Dell Takes Four Months To Replace Broken Trackpad

The trackpad on Jim’s Dell laptop hasn’t worked since September despite a new motherboard, new hard drive, and four replacement trackpads. One Dell technician managed to dent the laptop’s speaker grill. Another, dispatched to replace the hard drive, brought a drive that was slower than the model in Jim’s laptop. Dell promised to send the speedier drive, but instead they sent a box labeled “hard drive” containing only a screwdriver.

Jim sent us his letter to Dell’s CEO:

Dear Mr. Michael Dell,

I bought one of your Dell XPS M1530 Laptops on September 02, 2008 and received it around September 19th, 2008. From the day I opened it, I had an intermittent problem where the mouse button click would not register when pressed and I would have to go back and press it again, sometimes 3 times, before it would register. I put up with it for a couple weeks because the computer was brand new and I needed it for school starting at the end of September. But, after a couple of weeks, I couldn’t take it anymore. I called into your technical support line for the first of many calls.

Since I bought this system, I have had the touchpad replaced 4 times. I even sent it down to the repair facility in Texas at one point and was without it for 10 days. All they did was to replace the touchpad again. I had also requested that the speaker cover be replaced while the computer was down in Texas, as it had been damaged by the technician who replaced the first touchpad.

It only took 5 minutes of tinkering with the computer to find that the mouse click problem still existed on my unit, and to notice that the speaker cover had still not been replaced. I called XPS technical support again, and they decided that, after replacing 3 touchpads, perhaps a change of the motherboard, hard drive, and another touchpad was in order. The “next day” delivery of parts was delayed, so it took 5 days to get a technician out to my house to replace these parts. This technician came to replace parts on New Years Eve, December 31st, 2008.

There was one problem when the technician came, however. Dell had sent the wrong hard drive. I purchased a Seagate 7200rpm, 320gb hard drive, but Dell sent a 5400rpm, 320gb Toshiba hard drive. I instructed the technician not to install the incorrect hard drive and promptly called XPS support. After 90 minutes on the phone, I finally spoke to a supervisor who promised to send me the correct hard drive overnight so that I could have the computer up and running before i started school again, which is why I purchased the computer to begin with.

I recieved the package today, January 2nd, 2009, from FedEx at 3:00pm. However, the only thing in the “hard drive” box was a screwdriver. I thought this was some kind of joke, and was completely infuriated that a mistake had been made again. I called tecnical support again. I am still on the phone with technical support, an hour later, and I cannot find anyone who is willing to do anything more than “try to send me the correct hard drive again.”

This situation is absolutely unacceptable. It has taken Dell 3 months of troubleshooting, and my computer is still not fixed. Furthermore, I am through with all the issues. I would like my computer replaced, ASAP, so that it can be used for school as it was intended. If this cannot be done, then I would like my money refunded and I will send this computer back to Dell so that I can go buy an HP.

This is the first Dell product I have ever purchased, and it has been a horrible experience. No one in Technical Support, or Customer Care seems to be authorized to replace my computer since it is currently outside the 31 day replacement period. However, it is not my fault that it has taken Dell 3 months to resolve an issue; one that is still ongoing. The problem exhibited itself inside the 31 day period, and since Dell has been unable to resolve it to this day, I think that a new computer or a return of my money is warranted. I am completely flabbergasted that a major computer manufacturer could let issues such as these get out of hand for so long. At this point, I definitely will never be buying a Dell product again, and in this internet age, many more people have and will hear my complaints birthed out of experience.

Since there seems to be no one else who can help me get my problem reserved, I am hoping that you can. I obtained your email address from Consumerist.com. Thank you for your time.

Please Dell, fix Jim’s trackpad already!

(Photo: yoshiffles)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Kevin Carlyle says:

    Dell’s wouldn’t give support on a business machine at the place I work because we didn’t know the exact name of the person who bought it. it’s a business machine, it’s not purchased by an individual!

    We switched to HP. Their support isn’t great but at least they give support.

    • anonymous001 says:

      @Kevin Carlyle: Really? I’ve had no trouble at all with HP. I bought a Compaq laptop circa 2005 (just before HP tookover) that needed a new hard drive just before warranty period expired. Granted, initially on the phone I was routed through India, but eventually a helpful US based technician told me it was probably my hard drive. Call was >45 min. They were nice enough to overnight a prepaid (overnight) FedEx box to my home; none of that “did you save the box” crap. Turn around was ~3 days.

      Fujitsu, on the other hand, is a nightmare. I had to find a certified repair center in my city. The one I took it to (apparently there are only two in my city w/ >2 mil people in it) took 2 days to diagnose the system, then another few days to order the parts (hard drive again) from Fujitsu and install. Turn around on this one was ~10 days. Then, it broke 3 mos. later out of warranty, the flimsy piece of crap.

    • XTC46 says:

      @Kevin Carlyle: I have always had great business support from dell. I work for a company that does small business IT consulting so I contact dell for many of my customers on a regular basis. I can usually get parts over nighted when needed and am rarely given any hassle about it.

      • SacredByte says:

        @xtc46: I too have had to call Dell support for business machines, and in the last year the only time a call too more than 20 minutes was when I called while the call center was upgrading the software the support agents use to look up parts.

        I’ve only also only ever had one the wrong/missing parts (instead of the right ones) shipped once, and a 10 minute call rectified that.

        I’ve never had techs give me hassle about my diagnosis either — I just tell them my symptoms, and what I’ve done to diagnose the problem and they agree on the issue and dispatch parts.

        At this point, my favorite time to call support is around 00:45-01:30 EST.

  2. chatterboxwriting says:

    I just bought a new Dell Inspiron. The system is fine, but the adapter just falls out of the jack. They want to replace my system since it is under warranty (they say it must have been damaged during shipping), but I use it for business every day and can’t be without a computer. The support rep said they’d be able to send me the new one and let me send this one back after I receive it, but that doesn’t sound right to me. If they offer again, I’ll take them up on it though.

    • MrEvil says:

      @chatterboxwriting: Any time Dell replaces a system it’s done on a Hot-swap basis. They send you the new system while you keep your old one. If you don’t return the old system then you get sent to collections.

      • SacredByte says:

        @MrEvil: Yup, I can confirm that this is how it happened with *both* system exchanges I have had. Both were on one service contract too…

        Original system was a 4150 — after a few depot returns it came back displaying all wonky (likely an issue with the display cable), so called up support, and it got escalated due to having just been at the depot (read: out of my hands for three weeks), and it shouldn’t need to go back right away.

        They worked out a system exchange, and shipped me a 4150 with a faster processor, more memory, more VRAM, and a larger hard drive. I shipped back the old one in the box the new one came in.

        Second time, the second system came back from the depot (motherboard replacement among other components), and right out of the box it was apparent that someone at the depot had screwed up — the bottom access panel was from another user’s system (I could tell because of the sticker with that person’s name and address, along with the lack of paint). Having no other computer, I set about doing a fresh windows install. Over the next three days, more parts failed until at fewer than 72 hours out of the box it wouldn’t boot.

        The above got me a system exchange to a 600M with a slower (frequency not performance–Pentium M > Pentium 4m) processor, better video card, same amount of RAM, and larger HDD. Again, it came in the box I was to ship the old one back in. That lasted me (albeit with a few motherboard replacements) until I spilled tea on it a few months out of warranty…

        I’m currently using a D600 which I picked up on EBay (after I killed the last one and needed a compatible system with haste), and in the last year I’ve only had to replace the motherboard twice — once because of a heat-related failure, and again a month later because of a bad EEPROM (Never seen that issue before or since on any of the thousands of mostly DELL computers I’ve used). It’s been rock solid (except for hard drives — I go through 2.5″ HDD’s like Hummers go through gasoline) ever since….

    • ColoradoShark says:

      @chatterboxwriting: A cautionary tale for you. What would happen if the hard drive completely crapped out or your computer was stolen? Please, please back up your data so it can be restored to some other computer. Someday you will thank me.

  3. sleze69 says:

    Latitude, Latitude, Latitude. Always buy a Latitude from Dell Small Business or above. They are OK for gaming and great for reliability/durability. Also going with Small Business gets you AMERICAN tech support.

    Dell’s non-business computers/laptops/service have definately dropped in quality but their business laptops are a very solid investment overall.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @sleze69: i’m going to agree on this one. dell business computers are much better than their home counterparts (i’m on a beefed up optiplex i salvaged from work right now) & even better than most other consumer brands.

      however, i’ve noticed a definite change in attitude since they split their divisions (when was that…2007?) – getting product support from the business division has been more difficult lately.

      • SacredByte says:

        @mac-phisto: I can’t recall ever having a problem, but the easiest call I’ve ever made to Dell was a 17m 10s call starting at 00:45 EST on a Monday — I called about a bad motherboard/bad RAM, and parts shipped Tuesday morning and were in my hands before noon on Wednesday. This was back around April of last year…

        Timewise, my calls to DELL business support generally last less than 20 minutes, and I haven’t had a support agent have a problem with me installing parts yet — one made sure to remind me that by doing that I accept liability for the work, but other than that….

    • techgod says:

      @sleze69: Whenever I am asked by somebody to build a computer i recommend the business class computers, they are always better, have American support and better response times. I prefer them over the home series of products. lately i have been offering the Vostro Minis for $450 with 20″ monitor and the business support, it is well worth it.

  4. jmndos says:

    Dell is a junkputer, we have them at work and they break CONSTANTLY.
    They have the crummiest components, well, except some of the PSUs are from PC Power and Cooling.

    The FoxConn motherboards are complete trash as the bios is specifically made to brick after a non-windows installation, well for some of the computers anyways.
    There was actually an article about this on digg.

    We used to have IBM, but since Lenovo bought them, we had to switch, with the US govt and the Chinese and whatnot… Cancelling all thinkpad and thinkcenter orders.

    We still buy IBM server and they are never down. We have not had failures, other than hard drive.

    You should look into the lenovo hardware. I assume their support is still competent, since they had a huge blow for being a Chinese company and all the orders canceled, they wanna keep as many customers as possible.

    Too bad, though. I with IBM would buy lenovo or buy back the thinkpad brand and just redesign the sales model. Their major problem was that they pulled out of retail and a lot of people buy retail, like preconfig models that are shipped to stores.

    I remember this one laptop that died completely, a T42 I believe. The turnaround for this thing was 48 hours, including shipping. Got a working machine on day 3, around noon.

    Apple would be good if they picked up the slack and treated their customers right….with all the things I read on consumerist and whatnot about apple.

    • Ouze says:

      @jmndos: “The FoxConn motherboards are complete trash as the bios is specifically made to brick after a non-windows installation, well for some of the computers anyways.
      There was actually an article about this on digg.”

      Which you clearly either did not read, or comprehend, as your summary is completely and laughably untrue. Foxconn did not release a “bios that bricked non windows installations”. One one model of a Foxconn motherboard, there was a bug in the bios that made it non-compliant with a standard. That’s it. No “bricking”. This board was also never marketed as being supported for Linux, and after this all-too-common kind of freetard misplaced conspiracy theory drama, I can’t see too many manufacturers jumping on that bandwagon.

      Here’s the original article, detailing the bug: [ubuntu-virginia.ubuntuforums.org]

      Note that the very user that posted this story was then banned from the ubuntu forums on his own thread. That’s the kind of guy you’re spreading fud for.

  5. Trai_Dep says:

    …I guess this is why Dell users aren’t “smug”?

  6. Smd75 says:

    Dude, You’re getting a Mac.
    seriously, apple would have fixed that right by the second time if not replaced the entire computer, and copied over your files for you

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @Smd75: i’m not going to argue that Apple’s customer service/tech support is superior to almost anything else out there, but that comes at a price.
      he bought a dell probably because that was what he could afford. Also, many schools require a certain OS- the business and Computer Science departments at my school both require Windows XP or Vista, so apple products aren’t really a choice

      • Trai_Dep says:

        @Gstein: So “saving” $100 in exchange for a computer that doesn’t work is your idea of a great value?
        And it’s a sliver of a small slice of universities that aren’t simpatico with OS X. They’re actually more popular on-campus than off, actually. For that minority of a minority, there’s dual-boot. (shrug)

      • MisterE says:

        @Gstein:

        Boot Camp, Parallels and Fusion 2.0 make a strong argument against your statement of “apple products aren’t really a choice.”

        However, I really don’t want to start a flamewar about the virtues of Mac VS PC. The only winner is a happy customer.

    • WNW says:

      @Smd75: I’ve seen an awful lot of similar complaints on Consumerist for Mac laptops as well.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      @Smd75: Yeah, because it was SO different when Apple took 3 months and 3 system boards to fix my iBook. And the dozens calls/visits to support? Pure PLEASURE!

    • bilge says:

      @Smd75: Yeah. With an Apple it would be Apple denies a problem while various online websites and forums swarm with users who have the same problem. You eventually send in your computer which Apple returns–the third-party RAM you installed has been uninstalled which, to Apple, constitutes a fix but problems would persist. Finally your warranty would expire and, fed up with the crappiness of your laptop, you’d get something else.

      Two years later you’d learn that Apple had a “Repair Extension Program” for your particular problem.

    • mrooney says:

      @Smd75: Definitely NOT my experience. I am an ex-Apple customer because of how poorly they treated me and literally refused to support a product under warranty, sending it back to me each time saying an iPod that didn’t play music “met their quality standards”. Apple support notoriously is awful unless you have a physical store nearby, and even then I had a friend who was in there every other day for weeks before they finally fixed it.

      I am now a Dell customer and have been greatly enjoying my refurbished XPS 1330 that I got for half the price of a Macbook and with much better specs :)

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @Smd75: Or he could have just bought a spare Dell and would have still come out ahead…

  7. Anonymous says:

    Reasonably speaking, I have a feeeling what this guy is doing is double tapping the touch pad and then left clicking. I know it sounds funny but a lot of touch pads these days are configured to accept that as if you’re holding the click down.

    Another thing that it could be is that the guy is hitting the absolute edge of the touchpad buttons. He’s not explainig how he’s using the touchpad. I’m willing to bed that he might be the culprit.

    I’m authorized to repair just about any major laptop maker’s models out there except Sony, and I find this issue hard to believe as he’s had replacement touchpads and motherboards.

  8. Zeke_D says:

    I have a similar issue with my gateway, but after sending the issue in to the consumerist twice, they have not posted it. I hope you have better luck dealing with dell than i had with gateway.

    • tbax929 says:

      @Zeke_D:

      Gateway used to have great product support. Now they totally suck. I needed to have my laptop replaced, but they wouldn’t do it until I sent the old one in. Dell would have shipped the new laptop and then allowed me to send in the broken one. Gateway SUCKS.

      • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

        @tbax929: Gateway was bought out by Acer within the past few years, i want to say around the end of 2007
        we bought Gateway desktops for several years, but not any more… i’ve had too many problems with Acer hardware.

  9. Aladdyn says:

    Just wanted to point out that saying your never going to buy a Dell again isnt the best motivator for Dell to fix your problem. Im sure they realize the value of fixing it because when you tell people the story it will end with,”And after I emailed Michael dell they finally fixed it by giving me a new laptop” but it would sound better if you wrote something like “Im extremely disappointed with dell so far but im willing to give you one more chance.”

  10. ringo00 says:

    This situation isn’t going to get any better until Dell actually trains their support techs. The use a third party service to dispatch technicians. There is a good chance that the tech that was sent out had no more training in laptop repair than the user.

    • MrEvil says:

      @ringo00: The problem isn’t so much the third party service providers as much as it is the guys they end up hiring. It’s very difficult to verify someone’s skill when you’ve NEVER met the person. It’s also hard when customers don’t deliver feedback to the guy’s supervisor. Even then, the service tech could be really good at sucking up or blowing smoke up his boss’s ass.

      • ringo00 says:

        @MrEvil: As a former third party service tech, I can tell you that my boss and I cleaned up a lot of messes that were caused by a previous tech with no knowledge or skill. I have since learned that all it takes to become a third party tech is a business fax number.

  11. David Markland says:

    FYI: I know at least for me, Dell sent me a replacement computer before having me send a faulty one in. This was for my new laptop… on a Dell I bought a few years ago with a 3 year warranty, each of the 6 or so times it broke I had to mail it in… but the turnaround time was usually 5 days or less (once I mailed it in, and received it back, fixed, within 72 hours!).

    However, Dell stuff can be turds.

    My first laptop, an Inspiron 5100, kept overheating throughout the 3 years I had it under warranty. The overheating ended up with a few replaced heatsinks and fans, and 2 new processors. I was told this was a widespread problem isolated to the particular model, which made me wonder why the didn’t issue a recall.

    Otherwise, the 5100 was a workhorse, and did everything from gaming to video editing seamlessly.

    So, I bought another Dell late last year. An Inspiron 1525. Bad choice! Within 3 weeks it was shutting off due to overheating. I demanded my money back, but because I called 1 day after the return window, they refused, but offered a replacement. The new laptop was okay for a couple months, but now runs incredibly hot again.

    BTW, the new Inspirons feel cheaper than the old ones, with a worse factory installed battery. Avoid like the plague!

    • MrEvil says:

      @David Markland: The 1525 is actually the only one I’d really classify as the “turd” in dell’s line-up. The other systems have much better construction, but the 1525 is a big hunk of cheap plastic.

    • edicius is an acquired taste says:

      @David Markland: The 5100 is definitely a workhorse, you’re correct. I’ve had mine for at least 5 years now and the only major problems I’ve had with it were the screen dying on me (got it fixed at a local repair shop for about $200 last year) and the battery conking out a couple years ago. Otherwise, flawless. Typing this on it right now.

      Probably going to buy a Studio laptop (or possibly a Studio XPS) once Windows 7 is released, just because I know I’m going to need something more powerful soon, but Dell’s never steered me wrong. My wife has an XPS laptop and desktop and the only problem she’s ever had was the HD going in the desktop – Dell had a new one on our porch the very next day.

      From my experience, I just don’t get all the Dell hate. I figure it’s one of those cases where a person that’s pissed off about Dell will tell a bunch of people, whereas someone pleased with Dell will just tell one or two people.

    • Johnny83 says:

      @David Markland: I worked on a lot of the 5100s for Dell the problem in my opinion is a poor heatsink/fan design. there is a very narrow passage for air and it takes very little effort to cover the edge of the heatsink with dust therefore eliminating all of the air flow. I couldnt tell you how many times I had replaced the heatsink and processor in those things.

  12. jwissick says:

    Watching dell’s people work is like watching a monkey fucking a football.

  13. Josh Craig says:

    you just gotta move it up the chain, get the tech’s email and get them to send you one, in their signature line is their manager email that person

    • Anonymous says:

      @Josh Craig: That isn’t the way to change anything. That just ads another step to their process – which is designed to cost them as little as possible. The bottom line is none of PC companies is focused on helping the customer. That is why we are spending the money to change our entire office to Apple.

  14. Cardiff_Giant says:

    I’ve had similar experiences with Lenovo support, horrible.

    When people ask me who makes the best laptop I tell them “it’s like buying a Ford or a Chevy, if you get a good one, it will last.”

    There’s always a chance you’ll get a lemon, though.

    I second the recommendation for a Latitude. Business users always want an XPS because it “looks better” and I try to steer them away.

  15. fenrisulfr says:

    I have that same laptop. No problems with mine, although I dont use it much. I hope dell sends him a new computer.

  16. Stephen Paul Colon says:

    @Gstein: @Trai_Dep: While I do agree that Apple has stunning customer service and support, I see many reasons why a Mac isn’t feasible for some people. For one thing it CAN be cost prohibitive-while a decent Mac laptop may only be a hundred dollars less than a PC laptop, you can get a great /value/ on the PC and get more for your money in terms of power and features as far as hardware goes. Also, I know for a fact that my town’s university requires a PC for all business related classes, even though they suggest Macs for anything else and primarily sell Macs in the campus store. I know Boot Camp and other options are available, but it just isn’t always economically feasible to pay $1000 for a computer that can run Windows as fast as a $400 PC.

  17. Keter says:

    Dell is on my don’t buy list…and on my don’t work for again list, too. Michael Dell’s autobiography should be titled: “How My Greed and Arrogance F’ed-Up the Best Company in America and Screwed the Cities of Round Rock and Austin.”

    I’ve had great support from HP (not for malfunctions, rather for help with un- or under-documented stuff), and generally like their products. I’m also starting to like Acer – I have a netbook and a friend bought a laptop from them and so far both seem to be even better quality than the HPs. My one support request to Acer was handled by an American, too.

  18. kreatre2009 says:

    He should have bought a Mac. Apple wouldn’t have treated this guy like this. I replaced several laptops while working at the Apple Store Willow Bend because someone had screwed up a repair. It really wasn’t that big of a deal. Our interest was to keep the customer happy and show him that Apple provides great service. You’re only as good as the service you provide after the sale.

  19. douglasdavisjr says:

    I find that all of these post are pretty much interchangeable between computer manufacutures. You could easily switch Dell with HP/Sony/Apple/Gateway/Asus/MSI . They all have problems and then people have problems with there tech support. Considering most of the tech support is in the same place India, South America ie any place where they can pay less it really doesn’t make much difference between companies. Yet,I still don’t understand why anyone would make One Notebook their only system it just seems like they are asking for inconvenience, and if you are a college student you always have access to a computer lab. Granted you may want to stay in your room in your pajamas eating ramen noodles sometimes you have to do what you have to, to get a assignment done.

  20. Remi says:

    The company I work for has over a dozen Dell laptops. Every single one of them has the same problem.

    About 70% of the time, they start up at the slowest speed the processor (AMD X2) allows. A reboot takes care of it, but come on now, should this be necessary? Our IT department has pretty much given up on getting the problem resolved.

    Have you heard? Dell now has a guarantee. A guarantee that you’re going to have problems. Oh yes, that guarantee also seems to include the guarantee that they can’t fix the problem.

  21. Johnny83 says:

    I used to be a “Next Business Day” tech for Qulaxserv, who is one of the companies that Dell subcontracts out to. There are a couple things I would like to point out
    1. If he requested a “preloaded” hard drive those do take extra time. He never stated one way or the other.
    2. Im asuming that by replacing the “track Pad” it was meant that it was the entire palm rest as it could rule out a possible fault.
    3. If I broke something that I wasn’t replacing (happened probably twice in 2 years)I would call Dell SMT wait on hold for 20 minutes and request the part. Done no questions asked.
    4. If the problem still existed when the tech replaced the parts he/she should have called while onsite (they have or had a special tech support line for just techs) and resolved the problem.
    5. If you feel that you are at an end Send a letter/email to Michael Dell. I worked on a computer during my time for a person who didn’t even buy the NBD service but couldn’t get his problem solved and within a week I was onsite replacing parts and left it working.

    I’m sorry that you on-site tech was crappy. I would also complain about his when you contact Dell and tell them that you do not want the same tech dispatched. I know in Western/South western VA there were at least 3 companies that provided this service to Dell so most likely there is somebody else to come out and if the parts don’t fix it to spend the time to get the correct parts sent out.

  22. bilge says:

    Dell has a 30-day return policy on new systems purchased direct. I order a couple hundred Dell systems each year and if a new system has a hardware problem more severe than bad memory, I just return it.

  23. Jan Scholl says:

    I can certainly relate to the horrible experience with Dell computers. I purchased an extended warranty and when I had a problem (major) within 90 days and was told to open the case and look inside, I knew I was in trouble. I had to replace the computer in less than three years (the length of the extended warranty, which was never honored) and have a beautiful HP desktop and a Sony high end laptop- with two year warranties thru Costco at no extra warrenty fees for me. And to give an extra kick to me from Dell, I never got the rebates I was due either. I will bad mouth them until I die, making sure no one I know ever buys a Dell product without due warning. I would even pay my friends not to buy from Dell.

  24. P_Smith says:

    I’m not faulting “Jim” when I say this, but why don’t people try to lean how to fix their own PCs and laptops? If you have the documentation from the manufacturer, it’s no harder to do than is basic maintenance on a car if you have the Owner’s Manual.

    • Anonymous says:

      @P_Smith:
      I do know how to fix the computer, but when you have a warranty, if there are hardware pieces that need to be replaced, you can’t do it yourself or you void the warranty.

    • Fuzzie says:

      @P_Smith: because you will void your warranty if you open up your laptop (even if it is to replace the memory modules)

    • mac-phisto says:

      @P_Smith: i work on computers – i can fix most problems on my own. i tried fixing a laptop once…yeeeaaaah.

      if i could get it apart, i would’ve been fine. 14 screws & there’s still something keeping that damn thing together.

      • discounteggroll says:

        @mac-phisto:

        macbook? 21 screws to initially get into it =)

        everyday people shouldn’t have to work on their computers. Treat them nicely and you have a better chance of something not going wrong (for a longer period of time).

        laptops are kind of a love/hate thing for me. The idea of a portable, complete computer is one of the most innovative and useful technology concepts ever, but is also the most prone to damage, malfunction and required maintenance.

        hint of the day: hard drives are designed to be used in a stationary, fixed position. picking up/moving/walking with/sliding/bumping/dropping/doing anything else other than keeping it still will fuck that aforementioned hard drive

    • kaceetheconsumer says:

      @P_Smith: Gee, I don’t know, maybe because some people have their time and expertise in other areas?

      One of the essential aspects of civilization as we know it is diversification of skill and responsibility. I don’t expect my surgeons to be expert computer repairmen any more than I expect my computer repairmen to be able to perform human surgery.

      I’m far too busy doing other things to have time to properly focus on learning how to repair my computer.

      Although for the record, I could perform basic maintenance on my car if I wanted to, because I took a course on that about 10 years ago when I was young, unemployed, and didn’t have a family to take care of. I wouldn’t dream of bothering now because dollar for dollar, my time is much better spent on other things.

      And the money is part of it too: my husband could fix a computer easily enough, having built his own more than once, but is it more economical to get a broken computer repaired by someone else or to have him take time off of his busy job to do it, when his job pays an effective hourly rate of many, many times more than what a technician would cost? Infinitely more so for warrantied products?

  25. yevarechecha says:

    When I had to send my laptop in to Dell, turnaround was 2 days. Of course, then they didn’t have the right parts so they sent the computer back with no hard drive or optical drive. Those arrived the next day and I had to put them in myself. But at least it was fast.

    My Inspiron is now rapidly circling the drain and since it’s 4 years old I just replaced it. Lenovo ThinkPad. I had no idea that Firefox was actually supposed to open immediately when you clicked on the icon until I got this thing. My standards were really, really low.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I recently sent in an Asus laptop for warranty repair/replacement of a bad GPU. Asus paid for shipping both ways and in less than 2 weeks I had my laptop back with a new motherboard/GPU. They never told me of the status of the repair until I called them a week after it had arrived at their repair center just to find out that they just shipped it to me via Fedex Overnight.

  27. Anonymous says:

    I find this odd. I’ve had a couple of encounters with Dell support. Had a CD drive replaced under warranty and sent my laptop off with some sort of motherboard problems. Other than a couple of rounds through email support I had no problems. Even enclosed a note requesting some additional work on the laptop when the board got replaced. Some of the plastic had broken, etc. Came back in like new shape in the quoted time frame.

  28. MooseOfReason says:

    “Dell promised to send the speedier drive, but instead they sent a box labeled “hard drive” containing only a screwdriver.”

    Hahahahaha.

    Screwdriver before the cart before the horse.

    Way to go, Dell.

  29. DH405 says:

    SO tired of the constant Dell hatred. I have an Inspiron 700m, and it has worked FLAWLESSLY for 3.5 years of damn near constant use. I take it with my EVERY day, use it on and off all day while I work as an independent IT tech, and bang it around a bit on accident. Never a problem.

    My friends with Macs have had a ton of issues with their $3000 MBPs. My $700 Dell has been a trooper.

    • P_Smith says:

      @SMSDHubbard: I’ve never owned a Dell so I can’t comment on that brand’s quality, but you equally can’t criticize the fact that some people get screwed by companies. I mistakenly bought a Glutway and it didn’t work from day one, though I did manage to get my money back.

      Your laptop may contain good parts, and maybe even the majority of them do, but not all. Don’t disparage just because you’ve never had a complaint.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I am one more dissatisfied Dell customer. About 2 years ago I bought a Dell Insipon 9400 to use for my small business and for school. The thing has never worked right and Dell’s tech support wouldn’t or couldn’t help. After numerous phone calls to them, I gave up and asked to return the laptop and get a refund. I was refered to Dell’s Customer Service. I called Custer Service numerous times, and every time, as soon as they heard that I wanted to return a defective, my call was disconnected. I sent a letter of complaint to Michael Dell. The response I got was somebody called me and said that Dell had no record of my cever alling tech support. Then, to add insult to injury, Dell had the nerve to send me a letter saying that my year of free tech support had expired and for only $150, they would give me another year of the same level of support. Needless to say, I am 1 more person who will never ever do business will Dell again.

  31. mac-phisto says:

    to jim (the OP),

    excellent letter. i understand your frustration, but let me offer a little constructive criticism for this (& future) letters:

    At this point, I definitely will never be buying a Dell product again, and in this internet age, many more people have and will hear my complaints birthed out of experience.

    you’re pretty much telling dell that no matter what they do, you’ll still be an unhappy customer & won’t consider them in the future. might i suggest that instead, you tell them that your future business & satisfaction hinges on their ability to make this right & do it right away.

    otherwise, excellent letter. clear, concise, to the point & you ask specifically for what you want (a lot of letters forget that part, surprisingly).

  32. Lonnie Cohn says:

    I have had several systems replaced with system exchanges. Just be very adament with them and it will get done (FWI I always use the online support)

    Also the trackpad on 1530 issue, I’m betting its that it gets all random and jeerky at times, right? Yea, thats a known issue dell refuses to acknowledge, both my 1530 (as well as the two system exchanges before it) and my boyfriend’s 1530 have the EXACT same issue. I’m hoping for an exchange for a studio xps 1640

    btw CHECK YOUR EXCHANGE SYSTEM if you get one, they use monkeys to configure them that don’t understand the difference between a celeron and a core 2, or between a 5400 rpm and 7200 rpm drive

  33. Anonymous says:

    Jim’s experience prompted me to get out my inch-thick “Dell Dispute” file. A couple of years ago, I ordered a computer and printer as a Christmas present. Dell sent the printer to the wrong address and it was returned to them. It took two months, DAYS on the phone and countless e-mails to get the printer. However, my efforts were apparently not in vain. In one of the e-mails from Dell, “Sam” notes that my experience did “provide us with crucial data in our ever-vigilant efforts to raise the standards of individuals upon whom we rely to give excellent service to our customers.”

  34. Juliana Peña says:

    I’ve had excellent experience with Dell support. In my family, we’ve bought a total of 6 computers over the past decade, and the only major problem we’ve had is that two of those computers, bought just before Vista came out, have had sound driver problems after installing Vista. It isn’t much Dell’s fault as it is Creative’s. Dell has done everything they’ve been able to on the hardware side (replacing sound card, front panel, etc), but the problem seems to comes down to Creative’s crappy support for Vista.

    A few months ago, the power adapter on my laptop died. I contacted Dell through online chat support and they told me a new power adapter would be sent to me in 2 to 4 business days. I told them I couldn’t be without a functioning computer for so long, but they said that that was as fast as they could send it.

    Guess what? A new power adapter arrived, not 2 days later, but 24 hours later.

  35. NotYou007 says:

    What I do not understand is why the tech who had the wrong HDD did not call the Dell Service Provider line and get the proper HDD sent out himself. I do warranty repairs for Dell and sometimes I do get sent defective or wrong parts. A simple phone call to 800-727-4254 resolves the issuse. That number is for DSP techs only but we don’t have to deal with the hassles of waiting on hold and just tell them what is needed.

    Sadly he doesn’t want Dell to send him a replacement because it will be a refurbished unit.

  36. Anonymous says:

    For me Dell Small Business machines are great! I got the Latitude E6400 with the minimum you can get a 3 year warranty with Next Business day (or when you want at the time you want, from the next day) for 3 years. When I call Dell, I never wait more than 3 min on the phone for sales, customer service or tech support. And the only out sourced person I talk too was the sales representative. The rest are all local or in the Unites States I can’t tell (I am in Canada). The technician that comes to your place under warranty is professional, knows what he is doing. I had the experience! If you still don’t trust them, then you have in hand the full self service manual with diagrams to do the job yourself, and this machine is so well engineered there is not 100 millions screws to reach something, everything is easy access.

    I am very satisfied for my Dell system, frankly. Sure the machine is not perfect, like all machine it has it’s issue. But having a solid build system, fast system, great features, great service, Vista 64-bit (the good vista as I like to call it), Vista disk with nothing inside other than Vista (and Dell logo at the system properties panel), clean system when you get it (only software installed were the drivers, PowerDVD, Roxio, which is easy to uninstall), makes all up for it by far.

    Although one thing I know from Dell, is you have to go high-end, and get the system equipped. For example: My system with the backlit keyboard has a great quiet keyboard, but the non-backlit model feels (apparently, from forums) cheap, and noisy (everyone I read on this issue, cashed out to get the better keyboard).

  37. Sara Koehnke says:

    I actually had a similar problem with HP.

    I owned the artist’s special edition laptop. The day I arrived to college my laptop refused to turn on. I called tech support, and they told me to rip out my memory chips, put them back in and same thing with my hard drive. Nothing happened.

    I sent my laptop in, and heard nothing from HP. I called them countless times and was told different stories. After a month, a worker finally told me that one of the plants had a power outage for a day and that was why my laptop was not repaired yet. After another week I called back and they told me more excuses. Finally heard from another person that the actual reason my laptop was taking so long was that the hard-drive had been recalled. It was not functioning on many machines, and they had to get a new one.

    Why was I not told that day one?

    I was frustrated enough not having my own laptop in college and constantly having to borrow my roommate’s, but the fact that they lied and made excuses and took over two months?? Unacceptable.

    Called the manager of some sort. He said he’d get them to work on it faster. No. I wanted my money back. He said he’d give me 80% back and a little external hard drive. Fine. I just want to get my money back so I can buy a new one! The check took another three weeks to come. Called in. Apparently the business office was waiting for us to return the laptop. What?! The whole reason we wanted our money back was because they’d been holding it hostage!

    Finally got the money back, bought an XPS m1530 via business and have had no problems. I thought I had a virus, called tech support at 2 AM and received quick and easy support.

    Seems like, though, in the end, HP, Toshiba, Dell…they’re all the same. Depending on your personal problem they can be great or awful, but they’re 6 or half a dozen. I’m surprised when situations like this story’s and mine happen…if only tech support was a little better.

  38. tworld says:

    Dell sucks. I would never buy another anything from them, and their technical support is beyond pathetic, not to mention un-American since it’s farmed out to India.

    Look around where you live, more than likely there’s a local geek who can put together the exact computer you need, AND he can come to your house, or you can bring it to him when you have a problem, and actually discuss it IN PERSON.

    You’ll support a local merchant and have a computer that works. Win win.

  39. LyriCali says:

    this is exactly why I buy from Apple. If I have a problem I just take it into the apple store and the issue is usually solved the same day or three days most.

  40. res1i3js says:

    Please note that Dell DOES have an American support option for consumer PCs. Most if not all other PC manufacturers can’t say the same, at all.

    • NotYou007 says:

      @res1i3js:

      You must pay for it though and you have to purchase it with a new system at the time of sale. It cannot be purchased afterwards or on a system that is a year old.

  41. Christopher Scott says:

    Dell has the best service available for their Business line of products, which includes their Vostro and Latitude lines of PCs. Simply get in touch with a salesperson for Dell’s Business products, and tell them you’re interested in purchasing just “one” new computer for evaluation and possibly 10-20 additional machines sometime in the future.

    Dell’s Business machines come with *zero* junk software, have the highest quality parts, and come with top-tier customer support from American call centers. It’s the best deal anywhere. :-)

  42. bentcorner says:

    For a short while, I worked for NCR as a repair tech. Basically, I went around to various retail stores and fixed their crappy registers and computer networks. We also were tasked with doing in-home Dell warranty repair. Dell paid NCR to dispatch techs to go into people’s homes and fix their PC’s. There was almost absolutely no training. It was all done online. You had to pass tests online before you were authorized to do any Dell warranty repair, but their was nothing in place to make sure the actual tech was the one doing the test. The idiot that was my direct supervisor told me that he had to go online and do the tests for some of the older guys. They wouldn’t have passed otherwise.

  43. res1i3js says:

    You can buy the consumer american support at point of need as well as point of sale, just with point of need it is a bit more expensive.

    There’s no reason not to expect to pay for the upgraded service. It’s not like they didn’t change the price of the computers when they made the switch to outsource, the computers became less expensive when they switched to outsource, it’s only fair that it would become more expensive again to recieve support in the states again.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Dell has an “unresolved customer issues” page for open issues that already have a case number. I’ve heard it’s fairly effective. Try it:

    https://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/dellcare/outstanding_issues_care?c=us&l=en&s=gen&redirect=1

    Good luck!

  45. majortom1029 says:

    Dell might be bad but HP is worse. We switched fro mdell to hp (because it took dell 3 months to get us a quote on 11 optiplex machines with monitors) .I called up hp support for a doa computer. It took them 2 months to ship the new one and it was a less spec machine then what we ordered.

    Atleast dell sends out parts right away and you get american support 9well xps and business lines of computers anyway).

  46. Android8675 says:

    Dude, HP? Really, has NO ONE heard of ASUS in this hemisphere?