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22 July, 2004

Butt out

I've just bought a laptop/portable computer on behalf of my sister.  I thought spending 1,000 of someone else's money would be more enjoyable....

Personally, I wouldn't choose a laptop, both for reasons of usability and value for money - a desktop PC of the same cost would have a rather better specification. Hence, I was researching the purchase pretty much from scratch; I have a reasonable knowledge of PCs, but laptops are new to me.

So far as I could tell, the best choice for K's needs is from Dell; a 2.6GHz Inspiron 1150. A slight complication is that K. has just moved house, so her credit card address won't match her home address yet; Dell won't deliver to her. Instead, our mother will be buying it, it will be sent to that address, and K. will collect it from there. Inconvenient but uncontroversial.

However, the order process includes this section:

Trade Compliance
Dell is a US corporation, and is therefore subject to all US Export Laws and Regulations. The export of any Dell products or software must be made in accordance with all applicable laws of the United States and local country regulations, including but not limited to, the US Export Administration Regulations. This may require that an export license be obtained, or that certain declarations be provided to US or local government regarding the products being exported.

1) How will these products be used? [Drop-down list ranging from 'Home' to 'Military' use, via 'Nuclear Industry']

2) Where will these products be used?

  • These products will be used at the listed ship-to address

  • These products will be used at an ultimate destination other than the listed ship-to address

If the ultimate end-user information is different from the listed Ship-To Name, please complete the information below: [name & postal address]

You WHAT!? I'd resent providing such details to the UK government, never mind a foreign regime which has no relevance in this situation. The computer will be built in Ireland and shipped to the UK; that the parent company of Dell UK happens to be a US corporation simply doesn't matter.

If I'd been buying for myself, that'd be it; I'd go elsewhere. As it is, I continued the order, but ensured my own details don't appear on it.

No offence to individual US citizens, but your government has a serious attitude problem. This isn't 'Planet USA'; the USA is only one country of over 260, and I owe no more allegiance to it than to Canada, Vanuatu or Morocco, to pick three at random. Why the US government feels able to impose its whims on foreign nationals who aren't even interested in the USA mystifies, and offends, me.


I hope you just told them it would be used at the ship-to address. After all, I'm sure your sister will turn it on there to show her dear mum!

Posted by Jon at July 22, 2004 05:59 PM
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