Dell: Prove To Us That Your New Monitor Isn't 10 Years Old

Did you know that Dell has been making one particular model of 24″ flat panel HD monitors for a decade now? G. didn’t. That’s why he was surprised when he contacted Dell to find out the warranty expiration date for his monitor (manufactured in March of 2011) and they couldn’t provide him with that information. Worse, the confused customer service rep was convinced that the monitor was, somehow, ten years old.

He sent this e-mail off to a handful of executive contacts at Dell:

A month or so back, I received a new Dell 24″ HD LCD Monitor (Model No ST2420L) as a gift (signup bonus at optionshouse). It’s been sitting in “storage” for a while cause I had no immediate plans to use it. Now that I have taken it out of the box, I wanted to verify the date when the warranty expires. One problem, I don’t have the receipt with me as it was purchased by optionshouse and I didn’t want to go through more red tape to obtain that information. I think I junked the original box too. Serial number (S/N [redacted]) should be enough right?

So I called up Dell. Wasted an hour, got cut-off twice, got transferred between 3 departments (sales, customer care, and I can’t recall the last one). Bottomline is that my NEW LCD monitor is 10-years old, or so Dell says.

Ya… right, wait a minute, I see a sticker “Manufacturing Date Mar 2011″ on the back on my LCD, and 10-years ago LED-backlit LCD technology did not exist. Come to think about it 10 years ago you could still see lots of CRT monitors and LCDs were just taking off. Dell could not confirm my warranty status and only stated if it’s new the warranty should be for one year. Yeah right, I already knew that cause all Dell monitors come with 1-year warranty (I can read the website you know). So when does the warranty expire? Nobody knows…

Throughout this painstaking hour, I get bombarded with irrelevant questions like “what is the LCD monitor problem”, “what is your customer number or order number”, “is this for personal or business use”, “did you buy it with a Dell system”, etc… that really so pisses me off. All I want is the date of when the monitor expires and I only have a serial number… and you can’t give me a straight answer?

For the record, when I call up HP, without a receipt, no order number of whatever number, using just the serial number alone, HP personnel could promptly tell me the expiry date of the warranty. Total time HP 5min vs Dell >60min (with still no satisfactory answer).

Back to the original question – Does my “10-year-old” but purchased a few months back 24″ HD LED-backlit LCD monitor has a warranty or not? My tip today for all Dell customers, if your product does not have a Service Tag (e.g. accessories) do not lose your customer number or order number or whatever number under any circumstance. If not, good luck on claiming for warranty services.

You know what the worst part is? I was just doing a simple query to check the warranty expiration date that should have took 5 MIN max. What if I was filing a warranty claim for a damaged or defective product?

Well, then your problem would have fit within the Dell representatives’ extremely narrow scripts. No problem.

First, this is a rather rambling and informal way to write a complaint letter. Don’t copy G’s writing style when contacting Dell.

If you can figure out where the monitor’s service tag ran off to, Dell offers an option to look it up yourself. But it’s baffling that Dell doesn’t let customer service representatives have this information or cross-reference it with serial numbers.

Not even writing to executives could save G., though. Serial numbers are useless to Dell, which is interesting because we thought that was the purpose of serial numbers. He sent us this follow-up a few days later:

It seems that Dell is indeed incompetent and does a good job at pissing off their customers (as if we did not know that already). Received a call from Dell corporate customer service today, again reiterating the same story and telling me nothing new.

Bottomline is that I need to find the documentation, or they will not honor the warranty, even if the manufacturing date is slapped at the back of the LCD. As you might be aware, common practice amongst most manufacturer is to honor the warranty starting from the manufacturing/production date and if documentation such as proof of purchase is provided, the warranty start date would be extended to that date