Dell Will Overnight Your Replacement Laptop Within 18 Business Days

Rob tells us he ordered a Dell laptop from their outlet store, but received the wrong machine. He says he called up Dell and asked for them to send the computer that he actually ordered. “Sure,” said the nice folks at Dell. “We’ll overnight you the correct computer within eighteen business days.” Rob was confused.

I ordered a “Previously Ordered New” Dell Adamo 13 on 10/30/09 from the Dell Outlet Store, which basically means that it’s a new computer, never been used by anyone else.

Speed ahead to today and a box comes from Dell. Inside is a Dell XPS One DESKTOP computer. Uh oh. I call Dell customer support and go through the usual phone tree and get transferred to three different departments, each one taking down information until I finally get to the department that deals with sending out replacements. The rep apologizes again for the mishap and says that they will send the replacement via overnight shipping from their warehouse within 18 business days.

WHAT!?!?!? I asked her if that was correct to which she responded, “Oh yes sir, we need to find a computer with the exact specifications with the one you ordered.” When I asked what would happen if you didn’t have the exact one in within that time, I didn’t get a direct answer.

I paid more than $2,000 (if you include the accessories I bought in a separate order) for a Dell Adamo that I will not even get to touch for several more weeks. It doesn’t seem fair to me. I thought the point of the Outlet store was that the computer is already made and therefore you can count on getting it quickly (and yes, at a discount… although for the one I ordered it wasn’t THAT substantial)!

Maybe I should have just followed my friends and got a Mac instead…

Nooo! Anything but that!

Why should Rob have to wait up to a month for a replacement computer when it was Dell’s fault that he received the wrong one? Maybe this is a case for Dell’s Customer Advocates or even Michael Dell himself.

(Photo: thievingjoker)

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  1. katstermonster says:

    Here’s the thing I don’t get – he ordered a “previously ordered new” computer. Which means that Dell had ONE computer, a specific computer, with the specs he wanted. So they don’t need to find A computer with his specs, they need to find THE computer he ordered.

    GOOD customer service would be admitting that they lost/sold the computer he ordered, and saying they’ll upgrade him to a new computer with comparable specs.

    • ShiningSquirrel says:

      @katstermonster:
      As I said in my other post, “the” computer is probobly already sold to another customer. The OP is making a mountain out of a mole hill. They almost always say something like “within 14 days”. Useally it ships much faster, but they have to cover themselves. If they said 5 days, and it took 10, you know it would be posted here.
      We had a similier situation with a server. They told us they would “try” to send out a similier computer within 2 weeks. 3 days later we had a MUCH better machine then what we originally purchased. The OP does not even seem to want to give Dell a chance to make it right.

      • floraposte says:

        @ShiningSquirrel: There’s a rather notable difference between “within fourteen days” and “within eighteen business days,” especially when they’ve already had your money for a week. I can’t blame him for being unhappy with being out $2000 for a month before they ship what I actually ordered, especially when that wasn’t what I signed on for and what I gave them the credit card for.

        I’d be more tolerant if they said honestly, “We’re sorry, it was just the one computer like the one you ordered and we mistakenly shipped it to somebody else. Right now we don’t actually have one, but stuff comes in often enough that it’s likely to come in by the end of the month.” Followed by a query as to whether I preferred to leave the charge on there in the interim or if I’d rather get a credit, since it wasn’t clear when the new one would be available.

      • dorianh49 says:

        @ShiningSquirrel: Servers are from Dell Business. Adamos are from Dell Home (or Hell Dome, if you like spoonerisms). HUGE difference in overall customer service quality between the two.

        But, you do make a good point. Businesses always get reamed when they overpromise and underdeliver. Don’t you think that 18 business days (3 1/2 weeks) is slightly excessive, though, window-wise?

        BTW, Nelling Spazi called. Useally should be “usually”, and similier should be “similar”.

      • katstermonster says:

        @ShiningSquirrel: Yeah, what Pecan Pi said. It’s not that they shipped his computer to someone else, it’s that they seemingly haven’t admitted that they shipped his computer to someone else. And yes, 18 days is a long time when they already took your money and promised a computer that they clearly can no longer delvier.

      • korybing says:

        @ShiningSquirrel: The thing that struck me as dumb is that they said they’d “overnight” the computer “within 18 business days” and didn’t think that sentence sounded absolutely ridiculous.

    • Haltingpoint says:

      @katstermonster: I’m awaiting a replacement system from Dell (and am on the phone awaiting a status update as I type this). It was supposed to arrive a week ago but they “cancelled my order” due to a “configuration issue with McCaffee” (yes, the software product that I neither need nor want).

      I was told that due to this my order would be delayed even further, despite the fact that the actual system was still in the process of being configured. I have a hunch this is a case of the right hand not knowing what the left is doing (as has been my general experience with them in every encounter) as the people who gave him the delivery estimate are not the people involved with the actual configuration and have no clue when the machine will actually be shipped or how any of that works.

      Bottom line…you can escalate all you want with Dell (and you should), but you likely will end up just having to wait until they send it which may be god knows when. Hopefully you can at least get an upgrade out of the ordeal.

  2. ShiningSquirrel says:

    Why does he have to wait?
    Most likely because the compuiter he actually ordered has already been sold to another customer. The computers in the outlet go rather fast, and there are only a single one of each, so it’s not like they just slap another one together. They are waiting for a similier outlet laptop, thats all, and it’s pretty normal. I would suggest the OP stop putting up a fuss and keep quit on this one for awhile, because what they useally do is if thay cannot fulfill the original order in the time specified, they offer a better machine at the same price.

  3. thisheregirafFe says:

    i actually ordered a new comppy from dell about three weeks ago. the day before it was supposed to ship i got an email saying my order would be delayed. the initial estimated delivery date was for 10/30. the ‘delayed’ arrival got to me on 10/31….

    so, maybe there is hope? it seems to me they tend to err on the side of caution when giving ship dates…

  4. gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

    Laura’s “Nooo! Anything but that!” was my thought exactly when he mentioned getting a mac.

  5. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    OK, yeah, Dell messed up and the conflation of “within 18 days” and “overnight” makes my head asplode, I’m amused with his accounting: “I paid more than $18 (if you count the steak dinner I had somewhere else) for a double cheeseburger.”

  6. Newvox says:

    Seems to me that in betweeen his order and shipping, the one-of item got shipped to someone else.
    This was a one of a kind, so if they sold the one, they have to make you another to order, which is their regular thing and does take some time.
    It sucks, but it’s the same with any one-of item.

    • SaraFimm says:

      @Newvox: I agree. I bet the other person is laughing and very happy he got a laptop–probably at a discount. Or the other person is upset and Dell is just waiting for that person to contact them or they’re trying to find that person.

  7. EdnaLegume says:

    what I wonder is: did they think after receiving a desktop he’d go “well.. this is just as portable.. it’ll work”???

  8. vladthepaler says:

    Yes, get a Mac. Or at least, don’t get a Dell. There are plenty of companies that make Windows laptops, if that’s what you want… Dell clearly doesn’t want your business, so buy from someone else.

    • rdm says:

      @vladthepaler: Who is the best laptop manufacturer for Windows? Dell used to be the go-to company. I bought a Compaq (groan) 3 years ago that died within 18 months. I can’t afford Alienware (/Dell). What is the best other option?

      • Nick1693 says:

        @rdm: Mac, Windows CD + License, Boot Camp.

        Install Windows, use Apple’s driver CD, everything works.

      • Beef Supreme says:

        @rdm:

        Just got a nice Toshiba from newegg.com for $500…3 GB RAM, Duo Core, Home Premium, looks and runs sharp.

      • incident_man says:

        @rdm: Toshiba is one of the best notebook manufacturers out there. I’ve had a few and no problems. Avoid DHell like the plague; steer clear of HP too, they’re just as bad as DHell.

  9. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Keep the laptop, ship me that kitty!

  10. boobookitteh says:

    I guess I just don’t understand why a computer company (or anyone with a huge internets business in the 21st century) can’t manage to have an integrated system that tracks stuff like orders and inventory and is linked in with customer and technical support.

    of course I’m still waiting for my flying car.

  11. Spin359 says:

    Sure, pay the mac tax. I have to admit there machines are very pretty. I do not find there software useful however. Perhaps you should do what some people do now and get a mac and load windows on it without any mac software.

    • GearheadGeek says:

      @Spin359: Compared to the Adamo, there really isn’t a Mac Tax. A Macbook Pro that’s comparable to a particular Adamo has a very comparable price, the Adamo isn’t a $499 Inspiron.

    • katstermonster says:

      @Spin359: I’m wondering where this software is that you keep talking about. You see, you keep saying “there” software and “there” machines, leading me to believe that you have found the secret lair of the fan boys. Please, tell me where I may find it, so that I may go worship!!!1!11

  12. rougebob says:

    This is standard from Dell; we have it happen all the time when a user destroys the system. Usually you receive it in 3 days.

  13. aznjoker says:

    Is consumerist that desperate for a story to post?

    This is a simple mistake, and yes, mistakes do happen dammit. No company is perfect, they can only strive for perfection. They are trying to rectify the problem and this guy is demanding even more.

    If you “needed” something quick, that’s what brick-and-mortar stores are for.

    Maybe Dell can take a page out of T-Mobile’s book and give the OP some porn to keep him occupied for the next few weeks.

  14. tonberry says:

    return the dell, purchase either a toshiba or asus laptop. *note i do not work for either company* in my experiance i have always had nothing but trouble with dells. toshiba’s have been great for me and the wife. and i have two friends who swear by asus for laptops.

    on the other hand if your going to spend that much money on one you might as well get a mac notebook,(i hope you do not plan to game on it).

  15. Ronin-Democrat says:

    get a mac and if you must lay windows down on it.
    but do use the mac os, you’ll be glad you did.

  16. Dyscord says:

    Chances are, he’ll have it much sooner than 18 days. Places ALWAYS overstate shipping times so that they’re covered. Better to say you’ll get it in two weeks and actually get it in three days than to say three days and you get it in two weeks.

    That’s why Amazon has a policy in which you have to wait around two weeks before you report something as lost in the mail.

  17. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    It’s gonna be really funny if in 18 days only a box with a hard drive arrives.

  18. Slave For Turtles says:

    Similar thing happened to me 7 years ago. I ordered a Dell refurb laptop via phone. What showed up on my doorstep was not what I had ordered. I called them up, and they told me that *I* was mistaken about what I ordered, and they were pretty rude about it. (I wanted a 14.x” display, and I received a 15″ which is a larger computer. I know I didn’t order that.) I ended up keeping it since it was similar enough, but I learned that having at least an email receipt would have helped, but I don’t think the CSR would have been any more polite. I don’t think I will ever get another Dell, but truth be told, this computer is still running nicely.

  19. Conrad says:

    In the next 18 business days, on one of those days it will be shipped overnight.

  20. f5alcon says:

    They have gotten in trouble for under estimating ship dates, so now they over estimate, its on or before those 18 days, it will be less probably.

  21. jdmba says:

    A mac. If you wanted to buy a computer, why would you then change and buy a mac.

    Oh, I need to buy a car … wait, you don’t have any on the lot right now? Wow, ok, in that case I’ll take a sandwich instead.

    “What color is it” is not a valid computer spec.

  22. masterasia says:

    This is another reason not to get Dells. My workplace experienced this last year ordering monitors from them. The Government is first priority on Dells list. They take care of them first before you.

  23. night_2004 says:

    One particular complication – the computer was a brand new one. I would consider the only acceptable ‘comparable’ replacement would also be brand new.

    Chances are Dell will end up sending this individual an actual refurb computer this time. That is why it may take 3-4 weeks…they have to wait for a used one to show up.

    If Dell really did want to send a new computer (which they should) it could easily be manufactured brand new. Dell screwed up, and this is how Dell should fix it.

    I do not see this ending well.

  24. mythago says:

    @aznjoker: $2000 is a lot of money even if you’re an “engineer and a gamer”. Geez.

  25. aznjoker says:

    @mythago:

    And where exactly did I ever say $2000 wasn’t a lot of money? I’m just putting things into perspective.

    Personally, I built my own desktop. Monitor and all accessories, $1500. Price it on Alienware or another gaming computer company, ~3000.

    @everyone complaining about the “unrealistic” 18 day window

    Any one of you work in manufacturing? Then, anyone work in customized products? Then, anyone ever had to handle returns of custom products?

    If not, then stop saying it’s unreasonable because you have nothing to base it on, besides “That’s what I think.” I work for a manufacturing company, and just because something went wrong, doesn’t mean all work stops just to please one customer. Things take time to sort out, search, and try to find a replacement.

    I’m not saying Dell is right either, but they only gave 18 days as an estimate. And since people don’t understand the meaning of estimate, they have had to pad that number. And second, it’s business days BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE PEOPLE WORKING ON THE FREAKING WEEKEND.

  26. jp7570 says:

    The OP didn’t indicate if his credit card had been charged for the purchase when he received the wrong delivery. (I assume this was bought with a credit card since it was purchased online.) If so, he has the option of disputing the charge if Dell can’t make good on the order.

    At the very least, Dell should issue a credit for the purchase until the correct order is delivered. Or they could also offer to ship the same model with upgraded software, faster processor, increased memory, or something to “atone” for their error.

    I have read posts from many on here about bad experiences with Dell, but I have ordered 3 computers from them in the past 5 years (2 laptops and a desktop) and have never had any problems. Then again, that also means I’ve never had to go through Dell Cusomer Assistance, so I can’t say what that would be like. But my experience with the products has been without incident so far.

  27. Happy13178 says:

    Michael@Dell.com is getting to be a pretty crappy contact for EECB. The emails go to the same india call centre that the bulk of the problems come from, and I’ve spoken to one guy there that I know for a fact I’ve spoken to before as a regular old csr. Unless somebody has a set of actual executive contacts, the “contact Michael Dell” post should be taken as YMMV at best.

    • xl22k says:

      @Happy13178:
      You’re right. I e-mailed Michael@dell.com and an indian guy claiming to be from the Dell Corporate Office called me back saying the exact same things the previous reps said.

      I e-mailed some other executives and one personally replied that he was forwarding my e-mail and less than an hour later someone from Dell (speaking perfect English) called me and resolved the problem.

  28. celeb8 says:

    Take your money back and go buy a laptop elsewhere. That’s a ripoff of epic proportions, and frankly unless it’s the undisputed King of the laptops you’re paying too much. Especially since you’ll be relying on these jokers in the future if anything goes wrong.

  29. StmTrolleyguy says:

    I kinda just wanna say buyer beware on this one. .

    Its the Dell Outlet Store.
    From what people have said, they get all the built computers that people ordered, but never got sent out. They get the oddballs and one-offs.

    If he ordered it directly from Dell, that would be one thing. But he ordered it from the outlet store.

    Besides, there’s no guarentee that it will take 18 days for him to get a computer. Stores are legally required to ship items within so many days of telling the customer they will, so they give long shipping estimates.

  30. CompyPaq says:

    @ShiningSquirrel: Actually, knowing dell, they will probably give him a downgrade and insist that its the same.

  31. zentex says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: I’ve had a mac for 4 years and no one offered me cookies!

  32. MostlyHarmless says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: Its called AdamO. And there ARE computers on the Galactica. They just are not networked.

  33. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    @MostlyHarmless: I know it’s the Adamo, I said so in the first paragraph. I played word association in my head though and thought a laptop with cut off corners was a good idea. Hmph.

    @zentex: The cookies were a one-time ‘switch to Mac’ deal – if you switch from a Mac to a PC, you get an intervention. No cookies, only kleenex.

  34. tonberry says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: that is the one thing you need to be aware of, Asus’ tech support sucks. I used to swear by their motherboards, but for the price they are no longer worth it to me. that sucks about your laptop, I hope everything eventually worked out with it.

  35. AI says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: I didn’t know people purchased computers for just the built in software.

  36. howie_in_az says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: The anti-virus packages of course!

  37. halothane says:

    @AirIntake: I have… iMovie HD, iPhoto, and GarageBand are tons better than what I could find for free for Windows. Windows Movie Maker doesn’t even come close to iMovie, IMO.

  38. UGAdawg says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: 18 days is the average time it takes for Dell to build a ship a machine when ordered new. Most likely they lost the unit he was wanting. I order from them on a professional and personal basis and usually get this time frame. Most cases they’ll ship the item much faster than the stated 18 day window. I had ordered a monitor for my dad. I got the same 18 day spiel. The monitor arrived within a week. My guess is that they state that lead in time because they keep the least amount of inventory on hand which is smart given they are manufacturing stuff that depreciates very quickly in a matter of days.

  39. xl22k says:

    @pecan 3.14159265:

    18 business days, throw in a holiday weekend is more than a month.

  40. aznjoker says:

    @pecan 3.14159265:
    @coren:

    Outlet has 1, read ONE, computer of that exact model, unless there’s some freak anomaly where two, or more, people order the same exact specs and return it. In this case, they probably sold the same computer twice.

    They will have similar models, but not exact. They are trying to see if they get a return with the exact specs to fulfill the order. If they can’t, they’ll either refund or upgrade.

    And I stand by my earlier comment, if the OP “needed” a laptop in such a hurry, go into a B&M store. As an engineer and gamer, a computer around $2000 with full warranty and accessories is not a lot of money. Certainly above average, but not like the “big spender” he thinks he is.

    @UGAdawg:
    You’re correct, there’s some fluff time built into that estimate. Because things do happen, and simple mistakes like selling the same freaking computer twice occur. When my company gives an ETA, we purposely add a few days to cover our ass and look good when we get deliver goods “early”. Standard practice.

  41. Difdi says:

    @korybing: PCs are kinda like an older, somewhat clunky minivan. They might be a touch slow, they might not start on the first try, and they generally (though there are exceptions) lack any kind of cool factor. But you can drive them anywhere.

    Macs are kinda like a super-hot, top of the line speedboat, with amazing cool factor. They start first time every time, go blazing fast. Unfortunately, you’re parked in the middle of a desert.

  42. UGAdawg says:

    @katstermonster: Trust me. It’s not going to take him that long to get his notebook. Their turn-around is faster than what they normally state. It’s all apart of ‘Under promise and over deliver’. It’s what’s done. He’ll most likely receive it before Turkey Day.

  43. floraposte says:

    @aznjoker: And if the CSR had said roughly what you did, I, at least, would have been less annoyed, especially if it had been coupled with an acknowledgment that over a month is a long time for them to keep his money before they ship a computer, and would he like it back?

    But that’s not what happened. He was simply told that they had to “find” him the computer he ordered, and that it would take until December. Which is pretty crappy of them.

  44. thisistobehelpful says:

    @aznjoker: A few days does not equal two and a half weeks. And since that’s most likely 18 business days, it’s actually 3 and a half.

  45. korybing says:

    @Difdi: I don’t really understand your analogy. I got my mac specifically because it was better suited to the graphics programs I subject it to every day (heavy heavy Photoshop use on the thing). From my personal experience with both PCs and Macs, I feel that a Mac is more geared to what I need out of a computer. It works better and faster for me than any of my PCs ever did, so I don’t know how it’s comparable to an awesome speedboat in the middle of a desert.

  46. sakanagai says:

    @xl22k: At least you got warning. It took me a month from the time my laptop first shipped to the time I had one that worked. I had been told it would take about a week, but when the delays started I got worried. Because the replacement was arranged outside of technical support (those bastards wanted to call a problem with a 1-day old computer out of warranty service), it was never logged properly and I couldn’t find any record indicating a case number or replacement authorization. I found out only well after the fact that the CPU was backordered and that caused an extra 3-week delay. Be glad you at least have an estimate and method of tracking your ticket status.

  47. xl22k says:

    @Hooray4Zoidberg:
    Actually they’re the 2nd biggest now…