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Dell Computers / refused to honor extended warranty

1 1 dell wayRound Rock, TX, United States
Contact information:
Phone: 208 733-8212

I have been repairing, designing, and building computers for over 15 years. When asked by a client what brand I would buy if I absolutely had to--I had the same answer for them that I have had for the last fifteen years: Buy a Dell. They're reliable, their tech support is usually decent, and their "Bloat Ware" (manufacturer's software they add to your computer to crap it up and spy on your buying habits) is easy to remove. My recent experience with them has changed my mind and pretty much left Christmas in ruin.

It all started when a client brought a year-old Dell Mini 10 notebook to my office. He told me "There really isn't much wrong with it, it just needs your touch to speed it up and weed out the annoying and un-necessary.” This sounded a little too good to be true, and of course it was an exaggerated outlook on this particular pc's condition. When I booted the aforementioned pc, the time was two hours slow, devices in the "Device Mangler" (that's what my mentor Brian Snook calls it. He also says that Microsoft Operating Systems are a virus, ) were showing exclamation points signifying they were not loading drivers.

Any good tech knows this is a sign of bad battery or possible Bios issues. Like a good trained pro, I surfed up to Dell to check drivers, Bios versions--you know, all the stuff that makes your pc run well. I see DELL RECOMMENDED updates for all the hardware including the Bios. I don't know about you, but when I see the manufacturer of a computer recommend an update I DO THEM! These updates are usually fixes for known problems. The Bios had two updates from A09 to A11. As you can probably predict, I did the updates. Everything went well until the pc froze in the middle of a Bios flash.

For you novices out there, this turns your computer into a paperweight. No Bios, no computer! As I sat staring at this pc, the disbelief and shock set in. It seemed the blinking power light was feverishly mocking me with every flash of its LED. This was the first time I have ever turned a pc into a paperweight! I have flashed hundreds of computers and never ruined one! Why now? Christmas is a couple of weeks away and now my client is buying a new pc.

The Dell warranty expired one week ago; that information was like a knife to my heart. Dell informed me the warranty was extendable and they would be happy to do that for $110.00 (US.) This sounded reasonable. After all, the client spent $600.00 to buy it. The only problem was the credit card. I pondered this for a while. I don't own a credit card and figured if I can't pay for something I don't usually buy it, but this was a special case and I needed help from my cousin to pull this off. After a brief conversation with my cousin I dialed up Dell and we had a three way conversation (for you perverts out there!) Dell was all too happy to take my dear cousin's credit card number and told me to call back in 24 - 48 hours and the warranty would be all set.

It’s 24 hours later and I'm on the phone with Dell being told the computer was never registered and ownership had to be transferred to me in order to send the pc to the depot. This phone call lasted 1 hour and 32 minutes, at the end of which I was assured an e-mail would be issued with a dispatch number for tracking. That was Tuesday!

Friday came and the computer still showed “out of warranty” and I knew there was no dispatch number or box headed my way. Now it's time to cut my loses and walk away. I called Dell and demanded a refund to my cousin's MC and was told I had to hold 15 minutes for a Customer Care rep. That was it--no more!

My four letter expletives were flowing like the Hudson River . At the end of the tirade I told the rep to call me back when he had Customer Care on the line and hung up on him. My husband was staring at me with that look--you know the one that says you’re an ###. This didn't seem to faze me much; I continued staring at my computer in utter disbelief. A multi-million dollar company like Dell can't do a bill to ship to order without wasting several hours of my time? My company can do that. If a client calls up and pays for someone else’s work, I create an invoice that notes that, and voila, happy customer.

Dell apparently does not know how to set up billing to accommodate the credit cardless people out there who only spend what they can afford. The irony in this is if more people spent only what they can afford, the evil banking empires would lose their icy cold grip on the American economy and actually have to learn customer service.

Right on cue, the phone rang and the caller id was flashing Dell across the screen. I looked at my husband with that told ya look and proceeded to answer the call. As I'm listening carefully to the rep, confusion and anger set in. I interject with the purpose of getting whatever he was try to say done and over. The rep came to the conclusion he had to refund the credit card. This process would take 6 days!! Anyone that runs a retail outfit can enter a credit card number and hit the credit button and the credit is applied to your account in about 36 hours.

Six days represents Dell holding onto my cousin’s money for three extra days, probably for banking reasons. As the intrepid Dell rep is typing the refund, he actually tried to sell me the warranty again. As Mr. Spock would say, “I simply couldn’t believe my ears.” As you might have guessed by now I exploded into a diatribe of “what planet are you on?” I bought the warranty once, you didn’t keep your word about anything, and you want me to buy the warranty again? “Does that sound logical to you?” I scream scathingly. “Just refund the money and give me the refund number.”

Now I am left with a paperweight instead of a computer. My client told me to pick out a new laptop for her and I was going to repair the year-old mini and give it to my college student daughter for Christmas. Her school doesn’t have enough computers per number of students, which makes getting lab work done a lot harder.

The moral of this story is: "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." – Milton . Also, sometimes you can't make a silk purse out of a cow’s ear! It's my Libra-ish nature to want balance, so consciously and sub-consciously I seek that level. The really funny part is you can't be right in a wrong world. It doesn't matter if I keep my promises and actually do the things I say I will do if no one else reciprocates.

That is how Dell stole Christmas.

Dell Computers


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