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Dell Proves a Bit Gun-Shy
Wired ^ | Feb. 28, 2002 | Declan McCullagh

Posted on 02/28/2002 1:14:15 PM PST by the

Edited on 06/29/2004 7:08:51 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

WASHINGTON -- Dell Computers is under fire from gun aficionados after it refused to sell a laptop to a handgun maker.

The flap began when Jack Weigand, the president of the American Pistolsmiths Guild, ordered a Dell Inspiron 4100 notebook on Feb. 13, with a promised delivery date of Feb. 21. When the date came and went, Weigand phoned Dell to find out what the problem was.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: banglist
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To: chainsaw
And for me to receive my share of a Dell sale, you have to click from my affiliate link. Does the fact that I am a Dell affiliate mean that they support me and my cause? Of course not; it simply means that they're willing to pay me for sending sales their way. For me to receive my commission from an Amazon sale, you have to click through from my affiliate link. It's the way the affiliate business works. Dell probably has hundreds of thousands of affiliates just like that site. Do you think they "support" the cause of each and every one? I'm about to set up an affiliate link page just like that for my church's website. Will that mean Dell and Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and CarsDirect and the other dozens of companies I set up with will "support" my church. Of course not.

Like I said, if you don't believe me, go set up one yourself. For Dell, you'll begin at Have fun.


61 posted on 02/28/2002 3:15:40 PM PST by MississippiMan
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To: chainsaw;all
That is Handgun Control, Inc's web site there is no way you could legally put it up unless you hadthe password etc.

No, it's not HCI's website. Look at the url. I've done a bit of research on this. There are three different, but associated websites where Dells company name appears. It's not only HCI that gets any cut from the purchase of a Dell. Follow this link to read the terms of these sites. Read all the terms carefully, particularly #4. Follow the links that are mentioned in #4, and see who else gets a cut. Pay close attention to how these three websites are described in #4. If anything, Dell is just covering all the bases by being involved in this program. This whole issue will become alot clearer once you've read these terms.

Read this

62 posted on 02/28/2002 3:24:36 PM PST by Hoosier Patriot
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To: MississippiMan
Ping to #62.
63 posted on 02/28/2002 3:26:43 PM PST by Hoosier Patriot
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To: pabianice
Don't shoot the help

I agree. Fire the help responsible for this. If it wasn't official Dell policy, there will no problem doing this.

64 posted on 02/28/2002 4:01:59 PM PST by jrewingjr
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To: the
E-mail fro Denny-the second person to get turned down by Dell


I did some investigating on my own and find out that all it takes is the push of a button with the right software and anyone can find out all kinds of information about anyone they want to. A friend of mine is a private investigator and a former deputy sheriff so I asked him if it was possible to collect data like this about someone and he invited me over to his office to find out. He has a professional version of the "spyware" software that we always get email solicitations for. All he had to do was put in my name and hometown into this software and punch a button on his keyboard. We tried both versions of my name, first name and last name as well as first name, middle initial and last name. Within about 10 minutes he had a 4-page report on me detailing all kinds of data. For example, my social security number, driver license number, concealed carry permit number, marriage certificate number, birth certificate number, divorce cause number, who I had worked for and how long I stayed at each position ever since I first entered the professional work force in 19XX, my college transcripts, high school transcripts, association memberships, volunteer efforts, what position I had held with each association I had ever belonged to, rather it was as an officer, director or volunteer, my credit report that detailed who I owed money too, how much and for how long (luckily it did not give out my account numbers) etc. The list of data he retrieved was stagger and extremely frightening. What is even scarier is that he informed me that this is all public data that anyone with the right program or enough time and resources can find out about. Then he proceeded to tell me that the law enforcement community has software available to them that can dig even deeper and could include all kinds of criminal history records, including those that are supposed to have been expunged from your record.

So is it possible for Dell to run a check on someone and find out if they are gun owners, what kind of business they have or what organizations they belong to and at what level they participate in them, ABSOLUTELY!!!

Now is this what Dell did prior to canceling my order? I can't say. No one at Dell told me that this is how they determined that I was ineligible to purchase their products. All I know is that after applying to purchase a computer by financing it with a payment plan I was turned away. I have never been told that my financing was denied. I tried talking to their customer service people and went up several layers in the supervisory chain of command before I was told that Dell would not sell me a computer because they did not know if my potential uses for the equipment would be legal or not. When I tried to pursue this conversation further I was informed that Dell had nothing further to say and that if I needed a system I would need to look elsewhere.

Hopefully, this data is helpful in explaining to you how I was treated by Dell and how easy it is for someone to find out all kinds of private information about each of us if they are determined to do so.

Yes you can post my responses as long as you leave out the phone number, email address and hometown. You have been the 20th or so person who has either emailed me or called about this and although I do want to make my fellow lawful gun owners aware of this situation, I am by nature a private person and do not enjoy a lot of notoriety. Thanks for understanding this.


65 posted on 02/28/2002 4:14:54 PM PST by VRWC_minion
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To: Hoosier Patriot
Interesting find, Hoosier. And even though both sides of the issue are definitely covered, liberal and conservative, it still doesn't mean that Dell knows anything about it. That's my point. They have hundreds of thousands of affiliates. Approval of these affiliates, and subsequent access to customized links, banners, etc., is a routine affair. I'm a Dell affiliate. I'll bet a hundred other Freepers are, as well. And that doesn't mean Dell supports us anymore than it means they support EduOrg. It's no different than thinking that the owner of a car dealership supports every cause and issue represented among the persons in that dealership's sales force. As long as affiliate programs have been around, I assumed the manner in which they work was pretty much common knowledge by now. These threads are proof that this is certainly not the case. That's not aimed at you.


66 posted on 02/28/2002 4:32:08 PM PST by MississippiMan
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To: Hoosier Patriot
No, it's not HCI's website. Look at the url.

Thank you for some excellent investigative work. Apparently HCI is using a third-party source ( to provide its affiliate connection to Dell, so Dell might not even know that HCI (like many other organizations) is acting as a subcontractor to and is getting a cut from Dell's sales.

I checked out the link you provided, and Section 4 of's Terms & Conditions explains that it provides a virtual shopping mall for other organizations in three categories: Education Organizations, Politically Conservative Organizations, and Politically Liberal Organizations. (Obviously HCI is listed under that third category.) Section 5 says the participating organization (like HCI) gets half of the any sales commission, and gets the other half.

67 posted on 02/28/2002 4:40:21 PM PST by dpwiener
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To: MississippiMan
It doesn't matter whether Dell knows or not. I'm not buying product from anybody who is paying finders fees to marxists.
68 posted on 02/28/2002 4:50:29 PM PST by jwalsh07
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To: MississippiMan
That's not aimed at you.

Hey, I deserve some of it. I was convinced earlier that Dell was (perhaps not directly, "by proxy" is a term I used in another post) supporting HCI. Upon further research, I'm backing off from that stance. I'm still having some difficulty grasping the idea that Dell may not be aware, or at least have a darn good notion, of who these organizations are that might be recieving some sort of benefit from their sales. I believe there must be some sort of guidelines agreed upon beforehand, before a Dell, or any other company, would agree to the arrangment. Then, the "middleman," if you will, eduorg in this case, does the screening or policing. I just can't see a company like Dell or any other taking a chance with who they might end up, even remotely and indirectly, helping to finance. I can't buy the idea that a Dell would say "we don't care or don't really need to know where this money goes, as long as it is for non profit organizations." To me, that leaves a wide open door for a myriad of groups to shuffle through, some that might do so only to take advantage of the fact that the source of the money doesn't know where its destination is.

Bottom line for me is, I'm backing off my previous stance, and reserving my personal judgement until I get more info.

69 posted on 02/28/2002 5:22:13 PM PST by Hoosier Patriot
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To: Hoosier Patriot
To prove my point: I just went through BeFree, where I was already registered. I added a brand new site of mine to the account, that was not an affilate of anything. After that, from start to finish, from the time I clicked the button to become a Dell affiliate to the time I was on the page ready to cut and paste my customized links (just like the ones on HCI), was THREE MINUTES.

Anyone who doesn't believe it is absolutely free to try it themselves. Go to


P.S. Shall I post the text of Dell's acceptance e-mail so all can see what it looks like? There is NO SCREENING.

70 posted on 02/28/2002 5:46:58 PM PST by MississippiMan
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To: the
Oh, Gosh. Don't tell me my next computer will have to be a Gateway.
71 posted on 02/28/2002 6:12:18 PM PST by calmseas
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To: MississippiMan
The gist of my post was not that I doubted your claims. I had no idea of what the details or requirements were, and was and still am taking your word for it. But, being curious, I did take you up on your offer of trying it myself. While I didn't register for anything, I did get far enough to be able to read the terms, a portion of which follow.


This agreement governs participation in the Dell Business Systems Division ("BSD") Affiliates Program only.

Once you are accepted into the Program, you will be able to participate in the Program subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement. You should also note that if you are accepted to participate in the Program and your Site is thereafter determined (in our sole discretion) to be unsuitable based on the criteria below for the Program, we may terminate this Agreement:

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but, these are requirments that must be met to continue participation in the agreement, right? So, while you are indeed immediately accepted into the program, these terms must be complied with to continue in the program. While you may not refer to that as screening, I do. It isn't immediate screening, but to say that 3 minutes and your in like Flynn is not quite the case.

72 posted on 02/28/2002 6:34:50 PM PST by Hoosier Patriot
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To: narby
Glad you've got Florida land to sell. Don't bother sending me your web address.

The POINT is this:

Federal regulations are not always explicit and not always clear on scope of coverage. OK?

Sometimes, new regulations build on old regulations and expand the scope of coverage of the old regulations. OK?

The idea that a regulation first intended for exports would later be applied to domestic transactions would not be novel or shocking. OK?

Hey, I don't know whether the Dell people were or were not up front with this guy. I just am not willing immediately to assume the worst possible motive. I don't want to go off "half cocked."

73 posted on 02/28/2002 6:51:05 PM PST by blau993
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To: MississippiMan
Do you get the idea that we are in bad company on this thread?
74 posted on 02/28/2002 6:52:55 PM PST by blau993
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To: Hoosier Patriot
Unless you're doing something illegal, yes, you're in like Flynn. I've been a Dell affiliate for a couple of years on a site that is no longer active by any stretch of the imagination and still get affiliate updates from them constantly. They don't screen these sites unless someone tips them off that something illegal or pornographic or whatever may be going on. It goes back to my original point, that Dell probably has zero idea what HCI even is.


75 posted on 02/28/2002 6:58:18 PM PST by MississippiMan
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To: calmseas
Oh, Gosh. Don't tell me my next computer will have to be a Gateway.

Now now, there's no reason to punish yourself when you're trying to punish Dell!

This is really a bummer for me since I'm a loyal Dell user and recommender.  I like being able to sleep at night.

Compaqs are good too but often filled with "specialized" hardware.

Might try to find a good white box computer maker in the neighborhood.  My previous dealer up and left in the middle of the night after years and years in business.

76 posted on 02/28/2002 7:00:52 PM PST by Incorrigible
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To: MississippiMan
Fair enough. It's not my mission to tear apart Dell, or you for that matter. I just get my hackles up quick when it seems somebody else has joined in the anti gun crusade. Too quick sometimes. I'm taking your word on this my friend, but know that I'm going to continue to watch Dell with a keen, and if necessary, critical eye.
77 posted on 02/28/2002 7:19:58 PM PST by Hoosier Patriot
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To: Hoosier Patriot
To be clear, I have my own gripes with Dell from a quality standpoint these days. I just hate to see a company unfairly attacked on political grounds, which is what I think this thing has mushroomed into.

And I still wish Mr. Weigand (sp?) would just send that free notebook to me if he doesn't want it. ;-)

Have a great night, Hoosier.


78 posted on 02/28/2002 7:23:02 PM PST by MississippiMan
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To: MississippiMan
I have found Dell to be an excellent company to work with: Competitive pricing, the best bang for the buck, excellent service in shipping and technical support and would recommend a Dell to any friend shopping for a new computer.
79 posted on 02/28/2002 7:39:47 PM PST by onehipdad
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To: onehipdad
Dad, I used to have the same opinion of Dell; great products with sparkling service. I've had a couple of experiences sour me lately. Very new notebook had a total monitor failure and getting help was nigh impossible. Stayed on hold 57 minutes before talking to a human that was little help and put me through to another lengthy hold. Asked for help via e-mail, and never got any response to that until I got a survey a month or two later wanting to know what I thought about the way they handled my e-mail service request. LOL. And I've talked to a number of other users who have had similar experiences. I really hate it, because they were truly a very impressive company IMO for a long time. I'm glad to hear they're still taking good care of you, and I still don't want to see them vilified unfairly for political reasons.


80 posted on 02/28/2002 7:47:01 PM PST by MississippiMan
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