funny)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004852)

Sorry man.

The way to please the mods is to link prior stories.

"They should be glad they didn't get a lousy month of service on an unsafe gaming network".

Re:The consumers should shut up and be grateful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004868)

Your username probably didn't help.

In other news... (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004736)

...Compaq still exists.

Re:In other news... (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004770)

Compaq is a brand of HP since 2002.

Re:In other news... (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004846)

Sure, but have you ever seen a computer with a Compaq brand on it? I thought it was discontinued...?

Re:In other news... (2)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004872)

Yes, they are still branded as HP's low-end laptops. You can find them in any Office Depot, usually under $400.

Re:In other news... (1)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005030)

Compaqs website. [compaq.com] They have their brand name on their computers and laptops.

Re:In other news... (1)

nonicknameavailable (1495435) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005062)

i have a new one here

Re:In other news... (1)

MarkTina (611072) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005044)

And is a very clever way of HP getting twice the shelf space of a retail store .. your average Joe Public thinks they are separate companies you see :-)

judge ware (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004758)

which was overruled by Judge Ware today

Is his first name Hard?

Re:judge ware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004930)

nope ware is the first name, yesterday is the last name and the middle name is wer-ya

Re:judge ware (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005178)

JudgeWare is a new type of software. It is designed to weigh alternative legal arguments and determine which has the greater merit. There has always been a demand for an impartial and incorruptible judicial system, and JudgeWare addresses these issues. JudgeWare is currently available for the Microsoft Windows XP environment.

Well, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004764)

Once again, the consumers of a class action lawsuit lose.

Do they ever win?

Tell Me About It.... (1)

cfkboyz (1129423) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004768)

I had one of the affected pc's (HP DV6110US). It was not the best computer, but a hell of a lot better than the piece of shit I have YET to receive!!! I have always said that we got screwed.... I don't really need the replacement computer as I bought a Macbook 3 years ago when the HP took a dump, so I might sell both and buy a new Macbook Pro... I would have been happier if they gave everyone the option of the Compaq or Asus EEE T101MT-EU37-BK, but only people who bought tablets are given the choice...

Re:Tell Me About It.... (2)

Durandal64 (658649) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004876)

Asus EEE T101MT-EU37-BK

Holy shit, that's a real model name? Jesus Christ.

Re:Tell Me About It.... (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005020)

Asus EEE T101MT-EU37-BK

Holy shit, that's a real model name? Jesus Christ.

How else do you differentiate it from an EEE TM101MT-EU38-BK ?

Re:Tell Me About It.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004888)

I had one of the affected pc's (HP DV6110US). It was not the best computer, but a hell of a lot better than the piece of shit I have YET to receive!!!

No, actually, it's not. The DV6110US has a 15.4" screen, a 1.6GHz processor, 1G DDR2 ram, and 120GB hard drive. The replacement Compaq has a 15.6" screen, a 2.3GHz processor, 2G DDR3 ram, and 250GB hard drive. The replacement is better in virtually every way.

The dollar figures quoted are highly misleading. The defective computers being replaced are not worth $2000 today - they were worth $2000 when they were new. It should not be shocking to anyone that a computer that cost thousands of dollars three years ago is outclassed by a $300 modern computer. Apparently, people don't actually want a computer with comparable specs; they want a modern $2000 computer.

Re:Tell Me About It.... (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005012)

Depends on the laptop. My 18 month old $2700 Toshiba Qosmio is still sold today. Slightly better graphics module but otherwise only 200 bucks less than what I paid back then.

Re:Tell Me About It.... (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005236)

fair enough, but how should people be compensated for the last however many years of not having the stonking computer they paid for? 3 years ago (or whatever it was) these people forked over $2000 (or more) for what should have been an excellent (contemporary) laptop, and then didn't receive one. Shouldn't they now at least receive a machine occupying a similar place in the market as what they paid for? If you manage to claim back lost money from someone, it normally comes with interest at least to make up for inflation. In this case, not only is there financial inflation, but there's rapid deterioration in the relative capability of the goods.

The offered machine may be a bit better than the one it's replacing, but most software has got a lot heavier in the intervening time. In terms of what's being asked of it, the replacement is worse.

Get real, people. (5, Insightful)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004780)

A class action is NEVER about making he victims whole. It's about punishing the offending corporation. Period.

If you ever go into a class action thinking you're going to gain something personally, you're an idiot. (Unless, of course, you're a lawyer.)

Since this is slashdot, I'll try to make a poor analogy. It's like the geeks and nerds at a school hiring a freelance bully to take care of their local bully. The nerds and geeks shouldn't expect to get anything out of it except a cessation of hostile activity from their local bully. The freelancer gets to keep the bulk of whatever he manages to recover from the local bully. He may get the bully to agree to give a candy bar to every kid in the school but the geeks and nerds aren't going to recover multiple years' worth of lunch money. The goal is to prevent future bad behavior on the part of the local bully and nothing more.

Re:Get real, people. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004864)

Well put and I thought that was a good analogy.

Re:Get real, people. (1)

codecore (395864) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004942)

I think that the tradition is to use a poor car analogy. Wait, that's dailytech, nevermind.

Re:Get real, people. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005032)

What you say is true(and, for the great majority of class members, the alternative would be "absolutely nothing, and the offender gets off scot free": The class's lawyers pocketing 1.3 times as much as the class sounds absurdly unjust, unless you fancy trying to find a lawyer willing to go up against a reasonably sized corporation for 1.3 times your individual damages...); but there isn't any reason, in principle, why the class-action mechanism couldn't, simply by growing slightly sharper teeth, provide both the punishment and the restitution.

Re:Get real, people. (1)

Cytotoxic (245301) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005090)

Well, that's one theory anyway. Many class actions are actually more complex than that. Often a class action is pursued with the tacit support of the corporation. You see, when a corporation faces an unknown liability (in this case based on lots of individual laptops) they'd like to wrap it all up in a single number. And negotiate that number down as much as possible - with one party on the other side of the negotiation. Getting a class certified is step one of this process.

Of course, the class action attorney has a bit of conflict of interest. What he really needs is for there to be a large payout. Therefore he needs a large class to be certified and for there to be a settlement as quickly as possible (to avoid bleeding off his own funds sustaining the suit).

So the sued party and the plaintiff's attorney can sort of end up on the same team, provided that the company being sued believes that they have some actual liability. The only party not represented in this situation is the class membership. They get whatever the two principals and the judge allow.

Re:Get real, people. (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005238)

A class action is NEVER about making he victims whole

Correct, its about making the attorneys ( on BOTH sides.. ) wealthy.

Summary is misleading (3, Insightful)

Calibax (151875) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004794)

So some 3 year old HP laptops that cost a lot back then are being replaced by $350 HP laptops now. Normally a 3 year laptop can't even be sold for $350 (unless it's a top of the line Apple model - and these aren't). And what about the specs? Nowhere in TFA is a comparison of the specs of the system being offered with the specs of the original systems.

From TFA, a lawyer and an expert witness for the people suing NVIDIA actually agreed the systems were broadly equivalent. Maybe they needed an expert witness who was either more expert or less honest.

Where exactly is the bait? Or the switch? I guess the article was submitted by one of people who expected his 3 year old system with something that costs the same now, so he could have a substantial improvement in performance.

Re:Summary is misleading (1, Insightful)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004854)

I think the argument is that back then, those were top of the line laptops. The ones they are getting today are not top of the line laptops.

The specs may be the same, but the court should recognize that equivalent should be associated with cost as well as specs. The laptop of old was meant to run games of that day, the new laptops should run games of this day. If one laptop cost $2k, the new one should at the very least run $2k today.

Re:Summary is misleading (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004892)

Hi! Meet my friend depreciation.

Re:Summary is misleading (2)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004998)

That never works in most warranties, let alone product recalls. Back when I did cell phone insurance, the wording only provided that you'd get "a like or comparable model when available." That seems to be the same wording used in the settlement this time. For cell phones, it did not mean that your $300 fancy phone of 3 years ago would get replaced with a $300 smart phone of today. It meant that the insurance would give you a new or used phone of today that had the same features, or similar features, to your 3 year old phone. Chances are, unless you had a Blackberry, that'd be a $50 Samsung feature phone. I agree that the people in the TFA are getting the short end of the stick, but I'm not sure that they're going to win anything better on appeal. This assumes, of course, that the new Compaq laptops have an nVidia chip in them at all - which they just might not. They have onboard Intel graphics chipsets and no discrete graphics. The lawyers can definitely argue that nVidia is NOT replacing it with a like or comparable model, since it might not even contain the thing that was broken in the first place.

Re:Summary is misleading (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005038)

>>>The laptop of old was meant to run games of that day, the new laptops should run games of this day.

That's like saying, if you had a 2008 Beetle and it broke-down for some reason, and VW owes you a new one... they should give you the new 2012 Redesigned Beetle with higher horsepower engine.

Or if I'm in an accident with my old 1997 car, worth about $1000, the insurance company owes me a replacement car, even if said car costs $10,000.

NOPE.
What is owed is the VALUE of the old car or computer. i.e. A beetle (old model; not new model), a 1997 car (or $1000 cash), and a single-core laptop (equal in specs to the 2008 laptop). SAME value not added value.

That is the standard we all live by, and there's no reason to think this case should be any different than the car cases I provided.

Re:Summary is misleading (1)

IshmaelDS (981095) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005218)

but if the lawsuit was filed three years ago and the laptops were busted then, shouldn't they be getting equivalent value for the laptops of that time, ie, if their laptop was worth $1500 3 years ago they should be getting a laptop worth $1500 today. That is when the claim was filed.

Re:Summary is misleading (1)

racquetballguy (1994912) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005082)

While the settlement agreement did say "similar kind and value," Ted Frank was only arguing for a feature-by-feature comparison where the new laptop should be at least as capable as the original one. The replacement laptop is neither of similar kind (17" != 15", single-core != dual core, etc.) nor value (try to find a 17" dual-core laptop for $279).

Re:Summary is misleading (1)

cfkboyz (1129423) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004870)

No, the point is I had my HP for 1 year and 3 months when it died... I paid $800 for it plus tax. So I should be owed the replacement cost, minus the depreciated value.... The Compaq replacement is a POS period....

Re:Summary is misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004960)

ok have $100 instead - that's more then your HP would be worth now...

Re:Summary is misleading (1)

racquetballguy (1994912) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005190)

Even the cheapest 17" laptops go for over $500. These computers were top-of-the-line 3 years ago, and, while they are no longer high-end, they still are much better performing and have many more extras than new budget computers. Compare the AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-64 processor (1054 passmark score) in some of the originals to the AMD V140 processor (674 passmark) in the CQ56-115DX.

No, you are misleading (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004922)

The laptops with this nvidia were sold defective, and it was spotted RIGHT AWAY. Nvidia lied about the parts not being defective and refused replacement. That is why there is a lawsuit. The lawsuit has taken 3 years, so of course you can't replace these laptops with the exact model anymore. It's stupid to even offer replacements at this point, so this should be a cash settlement instead.

Since nvidia parts aren't usually sold in laptops that cheap, the refund should be much higher. This isn't about getting something new three years later. It's about something that should have immediately been covered under warrenty and recalled especially since they knew they were bad. Intel has had bad silicon before, and did the right thing!

Re:Summary is misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004982)

Yeah, the problem is that a good old laptop is still good, but looks slow today.
While a bad new laptop is as slow as the old one (let's say maybe faster), but is still just bad.

Speed is not everything, screen quality and resolution is a big issue, as well as connectivity and to some extent build quality.

Re:Summary is misleading (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004984)

It is not the consumers fault that it took 4 years to get action, and the laptops had depreciated by then. Most consumers laptops barely lasted one year. Then, they had to buy new laptops, because HP refused to replace the defective ones. That is why small claims court would have been a better route. You can sue for lost productivity. I am also getting stuck with the $350 replacement Compaq.

So, I bought a $1200 laptop that lasted 6 months before overheating. I had to back everything up and ship it back. HP put the same faulty part in, and it lasted another couple of months. I asked them to NOT fix it by putting the faulty NVIDIA chip back in. They did it anyway. FOUR long years later, I'll get a replacement $350 laptop.

Basically, I paid $1200 to order a laptop that I would not receive and could not use for 4 years. When it arrives four years later, it is worth only $350.

Re:Summary is misleading (1, Informative)

racquetballguy (1994912) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005016)

There is definitely a large range of laptops affected by this settlement - I highlighted 2 of the higher-end models (which represent a sizeable portion of the class). Many of those models failed within a year and HP just replaced the failed GPU with an equally defective GPU. So it's not really fair to compare the laptop based on age or resale value - a fair analysis should solely based on specs.

The settlement agreement said that HP claimants would receive "a replacement laptop of like or similar kind and equal or similar value." I own a 17" dual-core 1.8GHz dv9000 with 1680x1050 and a lot of accessories. Based on the settlement agreement, I didn't expect to get a new $2000 17" HP Envy laptop. I expected to get a ~$450 17" laptop that perhaps had some features my laptop lacked, but was missing some of the features my laptop had. I was surprised when NVIDIA picked one model to replace all of the laptops, and I was shocked to find that that model was the cheapest laptop that Best Buy sells. So the bait is a "laptop of equal of similar kind and value" and the switch is a laptop that is significantly slower and has almost none of the features contained in the original laptops: dual-core processor, 17" display, webcam, HDMI, firewire, Bluetooth, light-scribe DVD-RW, expansion port, stereo microphones, 4 USB ports, modem, remote control, number pad, dual headphone jacks.

Re:Summary is misleading (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005078)

I was surprised when NVIDIA picked one model to replace all of the laptops, and I was shocked to find that that model was the cheapest laptop that Best Buy sells.

You're not the sharpest knife in the drawer are you?
Of course they are giving you the absolute cheapest thing they can get away with. Only if a judge says otherwise will they offer anything better.

Re:Summary is misleading (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005200)

Also misleading: bait-and-switch. This is not a bait and switch. They did not offer to sell the customers one thing and then deliver something else. This is about a class action lawsuit settlement. There is no "bait" at all here except to file a claim.

plan b (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004824)

I plan on shipping that turd in every month until I get a fair replacement from HP

Your four-year-old computer ain't worth shit (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004858)

The ruling here is basically that people can't trade in their four-year-old worthless laptops for brand new expensive ones. You get a new laptop that's equally as worthless as your obsolete PoS. It's not really as crazy as it sounds.

Re:Your four-year-old computer ain't worth shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36005198)

Yes it is as crazy as it sounds. The replacements offered to these users are a huge step back. A good machine four years ago is still a pretty decent machine today and much much better than an el-cheapo computer.
There are only two explanations for this ruling. Either the judge is a sadist who hates all of humanity, or he has been bought one way or the other. Maybe he owns Nvidia stock.

Paid the lawyers (4, Insightful)

jamesl (106902) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004866)

I'll bet a $279 single-core Compaq CQ56 that the lawyers are well paid.

Re:Paid the lawyers (1)

Lord_Jeremy (1612839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005204)

$13 million
According to TFA, nVidia allocated $509 million of their "reserve cash" to cover the judgement. The judge was informed that there were "millions of potential members of the class, since "millions" of notifications about the lawsuit had been sent out. (FWIW I actually have a defective machine that was covered and I received a notice. I exempted myself because the issue had already been taken care of under my Apple warranty.) Approximately 28,000 people actually responded and participated in the lawsuit. According to TFA again, the settlement ended up to be for $10 million, plus the $13 million in legal fees that the judge approved before he got the actual number of individuals that were taking part in the class. $279 * 28,355 = ~$8 million so I presume the other 2 are going towards distribution or somesuch. In any case, yeah... the customers that have likely each been screwed in excess of $2000, discounting any compensation for the hassle they had to deal with, collectively receive $10 million in the form of extremely low-end replacement devices. The lawyers get $13 million. The lawyers got more money out of this case then the collective customers.
I noticed some other people saying things along the lines of the replacement being fair because after three years, the value of the defective computers would have depreciated considerably. That's not how this works. nVidia acknowledged there was an issue back in July 2008. The point of the lawsuit was that they screwed over people who had bought laptops with the faulty chips. Those people (myself included) had to deal with their system breaking down, struggles with service and support, and I'm sure in many cases lost work time or the expense of purchasing a temporary replacement. I look at this as I paid approximately $2200 for a high-end laptop. For a number of months I could not make use of the laptop I paid for because of a mistake that nVidia made. Furthermore, nVidia claimed for quite a while that my type of computer wasn't affected before coming clean about the scope of the issue. I could have been much less fortunate and not have been able to get mine repaired before the Apple warranty expired, or somesuch. If that were the case then I would have essentially thrown $2200 down the drain because of a mistake that nVidia made and I have a right to be compensated according to the original intent of purchase. It makes no difference that my laptop would be three years old by now, when I bought it I paid $X and if only now I was being given a functioning product according to my original intent of purchase, then I expect that replacement be worth at least $X.

Re:Paid the lawyers (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005212)

The question though is why these lawyers, who were acting on behalf of the consumers in the first place, are not acting on the behalf of the consumers in order to get a reasonable replacement?

Thank god for extended warranties... (4, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004884)

I got lucky. My Dell laptop with a nice dual 8800M-GTX (SLI) card in it failed in a very interesting way. It would boot up in 2D just fine (I could boot in safe mode, and I could get to the login screen), but the instant it started up 3D, it would either lock up or bluescreen (an interesting one - it wasn't the usual BSOD, just one that said something like "Hardware parity error")

Thankfully I bought the 4 year extended on-site warranty, so I simply called Dell, faked through their OS restore procedure (same effect - though it gets as far as the testing 3D performance step before it locks up - I already tried it).

I had them also send the tech a replacement graphics card as well, and told them to replace that first. Half an hour later, it was working great.

Thank god for extended warranties. I usualy get them for laptops because heat failures are common... and probably one of the few times an extended warranty makes sense.

Re:Thank god for extended warranties... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36005026)

Thank god for extended warranties. I usualy get them for laptops because heat failures are common... and probably one of the few times an extended warranty makes sense.

You could save yourself a LOT of time, energy, and money if you simply invested in a screwdriver and a can of compressed air. Most OEMs make their repair manuals publicly available if you need help. Just google it. Or find a reputable local repair shop; they should be willing to spend 5 minutes cleaning out your fan and heatsink for a few bucks.

Extended warranties are never worth it. Never. You, sir, are a sucker.

Re:Thank god for extended warranties... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36005222)

> never worth it. Never.

Except his post was about something breaking and being promptly fixed. Instead of waiting *three years* for a class action lawsuit's results to be a cheapo $350 replacement.

Re:Thank god for extended warranties... (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005102)

No need for extended warranties on new items.

Just use the warranty that already came with the unit (1 year typical), and if the company refuses to accept a return, go ahead and return the item to the company anyway. Then file a credit card dispute saying, "I returned this damaged unit. Here's proof of delivery," and you'll get your refund from Visa or Mastercard.

Opt out of class (2)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004894)

This is why my standard response when I receive notice of a class-action settlement is to return the paperwork with the "I decline to participate in the class" boxes checked. If you don't respond, you're considered part of the class and are bound by the terms of the settlement. By declining I preserve my right to make my own claim against the company.

Re:Opt out of class (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005084)

So will you try to take them to small claims court to get more than the cheap laptop? Or did you just give up the ~$200 you could have made selling this thing on eBay?

Re:Opt out of class (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005120)

Is this a matter of principle, or have you achieved better-than-class results independently?

Re:Opt out of class (1)

Cytotoxic (245301) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005156)

Strangely, this also offers you a bit of an opportunity for leverage. A certain percentage must opt in for the class to be certified. If you randomly happen to be a hold-out in a case where a few more opt-ins would make a difference, you might get offered all kinds of goodies to join the class.

Re:Opt out of class (2)

zero0ne (1309517) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005170)

My question is always, how can that be legal?

How is it that Class action lawsuits are OPT-OUT instead of OPT-IN?

What happens if I moved and they sent it to an old address? Could I still make my own claim?

If they aren't sending the letter using registered mail, how am I able to prove I never received it? How can THEY prove that I actually received the letter if they have no confirmation it was even delivered?

Intel 'graphics' (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004978)

So I take it people are getting downgraded from nvidia graphics to intel graphics?
Looks like all the gamers can throw away all their games other than solitare and farmville.

Sorry, but let's face it, any kind of integrated nvidia gpus is massively superior to any of the intel gpus, or whatever is the appropriate term for those integrated graphics chips.

Re:Intel 'graphics' (2)

PessimysticRaven (1864010) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005008)

Sorry, but let's face it, any kind of integrated nvidia gpus is massively superior to any of the intel gpus, or whatever is the appropriate term for those integrated graphics chips.

I think the correct term you're looking for is 'waste of PCB real-estate.'

not only that intel video + celeron cpu sucks. 2gb (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005024)

not only that intel video + celeron cpu sucks. 2gb ram also sucks now days.

WTF? (1)

splitreason (1874638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005006)

I'd hate to be the lawyer that was representing the people on this one.

Re:WTF? (1)

PessimysticRaven (1864010) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005046)

Why? They're the reprobates walking away with the money while the consumer walks away with... Ugh.. A below-entry-level system.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36005048)

I'd hate to be the lawyer that was representing the people on this one.

Why not? I'm betting he made out very well on this case...

I wish this suit was on slashdot earlier (1)

Joe Snipe (224958) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005054)

The deadline to file was March 14th, and I own one of these defective HP's. In fact it died three months ago.

Hammer the vendors (2)

BearRanger (945122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005066)

My Macbook Pro had one of the offending NVIDIA chips. When it failed out of warranty Apple simply replaced it. They didn't send me to NVIDIA for a solution. I assume they hammered NVIDIA to get their money back for the replacement part. The OEM computer manufacturers are always going to have more leverage with their suppliers than you or I will. Responsible vendors should shield the end user from this sort of pettiness and finger pointing. After all, you didn't buy your laptop from NVIDIA...

Consumers lose, but guess who wins? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005086)

Once again, the consumers of a class action lawsuit lose, and the lawyers win.

There, FTFY. You KNOW they got their golden parachutes even while the "business" tanked. It's not a coincidence that lawyers, CEOs, and politicians are all indistinguishable: they're all paid to screw with (over) people.

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36005106)

Why on earth should nVidia be responsible for replacing Laptops? I can understand that they provided a defective product, but this also has a lot to do with the companies providing the laptop. If you have a defective part on your car, you return it to the dealership, have it replaced or fixed, and then get the car back. The part manufacture does not buy you a new car, that would be a completely outrageous lawsuit.

This is another in a long list of stupid legal actions taken by old men in robes. It does not make a lick of sense for nVidia to provide people with new laptops. Instead all manufactures of the laptops should have been able to provide a return program that would fix the laptop and then send the bill to nVidia, you know, like every other product recall and RMA program on the planet.

getting away with it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36005130)

People sometimes believe that the "bad guys" .... "get away with it". They never do. Sometimes, they live a little high for a very brief period. But ultimately, their lives are empty colorless pits, and they spend the rest of their days constantly looking over their shoulder. Whether it is one of the people they've stolen from, or the universe itself, the bill will be called due. The balance will be restored.

Could be worse... (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005136)

... you could be the not-so-proud owner of one of the other affected brands (e.g. Toshiba) NOT included in the suit, and get nothing at all except the finger and a Simpsons-like "Ha-ha!".

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