Dell Customer Says Company Replaced His Broken Laptop With Cheaper One, Won't Make Good

Feisty Dell laptop purchaser Elijah says he bought a Dell laptop that failed him, and when Dell warrantied it out it sent an inferior one in its place, saying it had comparable functionality. As this replacement laptop has a smaller screen and a weird haunted keyboard that presses Ctrl all on its own, Elijah doesn’t agree.

Elijah complained, but says Dell won’t make things right, and has pushed things to arbitration. He writes:

In summary:

I bought a Dell laptop.

I got it replaced under warranty.

The original model was discontinued.

The replacement model is 1600×900 where the original was 1920×1200.

Dell says they are required to give me product that has the same “functionality and performance” and they insist they have done that.

I cannot get anyone other than (redacted) to contact me. In fact even when I send emails to various members of the corporate elite that you listed on your site insisting that if anyone but the person who’s name this email belongs to contacts me I will consider it a harassing contact, all messages get funneled back to this man who slowly and laboriously tells me that he will not do anything for me.

The last two months have been spent coping not only with the lack of a third of the pixels I’d gotten used to using, but also a keyboard that is missing 10key, has no Fkeys accessible without pressing the Fn key, and for some reason it seems to like pretending I’ve pressed CTRL a lot, which can make for some very interesting fast paced shortcut/window opening/lost all your data haha! While dealing with this I have been trying to get someone other than this (redacted) fellow to talk to me. This has proved impossible.

I have also over the last two months been trying to get as complete a set of information possible to fill out the arbitration paperwork so that I can get this resolved under dell’s legal framework. If dell will not negotiate with me (it is my contention that giving me what I want is immediately cheaper than going to arbitration and could actually make them money), I need their contact information for purposes of listing them as a respondent to arbitration. [redacted] insists he has given me that info, but he has not. What he has given me is the information for contacting the arbitration people and his listening skills seem deficient any time I try to convey this to him. Lately I have taken to hanging up the phone and telling him not to call me unless it is to give me the info I need. He still calls and the calls still consist of him slowly and laboriously telling me I cant have a new laptop and then not giving me the information I need.

The legal department has been of little help too. Once I finally got the name and number of the person in charge of consumer issues in the legal department (it is not well advertised) I spent two weeks calling and emailing the man before I got a reply. The reply was by email, and the reply was the same screwup as [redacted] gave me. Rather than giving me dell’s information as a respondent, the man gave me the contact information of two arbitration organizations NOT NAMED ON DELL’S TERMS OF SALE. By that standard I think his reply may have been even less useful than [redacted] since it includes no information even remotely related to dell’s legal framework for dispute resolution.

What I want is a laptop replacement that has a 1920×1200 screen. (Redacted) told me that they can only give me a laptop sold through home and home office. When I told him there was one with such a screen in that department, he switched his tune immediately to “I’ve done the research and we can’t give you anything.” The sticker price of what they gave me was $1,100, the sticker price of what I want is $1,200. The arbitration will cost $2,500 and Dell must pay the bill. Even going with retail numbers most favorable to dell, they save $200 by just making me happy, and since the laptop I’m asking for his highly upgradeable, they stand to pick up another $500-$1,000 in revenue from upgrades. If they lose in arbitration I still get what I want AND they had to pay $2,500.

Please, I was told that you guys could help me out and you make such problems known to the public which prods these big corporations into acting intelligently. All I want is a laptop with a 1920×1200 screen like what I originally purchased, is it so much to ask that dell be held accountable to their own contracts?

Elijah says he’s filled out his arbitration paperwork but hasn’t received confirmation from Dell that it’s received it. He’d like Dell to back off on the arbitration, cut its own losses and hand over a comparable laptop, but at this point there doesn’t seem to be a great chance of that happening since he’s already committed to the arbitration.

He could shrug his shoulders at the arbitration procedure and try to take Dell to small claims court of breach of warranty. That might, at least, get their attention. What would you do if you were Elijah?

UPDATE: Elijah says he’s reached a resolution with Dell, but declined to elaborate.

(Photo: Sterlic)