Computer Makers Sued over Hard-Drive Size Claims
Sep 19, 2003
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A group of computer owners has filed a lawsuit against some of the world's biggest makers of personal computers, claiming that their advertising deceptively overstates the true capacity of their hard drives.

The lawsuit, which seeks class action status, was filed earlier this week in Los Angeles Superior Court against Apple Computer Inc., Dell Inc., Gateway Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM, Sharp Corp., Sony Corp., and Toshiba Corp.

The lawsuit brought by Los Angeles residents Lanchau Dan, Adam Selkowitz, Tim Swan, and John Zahabian centers around the way that computer hard drives are described by manufacturers.

According to the lawsuit, computer hard drive capacities are described in promotional material in decimal notation, but the computer reads and writes data to the drives in a binary system.

The result is that a hard drive described as being 20 gigabytes would actually have only 18.6 gigabytes of readable capacity, the lawsuit said.

The plaintiffs said this difference in convention is deceptive and leaves buyers with less storage than they thought they were getting when they purchased their computers.

For example, when a consumer buys what he thinks is a 150 gigabyte hard drive, the plaintiffs said, he actually gets only 140 gigabytes of storage space. That missing 10 gigabytes, they claim, could store an extra 2,000 digitized songs or 20,000 pictures.

The lawsuit asks for an injunction against the purportedly unfair marketing practices, an order requiring the defendants to disclose their practices to the public, restitution, disgorgement of ill-gotten profits, and attorneys' fees. (Reuters)

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