Dell Is "Too Cheap To Realize That I Have A Defective Laptop"

Reader Jake says he just opened his 45 day old laptop and the LCD cracked for no reason. Now Dell doesn’t believe his story and won’t cover it under his warranty. That sucks.

Jake writes:

I need some help; Some help dealing with Dell.

I purchased a DEll XPS 1530 (red) edition at the end of January. Being the geek that I am, and have had a laptop last up to 4 years (an iBook G4) without problems, so why get insurance?

On (roughly) day 45, as I finished a paper, I closed the laptop. I unplugged it from the charger, set the laptop on the table, unplugged the charger form the wall, grabbed my M1530 off the table and walked upstairs.

I opened the laptop up after I plugged in the charger to the wall and laptop and sat down in my room. There was a huge crack in the LCD screen that starts the the bottom of the screen, which was next to the hinge of the laptop.

$1300, 45 days and there is a huge crack in the screen, that honestly, shouldn’t have happened. If they didn’t make such cheap products, that wouldn’t have happened.

I called Dell since the laptop was under the one year manufacturer semi-warranty. Sure enough, they want money to replace the LCD screen that broke.

Considering that I have seen laptops that have been dropped, kicked, traveled with, taken apart, stepped on and beat to hell and still run perfectly. A less than two minute walk up the stairs and me setting it up so I can use the laptop in bed causes a crack in the LCD screen and Dell is being too cheap to realize that I have a defective laptop.

What should I do?!

Well, first you could try escalating your complaint with Dell. You can try writing to their customer advocate If that doesn’t work and Dell still denies warranty coverage, you can try your credit card company. (We’re assuming that you bought the laptop with some sort of credit or debit card.)

Since the laptop is so new you might be able to take advantage of any damage guarantees that your credit card offers. For example, an Amex gold card has up to $1,000 of purchase protection that includes accidental damage (not that this applies to you, or anything, but you’ll be sure they won’t hassle you.) Some cards will double the manufacturer’s warranty, others offer a return guarantee that will fully compensate you if you decide to “return” the item within a certain period of time and the retailer won’t accept it. If you can’t work it out with Dell, you should call your credit card company and talk to them about what they can do to help you.

It’s important to understand what protections your credit (or debit) cards offers so you can take advantage of them.

Good luck!

(Photo:Ben Popken)


Edit Your Comment

  1. dualityshift says:

    This guy is beyond help. He bought a Dell. Now he must go to hell.

  2. crunkbear says:

    Even though most think the extended protection plans are a ripoff, if you use it once for a major component it pays for itself. My old Inspiron 8600 started having constant motherboard problems and after sending it back to Dell 3 times they sent me a new Inspiron 1520, major upgrade and at no cost to me. Definitely worth the $350 initially. I didn’t have to escalate my case, it just took a lot of service calls. Good luck!

  3. Eric says:

    LCD screens do not crack for no reason. However, forcing the screen open if the hinge tension is too high could cause the screen to crack.

    I guess it is Dell’s fault if the hinge was stuck and the screen cracked when opening but good luck convincing them of that.

  4. kimsama says:

    Frankly, I know he’s a soi-disant geek, but as a geek myself (who has had laptops last 8 years before they just got too outclassed to be used anymore, even with upgrades), who buys a laptop without a warranty? It’s not a desktop — you’re going to be carrying it around, opening and closing hinges, taking it to locations with different temperature and humidity levels. It’s way less stable than a desktop, and you’re way less capable of fixing it if something goes wrong.

    If it’s really a manufacturing flaw (and not carelessness) that caused the LCD crack, I hope Dell fixes it. But I also hope the OP learned that warranties are a good idea for $1300 pieces of equipment that you carry around everywhere and that you can rarely fix when broken.

  5. theblackdog says:

    @crunkbear: IIRC I think even Consumer Reports admitted that an extended plan is a good idea for a laptop because of their repair rates.

  6. Jaysyn was banned for: says:

    Wasn’t there an article here a few months ago about a chick who had the same thing happen to her notebook? I can’t remember if it was a Dell or Mac however.

  7. B says:

    @dualityshift: He has to go to Best Buy? That seems rather harsh.

  8. backbroken says:

    A couple of comments. From the OP:

    “$1300, 45 days and there is a huge crack in the screen, that honestly, shouldn’t have happened. If they didn’t make such cheap products, that wouldn’t have happened.”

    If they didn’t make such cheap products, you would have paid a lot more than $1300. You can’t have it both ways.

    As for the “should have bought a warranty” aspect of this….I’m not so sure I agree with folks who think that buying a warranty is a no-brainer. I have a hard time shelling out upwards of 25 to 30% of the value of the product for a limited time warranty on a product with built in obsolescence and no guarantee that the company will be so willing to honor the warranty when the time comes.

  9. dandd says:

    Yeah, laptop screens don’t just crack for absolutely no reason. You can try escalating your claim, like consumerist suggest, but honestly I don’t believe that it “just cracked” either.

  10. FearlessUser says:

    I don’t buy it. I wouldn’t believe the guy either if I was at Dell. He probably dropped it or somebody sat on it or something, which I’m sure isn’t covered under warranty, and came up with this lame “story” to try and get it to be covered under warranty. Try a little harder next time.

  11. Logan26 says:


    Dells extended warranties do not cost 25-30% more of the total cost of the machine. MAtter of fact, they are the only company I am aware of that offer Accidental coverage that has a no questions asked policy on warranty claims. You can get both a 4yr extended and a 4 Accident cover warranty plan on a Laptop or Desktop machine for 200 dollars. Anyone who buys a lappy from them and doesn’t take the accident cover is just plain stupid and nuts.

  12. ooby says:

    Since the laptop is under a year old, it probably has a manufacturer’s warranty.

    While I understand that accidents happen to laptops more frequently than desktops, I don’t think an extended warranty is always the best idea. It really depends how you plan to use it (which should be a factor in buying a laptop). It should also take into account your ability to care for a product. Some people never drop their laptops. Others step on them. If you’re clumsy and you can see yourself needing a repair, you might want to consider it.

    One of the more important things to consider is the bathtub curve. If it doesn’t break on its own shortly after you get it, it’s highly unlikely to fail for a long time.

  13. leprofie says:

    In late 2007 I was able to get Dell to replace a defective laptop, but it is not necessarily easy. Can you imagine how many claims that they receive? Can you imagine the lies about how a machine must be defective because it broke when any good machine would never break?

    I doubt the story as presented. Why wouldn’t Dell?

  14. tasselhoff76 says:

    @Logan26: I have had the extended warranty from Dell and honestly it just wasn’t worth it. I was trying to get my old laptop fixed after three years and it would have been much easier and less aggravation overall for me to get a new one, with newer components and faster speed. Heck, the new model I got was under $600 and was still a vast improvement over my old system, and I didn’t get extended warranty this time because I decided it made more sense to just buy a new one if it breaks rather than keeping a machine that is already obsolete.

    Dealing with Dell tech support is no fun at all. I would prefer to not have to pay to do it and generally, if something is going to go wrong with your laptop, it’s either going to do it in the first year or after it’s a few years old. At least that’s the experience of my peers and I.

  15. sickofthis says:

    If the worst happens and Dell won’t fix it, do NOT send it to them to be repaired. I found out myself recently that LCD replacement is not that difficult. You may also be able to find an LCD from a source other than Dell much cheaper. I got mine either from or Ebay – can’t remember which. I think I paid about $100 for the part.

  16. backbroken says:

    @Logan26: Thanks for the info. Didn’t know the particulars at Dell. My rough guess was based on what the Best Buys and Circuit Cities of the world try to charge for a warranty.

    I would like to make one more point though…most people who buy a laptop really only need a desktop. I’m not necessarily referring to the OP. It’s just that in my experience, when folks have come to me asking what they should look for in a laptop and I start asking questions about how it will be used, I realize that all they need is a desktop.

  17. Logan26 says:


    I disagree, no matter what one buys, they should always get the extended warranty and accidental coverage if it is available to be had. Especially if they are buying a laptop. Most people make the mistake of buy a 1500-2500 dollar machine and then never get any kind of warranty other than the 1yr limited warranty from the OEM. After that year is up something happens and they almost always act surprised when you tell them it’ll cost almsot the same price of a new one to fix it(worst cases).

  18. pegr says:

    You could avoid dropping it on the stairs… Next time, I mean.

  19. Logan26 says:


    I have a customer who is a roofing contractor and wanted to get a laptop. I suggested Dell and to get 4yr extended and 4yr accidental coverage. It has already paid for the laptop. within 2 months of having the laptop, while at a job site showing someone some estimates, it slid off the hood of his truck and shoved his Verizon broadband card into the machine. Dell replaced the whole laptop, no questions asked.

  20. sp00nix says:

    LCD does not “just crack” it does require some sort of external force.

  21. Logan26 says:


    BB and CC both suck monkey balls when it comes to warranty coverage plans. BB especially as they will and have found any excuse to end the plan on a many of customers I have had.

  22. Hanke says:

    Laptop screens don’t just crack. SOMETHING caused it. Temperature extreme, you held it too tightly, your dog jumped on it…they don’t randomly just crack.

  23. Logan26 says:

    The laptop was a $2500 inspirion before the warranty coverage was added.

  24. Aladdyn says:

    @pegr: If your going to post something useless it would be nice if it was funny or at least witty.

  25. Hanke says:

    @Logan26: Dell’s ‘CompleteCare’ is great. It’s about $100 for each year of coverage, and it covers almost everything, except cosmetic and intentional damage. Also, they usually give a discount on the price of the laptop (8%-12%) depending on the length of the plan. Well worth it, because even the crack you caused in you LCD is covered; any plan longer than one year is a NBD on-site plan, as well.

  26. latemodel says:

    He should have bought it at WalMart, Dells new core customers all shop there.

  27. mgy says:

    I was able to get apple to replace an LCD screen on my girlfriend’s iBook that “just cracked”. It was more likely that her roommate stepped on it, but we couldn’t get her to admit that, so I played the best cards I could. We had applecare, but as you may know, they don’t cover physical damage. I was very firm with the guy on the phone. I didn’t say that there was no reason why the lcd cracked, but that the lcd cracked from normal use. I said that I was carrying the machine, like they urge you to do in the commercials, and the weight of my palm forced the lcd panel to warp and crack. That got me in the door, and the rest of the repair went smoothly.

    I consider this an extremely rare situation. I really doubt you’ll get it repaired, and think that since you’ve already claimed with them that there’s “no reason”, then it will be hard for you to get away from that situation. I understand your pain – but something had to have happened, even if you don’t know what it is. Start looking on eBay for a replacement screen – they’re easy to install.

  28. ianmac47 says:

    He should check into his state’s product lemon laws. If an LCD screen cracked within 6 weeks, its probably because the product was defective coming out of the factory.

  29. Logan26 says:


    Yes complete care is good, especially for those who dont know or have a regular PC tech do things for them, other wise the standard extended and accidental coverage plans are more than enough.

  30. The Count of Monte Fisto says:

    I know we all hate Best Buy, but I must say buying their coverage plan for my laptop was the best move I ever made. Ended up having to get it fixed three times, including a new motherboard and DVD drive (thanks, Gateway), and then after the third fix they gave me a brand new one, right there in the store. Also, the lady screwed up the exchange and accidentally gave me a 400 dollar gift card to make up the difference in cost between the old machine and the new one. Finally, Best Buy’s policy of only hiring incompetents paid off!

  31. Logan26 says:

    @The Count of Monte Fisto:

    You are one of the lucky few my friend.

  32. Pylon83 says:

    I agree with those that are saying that LCD’s don’t just “Crack”. Further, almost no warranty covers screen breakage. I have a really hard time believing this guy, and my guess is there is something we’re not getting. When guys like this get their stupidity warranties, it causes prices for everyone to go up to cover the cost. Dell shouldn’t warranty it, and the OP should learn to take better care of his things.

  33. Draconianspark says:

    I’m very skeptical about a screen cracking for ‘no reason’ …when was the last time a glass window in your house or car spontaneously cracked for no reason; it’s the same material.

    That being said, if it came from the bottom edge it’s possible that the inverter overheated and caused a crack, but that would probably have melted some plastic too.

  34. stageright says:

    This is the same kinda thing as “I was only doing 10mph when I hit the tree, there shouldn’t have been any damage!”

    Laptop screens don’t “just crack”. I used to do tech support and we were forever being told “Oh, nothing happened, it was sitting there and the physical damage to the screen just magically appeared!”

    Then you look at the inside of the case, and you can see the impact point where something hit the outside of the case. So you take a picture of it and show it to the customer, who (sheepishly) says something like “Oh, that’s from when I dropped the dictionary on it…” or something similar.

    I particularly liked the part about “I’ve had laptops last 4 years, so why buy insurance?”. Um…they’re called “accidents” because you don’t plan for them to happen, and not having them in the past is not a predictor about whether you’ll have them in the future. Customer gambled and lost.

    I haven’t had a car accident in over 15 years, does that mean I can stop having auto insurance? Woo Hoo! Oh, wait…

  35. backbroken says:

    @mgy: Congratulations on scamming Apple. Hope I never read a post about how a company did you wrong.

  36. redhelix says:

    I stopped here:

    “and have had a laptop last up to 4 years (an iBook G4) without problems, so why get insurance?”

    Are you fucking kidding? I fix laptops professionally and even I get insurance. Laptop parts are incredibly expensive, even without the labor. (Example: I just spent $65 for a pair of hinges with brackets. 65 DOLLARS FOR TWO PIECES OF METAL WITH SCREW HOLES.)

    If you ever need a new DC board, LCD, mainboard, hinge, or any part of your chassis replaced, your plan will pay for itself and then some. If you claim to be geeky, you would be well aware of this instead of acting like an arrogant ass and refusing to protect your investment.

  37. Aladdyn says:

    To all those people who say a LCD can’t crack for no reason, what if the screen was damaged at the factory, then the normal pressure of opening and closing the laptop caused further damage beyond the control of the OP? Just because there has to be a reason for the LCD cracking doesnt mean that its the OP’s fault or that hes lying.

  38. jamar0303 says:

    @Logan26: Panasonic and Sony (can’t find theirs yet) have similar 3-year policies that cover accidents (bonus- Panasonic’s covers theft too if you have a police report). I’ve had both (currently on the Panasonic- if you’re clumsy or have a penchant for accidentally breaking things, get a Panasonic- my T5 once got kicked off my desk by a rampaging classmate and it’s still fine- oh, and what essentially amounts to insurance is nice too).

  39. sljgold says:

    Unfortunately, that type of Dell laptop does have LCD screens that “just crack” at random times. I’ve had three Dell laptops (I know, I’m a masochist) and two of them have had the screens crack, right by the hinges in both cases, though one had the memorable addition of a chunk from the right corner also falling off. It has something to do with poor design and the stress from opening and shutting the laptop. In neither case had they been mishandled, sat on, dropped, kicked, or been given any other conceivable reason to break. It’s just shoddy workmanship. Also agreed on the CompleteCare package; they replace almost every part that will cause hundreds of dollars of expensive repairs because Dell is too cheap to get decent parts to begin with. If you want a Dell, spring for that package because chances are very, very good that you’ll need it before much time has passed.

  40. jamar0303 says:

    @Logan26: Panasonic has a similar 3-year warranty. Theirs covers theft too if you have a police report filed. For this guy, all I can say is buy a Panasonic in the future; they’re reliable and much more resistant to damage (my T5 got kicked off a desk by a rampaging classmate once -whole story on its own- and it’s fine).

  41. Soldier_CLE says that Hideo Kojima has to make MGS till the day he dies! says:

    On a side note, I have seen screens crack on two occasions in colder climates. One was an Alienware (of all laptops!), and another was a Dell (Again, go figure…)

    The first one (The Alienware) was cracked while a Case Western student were walking from their car to the law school. She had it in her hand and we both heard it crack.)

    The other one (The Dell) occured when someone came into a local coffeeshop from the cold. I’m sure that the cold makes some screens brittle.

    Again, it’s a militating circumstance, but having seen it happen in person, I’d say it’s plausible.

  42. backbroken says:

    I have no idea if Dell laptops are well made, but several commenters have mentioned that if you buy a Dell, you simply MUST get the warranty as well. If that is the case, why are you buying a Dell?

    Vote with your wallet. Buying a laptop and the warranty is just confirmation to Dell that they are giving us what we want – cheap shoddy products.

    (And a laptop is not an investment.)

  43. I’ve had some good experience with Dell and their warranty support.

    Example: I bought a color laser printer from Dell (3100n)) with a 1-year extended warranty. Never had a problem in the first two years. Before it expired, I had it extended for another two years at a cost of $125

    Well, it started printing funny. Turns out it needed a new drum unit. Normally, this is a “wear and tear” part that needs to be replaced, and it is a $150 part. They covered it, and sent me a free drum unit with a return label for the old one.

    As for how to handle the screen… I have a feeling you will get it replaced. Just keep persistent with Dell. I’ve called them on some questionable and even completely uncovered warranty work, and got it by being persistent.

    I had the battery and screen replaced on a 2 1/2 year old laptop (which had a 3-year warranty) — The screen was because the keys made really bad marks on the screen (from when the laptop was closed, touching the keyboard) And for the battery, they just don’t cover batteries under warrant (It won’t hold a charge any more)

    Escalated to Supervisor first, called back 3-4 times trying with different people and different supervisors, and finally (I think they were tired of hearing my voice) got it escalated to a “Problem Resolution Specialist” who overnighted me a brand new battery.

    With Dell, it just takes persistence. Ask for a Problem Resolution Specialist, and you’ll probably get your screen replaced.

    FYI: When I had my screen replaced, they just mailed me an LCD screen with detailed instructions on how to replace it, and return the old one. Fortunately, I’ve replaced Dell laptop screens before, so it was no problem. Your technical/mechanical experience and mileage may vary.

  44. By the way, from a consumerist standpoint, I have to really recommend the 3100n color printer…

    It’s a color laser network printer. But it was cheap. About $350

    The quality is awesome, Although it can hook up directly to your computer, I decided to just use it as a network printer so anyone who comes over can use it with their laptop.

    Being designed as an “office” level printer, the toner (while expensive to replace) has so far lasted me three years. I’m just now ready to replace the Black toner that is almost out — The color toner is still at 50%.

    If I had an Inkjet printer, I’d have had to replace the ink at least a dozen times by now! $$$$$$$$$$ saved!

  45. redhelix says:

    @Soldier_CLE: FYI, Alienware = Dell now. They bought them out.

  46. redhelix says:

    @backbroken: Investing is the act of acquiring an asset, so yes, it actually is an investment. Said asset doesn’t have to be the direct source of return in order for it to be considered an investment.

  47. mgy says:

    @backbroken: Just watching out for myself. All you can count on nowadays.

    But I do take exception to your classification as what I did a “scam”. I never misrepresented the damage, and they were, at all times, able to refuse service. Sure, I made up a story about how the damage occurred, but their policy doesn’t discriminate based on the situation. It doesn’t matter if it was dropped, groped, punched, or destroyed by the hands of Zeus. My story was not fantastical, or unrealistic, and could very well have played a part in the damage that occurred.

    But do you see how if I said to Apple (like this guy said to Dell), “I don’t know what happened, it just has a crack”, they would have looked at me like I was crazy? I maybe exploited their sympathy, but I wouldn’t go as far as “scamming” them. They were free to refuse service at any point in time. They could have opened up the case, saw that the screen damage had to have been intentional/accidental (it was minor, really), and sent it back. They do that all the time.

    After this, I went on to work as an apple reseller, bought 3 new intel macs, tons on the itunes store, 4 ipods, and currently do mac support for a living. I have, in every way, done my best to make it up to apple.

    I should mention that in two of those new macs that I have, I have had to have motherboards replaced 2 or 3 times, depending on the particular computer. I don’t make a huge fuss about getting a new laptop. I go through their typical support channels, just like everyone else, and have been happy with their service. I say that I’ve learned my lesson, and I definitely treat their company with a lot more respect now that I’ve had more experience with them. I see your point, and if anyone from apple is reading – I apologize!

  48. zentex says:

    A Dell XPS? heh. When you buy the consumer line Dell, you get what you pay for…CRAP. The consumer lines are the latest/greatest/cheapest components they could find at the time. Sometimes two systems of the same model don’t even have the same guts. Oh yea, you also get durka-durka-land support.

    The business lines (optiplex/latitude/precision) are planned product lines. Very little changes in a model over time, quality components, etc. In-country support standard.

    This is no secret, ask any Dell rep who has a clue.

    You couldn’t pay me to own a consumer line Dell.

  49. backbroken says:

    @redhelix: Then the slice of pizza I’m going to buy for lunch is also an investment.

    I apologize for parsing words, but it gets under my nails when anyone refers to a rapidly depreciating good (car, laptop, pizza) as an investment.

  50. @backbroken: If your lunch were healthier, it might be an investment in your future.

    Also, complete nod to the “most people who buy laptops don’t need them” bit…that’s incredibly true. I swear people just want something shiny and small so they pay way more than they need to rather than getting something stable. If you’re going to be toting it to work, or to classes and the library, or to different locales, I think it makes sense. I even understand teens with divorced parents who have joint custody getting laptops so they don’t need two separate computers. Otherwise? I just don’t get it.

  51. KIRZEN2007 says:

    You fail.

    As a consumer there is an obligation to unpackage and examine your product within a reasonable ammount of time so that you can verify that it’s in working order. That’s what retail return policies are all about.

    Lets examine.

    Lets say Best Buy (Yes, deliberate choice) drops your laptop, still inside its box, from 6′ above the floor, then just shrugs its shoulders and tucks it onto the shelf with the other ones, but its completely mangled in the box. Your options when you purchase it are as follows.

    1 > Open it the moment you get home, go “Oh No!” and head right back to the store, you may have to speak with a manager, and you may have to push (Because its Worst Buy, after all) but you have a good reason and good explanation as to why you need another laptop.

    2 > Leave it laying around your house for a month and a half, open it up, and go “Oh No!” and take it back to the store. At this point you’re outside of their return window, with a piece of hardware that’s most obviously broken, and -they- now have a good reason -not- to give you a new one. That reason is “Well, you’ve obviously been using it for a month and a half and must have dropped it… You’re SOL”.

    Of course, this leaves the store open for fraud. If you dropped your laptop on the first day, there’s a good chance you could return it and claim it was damaged in the box when you opened it. You might even get away with it if you very carefully opened and repackaged it and made sure it was clean and tidy. The store offers a return window for a reason, what’s so terribly unreasonable about a 15 or 30 day window by which to unpack, examine, and test your new purchase.

    You’re trying to dictate their satisfaction guarentee to whatever ammount of time -you- choose, they imply that if there’s something wrong with your product within X days, you bring it back and they make it right, and instead you’re trying to get X+Y days, where Y is the ammount of time you spend wanking off.

  52. KIRZEN2007 says:


    Oookay, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed today and only read the first three lines, I thought when Meg meant ‘opened’ that the customer left it laying around int he box for 45 days without ‘opening’ it and found the screen cracked by damage at retail.

    My bad, I’d delete or truncate my post, but I can’t find a way to do so.

  53. cerbie says:

    It’s a Dell.
    Its model number does not begin with D.
    OP had a Mac notebook, and replaced with a Dell that was not a Latitude.

    I hope you get it replaced or refunded and all, but take this as a lesson.

    @dandd, et al: of curse it cracks for a reason. Screws being too tight from the factory can be that reason.

    But, really, folks, don’t get Dells. They were great up to the late 90s, yes. Alas, we are in 2008.

    @Logan26: wow. I would like to have seen that before it got sent off! :)

  54. NightSteel says:

    I’m with the folks that recommend accidental damage protection. I’m not overwhelmed with Dell’s quality myself, but I always recommend their laptops solely because of CompleteCare. One of my coworkers accidentally ran over his laptop with his car and they replaced it, no questions. That kind of protection is hard to beat, especially with a unit you’re going to take everywhere.

  55. cerbie says:

    @Draconianspark: you can get solid plates that support blocks of concrete made of the same material as battery springs. Poor comparison. An LCD screen is far more fragile than a glass window pane.

    @backbroken: the outlay of money usually for income or profit : capital outlay; also : the sum invested or the property purchased. If I need a car (which is not rapidly depreciating in value) to get to work and back, how is it not an investment?

  56. nacio says:

    lol i smell BS… do people understand glass doesn’t break by itself?

  57. jamar0303 says:

    @KIRZEN2007: Uh… at my local Best Buy someone at the Geek Squad will open the computer at the service counter immediately post-purchase for you to check that everything is in working order, and to walk the buyer through the initial setup (Vista takes an eternity to do this, especially on a low-spec computer with only 512MB RAM; this I learned from interning at the Geek Squad). Is this not done everywhere?

  58. jamar0303 says:

    Note- I hate the commenting issues.

  59. opfreak says:

    this guy lost me when he said this “Considering that I have seen laptops that have been dropped, kicked, traveled with, taken apart, stepped on and beat to hell and still run perfectly”

    Really? laptops that made it by being dropped, kicked, and beaten to hell? By who this guy? I’m sure theres a handfull of laptops that can surive a drop. But more likely then not they day.

  60. eskimo81 says:

    I’ve been on the end of complaints from people who have cracked screens insisting that it should be covered under warranty and it only is if you by accidental damage protection.

    For a hinge to be putting enough pressure on the LCD to crack it, the consumer would have noticed that the screen was a lot harder to open than his old iBook, and should have gotten that fixed under warranty.

    I had a customer in once, who had a laptop with a problem keyboard. Some of the keys were coming off, which was covered under warranty. We advised him to come in and get it fixed, but he decided that he didn’t want to be without it during the repair time and that he’d keep using it as it was.

    About three months later of them came off, and got stuck sideways cracking the LCD screen. He neglected the problem with the keyboard which caused the problem with the LCD screen. His screen was not covered under the warranty.

    He screamed up and down that it should be covered because it was caused by a fault in the keyboard. But he was aware of the problem and neglected to get it fixed for 6 months.

    LCDs don’t just “randomly crack”. There has to be physical force on the screen to cause it too. And if the force is being created due to something else being wrong with the laptop, it’s your responsibility to send the laptop in to have that “something else” repaired before it causes another issue. Otherwise the second issue is caused by the customers neglect.

  61. Buran says:

    @dandd: Since you were apparently there, please tell us exactly how you’re sure you’re right.

  62. Buran says:

    @opfreak: I’ve dropped a laptop before. It had a cosmetic dent in the case but it ran fine until it went to someone else and I got a different laptop.

  63. Logan26 says:


    I’m sorry, but any laptop that is purchased, the user should also get extended warranties thru the OEM of the laptop, not the store they bought it at.

  64. Trai_Dep says:

    Oww. Must have really hurt to go from years of pain-free use on an Apple MacBook to buying a Dell, opening the cover and experiencing instant suckitude.

    Don’t worry, though. I’m sure that Dell’s well-regarded, seemingly irrationally over-the-top customer service will make up for it.

    For fun, compare/contrast your experience with the experience Consumerist staff had with their laptop: [] Write a report (longhand, I’d presume).

    Remember: If It’s Dell, It’s Swell! Or, is that, “Hell!”

    Out of curiosity, is the Letter Writer majoring in Masochism? They’re getting extra credit for this, right? Right?!

  65. Kwummy says:

    LOL. Screens don’t crack for no reason. I believe about 8% of the crap I read on this site.

  66. Trai_Dep says:

    @mgy: I do take exception to your classification as what I did a “scam”. I never misrepresented the damage… Sure, I made up a story about how the damage occurred…

    Look, if you’re going to lie your way – oops, sorry: making up a story – into scamming a company, man up to it. To do otherwise is just simply pathetic mewling.

  67. Trai_Dep says:

    @cerbie: There’s a reason why the English language has both “purchase” and “investment” within it. Might want to look them up and compare/contrast. :)

  68. redhelix says:

    @backbroken: Do you even know what an asset is?

  69. backbroken says:

    @redhelix: Sigh.

    If you want to equate an asset with an investment, then you have a point. But the terms are not perfectly interchangeable.

    It’s getting off topic.

  70. backbroken says:

    Ok, I just wasn’t born to let things go. Sorry for going wayyyyy off topic.

    from (not authoritative, just easiest to cite):

    1. to put (money) to use, by purchase or expenditure, in something offering potential profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value.

    Like I said, you don’t invest in a laptop (or a car or a pizza). If you do, you do so poorly.

    Again, sorry. I’m done. Slam me again if you like. You win. Next topic.

  71. I have seen a laptop LCD break for no reason. A friend of mine had a very nice Toshiba laptop that he purchased at Future Shop, along with their extended warranty. After he was done using it one day in front of the TV, I watched him close the lid on the laptop, at which point we both heard a light ‘crack’. He opened it back up, and a diagonal crack was running all the way down the screen. He hadn’t slammed the lid hard, just closed it in a normal fashion.

    He brought the laptop back to the store – after all, it should have been a manufacturing defect if the screen was fragile enough to just crack like that. Despite having an extended warranty they insisted that he had “somehow abused it” and refused to cover the cost. This is why extended warranties are usually crap – they will find any possible way to deny your claim if they can.

  72. Hmm. I’m posting this on a Dell Inspiron 5100. It’s about six years old.

    No problems here.

    However, I did know someone with a Dell laptop that brought it inside from a cold car and then had it a bit too close to a heater once they brought it inside. Crack.

    I’m betting on temperature damage rather than a defect.

  73. lemur says:

    @kimsama: Note that in this case, a warranty that merely extends the time of coverage would not make any difference. Dell has decided that the damage is accidental, which is not covered by basic warranties nor extended warranties. What would have been needed is a warranty against accidental damage.

    I used to recommend extended warranties on all laptop purchases but I don’t anymore. Accidental damage warranties were always a case by case decision as far as I was concerned. Never bought one myself. Never accidentally broke my laptops either. I used to buy extended warranties on my Dells but that was mainly because they had deals for students that made the extended warranties free or something like $50. Out of 3 Dell laptops I owned, one of them developed a motherboard issue which was covered by the extended warranty. In this specific case, I was able to save money because of the warranty. If I had paid full price for the warranty however, it is not clear that I would have saved anything. Motherboards for that laptop were very much available, at really cheap prices and I have enough technical skill to change a motherboard (yes, even a laptop motherboard, omg!)

    For my fourth laptop, I decided not to get an extended warranty. Multiple factors played into the decision. One is that there’s been a good push towards standardization of parts across laptops. The situation is certainly not as good as for desktops but it is better than it used to be. On my previous laptop, you could not put in a PATA drive without some sort of special Dell-only adapter. My current laptop (not a Dell) just takes SATA, end of story. My previous laptop took a Dell-only wireless module. My current laptop takes a module which works across multiple laptops. So maintenance is easier. Parts are easier to find, etc.

    Another big reason was that I knew that for the second year of the life of the laptop, I would be either in India or Taiwan doing research. (Now I know that it is going to be Taiwan.) All the laptops that were on my short list had warranties and extended warranties that were domestic only. They are domestic in the sense that the manufacturers require that the repairs be made at a repair center in the same country you bought the laptop. Your warranty is still good while abroad but then you have to ship the laptop internationally to get it repaired. Shipping costs are yours and the time without a laptop is your problem. So if I took an additional two years of warranty on my laptop, half of it would be wasted. Even international companies write warranties that do not provide simple international coverage. That was certainly the case with Dell last summer when I checked their warranties. I think HP had international coverage by default but I did not want to buy any of their laptops.

    In addition, I bought the laptop with a credit card which offers automatic warranty extension and some limited accidental coverage. This is automatic and costs me nothing so I lose nothing if I can’t use it because I’m abroad. I’ve read all the fine print of our credit card, we don’t carry a balance, we don’t have bogus finance charges, etc, etc. So it is free to me.

    So there are good reasons not to buy extended warranties or accident coverage. Not everybody is in the same situation you are.

  74. lemur says:

    @backbroken: You’re not the only one who’s tired of people calling any purchase of a car or laptop or big screen TV or pizza an “investment”. It irritates me to no end.

  75. XianZhuXuande says:

    Laptop screens do not simply crack, just because. The customer, or an element in their house, broke this screen, and now he is trying to whine because he took a gamble. Dell makes trash, but I don’t buy into this.

    And even if some product was more sensitive to closing than others — not a known issue I have heard of in a company that markets and repairs these Dell laptops — it would not have happened when he closed it after writing a paper.

  76. CarnageSIS says:

    @ooby: Gotta disagree with you on this one, truthfully it does not really matter what you plan on doing with the laptop.

    The price should be a factor, obviously if you spent $600 on a laptop a $200 or more warrenty probably does not make sense. However, if your spending over $1000 on a laptop you should always get extended protection.

    For example, got my Dad a laptop for his home use. It sits by his easy chair, and travels from there to his lap and back again. It does not leave the house, all he uses it for is websurfing and e-mail. We bought the extended warrenty and it has more than paid for itself. Just sitting in the house, not travelling, and lightly used we’ve had to replace the harddrive twice in the three years he’s had it. That right there is enough for me to know that just having that extra protection is a good idea if even just a plain, lightly used laptop can have issues.

  77. redhelix says:

    @backbroken: Investing is the acquisition of an asset. Period. There’s no gray zone here. I’m not getting my terms confused, you are.

  78. cerbie says:

    @Trai_Dep: purchase does not involve getting a return. Really easy, there.

    @backbroken: “1 : to commit (money) in order to earn a financial return
    2 : to make use of for future benefits or advantages
    3 : to involve or engage especially emotionally “

    I’ll grant you on pizza and a TV. Tools qualify absolutely for definitions 1 and 2 of the verb. You are acting as though 2 and 3 do not exist, and only most narrowly interpret the noun.

    If you do, you do so poorly.

    Take off the blinders, then. You ‘invest’ in what you hope to gain from having and using the laptop v. not having and using it. The laptop is an investment in something else.

  79. jimv2000 says:


    “We had applecare…they don’t cover physical damage. I was very firm with the guy on the phone…I said that I was carrying the machine..and the weight of my palm forced the lcd panel to warp and crack.”

    So you lied about how the laptop was damaged so it wouldn’t qualify as “physical damage”, even though you suspected it got stepped on, which would have been non-covered physical damage.

    “I do take exception to your classification as what I did a “scam”. I never misrepresented the damage,”

    Yes, you did. You made it sound like an issue with craftsmanship rather than being stepped on.

    “and they were, at all times, able to refuse service. Sure, I made up a story about how the damage occurred, but their policy doesn’t discriminate based on the situation.”

    And that somehow makes lying more acceptable? And you stated that their policy doesn’t cover physical damage, so the situation DOES MATTER. They wouldn’t cover someone stepping on the laptop, so you made up a story that takes the blame off the owner.

    “It doesn’t matter if it was dropped, groped, punched, or destroyed by the hands of Zeus.”

    Apparently it does, since you stated “We had applecare…they don’t cover physical damage.”

  80. deedrit says:


  81. jimv2000 says:


    Good points. Return on investment isn’t all about money. Non-monetary benefits count to, such as saved time, pleasure, satisfaction, etc.

    It’s a common mistake that people make when they think economics is about money. It’s not. It’s about scarce resources, which can be anything you’d trade for something else.

  82. Anticitizen says:

    This story is one that should be a good example of why big purchases and anything really expensive should be put on a credit/debit card. Very good layer of protection.

  83. moviemoron says:

    Don’t feel bad about scamming Apple. Apple scams people to. Just look at the newest headline from Consumerist which states that Apple won’t redeem more than 5 gift cards from 1 person. So, you Apple gets what it deserves.

  84. deviationer says:

    You cracked it. If you are a computer geek of any kind you would know that LCD screen don’t crack without some kind of user force.

    Putting too much pressure on the back of the display where the dell logo is, or warping it when you close or open it, it what could cause it to crack. Or you know dropping it, putting heavy objects on it, or cramming it into a bag with over objects on top of the display.

  85. Trai_Dep says:

    @moviemoron: Now that we’ve beaten the “invest” vs “purchase” argument to death, can we start another off-topic one on “to” and “too”? :D

  86. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    I am the last person to buy an extended warranty, but not on a laptop. I have an XPS m1710 with complete care that I have not had to use, but it has several screen defects, one factory and one caused by a 2 year old and leaves. Since screens get dimmer over time I’m waiting on requesting a replacement.

    I have done IT support for 100 employee companies long enough to see many things happen to laptops. It surprises me they can sell complete care as cheap as they do. BUY IT!!

  87. DellO says:

    Dell or any other laptop, buy accidental insurance.

    For that matter, any item that is going to moving a lot, by accidental coverage.

    Believe me, if this would have been HP, they would not have replaced your LCD either.

    Sorry to say, however it was a bad decision on your part not to buy warranty with accidental damage coverage.

  88. snowpuff says:

    Some of the suggestions here seem to be that if you don’t buy an extended warranty, then when your product breaks during its warranty you should be SOL.

    To which I say, WTF?

    Companies like Dell would really like you to believe this. Their profit margin on extended warranties is mind boggling. For every extended warranty they sell, they have to replace an extremely small amount of equipment.

    But put another way, companies are now strangely trying to indoctrinate the public into thinking that their products are absolute crap, they won’t stand behind them and if they break, you’re a dummy for not buying their overpriced insurance.

    To which I say, WTF?

    If a company doesn’t stand behind their product, don’t buy it. If they don’t stand behind their warranty, then take action until they do.

  89. pegr says:

    Thank goodness we have you to be the arbiter of that which is useless, funny, and witty. How we got along without thus far is inconceivable.

    Since you seem to be sarcasm-impaired, the OP simply inferred that the poster dropped the machine and didn’t ‘fess up, a theme presented by more than just little old me…

  90. nonesuch99 says:

    The EXACT same thing happened to me while I was within the one-year non-extended warranty–and, of course, after my hard drive had already crashed (much love to Dell). The Dell representatives convinced me to pay for a replacement myself (600$ is no small sum, especially for a student) and refused any sort of on-site service. Fortunately, I thought the better of it the next day and called them back after reading the contract.

    My advice, dig in your heels and prepare for a fight, but FIGHT IT! If not on principle, then because it’s worth the money it’ll save you in the end.

    Call the first-level people at support and be kind, but they’ll refuse again and again. Then ask for an escalation. They’ll refuse as well, again and again. Ask to speak to a supervisor. Every time, cite the pages in the contract and quote the exact words that say Dell will be responsible for defects in the product, that the basic warranty covers hardware (and don’t let them tell you a monitor doesn’t count), and that the standard contract covers FREE and NEXT-DAY on-site repair, which is a clause they’ve already violated by not providing. You can be courteous and angry at the same time, but don’t ever cede an inch. One person eventually told me it was impossible for a screen to develop a crack without my dropping the computer, and I agreed I found it hard to believe they’d manufacture a product poorly… and then the next person I spoke to said I’d admitted dropping it!

    Write back to every email customer service sends you, and send others to their supervisors, demanding the honour their contract. Call back every day. Mention arbitration; mention small-claims; be angry but not ranty. Refuse to send it to them for repairs–who knows when you’ll see it again?–and demand on-site service.

    And when they finally agree to cough up (or in my case refund the money), follow up immediately to confirm they’re going to do what they said.

    It took me countless phone calls over at least four hours a day every day for six days to get them to replace the screen (and after they twice cancelled the on-site repair–leaving me waiting in my apartment for someone to show up all day–and then stalled another month to credit my account).

    And then never buy Dell again.

  91. Yah_Shoor_Yoobetchya says:

    LMAO at all these “I will nevah, EVAH buy Dell again!” commenters, yet they nevah, EVAH seem to want to state what PC they WILL BUY/HAVE BOUGHT!

    FYI: This post submitted from a 2005 Dell Inspiron 6000 used for light gaming, photos, music, light videos, Office, etc. without problem #1 EVAH surfacing!

  92. jamar0303 says:

    h… ‘m prbbly trpl-pstng by nw. rlly ht th cmmntng systm.