Man Haggles With Dell Over Failed Laptop For 3 Years

Ethan writes:

I purchased a laptop through my company in 2005. The laptop I bought was the Dell XPS (Gen2). I had several issues with the DVD burner right off the bat. Within months Dell was replacing my 6800 Ultra laptop video board due to video artifacts. This happened again and more parts were replaced. In Late 2006 Dell swapped my Gen2 system for a M1710. In my book, both the customer service and the quality hit the fan. They sent me a laptop with less memory and poor video.

Eventually after many calls they sent the right memory and fixed the video. Unfortunately, the laptop had serious thermal design flaws and I had another system exchange, multiple system board and video swaps. Not to mention overheating batteries. I got to know the local BancTec technicians by name. I really never was able to use the laptop. After more than 11 part replacements, they sent a M1730. In my opinion, they rushed the QA. The M1730 is a power hog and has to remain plugged in at all times. This is a laptop we are talking about. Something they sell as a mobile gaming solution. They even try to upsell additional batteries when you call them on the phone or buy it online. The M1730 is configured with SLI, however the fist system they sent had 1 bad GPU on the 2GPU video board.

So, they ordered me another laptop, which was canceled, and then reordered, and then canceled again. For all of my trouble I asked that they upgrade me to a faster processor and a blu-ray drive. The manager said okay, but that they had to order the parts after the laptop shipped. Then they shipped the laptop late and had to reroute the laptop as I was at a different location. I am a consultant and travel on business. DHL and Dell were not able to track the laptop. It was actually out for delivery on a DHL truck in FL, instead of a truck in GA. I finally found out what was happening by talking to local DHL warehouse dispatchers.

The one that finally arrived had a Bad LCD with bad pixels and light distortion. Dozens of calls to dell tech support got me nowhere. The manager who made the promise was not returning my calls. At this point I was frustrated but not out of options. I sent an email to the Consumerist Dell Executive email list and 4 hours later I received a phone call from a very nice lady who works for the Dell Executive Resolution Team. She said she was looking into my case and would try to make things right. I was very relieved to speak with someone based in the US who was empowered to make things happen.

The first thing she did was ask that I send her a list of the exact configuration that I had and the one that I desired. Not to0 hard. Only two parts difference. I sent the exact list as configured on the Dell website and waited. After a week or so, and no updates showing on the order, I emailed/called her. She couldn’t find out what was causing the order delay so she canceled the order. When I looked at the order and matched up the parts, I found the video board was missing from her order part list (not mine). I also noticed the list was missing the Bluetooth card part. She wanted to let the order process (expedited) and take care of the Bluetooth part later. The ship date came and I tried to track the DHL tag. DHL said they hadn’t picked it up, and Dell couldn’t tell if the laptop had shipped. I called DHL a few more times and they said Dell had registered the tracking number but hadn’t actually shipped the box. I related this info to woman at Dell and she began checking other contacts.

Finally the tracking number came up as Ground Service. Dell had expedited the laptop build, but had not sent it next day. Every previous laptop had been sent next day and the Dell website listed Next-Day service. Eventually I did receive the laptop and it was missing Bluetooth. I swapped the BT daughter card and you think the story would end there. Nope.

The current M1730 has major issues and already I have had the motherboard, power supply, and battery replaced. The Blu-Ray scratches the dvds and the first replacement they sent was DOA. I am trying to test the second Blu-ray, but my laptop has been crashing and locking up. I’ve worked with a Sr. Dell Executive Technician for 5 days. Here are my current unresolved issues:

The laptop power cord can be loosened by moving the power cord or the laptop. When this happens, the laptop switches to battery.

When the laptop is running on battery, it freezes and locks up. This happens every time, not just occasionally.

When I plug the laptop back in from running on Battery it bluescreens or freezes.

The SLI drivers are poor and do not work. Dell has 2 drivers, one production and one beta. The production driver causes the laptop to freeze when Freecell is started. Performance at high resolutions is worse than previous generation laptops. The beta driver fixes some problems but the driver readily crashes when switching to SLI.

When cold booting from the battery the laptop is more stable, but cannot play DVDs, video, and is very slow to respond (like a 400Mhz Celeron)

I’ve rebuilt the laptop more than a dozen times with various driver configurations.

Dell is not able to give me a clear workaround for these issues or a expected fix. I have been told to keep my laptop plugged in at all times.

I’ve send another email to the Consumerist Executive list, and received another response from the lady at Dell. I will post an update on what they tell me.

You are either very patient, or insane. I think I would have just given up and asked for my money back at this point.

(Photo: Fireflock)

Comments

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  1. Rukasu says:

    I stopped reading after I realized the grammatical error in the first sentance. PWNED

  2. B1663R says:

    HOLY CRAP DUDE!!! three years and your laptop never worked?

    does the guy’s company have an account or something with dell?

    i’m with Ben on this one i would have played their game for 3 month and demanded my money back.

    that’s just nuts

  3. headon says:

    wow you bitch alot, you can’t be satisfied. You have a lot of knowledge build your own machine. That way when you call customer support you can leave yourself a message and resolve the issue yourself. And no calling DHL because you already have the machine to work on.

  4. bluesunburn says:

    @Rukasu:
    Like misspelling “sentence?”

    Just checking. :-)

  5. @Rukasu: sentance, eh? I guess spelling is different than grammar.

  6. StinkyCat says:

    Funny, I have a Dell with a full warranty. Last month I got pissed at my internet connection and hit my laptrop screen and shattered the LCD. DELL had a tech at my house the next morning replacing the whole screen and keyboard (I told them I was missing a key on the tech support call).

    A week later, I spilled a whole bowl of chicken noodle soup on my laptop and it promply shorted out. Dell sent me a mailer box and had the motherboard, video card, keyboard and fan replaced and shipped back to me in 5 days.

    All free of charge.

  7. LiC says:

    I hate Dell. My family’s had 2 Dell computers, one laptop and one desktop, and they’ve both had major issues. The laptop had to be sent off for some minor repairs and when we got it back it could only be charged at an angle because the charger wouldn’t fit into the socket anymore. Sound cards on both computers kept failing, bad experiences with Dell customer service…yeah, we’re staying away from them.

  8. ech-o says:

    I’d be willing to bet that this guy finds flaws in everything that he buys, and he’ll spends weeks, months and hell, even years working on getting them replaced. I’m not saying you have to settle for inferior products, but you need to pick your battles.

  9. aquanutz says:

    Are you working on your laptop in a sauna or something? I can sympathize with you to a degree but there is just not a chance in hell that every single part/laptop they give you is flawed.

    Get a mac, not only because they are better, but you can just walk into the stores when they are messed up and walk out with a brand new one.

  10. AT203 says:

    I don’t really care that your SLI laptop isn’t working. If you want reliability, go with a laptop from Dell’s business line. Yes, I’m judging you on your preferences, but SLI is just silly on a laptop.

  11. EmperorOfCanada says:

    Unless it was purchased in January there is no way it has been 3 years.

  12. PinkBox says:

    @StinkyCat: LOL… anger issues, much? ;)

  13. JimmyKumby says:

    I lost count (and interest) after the first thousand words or so: how many full replacement swaps was that, three, four? Were I Dell I’d refund this guy (only) the original purchase price and suggest he take his business elsewhere …

  14. savvy999 says:

    All that hassle, just to play freecell?

    OLPC for you.

  15. StinkyCat says:

    @causticitty:

    only when i am mad :)

  16. EmperorOfCanada says:

    “When the laptop is running on battery, it freezes and locks up. This happens every time, not just occasionally.

    When I plug the laptop back in from running on Battery it bluescreens or freezes.”

    If it freezes every time, how does it freeze again once you plug it back in after it has been running on battery?

  17. rewinditback says:

    when dell did this to me – i contacted the ftc and the bbb because of them shorting me on the processor, ram and video card on the “replacement laptop”. i paid for a more powerful system, and they shorted me. John Stossell almost read my letter on the air, but Dell refunded me in full just before. it was a fun fun 5 month ordeal.

  18. bsalamon says:

    I had an Inspiron for 5 years. The only problems were the power cord broke, and i had to replace the CD drive. Although, I have had friends that had the same issue. Either way, this sounds like something that can be fixed by just asking for your money back.

  19. ARPRINCE says:

    @bluesunburn: LOL – great catch!

  20. tinders says:

    ummm, i can’t understand why this person just didn’t cancel and buy a laptop from somewhere else after the first few sets of problems. whatever company discount there was way exceeded their own personal time and effort costs. you’d think a consultant would understand the value of their time.

  21. Kenneth says:

    @AT203: agreed, my Dell Latitude from work runs circles around my personal Inspiron.

  22. econobiker says:

    Dude, don’t get another Dell.

  23. You are either very patient, or insane. I think I would have just given up and asked for my money back at this point.

    After reading all that, I’m with you, Ben.

  24. PatrickIs2Smart says:

    Who needs SLI for Freecell??

  25. smith186 says:

    @EmperorOfCanada: I’d say three years is close enough, even if it’s not exact. I’ve had my XPS Gen2 since early 2005, though thankfully without any issues.

  26. mrmysterious says:

    Not going to read it all, but you reach a certain point where you either elevate it by taking it to small claims court or you just give up.

  27. ThunderSaid says:

    If I were Dell, I would just give this guy his money back and tell him he can keep whatever broken laptop he currently has. That has got to be cheaper than constantly replacing laptops for this man. At this point, he will never be happy, no matter what Dell does, but the refund would at least end the madness.

    By the way, this story sounds fishy. I totally buy that Dell sent a broken laptop to this guy. I’ve had no problems with mine, but I understand that it happens. I also believe that their customer service has been poor for the most part. What I simply can’t believe is that all these broken laptops are not, in some way, his fault. The odds of this many laptop problems happening purely from manufacturing defects have got to be pretty small, given that Dell is still in business. Based on the weird symptoms he’s had, I’d be willing to bet that he’s either got really bad power at his house, or he’s been using some sort of third party chargers that keep frying components.

  28. Dibbler says:

    This is one of those customers that companies like to see go away and never return. Never happy and always having problems. Maybe you’re one of those mutant people from X-men. Static Charge Man or Unlucky Man or something like that. I love my Dell computers and I’ve never had a bit of problems with them.

  29. meanwalrus18 says:

    computer companies like dell and gateway cater to the uneducated shoppers. they design their products to break, and then hope the person will assume guilt or give up. Even apple gives you the run around. Since when did a laptop become a car that needs lemonlaw protection? Im a student and since purchasing my macbook in october, ive had to send it back 4x. i feel the pain.

  30. scoobydoo says:

    So, you started with a fairly cheap machine, and ended up with an SLI’d Bluray enabled 17″ behemoth?

    Sounds like you managed to royally screw Dell over.

  31. beean says:

    For Dell laptops, always order from their business line and get the Gold support/Complete Care. Yes, it costs more but when you call in, you get to talk to someone in North America who’s actually empowered to solve your problem. Yes, it sucks that it’s so expensive, but you get what you pay for (see Stinkycat’s experience above).

  32. SexCpotatoes says:

    [www.mentallyincontinent.com]

    Sounds sort of like the Motherboard Chronicals ^^^ .

  33. Hoss says:

    “Man Haggles With Dell Over Failed Laptop For Three Years”

    I lost count at three laptops. Insane.

  34. mthrndr says:

    @ThunderSaid: “This story sounds fishy.” Yes, that is exactly what I thought reading this. This just doesn’t sound kosher to me. In my job, I have purchased dozens of Dell machines. The worst defect any of them had was a faulty RAM chip. Now, he may not have been using Dell Business, but usually their service is very prompt and satisfactory. Now, I can buy, like you, the claim that his original machine was faulty – these things happen. But I don’t buy that every repair was a failure and that EVERY PART they sent failed. That sounds like BS to me – like a crazy person who buys a house and then calls the warranty department on every last ding or scratch she sees, demanding full replacements, regardless of whether the technician can actually SEE the problem. I don’t know, this just seems a little to much like “the-customer-is-always-right-itis”.

  35. huginn says:

    Doesn’t dell have a “If it fails this many times, here have a brand new computer” Policy?

    Come on Dell, help this man!

  36. mrmysterious says:

    @Huginn:

    Yeah, they did that a couple times for him.

  37. HykCraft says:

    Ethan… buddy ol’ pal… who in the hell told you it was okay to buy a DELL?

    Ugh…

  38. StinkyCat says:

    @beean:

    You also get the express customer service number. A little number on the bottom of the laptop that you key in and it puts you ahead of the line when you call customer service.

  39. barty says:

    @AT203: No kidding. And not expecting such a laptop to NOT be a battery hog? If you want a gaming rig, then build a desktop for crying out loud.

    I can believe that the guy got sent *one* bum laptop. I’ve worked on PCs and laptops long enough to realize that you get the occasional DOA unit, I’d encounter maybe one a year out of hundreds I came across, spanning several different makes and models. But 2 or 3? This guy has to be having environmental issues or is just one of the people that tech support people loathe because 1)They really want something that doesn’t exist (in his case, a SLI laptop with a 5 hour battery life) and 2) the slightest little glitch or problem is cause to demand that the entire machine be replaced or overhauled.

    If I were Dell, I would have just given the guy his money back just so he’d go away and be someone else’s nightmare.

  40. JustaConsumer says:

    Don’t buy a Dell – PERIOD.

  41. UX4themasses says:

    Perhaps they are sending him refurbished computers as replacements? This could lead to the repeated bad experiences.

    Brand loyalty is one thing but this is ridiculous.

  42. Buran says:

    @Rukasu: And not being able to spell “owned” in the same post where you complain about bad grammar? Nice.

  43. ARPRINCE says:

    @Buran: PWNED = OWNED. Used mainly in gaming circles.

  44. veraikon says:

    It sounds like nothing has gone right for this guy. Every replacement part or computer they’ve sent him is a dud, his new computers constantly get their orders canceled. And the fact that he kept going back for more…

    I understand the principle of the thing: he wants the company to give him a functioning laptop. He wants the company to do their job. But after all that time and hassle, I would’ve just asked for my money back and bought another brand.

  45. dix99 says:

    Easy solution, buy a Mac & just use it to run your full copy of Windows on it, if that’s your preference. You pay for a cheap Dell, you end-up paying extra for the hassle that comes with it. The old myth about Macs are pricey, is what it is, OLD!
    Don’t forget, Dell is expert in bait-and-switch by selling bare-bones, cut-rate, cheapo PCs, so are Mac really more expensive than a comparable PC?
    Once you go Mac, you don’t go back…

  46. brent_w says:

    This guy kind of comes accross like the type who will invariably
    find somthing wrong with any laptop they send him, even if it was gold
    plated and hand delivered by the president.

  47. Sidecutter says:

    @brent_w: I think I believe him. We work exclusively with Dells at my workplace, and I’ve had to rebuild and replace parts on a large number of them. One model has constant failures in the batteries that they ship with, focing us to warranty out new batteries for them. Others keep failing repeatedly. Displays constantly go bad within 2 years and have to be replaced.

  48. Doctor Cathattan says:

    I have an Inspiron XPS Gen2 like this guy did. I can relate a little because my laptop had a buggy video card that caused the whole laptop to crash. It took a bit of cajoling with Dell CSRs, but they sent a tech over to my house to replace the video card. No probs since.

    This guy loses me when he starts bitching about battery life. Yes I know they are advertised as “laptops”, but in reality they are more like “easily movable desktop” systems. Anyone looking at the specs can understand this. I bet if Dell had put in a bigger battery for better runtimes he’d bitch about the bigger battery! If he wants to play games for hours on end he should get a PSP or DS.

  49. akalish says:

    Dell is the only brand I’ll ever buy, but I always buy it with the top warranty service for the longest available period. Parts delivered next day and a technician to go with it if you can’t do a repair yourself. Oh, and find a way to order through the higher ed or business services. If you order through their home department you’ll get the worst service ever since all tech/customer service is divided according to who you order it with and they don’t invest nearly as much in the home reps.

  50. Trai_Dep says:

    Holy cow, that’s b-a-d!

    On a similar note, my 2.5 year-old iMac’s power supply died this weekend (sob!) (and, really, not just saying to be snarky). Got gradually worse over a couple days, but within 5 clicks on Apple.com, I was able to diagnose what the problem was. So kudos there.

    The problem is that I didn’t have extended care, so I was 1.5 yrs out of luck. There was a power supply related warrantee extension program, but my serial number didn’t match – off by one digit: imagine my chagrin. Any reasonable company would say, with some justification: “Dude, 2.5 years of flawless performance, quit yer b*tching.” Seriously! And they’d have a point.

    So I look up how much the part is on the web: $200. Ouch. Still, cheaper than an out-of-service repair. Surely. So I call Apple to see if I can pick one up from them. They walk me thru diagnostics to be sure, then tell me to bring it in to one of 2,000 Apple stores.

    “Umm, I just want to buy a power supply. I’m doing the work myself.”

    “We know. We want to make sure it’s the problem before you do that. Nothing to lose, right?”

    “Uhh, right.” (Imagining the upsell opportunities (yeah, I’m cynical)).

    I bring it in. Cheery Apple Genius does some diagnostics. Does some keyboarding. Grabs my iMac and takes it behind the counter and slaps a repair bill on the table in front of me. OMG! Shenanigans!!

    I scan the order. Service: check. Parts: check. Consumable items tallied: check.

    Amounts: $0. $0. $0.

    Grand total: $0.00

    I exclaim: “But it’s out of warrantee. And it’s two-and-a-half years old!”

    (Genius shrugs): “Yup.”

    He continues. “The thing is, you have to understand that there are orders in front of you so you might have to wait. Five days on the outside. It might be sooner, since it’s a quick repair, but it might be up to five days.”

    Realizing the absurdity of complaining about the speed in which they do a $300 repair – that by rights they could easily argue is a cost of owning a tech product for free – I shrug and walk away. Crestfallen at the uncharged iPods, undocked cameras and unattended music library I’m leaving behind.

    We go for breakfast, grab some food-to-go, back at home in an hour. And a half.

    Hmm. Call waiting on my answering machine.

    “Hi, this is the Apple Store. Your iMac is fixed! Come by when you can.”

    DAMN APPLE TO HELL for fixing it so quickly that I didn’t even have time to digest my breakfast. For FREE! A year-and-a-half out of warrantee! After not having purchased AppleCare! After having worked flawlessly for 2.5 years!

    (FYI, this is typed on my newly resurrected (with 90-day warrantee) iMac)

    After reading about the poor LW’s experience, I can only say to Michael Dell (and all of his potential customers): Think Different.

    Apple sure the Hell does.

  51. Trai_Dep says:

    Oh, any Apple Exec types reading Consumerist? South Coast (Costa Mesa, CA) Apple Store. Genius: Chris.

    Just. Simply. Awesome.

    I’ve had almost a dozen Macs and this is the first problem I’ve experienced. You guys handled it so well, I almost wish something breaks again. Almost.

  52. Trick says:

    We have over 120 Dell Latitude D830′s that I manage on our campus, along with another 30 D610′s, D620′s, D630′s D810′s & D820′s. These are laptops that are abused by faculity and students and they have held up very well. No major hardware issues. We have four battery replaced under recall and two power bricks replaced.

    We still run five year old Latitude C840′s since they have been extremely reliable. We did upgrade the ram and WiFi cards to work better with our wireless network… plus we ordered new batteries for most since as the old batteries were getting tired after five years.

    I guess Dell for business is better than home… we do our own DIAG and part replacements so we don’t have to deal with tech support often. However when we do we don’t get the Indian support people, thank god.

    Then again, my personal Inspiron 9100 that is now 3 1/2 years old still works great. I had to replace the video card shortly after buying it though… however that was done fairly quickly as well. The same for my 24″ UltraSharp LCD monitor and Dimension 9100 that I gave to my parents..

    Or the 27″ HDTV I won from Dell! Well, it was replaced under warranty last year but Dell contacted me, told me they will send a replacement to be safe. Up until that point my TV was working great and the replacement has been perfect as well…

    Thankfully my personal experience is just fine with Dell and I don’t have to deal with these problems…

    I guess I don’t have to go on about my Axim X30, I found I didn’t have much need for it for the first three years I owned it and it sat in its box for more than two years with little use… but the better half uses it all the time now for work and loves it. Zero problems.

    blah blah blah :)

  53. Dibbler says:

    @trai_dep:

    If I paid 3 times more for a Mac then I would hope those bastards would fix my laptop. Your only problem is that he bought an XPS which means he wants to play games on it. Apple computers are for serious (i.e. smug) people who don’t like to play games since they don’t really have any.

  54. dix99 says:

    @trai_dep

    The Wall Street Journal wrote

    Defying popular perception, the iMac costs less than the XPS One. The base, 20-inch iMac costs $1,199 – about $300 less. And even if you double the memory, and add a wireless keyboard and mouse to match the Dell, it’s still $1,399 – $100 less than the base XPS One (though Dell is currently running a sale that wipes out the $100 gap). Even the cheapest iMac has a dedicated video card with its own memory, something the base XPS One lacks.
    Plus, while Dell offers only 20-inch screens on the XPS One, Apple has higher-end iMacs with huge 24-inch screens for the same price, or less, than the higher-end Dells.

    And yes, we can be snug, but only because we try to reason with Windows users about the 140,000+ viruses, trojans, spyware etc etc, including all the extra time, money, stress etc, etc, only to get it lobbed back in our faces, because no ever believes it that Macs ‘just work’. Don’t bash em’, if you’ve never tried em’

  55. Trai_Dep says:

    @Dibbler: Aww, so cute. To find someone in this day and age that’s unable to surf the web and get comparison prices on different products. Or can’t help but speak out of his ass whenever he attempts to say anything. Does your mom know you’re online when you should be in grammar school?

  56. varco says:

    @meanwalrus18: Dell’s got a couple of lines. The Latitudes are the business line and they are built like tanks–magnesium alloy case, shock-protected drives. The Inspirons are the consumer line and are more cheaply built. The XPS line is supposed to be a higher-end consumer line mostly meant for gaming.

  57. Trai_Dep says:

    And, gamers: the only games publisher not creating their games for the Mac is Valve. Which, considering Mac’s dual-boot capabilities (yup, Steam and Orange Box, etc. run fine under a dual-boot Mac, so while annoying, isn’t fatal), isn’t burdensome. Just dumb of Gabe Newell.

    And, of course, even the low-end Macs have built-in NVidea chips. High-end ones have slots to throw in whichever GPU cards rock your world. So go nuts.

  58. varco says:

    @trai_dep: Lots of games are released on Macs. About a year or so after the PC release.

    The macbook line uses intel graphics cards. These are about the weakest you can get in a mainstream laptop.

    The mac pro is the highest powered workstation they offer. It is not offered with the highest-powered graphics card available may not be compatible with many of the popular graphics cards (not that you’d want to run games on it).

  59. TacticalSniper says:

    I might be wrong and, frankly, I don’t know how it works in the States (I live in Israel), I prefer HP. Bought an HP Pavilion, works great, minor issues can be resolved through tech support. It might not be same in every case, but after hearing a lot about Dell (both in the States and in Israel) I wouldn’t even touch their computers with a stick.

  60. STrRedWolf says:

    Damn. Makes me glad I got a Dell Inspiron E1505 that works like a horse. Voided the warantee by swapping out the ATI graphics card for a NVidia card on ye laptop (it’s built for swapping) but other than that, yeow.

    Get your money back, hon. 3 years isn’t worth it.

  61. dgcaste says:

    Dell’s been getting a lot of bad rap in this thread. I have an Inspiron 9300 with the best warranty you can get. It only cost $350 to cover the entire laptop. I have had to call Dell support several times due to accidents, problems, what have you, and they have ALL been resolved free of charged and almost hassle free. The only time they didn’t come through is when my battery died, but those are only warranted for 1 year because of their consumable nature.

    That’s what you get for a relatively cheap laptop and warranty, outsourced tech support and hassly returns, but in the end, you got a freaking 1730 with a blu-ray drive. Sure, it won’t play blu-ray right now, but very soon you’ll have the newest thing and it’ll work fine, just like 99% of the 1730 owners out there. and if it keeps breaking, you’ll get the new 1740, or whatever they call it, and if you’re lucky the geforce 8800m will be out for the XPS laptop line and you’ll have a sick computer!!

  62. Dibbler says:

    @trai_dep:

    Why are Mac people so sensitive and smug? By the way, I think I’d make a good Mac candidate cuz your last comments were mean and you made me cry. This proves I’m sensitive so now I just need to work on my “smug”. ha.

  63. dgcaste says:

    @Dibbler: all you really had to do to complete that requirement is to have an undeserved sense of superiority and accomplishment. like not posting here anymore. unfortunately that’ll probably go unnoticed. :(

  64. rattler459 says:

    This is the part that I didn’t get he says that the M1710 had serious thermal design flaws. I have a M1710 and a Precision M90 which is the same system but under the business line. I have had no thermal issues and the dell guys on http://www.notebookforum.com that really pick apart every dell gaming laptop don’t agree ether.

  65. Kelex says:

    @StinkyCat:
    That ‘Express Service Code’ is the same as your Service Tag (7 character Alpha-numeric ending in the number one) on your machine. It makes it easier for us techs to record the number since its numbers only.

    @beean:
    XPS Technical support is purely American based. Pretty much anyone else you call (dell on call, XPS customer care, any other line of dell systems) you will most likely get someone in India or one of the other call centers in 3rd world countries. Also the only thing that I’m aware of about the gold warranty is that when you call up it shows a gold bar across your info and we are told to treat the customer extra nicely.

    I know most of the techs that do XPS support, we are actually there to solve your problems (although 4 sales a week are required but expired warranty support, RAM, anything like that counts and we only sell it to people, we as trained A+ techs genuinely believe need).

    Customers like the one reported in this article are the people that I see have at least 30 different cases on their system and call up to complain about any little issue and won’t get off the phone until their computer is replaced. After 21 days we are not allowed to replace systems until at least 3 dispatches and 3 calls to fix the computer are made. customers like him are better off being told to screw off and can go complain to the next company he buys something from.

    Also don’t ask to talk to a supervisor about a technical problem, they are not trained to fix problems nor do they want to. Unless the tech is overly rude he or she is there to solve your problem to the best of their ability.

  66. mavrc says:

    @Dibbler: Because there are a staggeringly large number of “smug” Mac users out there who feel the need to defend their choice of platform every time somebody baits them (say, for example, calling all Mac users smug.)

    Some of us just sit in the background and roll their eyes at the whole silly mess, until they feel compelled to remind everyone that this debate has been ongoing for twenty years, and the only thing anyone has managed to achieve yet is to look like a moron and perpetuate whatever stereotype they’re arguing about.

    Of course it’s all on the Internet, so the signal/noise ratio is high enough nobody will notice.

  67. Trai_Dep says:

    So, let me get this straight. For $350, you get “almost” hassle-free, outsourced support and “hassle-y” return policies (i.e., a black hole sucking your valuable free time or – yay! – maybe you’ll just give up and do Dell the favor). And this is Dell’s top-of-the-line consumer support program. Satan undoubtedly eats your soul if you buy a Dell without one.

    This $350 “tax” is required since your new laptop blows so hard that “several” problems occur as a cost of ownership (I’m assuming since lack of outrage). This crappitude doesn’t phase you. You expect it. Even boast of it. Which, is so… Sad! It’s like a Stockholm Syndrome for consumer electronics.

    All for a malfunctioning-by-design box presumably just under $1,000? (That’s the price of the MacBook btw). Oh, plus that $350 for “support”. Whoops: $1,350. Now you’re talking MacBook Pro territory. Except Macs just work.

    And, they make you buy a Blue-Ray drive which doesn’t play Blue-Ray discs. Which… Sigh. I don’t even know where to begin. I’m not sure what’s worse – the criminals that sold it or the sucker that bought it…

    And if you’re lucky – lucky! - you can look forward to the day that your Dell breaks so completely that after three years of sending your laptop back and forth (reread the article), Dell may admit – finally – that they should provide a functioning computer. Then, and only then, they’ll send you a new… Dell?! Is that a promise or a new form of domestic terrorism?!

    Compare/Contrast your user experiences with mine, above. Look in a mirror. Honestly ask yourself, “Which sounds better?” Get back to us. Really. I don’t mean to be snarky or offensive. You guys are all too good to have to suffer so much as a routine cost of ownership. It’s just so… Messed up. Really.

  68. EndlessMike says:

    Problem 1: Buying a “gaming laptop.”

  69. maztec says:

    I had much the same thing happen with Sony. Except it would work for 6 months, melt the ram out, and need repaired… Ugh. They refused to replace it in its entirety.

  70. goller321 says:

    @rewinditback: John Stossell is a douchebag hack. His views are so far right and pro-business that he should be the poster boy for corporate america

  71. beean says:

    @Kelex: Are you sure? I can’t count the number of times I’ve called Dell support for my clients’ hardware issues. I always try the Gold support number and always get someone with a North American accent – usually in under 5 minutes. When I’ve had to call (or be transferred to) the regular number, I wait forever and get someone on the other side of the world who can’t help. This is for Latitudes and Optiplexes, and happens *without fail*.

  72. redstorm986 says:

    Firstly, if they are giving your 3 subsequent models that are increasing in cost for free when they don’t have to under the terms of the warranty you are getting so much more than most people do. Dells sucks as a corporation as I learned today(I’m one of those kiosk folks getting laid off with no notice). I’m not justifying the situation but you faired better than most.

  73. GrandizerGo says:

    I have had a Inspiron 8000 for 6 years this March, it needed the following…

    Not including the recall on the power cords..

    3 months in, replaced dvd/CDRW unit, self replaced,
    3 years in, (within warranty by 2 months) overheating problems, Dell tech said new fans, Actual Tech who cane and replaced fans said it was the MB… And he would be back the following week… He was right and he was…
    Now the power socket was just fixed by a tech friend, after buying a new MB to replace the one that wouldn’t charge the batteries, (NEWER more powerful batteries from Ebay) new MB was dog slow, repaired the old MB and replaced it. Working fine, heat is still higher than I like though… Will replace the heat sink in the next few days…
    I have had ~12 Dells, and they have ALL lasted more than double the warranty.
    I will always suggest Dell to people when they ask.

  74. AndrewJC says:

    @headon:
    I’m a computer expert as well, and as soon as you can give me a good place to buy parts for and build a suitable, powerful LAPTOP, I’ll eat my hat. Don’t think I haven’t looked, either. There are some places you can go to build your own laptop, but none of them really work very well and inevitably they cost more and have less support than a comparable laptop from a major brand.

    It’s hardly the same as building a gaming PC on your own.

  75. Sixxtwo says:

    Pinmodded 2.13Ghz-PM Dell 9300 W/ 6800go. Best laptop I have ever had.

    Replaceable EVERYTHING (Video (7900GTX!), CPU, LCD, Chassis parts from the XPS Gen2 Series, HDD, bla bla.) I really dont see how he could have so many problems w/ so many parts in so many computers.

    and as for laptop video drivers….screw waiting for dell to come out w/ new drivers. [www.laptopvideo2go.com]

    6

  76. juanguapo says:

    I’ve never owned a Dell but I’ve either heard people say they are either fantastic or horrible, very little in-between.

    I had excellent service w/ HP to the point where they offered me a full refund on a machine I bought 6mo ago….why? Vista.

  77. domino_angel says:

    Actually, The experience that my boyfriend is having as we speak is convincing me that Dell may not be such a good choice. He emailed back and forth with tech support for a three weeks, then the support guy (an indian- living in india) abruptly stopped replying. My BF has been true to his nature- nothing but polite this whole time. He then called Dell tech support (which seems to have at least one branch in the USA) and spent four hours on the phone. That girl could not make any progress and suggested sending another new hard drive. This is when he finally lost it. She directed him to customer service, who then told him he was entitled to someone coming to physically look at it…which was what he has been asking for all along.

  78. coold8 says:

    his is a little ridiculous get a refund, and quit bothering dell!

  79. Antonio246 says:

    Dell is not the company it once was. The support team is a bunch Mickey Mouse script readers that cannot help outside of the designated realm of what they are told to do. Dell sold me an inferior product with an assortment of issues and could not resolve any of them. I even offered to return the laptop in exchange for a more expensive model. Customer satisfaction is no longer on their agenda…it’s only about making the sale. Ethan, I feel your pain. Go get yourself a Mac and it will all feel better.