Heartwarming: Dell Re-Replaces Faulty 5150

Sometimes, even though a product sucks, the producer sorta kinda maybe comes through to fix the problem. Not fix the product, mind you, but at least make amends with the buyer.

Reader Will is one such buyer. He bought a Dell Inspiron 5150 Inspiron, and like seemingly every other such computer, it was defective. It was replaced, the warranty extended, failed again, and finally replaced with a completely different model. Sounds like they didn’t make any money on the transaction. But if you ask us, that’s actually a decent resolution.

5150 owners out there should heed Will’s advice, and make sure Dell replaces your computer, preferably with a different model. Just do it soon, before the specially extended warranty expires in 2007.

Did Dell make good because they were separately being sued in a class action suit, or because Will was persistent and threatened to switch to Mac? Who cares! He got a replacement computer, and can eventually get the Mac he really wants anyway.

As Sammy Hagar would grunt, that sounds like the best of both worlds.

Will’s e-mail after the jump…

So I’ve gotten a couple of emails from the law firm Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein regarding a settlement on Dell 5150s and faulty adapters and motherboards. The site regarding the settlement can be found here: http://www.lundellsettlement.com

My own 5150 story is that I got the computer in Sept 04, and due to a design defect where apparently, a small piece of plastic would push into the motherboard and make it so that the power supply would not be recognized, the computer stopped working in November. (the problem has been discussed on many forums, including Dell’s own support forums, and I believe that was the main consensus as to the source of the problem, and that it did in fact affect all Dell Inspiron 5150’s)

I sent the nonfunctional computer to Dell and since I was under warranty, got my motherboard replaced. But the problems didn’t end there, as even though I took the care not to push too hard on the bottom of the case, within a few months, the same problems happened again. It failed completely on me in Sept. 05, and since I was out of warrantly, I began looking around for options.

The law firm above put me on their mailing list after I was directed to their site through a webforum, and I actually ended up chewing out Dell’s Customer Service and describing the flaw to them. After I insisted that I wasn’t paying for a new motherboard, and that this computer would push me to move to Apple, they offered me a refurbished laptop for free. It was actually a 6000 series, and I was content with the replacement. Their Customer Service was actually very acommodating in the end regarding this, and personally, I think it indicates how much of a problem they were having with these computers.

Looking at the settlement, it’s obvious that Dell wants this to go away. They aren’t admitting that their product was flawed, and that they knew about it, but they’re extending the warranties, as well as paying between 1.3 and 3.3 million in legal fees for the plaintiff.

But if you look at the terms of the settlement, the warranty extention goes until 2007. If your 5150 fails on you after that, then Dell isn’t paying for it, even though the structural defect will obviously still be a problem. They’re probably hoping that by then, people with 5150’s will just buy a new laptop when their old one breaks again. I’m hoping people won’t be buying Dells, and as for me, when the 6000 series laptop becomes too outdated, I’m buying a Mac.