Dell Refuses To Cancel An Order That Won't Ship For Months

Reader Kevin is upset because due to a free flash drive he didn’t want — he’s not being allowed to cancel his order for a Dell computer. Dell initially told him the computer would ship by Dec 18 — now they want to delay it until February.

Kevin says:

I ordered a Dell Studio XPS 9000 on December 3rd. Their website stated that the computer would be built and then shipped by December 18th. After perusing the Internet including Dell’s own forum I discovered that they are experiencing major delays in the production of this computer. Most people have been waiting two months or more with no end in sight. This has been happening since October! I feel that they lied to me about the delivery date of this computer. I have tried to contact Dell through email to no avail. I spend 30 minutes on hold only to have a script read to me by someone who I can barely understand and could not help me. All they can tell me is they are experiencing high demand for the computer and production may take longer.

I could deal with a reasonable delay because problems happen, but here is the real rub. I cannot cancel my order because of a rather dishonest business practice. When I ordered the computer, they threw in a 4GB flash drive. I could not remove the flash drive in the shopping cart. They shipped the flash drive to me immediately which puts my order into what they call “in production”. Because part of my order has been completed, I cannot cancel the order of a computer that wont get here until February. I have to wait for them to build it, then return it and pay a 15% restocking fee.

I have always used Dell computers and believe that they are of a high quality and are a good value. My purchasing experience this time around is going to turn me off of Dell forever. There are to many other companies to go with these days to have to put up with a lack of communication and dishonest build estimate.

Lucky for you, the FTC can help with your problem. There’s something called the mail or telelphone order merchandise rule.

Basically, it says that a company has to ship your order in a reasonable time or cancel it and refund your money. We’re not sure what the implications of the unwanted free flash drive are, but we suggest contacting Dell’s executive customer service and informing them that you do not consent to any further delays and will be canceling your order in accordance with the FTC mail order rule.

Dell should then cancel the order and refund your money. If they don’t, you’ll want to contact the FTC and file a complaint. More people who are waiting unreasonable lengths of time for computers should really do this, in our opinion.

FTC Complaint Assistant [FTC]
How to Comply With the Rule [FTC]