Divorce papers found in 'new' Asus laptop purchased in Singapore
By Daryl ChinThe Straits Times/Asia News Network
March 23, 2011, 11:32 pm TWN
Central Provident Fund statements and divorce documents; these were what Hidayat Sudirman found stored in a 14-inch Asus notebook PC he bought from retailer Newstead Technologies recently at an IT fair.
The 25-year-old civil servant discovered 10GB worth of personal data, including tax return forms, belonging to its previous owner.
Upset, he went back and was told by the company it was a “mix-up.” The laptop belonged to another customer who had returned it for repairs, it said. He got a refund, and bought a laptop from another retailer.
When contacted, Newstead's operations manager Mark Ong said: “The notebook was accidentally packed along with brand-new products headed for the IT fair. The employee responsible has been counseled and steps have been taken to remind the teams to be vigilant in their operations.”
This incident prompted Taiwanese computer maker Asus to send a warning to its 30 authorized retailers here to exercise caution when selling its products.
An Asus spokesman said its notebooks are shipped from its factories in Taiwan and China to its branch here, which sends them to the authorized sellers.
Steps have been taken to avoid such mix-ups, but she declined to give details.
A check with sellers — of Asus and other brands — revealed other scenarios where lapses could occur.
For example, a seller could accidentally upgrade a customer's hard drive to one with a higher capacity but which has been used before and still retains data from a previous owner.