Manufacturing processes used for Dell’s Latitude 6430u meant the laptops smelt of cat urine, the company has admitted.
Users complained on Dell’s support forums that the Latitude 6430u business laptop smelt of cat urine, and were initially told to clean their machines with compressed air and a cloth.
The company has now admitted, however, that the issue is real. It recommended that users should send affected laptops back, and offered to replace the palm rest and keyboard.
"The smell is not related to cat urine or any other type of biological contaminant, nor is it a health hazard," the BBC reported that Dell support technician SteveB said online.
It is believed that the problem was a result of a manufacturing process that has been changed.
The technician said, "If you order an E6430u now, it will not have the issue."
The problem was first reported in June, when a user posted that “New 6430u smells awful”.
"The machine is great, but it smells as if it was assembled near a tomcat's litter box. It is truly awful!” he wrote.
Another said "I am having the same issue. When I started using the laptop at the end of last week I thought I smelt something odd. Here I am Sunday doing some work on the couch and my wife says "what stinks like cat pee". I said I think it's this laptop. [She] puts her nose up to the keyboard and bam! It really stinks."
Other users added that they were noticing the smell. "I thought for sure one of my cats sprayed it, but there was something faulty with it so I had it replaced,” wrote one. “The next one had the same exact issue. It's embarrassing taking it to clients because it smells so bad."
It was only in September, however, when one user asked iof the smell could be from a potentially hazardous plastic polymer, that Dell investigated.
After looking into the matter, Dell concluded that the odour was not hazardous to health.