Drunk Dell Tech Repairs Laptop With Hammer

A boozy Dell tech tried to repair the headphone jack on Andrea’s Inspiron 9100 with a hammer. Andrea’s sense of propriety kept her quiet when Joel arrived reeking of booze and cigarettes, and neither she nor her boyfriend spoke up when he started wielding a hammer to install parts that wouldn’t fit onto the motherboard. Joel ended up cracking the case and putting nail holes through the wrist pad. When he left, Andrea called Dell to complain and asked for a new tech. Who did Dell dispatch? Joel!

Andrea eventually shipped the laptop to Dell so they could repair Joel’s damage. Sadly, they forgot to repair her headphone jack.

Andrea writes:

I was just reading the story about the pubic hair laptop, and I have my own story about Dell!

Since I bought my Dell Inspiron 9100 in fall 2004, it has had so many problems, making my extended accident insurance totally worthwhile! My charger died after about a year, they replaced it after 3 hours on the phone, and that one died shortly after, which was also replaced. I reformatted the summer after college, and my Wifi quit working. I spent hours on the phone with a multitude of different techs and the last one realized the cd they’d sent me wasn’t for a different wireless card. But the worst thing to go wrong was my computer’s fans. Being an overzealous first-time computer buyer, I didn’t realize what a GIANT this laptop is. After just a few minutes on, it heats up fiery-hot and kicks on the jet-engine fans. And after a few months, the headphone jack attached to one of the scorching fans stopped working.

So I called Dell. Over, and over, and over. Keep in mind this was in 2005. Every tech had their own idea what to do, and many of them spoke almost no English, so it usually took at least 2 hours just to explain what was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, they were courteous and they wanted to help, but they just couldn’t understand me. Finally, in fall 2006, someone decided to do something about it. They offered to send someone out to replace my motherboard, or ship it off to Dell somewhere. I couldn’t afford to not have my computer for a week, so I opted for the Dell technician. Oh jeez was I stupid.

The next day, a gentleman named Joel called to schedule my appointment. He arrived at the scheduled time and went to work. I was alarmed by the overwhelming scent of ALCOHOL and cigarettes on him, but too polite to say anything, I let him do it. Except, he forgot his tools in the truck. He returned 5 minutes later reeking more strongly, but ready to fix my computer. I watched him take out all the parts, gently. My IT boyfriend came over around then, and we sat watching videos and watching Joel. After removing my motherboard, he started replacing parts. Except, they didn’t fit. What to do?? GET OUT A HAMMER AND HAMMER IT BACK IN!!?? Oh yes, he did. With my LCD monitor attached.

When completed, there were a few problems. The frame around my monitor was cracked through, and there were 2 nail holes coming up through the wrist rest area and frame of the keyboard. I pointed them out to Joel [the destroyer] and he said ‘Yeah, I thought that was weird when I got here’. He asked if it was working now and I said yes(like I was going to say no and have him touch my poor laptop again!) When I lift up my laptop, there was a neat little pile of the bits of plastic he had broken off.

I called Dell right after this and the tech I got was pretty indifferent. After 3 hours, they said they’d send out a different Dell Service Technician to fix the problem. Guess who called? You’re right, JOEL! I didn’t answer his call. So I called Dell again, and said no, not Joel. I had to explain the damage to this technician too, which despite showing them pictures still took 3 more hours, they put in another service order. It was Joel, AGAIN! This time, he showed up AT MY HOUSE, WITHOUT AN APPOINTMENT. He called me 5 times that day, each time leaving angrier and angrier messages about where am I? The only reason I didn’t call the cops was because I had just moved and this creepy freaking guy outside my house all day didn’t know that I no longer lived there. He had been calling me on his cell phone, so I had no idea what company he worked for or what I was supposed to do. I asked Dell. They told me if I wanted someone else, I would have to call the company. So I did. I complained about him and demanded another technician. And they said he is the only Tech in the area, so it’s him or nothing. So I decided maybe losing my laptop for a week wouldn’t be the worst thing ever. I am still pissed that his company felt too good to give me an apology. If you live in Madison, WI, beware of JOEL!!

Dell shipped it out and back in 4 days to replace the cracked frame, nailed wrist rest and keyboard frame, and motherboard. Keep in mind the WHOLE POINT was to fix my HEADPHONE JACK. Everything came back all pretty except the jack was STILL BROKEN. AND the computer overheats and shuts down now! I called Dell, again. They stayed on the line with me for hours AGAIN. And FINALLY I got someone who knew something about my laptop!!! Dana shipped me a replacement fan, which was also a replacement headphone jack, and TADA! After 2 years, my headphone jack worked! Now, if my warranty hadn’t expired, I could get my computer to stop trying to start on fire, and then shut down! It is completely worthless if I want to use it for longer than 5 minutes.

I attached 3 of the most obvious photos of what was damaged when he hammered my computer. The first is of the cracked LCD frame, the 2nd the weird dent from hammering a screw into the wrist rest, and the 3rd the completely drilled through keyboard frame. And in Dell’s defense, my boyfriend got me a Latitude C640 from 2002 they were throwing out at his work and it’s wonderful. It is portable, reasonably fast, and doesn’t overheat, even after 6 years of use.

It is amazing how good it feels to vent that to someone who could benefit from my experience! Thanks for this opportunity, Consumerist!

http://consumermediallc.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/cracked_screen-thumb.jpg?w=494&h=658

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. chuloallen says:

    well there is your problem.. you had quicktime installed!

    why is a story from 2006 posted any way? no new news?

  2. Tzepish says:

    @chuloallen: Maybe the guy just discovered Consumerist recently and felt he had to share his story. I doubt Consumerist holds onto years-old stories to fill in slow news days.

  3. Pylon83 says:

    Well, you can only feel so bad for someone who doesn’t speak up when a tech takes a HAMMER to their computer. Where was this “IT” Boyfriend while this was going on? I can’t think of ANY computer repair that requires a hammer.

  4. mikemar42 says:

    Why the fuck would you let him in your house……

  5. nyaz says:

    The sad thing is Dell outsources these jobs to various companies. I was gonna join the company, except $35 a job no matter how long it takes me, and .30 cents a mile, after 15 miles between each job didn’t seem worth it.

  6. chuloallen says:

    @Pylon83: Dell headphone repair ;)

  7. Wreckoner says:

    It’s from 2006?

    When my old Dell kept overheating, I propped it up on my desk and put a desk fan next to it. Problem solved. It wasn’t really portable, but I dealt (I have since rid myself of said laptop for a newer, shinier one).

    Who the hell would let someone who reeks of booze repair their system? I mean, Dell is fully responsible for this and for getting this guy off of the tech route…but sometimes a consumer needs to have discretion. Especially if he takes out a hammer?!

    And I agree with above commenter…where the heck was “IT Boyfriend”? It seems like there was ABSOLUTELY no reason for him to even be mentioned, since he didn’t do anything at all (I thought he would save the day, but he failed).

  8. gregcuc says:

    You should find out which company Joel works for and call up his manager. I complained to Banctec once about a Dell tech fixing my laptop. I complained that the guy was not very gentle with the parts and didn’t even use any static protection. The jerk manager called up with an attitude asking what was wrong, but seemed to care once i told him the story. Either way its worth a try.

  9. erica.blog says:

    Have pity on poor Joel. When you’re drunk, it’s hard to distinguish between a hammer and a wee little screwdriver.

    Seriously, though, his behavior was wrong on so many levels, and Dell’s lack of motivation to make up for it (like, I dunno, firing a drunk tech who uses a hammer?) is disturbing.

  10. ivanthepig says:

    I’ve had my fair share of bad experiences with Dell to the point where I wouldn’t ever buy a computer from them again. Ever. I got a crappy 1.8Ghz Compaq laptop from Frys, uninstalled Vista, installed Ubuntu and it’s chuggin’ along like the little champ that it is. 3 years now, no issues. Except the battery died once, but after a 10 minute call to HP’s tech support – a new one was on the way.

  11. christoj879 says:

    I work for one of the third-party contractors, and there’s really no verification involved. “Can you fix x?” Yes, yes I can. “OK, we’re e-mailing the work order.” No employment process, none of the formalities, just get someone out so they can meet their SLA time.

    The other thing that exacerbates it is that these are usually flat-rate jobs. At $50-$60 a job, you try to work as fast as possible, and mistakes happen. I’ve even read some postings by Dell on Monster and they only want to pay $35 a call, scary. Before you start complaining, that’s a flat rate from which you have to pay your taxes, gas and whatever is left is yours.

  12. MrEvil says:

    @nyaz: I make more money doing flat rate break/fix calls for Dell than I did at my last full time job making $12 an hour. I also work at most 30 hours a week. Somtimes more during the winter. 80% of the time your calls will not take more than 40 minutes to complete. And for every call you do get that takes longer than 40 minutes you get 3 or 4 easy calls that take no time flat.

  13. MrEvil says:

    I’m starting to think that I’m the youngest guy doing this work and the only non-smoker. The other guys that do the in-home stuff with me both smoke.

    The only time I’ll EVER show up to someone’s house smelling like smoke is if my last customer smoked. Its either the tobacco tar ridden dirt inside their PC. Or because they lit up right next to me.

  14. TheDude06 says:

    Shit! im glad i read the article! I live in madison, and never would have known if i hadnt read the entire original submission.

  15. MelL says:

    @Pylon83: Yeah, let’s confront the drunk guy who also happens to have a hammer.

  16. dweebster says:

    Headline should read:

    Smashed Dell tech smashes Dell laptop.

  17. @mikemar42: Sometimes, people have to walk by you before you can smell the booze. Maybe she was upwind of him?

  18. chuloallen says:

    @dweebster: Hammered Dell Tech Hammers Dell Tech(nology)

  19. bohemian says:

    Dell and quite a few other companies outsource their onsite tech and some hand it off to someplace that then hands it off to a tech. There is zero oversight on who gets hired. There is little or no screening on skills or who these people are. You could get a moron or a serial killer knocking on your door. They also pay them peanuts.
    You better off establishing some sort of business relationship with a local tech by word of mouth or a good local shop if there is one. Or ship your laptop in for service.

  20. Buran says:

    @chuloallen: Do we HAVE to have Mac vs. PC fights every time someone has a computer problem?

  21. k6richar says:

    @Buran: He didn’t say anything about mac vs pc.
    Are you trolling for an argument?

  22. StevieD says:

    @mikemar42:

    Ditto

    BTW it is a lot easier to banish somebody from your house the moment they arrive and complain to the company regarding the reasons you banished the employee then it is to wait until after the work is done and then complain.

    Try it sometimes. Just say he behaved drunk and smelled of beer and you refused to let him come into your home. For most businesses that have traveling employees or contract workers the refusal to allow the employee to work because of alcohol will nearly always result in immediate dismissal of the employee as the risk of liability is far to great to the business. Those that keep the employee will have him/her go pee in a cup to prove he/she is sober.

    Complaining AFTERwards just sounds like a whinny customer and peeing in the cup is not going to be conclusive.

  23. djanes1 says:

    Joel sounds pretty awesome.

    Btw, just get a Mac!

  24. Pro-Pain says:

    This is so stupid it’s almost laughable. Joel, should join the ranks of the unemployed. Nice to know he cares about his job. Dell sucks. Oh and Mac’s make good SECOND computers.

  25. LUV2CattleCall says:

    I’m even more concerned that this drunk d-bag was driving while intoxicated….

  26. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    @LUV2CattleCall:
    Agreed. I don’t understand why she didn’t call the cops, “I had just moved and this creepy freaking guy outside my house all day didn’t know that I no longer lived there.”??

    DWI, Harrasment, property damage. Pretty cut and dry to me.

  27. grep says:

    You should have demanded a new laptop shipped out immediately. I don’t let companies take advantage of me like this, especially Dell.

    Word of the wise, anyone who ever is treated in such a way whether it’s incompetent techs on the phone or a harrasing tech in person, call Dell up and don’t back down till you get what you want.

  28. TheJollyGreenGiant says:

    Thats not a nail hole.
    Thats what happens when you use a screw thats too long.

  29. deedrit says:

    Out of the millions of computers and end users Dell has, I wonder what the real percentage of cases like this there are.

    And we’re only talking about laptops here. I’ve heard far worse and costly horror stories out of the contruction industry.

  30. Gomerboy says:

    No joke, I live in Madison, and had a motherboard replaced on my Dell laptop about the same time frame (about a year ago). I have no idea what the tech’s name was, but if he was the only one in the area,

    (dun dun dunnnn…)

    IT HAD TO BE JOEL!

    The repair went fine, though, no nail holes that I could see. Maybe he was only slightly drunk that day.

  31. SCROTUS says:

    Here’s my ode to Dell:

    Blue Screen, you left me stranded at home
    Without the doc that I wrote
    Without a dock for my boat

    But suddenly there appeared before me
    A tech named joel who reeked and stammered
    And when he left my laptop too was hammered

  32. gomakemeasandwich says:

    I’m not even going to comment on the story, because it’s just nuts, and anyone who just watches while a drunk tech hammers away (literally) at their computer has issues. Then again, tal is cheap right? Instead I’ll address Dell in general.

    In short, Dell computers are junk. EVERYONE I know with a Dell has had some type of problem with them, including one of my Mom’s friends whose Dell I had to fix one time, and my Grandfather who bought a crappy Dell that runs XP so slowly that he actually called the tech line (where he got a heavily accented Indian (no offense to Indians, but no matter where you come from, we need to understand what you’re saying)) and received the bad news that nothing was actually wrong with it was and it was just junk (in so many words).

    I swear to God, my Emachines (the butt of many jokes from my friends) that I bought in 2001 with an 800mhz Celeron processor runs XP faster than his computer. It’s kind of sad actually. Anyway, from my personal experience and horror stories that I’ve heard about Dell, I will never, ever buy a Dell. I suggest you do the same.

  33. Pro-Pain says:

    @gomakemeasandwich – brilliantly stated.

  34. TechnoDestructo says:

    If your laptop is overheating, either take your pants off or wear shorts or a short skirt. Set the laptop on your lap, and let your bloodstream be its liquid cooling system.

  35. StellaSquash says:

    I could have saved her much grief and fixed her problem in five minutes.

    First, ditch dumbass boyfriend. Clearly he’s a highly incompetent IT tech and he’s blind and probably into freaky laptop abuse.

    Second, dump laptop in nearest trash can. It’s a Dell for crying out loud.

    Pfff.. she’d probably just go to Best Buy and by a new one.

  36. fjordtjie says:

    Ok, so here are some responses as to why I am not a moron.

    Before responses to responses, I meant to say “the cd they’d sent me WAS for a different wireless card” in case someone wanted to judge me for bad incorrect grammar too.

    1. I just got a Consumerist account this week, and it was written like 4 days ago. They haven’t been holding it, it’s my fault.

    2. I am 5’2” and weigh 100 pounds and at that point, I lived alone. He was at least a foot taller, and weighed probably 3 times as much–if you saw the man, you’d understand why I didn’t want to piss him off by telling him to leave. I didn’t have time to say anything before he whooshed by me into my apartment. I didn’t smell the alcohol until he was already inside my apartment. I could have tried when he returned from ‘getting his tools’ but it didn’t seem safe for me to confront a man three times my size whom I believe to be intoxicated. I figured my best option was to let him do whatever, and have dell replace whatever he breaks, and get him out of my apartment as soon as possible. I was afraid what would happen, outside of him just getting mad and yelling at me or storming out, which I can deal with. I was afraid for my safety.

    In regard to the hammering, seriously–do you think I expected it AND would it be wise to interrupt someone you’re sure now is intoxicated and wielding a hammer??!!

    3. My boyfriend was mentioned because I was making sure hammering was abnormal, which I didn’t know for sure, as I know nothing about computer repair. He arrived during the hammering, so it was too late to stop him. Also, if say, Joel, found this story and decided to try to sue for defamation of character, it is also so that they know I have a witness to his shenanigans.

    5. I DID call his company to file a complaint about Joel, in addition to the one to Dell, but neither company did a damn thing about it.

    6. I didn’t call the cops because I was scared. I should have. But sometimes fear clouds good judgement. I should have asked him to leave, I should have called the cops. Thanks Captian Obvious.

    7. I haven’t used my laptop on my lap in years. It overheats next to an open window in the middle of winter so although the advice with the fan is reasonable for most laptops, this one is a goner.

    8. The picture of the screw coming up through the keyboard frame wasn’t posted. That is the most prominent, and the dimple in the wrist rest is where a screw of the correct size was hammered into the plastic but didn’t break through.

    8. I WILL get a Mac next time, this is ridiculous

  37. heavylee-again says:

    I see your problem: you’re using a Norton product.

  38. TechnoDestructo says:

    @StellaSquash:

    He may be a highly competent IT tech, but he isn’t DELL’S highly competent IT tech, which means they probably don’t trust him to work on the thing while it is under warranty.

  39. fjordtjie says:

    I’ve got a few responses:

    1. I submitted this last week, so it’s my fault, not Consumerist’s, that it’s an old story.

    2. I am 5’2”, weigh 100 pounds, and I lived alone. It is hard to describe Joel, but bohemian’s ‘serial killer’ is pretty close, and he was about 3 times my size. I didn’t ask him to leave because he was scary and because I thought he was intoxicated–it was frightening! I decided to sacrifice my laptop for my own safety.

    In response to stopping him when he started hammering, was I supposed to foresee it? And when he started how dumb would I be to piss off an intoxicated hammer-wielding man? I think not saying anything was the safest thing to do.

    3. I mentioned my boyfriend because I know nothing about computer repair and was making sure hammering was abnormal, which I assumed it was. The hammering had begun before he arrived, so it was too late anyway. I was also showing, should Joel find this and try to sue me for defamation, that I had a witness to his shenanigans.

    4. I should have called the police. But fear sometimes clouds good judgement. I should have called when he hammered my computer, I should have called when he sat outside of my former aparatment. Thanks, Captain Obvious.

    5. I did call Joel’s company to file a complaint about him, along with the multiple ones to Dell, but neither company did a damn thing about it.

    7. I haven’t used my laptop on my lap since the first day. Even when used next to an open window in the middle of winter, it still overheats. The fan idea would work for most computers, but mine’s a goner.

    8. When I bought the laptop it was highly ranked in Consumer Reports, which is the best advice I could get at the time. I never bought nor will ever buy a computer at Best Buy. So thanks for the insult, it was grade A.

    9. The picture of my keyboard frame wasn’t posted, which showed it coming all the way through. The dimple on my wrist rest, TheJollyGreenGiant, is from a correctly-sized screw being hammered into the thick plastic.

    10. I WILL get a Mac next time.

  40. fjordtjie says:

    I’ve got a few responses:

    1. I submitted this last week, so it’s my fault, not Consumerist’s, that it’s an old story.

    2. I am 5’2”, weigh 100 pounds, and I lived alone. It is hard to describe Joel, but bohemian’s ‘serial killer’ is pretty close, and he was about 3 times my size. I didn’t ask him to leave because he was big and scary, and because I thought he was intoxicated–it was frightening! I decided to sacrifice my laptop for my own safety.

    In response to stopping him when he started hammering, was I supposed to foresee it? And when he started how dumb would I be to piss off an intoxicated hammer-wielding man? I think not saying anything was the safest thing to do.

    3. I mentioned my boyfriend because I was I know nothing about computer repair and was making sure hammering was abnormal, which I assumed it was. The hammering had begun before he arrived, so it was too late anyway. I was also showing, should Joel find this and try to sue me for defamation, that I had a witness to his shenanigans.

    4. I should have called the police. But fear sometimes clouds good judgement. I should have called when he hammered my computer, I should have called when he sat outside of my former aparatment. Thanks, Captain Obvious.

    5. I did call Joel’s company to file a complaint about him, along with the multiple ones to Dell, but neither company did a damn thing about it.

    7. I haven’t used my laptop on my lap since the first day. Even when used next to an open window in the middle of winter, it still overheats. The fan would work for most computers, but mine’s a goner.

    8. I never bought a computer at Best Buy. When I bought the laptop it was highly ranked in Consumer Reports, which is the best advice I could get at the time. So thanks for the insult.

    9. The picture of my keyboard frame wasn’t posted, which showed it coming all the way through. The dimple on my wrist rest, TheJollyGreenGiant, is from a correctly-sized screw being hammered into the thick plastic.

    10. I WILL get a Mac next time.

  41. fjordtjie says:

    @TechnoDestructo: exactly!

  42. I’m reading this to my dad and he can’t believe this guy was’nt fired the next day. He recently retired after being a Dell service tech for 3yrs. OMG, the STORIES he has about customers, phone support and management. Very sad.

  43. fjordtjie says:

    …and i hit submit, without knowing it had actually submitted, tried writing it again, and here it is written 3 times. GREAT.

  44. He just told me about one incident involving a church school. He was done in the computer lab and called the IT manager to let him know that he wrapped it up for the day. The IT managers response?: “Um, don’t bother coming back”. My dad went back to the front office on his way to the truck. He stopped in the office and gave his card to the IT manager and advised him to take this up with his (my dad’s manager). Turns out some mousy looking secretary complained about my dad. Keep in mind my dad was working in another BUILDING working on a bunch of laptops. What was her specific complaint? Nothing. Well, as my dad drove away (slowly shaking his head in amazement) his cell rang as the SAME IT manager called my dad and sheepishly said: “Sorry about that…you can come back”. No explaination. And no apology.

  45. Lambasted says:

    @fjordtjie: I don’t want to blame the victim but regardless of his size, as a grown adult you have to stand up for yourself. Now, if you told him to leave or to stop hammering and THEN he became angry or irritated, then your line of reasoning of being a small woman would make sense to me. I am a small, 5’3 woman myself. There is no way I would stand idly by and watch someone swing away at my computer.

    Actually, last week I had two TV (male) repairmen come to my place to fix my brand new Samsung LCD HDTV (be a little leery when you buy one). Their idea of a suitable workbench was my glass-inlaid coffetable.

    As I watched them slowly walk to my coffeetable carrying my rather HEAVY TV, it took a second for it to register on me that they were really going to lay the TV down on the glass to work on it.

    While I didn’t verbalize it in quite the same way, my facial expression and my immediate dashed over to stop them said very clearly, “OH, HELL NO!”

    Any fool (except them) could see what the likely outcome would be. They would have very happily whistled while they worked…banging on my TV…until the weight of the TV and vibrations of their actions shattered the glass into a million pieces. Thankfully, it is not in my nature to allow something like that to happen.

    The fact that they were two strange men and I was one lone woman didn’t cause me to hesitate when I very firmly told them in no uncertain terms that they were not going to put the TV on the table. Nor did I waiver when one of them tried to convince me that the glass would be okay and I was almost silly for being too overly cautious. (Typical male response)

    Whatever. This silly, overly cautious woman likes her coffeetable. If two big, strong man are too dumb to realize the error of their ways, I am more than happy to show it to them. They can attempt to prove how right they are on their own coffeetable not mine.

  46. Kloud says:

    Am I the only one who noticed that the Recycle Bin has “Norton” in the title?

  47. unklegwar says:

    Now why wasn’t this guy turned away at the door? She lets a drunk guy in, watches him take out the hammer and “complete” his repairs, THEN calls to complain? Sounds like she was fishing for a “free upgrade”.

    Definitely worthy of a Blame the consumer component.

  48. Phreggs says:

    Cant really blame the lass for being afraid of someone not only bigger than her, but reaking of alcohol. Honestly, if you met said guy would you be on the ball about telling him what to, and not to do?

    Besides that, the lass should actually be covered under Dell for a heatsink/fan/processor/heatsink compound, if I remember correctly that was one of 4 systems that had known overheating issues. If it is, its covered outside of warranty, and was entered in as a Dell knowledge base document, for said issue with above resolution.

    When I worked at Dell, we had so many reports of on-site abuse on systems. Working with said company is nigh-impossible because they either wont pick up the phone, or will give the run around of so and so will call you back and speak with you. Even when letting them know that an employee from Dell was making the call, they would treat it all the same. (provided Dell badge number). They just do not care.

    In all honesty, the depot service is better, but you will still see reports from depot services either not fixing your problem, or causing more issues. A lot of times it will actually be from inaccurate case notes taken from the support phone call, or the wrong resolution put fourth by the tech you speak with. Depot Techs do not diagnose an issue, unless the system either doesnt boot, doesnt post, or has unknown issues. And unless specified with the resolution (ie, what needs to be replaced/fixed) they normally will NOT fix your issue.

    Good luck though on being able to see said case notes, as none of the support techs have to, or will, give out said case notes.

    Knowing all this, I now own my second Dell Laptop (Inspirion 1501*sold to friend* and now own a Inspiron 1520*). Both have caused no issues. The horror stories that come into light are normally one in hundreds of thousands of positive experiences.

  49. e.varden says:

    unklegar:

    Did you read the fucking post(s)?

    At all?

  50. rmerts says:

    Andrea,

    I’m glad your boyfriend was able to get you a useable notebook. If you absolutely need to use your now destroyed one, and this will help preserve your “new” (used) one too, you can look into one of the USB powered “laptop cooler/stands”. The powered ones employ one or more low-voltage fans to move air under the notebook and they *should* help keep it cooler at least for a bit. There are “passive” units that attempt to “wick” away heat, but with a malfunctioning fan I doubt they will work successfully for you.

    I have had a couple of strange encounters with Dell service technicians myself. Nothing like the horror story you wrote of. Both were training “new-hires” and I guess they were trying to show off their level (lack of) technical prowess – one actually asked what power my magnetic screw-driver was; as he powerfully pulled the laptop case apart to replace a mainboard before removing that last screw (sad). It’s not like I am using an electromagnet removed from a dead MRI machine; just a little magnetic screw-driver bought at the local Lowes; the kind with replacement heads for slotted, torx and phillips screws. He looked positively dumbfounded when I said, “one string enough to hold onto scrwes and weak enough to not damage computers.”

    I also feel for you regarding trying to explain your trouble(s) to someone from India/Pakistan/Thailand/wherever that obviously speaks English as their 3rd or 4th language while following a carefully scripted troubleshooting manual written by someone with no “real-world” repair experience.