Computer That Touches Itself Comes Back From Dell In Worse Shape, Michael Dell Swoops In

Remember Travis, the college-bound student whose touchscreen Dell laptop keeps moving the mouse pointer around on the screen, among other problems? When we last heard from him a week ago, he was waiting for the computer to return to him from Dell’s repair depot after two in-home tech visits, and he hoped the problems would be fixed. They weren’t. All Dell did was replace the wireless card. So he turned to the advice we gave in the post, and wrote to Michael Dell. This got him a new laptop for his trouble.

We’re sure being featured here on the site had nothing to do with it.

Thanks to your tips on this post When I got home I inspected my notebook and found they did not repair the screen or even attempted to fix the touchscreen, headphone jack, or bluetooth. They only replaced the wireless card and somehow made bluetooth worse, disconnecting everything every few minutes, sluggish mouse (takes 10+ seconds to move my mouse a inch) and slower then normal wifi.

I sent Michael dell an email and within 4 hours I got a call from Dell. They asked for the serial number and looked up the case and basically said that since it started from the beginning and each time it wasn’t fixed then they will issue a rare laptop replacement.

When you can get his office to intercede, the Great Michael Dell and his staff do offer kindness to customers who find themselves consigned to Dell Hell. Can’t mak Dell’s regular customer service and tech support peeps see reason? Write to Mr. Dell.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Chuft-Captain says:

    Of course if Mister Dell gave a damn about his company, he would be aware that his special executive relations team was constantly required to intervene in problems like this, and actually DO something to fix it at the ground level.

    • mrbucket says:

      Guessing that most people don’t know they exist. I’ve always been of the mind that the reason companies like Dell utilize so many automated menu systems, chat support, and low level support flipcard types is simply to ‘thin out the herd’ that would likely have their issues resolved by actual technicians, csrs, and of course the executive relations team. It makes sense to me if for no other reason that if it was blatantly obvious how to reach their executive team – they’d get overwhelmed and/or cease to be an effective avenue of support… and also probably because some pencil pusher in accounting figured out that its more cost effective to delay problem resolution with layers of ineffective support than to provide an adequate staff of real technicians and support reps that can actually solve problems the first time they’re brought up.

      • Kat says:

        “Dell executive team. How may I help you?”

        “I went to use my computer this morning, and it won’t turn on. I want a new one.”

        “Is it plugged in m’am?”

        “Oh look at that! You fixed it!”

  2. cactus jack says:

    Hope it maks him happy to have a refurb on his way. :D

  3. hexx says:

    Sadly Dell’s quality has dropped significantly and nobody running the company seems to care that their products suck and they have some of the worst tech support in the business.

    • mrbucket says:

      The front-line tech support is attrocious at every level – the level 2 and level 3 techs are fantastic though. As far as the hardware goes – they’re adequate but I think its more of a ‘Toyota’ situation than anything… Increase production drastically to meet the demand, but as a result fall short on QC and go from being the top dog to being Chrysler. (and I like Chrysler…lol)

    • luxosaucer13 says:

      Dell’s quality problems have been an issue since at least 2005. Late 2004, Mr. Dell stepped aside and Kevin Rollins took over the reins as CEO for a short period of time. That’s when the problem started; Rollins gutted everything but sales. He showed Mr. Dell and his merry band of MBAs the World According to Excel and PowerPoint, and that significant sums of money could be saved by offshoring support, cutting back on the quality of materials and workmanship, eliminating their “every system gets tested 4 times before leaving the factory” method, charging customers for software support, eliminating free lifetime tech support, and reducing the standard warranty on entry level computers from 1 year to 90 days. Dell later reversed itself on the last one, but by then, the damage was already done.

      I was working for Dell at the time, and I swore then, as I do now, that I’d NEVER buy Dell again. I’ve bought 5 computers and 2 tablets since then and NONE of them are Dell products.

      • lvdave says:

        I, on the other hand, will buy NOTHING BUT Dell… but ONLY from their corporate line (Optiplex/Latitude/Precision/PowerEdge).. Having been a computer support tech for over 20 years, and around 10 of that using Dell systems, I think I know what I’m talking about.. Their home/small business systems are where the problems are.. Offshore support, 1 year warantee, less reliable parts.. The corporate systems are a bit more expensive, but very much worth it.. If you want to save money on these systems, like I do, buy factory refurbs from the Dell Outlet. The systems are completely factory remanufactured, and are the current models. You often have to watch the Outlet website closely until a system you are interested in comes available and then you must JUMP on it, as it won’t stay on the site for very long. An example of the discount is thus: In my last job we were buying Optiplex 760 desktop systems at $985 each.. At the same time we were buying these “build-to-order” systems, I bought a unit of the exact same model and specs (Core2Duo/2.8Ghz,80GB, 4GB RAM) on the Outlet for $545… It was one of their “Scratch & Dent” units, but to this day, I have no idea *why* it was marked such, as it has worked for the last 2 years flawlessly… I used to build my own systems back in the 90s, but, unless my time is worthless to assemble the parts, I can get a Dell system for a bit less….

        • luxosaucer13 says:

          I would’ve agreed with you up to about 18 months ago. Their Optiplex line was plagued with bulging/exploding capacitor issues on the motherboards from 2003-2006. The models affected were the 270 series all the way up to the 745 series. Granted, defective capacitors weren’t Dell’s fault, but the WAY they handled it was their fault. Support kept insisting that the customers were “overloading” the systems, thereby causing the failures. According to a document I saw, at one point there was a staggering 97% failure rate amongst some lots of these models, within a 3-year timeframe.

          I know a few folks still employed by Dell small business, and, according to them, they still haven’t completely rectified the capacitor issues. Their QC is practicallly non-existent as well.

          I realise that no computer is flawless, but I’ve been using Toshiba notebooks since 2005 and CyberPower desktops since 2008, without problems from either one. The things I like are that Toshiba tends to use their own brand of hard drives (at least in their mid to high-range models), instead of those chintzy Seagate ones, and I can pick Gigabyte motherboards for my CyberPower machines, which have solid capacitors.

  4. suezahn says:

    This makes me sad that all this crap happened in the first place. The last two computers I bought were Dell because of their reputation and Customer Support alone, but I won’t buy the next one there. The thing is, I don’t know WHAT to get now. I LIKED the feel of my XPS.

    • Mr Grey says:

      By a Dell from the small business side – try a Latitude – I just bought 8 E5520s for work, and they are great – big 15.6 screen and keyboard with a number pad.

      I have found stuff from the business side to be built better, and support is better too.

      • rgf207 says:

        We use E6520 and E6420. They are really good. I will say that the E6500 (discontinued) did suck big time though. A lot of hardware problems

      • luxosaucer13 says:

        You can’t escape Dell Hell by simply buying through the business side. Their Optiplex line has even been plagued by issues.

        Google “Dell Optiplex bulging capacitor issue,” and you’ll see just the tip of the iceberg. Dell’s QC is non-existent at every level. The only difference in buying from the business side is that support, for the time being, is still based in the US.

        • lvdave says:

          Ummm… OLD NEWS there sparky… That capacitor issue was back in the GX270 days, like 2003-2004…. Not a problem anymore

          • luxosaucer13 says:

            They were blaming their customers for the problem, rather than owning up to it (see my reply to your post above). In my book, that IS a problem and it is a recurring one when it comes to Dell. I worked in tech support for Dell up until 2007 and, unless their processes have changed drsatically (which I seriously doubt), their refurbished products aren’t very, “refurbished,” either. I can’t tell you how many times I saw the same system (same service tag) being returned by the second, third, fourth, etc owner for the EXACT same problem. Most of them were hardware-related.

            If I had only 2 choices in computers, Dell and HP, and weren’t able to build my own, I’d choose HP hands-down.

            For the record, HP stinks too.

            • luxosaucer13 says:

              Oh and one more thing, “sparky.” I saw plenty of capacitor issues beyond the ‘270 series. They were present in the ‘280, ‘520, ‘620, and ‘745. I know because I helped our call center’s onsite tech exchange PLENTY of the mobos in those machines. They were practically failing right and left.

      • suezahn says:

        I actually use a Latitude for work and it’s already had the hard drive replaced, and I’ve only had it less than a year. Not sure if that’s Dell’s fault or the hard drive manufacturer’s fault. Otherwise I’m fine with it.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Holy crap…Dells “reputation and customer support alone?”

      They’re horrific. One of the worst of the major OEMs.

      A few years ago the entire unit that I managed used business-class Dell laptops – about 15 of us. Over the course of a year we had a greater than 100% failure rate, including multiple failures on the same machines.

      Because we had a corporate support contract, we could get them fixed/replaced easily enough, but private parties who bought the same laptops were just getting f%cked left, right, and center.

      • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

        We had a very similar experience: we got 50 Dell desktops as a test (at that time we were looking to replace the 2,000+ Compaq desktops in our business) and on-site Dell service was so abyssmal (and rude!) we got rid of them within 3 months.

      • suezahn says:

        They didn’t used to be bad. There was a time when they rivaled Apple. But that was a good half a decade ago (the last time I bought one). I’m starting to think it’s time to upgrade again, but just not sure where to go.

  5. Pete the Geek says:

    Is Dell’s warranty service in-house or outsourced?

    • cactus jack says:

      I’ve had both. A Dell service center (I sent it in and they took care of it) and an outsourced service center where I had to describe the problems on a separate sheet of paper and await a phone call to go over the problem again.

    • KTK1990 says:

      It is in house. The first two visits were in house and the third they wanted to take it to the depot to observe it more they said.

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    “Computer That Touches Itself Comes Back From Dell In Worse Shape, Michael Dell Swoops In”

    Michael Dell didn’t swoop in, he was lassoed and dragged in.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Yup. Little point in praising his actions when they were undertaken only after public humiliation.

  7. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    AAAaaaaaassss always…

    NEVER buy a computer from a major OEM at some big-box store.

    ALWAYS buy a computer from a local computer store, preferably one that builds their own PCs.

    You might pay a little more, but your ownership experience will be infinitely better in every way.

    • Press1forDialTone says:

      Everyone I have ever talked to as a consultant who had hellish computer
      problems had purchased the Frankenstein cobbled together computer from
      a local store and then when they were confronted with a problem that they overlooked
      when they crammed it together (It’s awesome dude, runs at 1 terahertz!), they
      pretended it was the owner who had “messed with something”.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        Since that statement is so wildly counter to my 20+ years in the computer industry, I’m going to assume you’re a shill for Dell and completely made that up. Which seems to be supported by your statements below.

  8. Press1forDialTone says:

    Good for Michael and maybe he’ll make some changes so that this type
    of situation occurs much less often. I like the personal touch and am
    glad that he acted like a leader. I have only had DELL computers, monitors,
    and have had a great experience with the company. I’m sold and not to
    white slavery!

  9. Press1forDialTone says:

    Remember, boys and girls, when buying from DELL:

    Do not buy: Lattitude or XPS = mass market not quite junk.
    Do buy: Optiplex and Inspiron = sold to businesses but you’re smart you can figure a
    way to get ’em, much higher quality construction, design and customer service. When
    an entire corporation gets pissed at Dell and drops a contract they listen, they want to
    avoid that, so they make them better stuff. But you can still get it.

    • luxosaucer13 says:

      Google, “Dell Optiplex bulging capacitor issues.”

      Friends don’t let friends buy Dell.

      • Press1forDialTone says:

        At least because its Optiplex, there is more than
        a good chance that it will be fixed because DELL
        has sold (over the years) as Carl Sagan would say:
        “Billions and billions” of them world-wide, but on the
        other had they sell the cheap stuff to us because we
        are well, CHEAP!

      • elangomatt says:

        How many times are you going to keep repeating this? That was many models of Optiplex ago. Give us something a lot more recent that bulging capacitor issue or your comments are completely useless.

        • luxosaucer13 says:

          Well, there’s a lesson to be learned in this… you say, “many models ago,” issue. The lesson is this: Dell’s modus operandii is, “Blame the customer.” It was with that issue, and it still remains today.

          Their, “Blame the customer,” model of cost savings is indeed very relevant and current, and that was the message that I’d hoped one would gleam from my references, but maybe it was too esoteric of an example.

          Dell isn’t the only company to expoit this tactic, I will concede, but they are one of the biggest. Dell and HP did the same thing regarding the NVIDIA video card failures several years ago. See a pattern forming there?

          Dell, like many others has chosen to go down the path of plausable deniability. To quote a popular movie at the time, “There is no spoon.”

    • lvdave says:

      Geez… Its you again, Dialtone… BAD info…. Latitude is the corporate laptop line, Optiplex is the corporate desktop line, Precision is the workstation line… Inspiron is the crap home user line of both desktop and laptops… Take my word for this, 20+ year computer tech, and 10+ years doing Dell support…..

  10. mrbucket says:

    Here’s to hoping the laptop he gets is new and not a refurb…

  11. Keep talking...I'm listening says:

    I can see the headline now —

    “Computer touches itself, user gets happy ending”

    News at 11

  12. Lyn Torden says:

    EVERY computer retailer should handle laptop problems THIS way:

    1. If the customer is able to remove the hard drive with their data, and send the computer back w/o that drive, replace it with one that has no drive. The customer can put their drive in the new one. This only applies if the drive or software is not the problem.

    2. If the customer leaves the drive in, replace the computer with one that has a freshly imaged drive. Data is lost. But that’s the way computers are. User is responsible to make backups. In the mean time, the computer retailer MUST erase or destroy the drive to be sure no one else gets a free porn collection or someone else’s viruses.

    Either way, now the company has a bad laptop they can put in the queue to be fixed when the techs can get around to it. If it can be repaired, do so, add a drive if needed, and be sure the drive has a fresh OS image, and all sectors are erased of remnant porn/viruses, and sell it as refurbished. If it can’t be repaired, but it in the “find out what manufacturing or design did wrong” queue.

    • luxosaucer13 says:

      But…..but…..but……what about the profit margins? What about the pleasure of talking with “Peggy?” I mean, really, we’re just dealing with a customer here, right……right? It’s not rocket science; let’s just apply a band-aid, let them think the problem is resolved, and then just conveniently dodge, parry and push them past the warranty period. Then we can laugh all the way to the bank, then spend money on advertising to reel in the next sucker….erm…..I mean, customer.


  13. ray4jc says:

    The last two major issues I have had with Dell I have had to escalate to the executive support team. Currently I have been going through a case and it has been 4 months since I first got in touch with Dell and have been through a few replacements and they sent a new system and it had problems as well. I think we are about to get do a resolution but it shouldn’t take 4 months, depot repair, multiple replacements and submitting to the BBB and contact Mr. Dell to get something fixed.

    • luxosaucer13 says:

      Next time, bypass the BBB and go directly to your state’s Attorney General’s Office, especially if he’s a consumer-friendly one. Dell got sued several years back by New York’s AG because of deceptive Dell Financial Services’ practices, and there was a multi-state AG lawsuit regarding something else as well, if my memory serves me correct, but I don’t recall exactly what.

      Dell knows how to bamboozle the BBB, but the AG is a bit more difficult to slip anything past.

  14. markfelmo says:

    Its quiet impressive talk about Dell Computer,whenever i visit this blog,there,s something new and special information about .Please share more information about topic.This Blog is filled of ideas and knowledge, thanks for this post; it’s very helpful blog. cheap laptops. will have many more features than other technologies include discounts with powerful features.