Loh Phat writes "Hardware vendors voiding warranties or not providing support is a standard caveat across the industry, but yesterday Dell showed that withholding a $5 part is more important that future sales or bad press.
Our company purchased a Dell PowerEdge 3250 (Dual CPU Itanium) less than two years ago (still under warranty BTW) for cross platform development (yes, our customers demand support for that platform). So we purchased a unit with a single drive in a two drive system.
Its spec sheet specifies U320 SCSI drive support — a standard. See for yourself http://www.dell.com/downloads/global/products/ped
So when we wanted to add storage we purchased a standard U320 compatible drive and went to install it, however when we pulled the hot-swap drive sled out we noticed that it lacked mounting facilities for the drive; it curiously didn't match the existing sled in the occupied bay. They are 99% identical except for the lack of facility to actually attach a drive.
During a call to Dell "support" it seems that a year ago (a year after we bought the server and before the warranty expires) they stopped selling the drive sled capable of mounting a drive as a separate component — you can only get them, wait for it, attached to a Dell SCSI drive.
So it seems that it's OK to advertise the compatibility with industry-standard components, you just can't use them. With no pre-sales caveat that you will not be allowed to install anything standard unless it comes from Dell. Funny, the drive sled has its own part number H7206 but Dell *refused* to sell it to me.
The term "bait-and-switch" comes to mind. I'm all for caveat emptor, but a full declaration of terms is not unreasonable.
I don't mind having the freedom to be denied service or support of using non-vendor supplied parts (well, I do actually but I least know that before I buy) but in this case I'm physically prevented from doing so after the purchase.
So the question remains: are there grounds to file an anti-trust or some other complaint with the State regarding this deceptive business practice?
Regardless, they're now off the vendor list (actually I inherited the server as I would have selected another vendor in the first place). Good forward thinking there guys."