eMachines confirmed this week that it has become the latest PC maker to be slapped with a class-action lawsuit accusing the vendor of knowingly selling PCs containing defective floppy disk drive components. Hewlett-Packard, Compaq and Packard Bell NEC confirmed receiving similar complaints last week.
The hard-hitting lawsuits, filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont division, represent all customers who bought allegedly faulty PCs from the four companies. The suits accuse the PC makers of knowingly selling PCs with faulty floppy disk controllers and of trying to conceal that fact from customers.
A floppy disk controller regulates data as it flows to and from a PC's storage system. The allegedly faulty components can result in data being corrupted or erased without a user's knowledge, according to the lawsuits.eMachines received its complaint on Monday and is still reviewing the allegations; it has no comment to make at this time, a company spokeswoman said. HP and Packard Bell NEC have also declined to comment on the suits, while Compaq last week called the allegations "baseless" and said it will contest them vigorously.
Two weeks ago, Toshiba agreed to settle a similar lawsuit filed against the company without admitting guilt for a reported $US2.1 billion. Some analysts have suggested that Toshiba's relatively speedy decision to settle prompted the filing of the other lawsuits.
The components in question were originally designed by NEC of Japan. NEC was named in the Toshiba lawsuit, but was removed as part of the Toshiba settlement, an NEC spokesman in the US said. The company was not named in the other four subsequent lawsuits.