Monday, November 01, 2004


My Dell Horror Story

So, last year I bought a Dell Inspiron 8600, using a special increase in my Stafford Loan money that the government will grant once in your academic career for the purchase of a computer.

The computer cost around $2,000, but it was worth it to me because I needed a laptop, and I had been told such wonderful things about Dell.

The computer shipped to me one year and two weeks ago today. I did not buy the extended warranty, because it cost another couple of hundred dollars and I couldn't afford it. Thus I had a one-year warranty on the computer.

For the last couple of weeks, I have had problems with turning the computer on--it "wouldn't post" is the description the tech guy at Dell gave me. Yesterday, it wouldn't turn on at all, even after going through the whole "remove the battery," "unplug the computer" rigamarole.

After an online chat with Dell, it was determined that the motherboard had gone bad. The cost to me: $700.

I was on the phone this morning with Dell for about three hours, and their final word was to tell me that it was just too bad, and that the warranty was now expired, and that I could either fork over the $700 for the new motherboard or take a hike. I tried reasoning with them, and tried explaining that it was ridiculous that my computer had lasted only a year, and that though my computer had shipped from Dell on the 16th of October, 2003, it hadn't actually arrived until sometime around October 27th, so we were really talking about a matter of four days over the year warranty.

I wound up talking to five different people this morning, and the answer was always the same: your warranty is expired. Not so amusingly, I looked over the prices of the new Dell laptops, and find that they now come standard with 3-4 year warranties.

So, this is my manifesto against Dell, and given what I've been reading in the bulletin board discussions on Dell's own site, I am not alone in being sold a complete piece of shit and then being screwed over by Dell's service department.

I would imagine I'm also not alone in assuming that a computer should last longer than a year, and that this extended warranty crap is something that really needs addressing. A company should be forced to stand behind their product, particularly in instances of complete failure. I mean, really, this is like having the drive train of an automobile go out in the first year.

I would really appreciate it if my readers would pass this along and think twice before going with Dell. If I had known then what I know now--both in terms of my own experience and those I've read online--I would have gone with another manufacturer.

Dell will only stand behind its product if you pay them to stand behind it (unless they have to recall a product that catches fire, like the AC cords for earlier model Inspirons).

Don't buy a Dell.

Am commenting belatedly (hello), only to say that my now four-yr-old Dell Latitude is still fine. Since I acquired it via campus acad discount, it came (even then) with a three-year warranty, but it did not die immediately after the warranty expired....

Granted, the notebook hasn't taken the brunt of my computing for the last year or so, but it saw some heavy use for awhile.
When I purchased a Dell Computer (Dimension 2300) back in October of 2002 I was asked what specifications I wanted, would there be gaming on it, etc. I said several times that yes, indeed, there would be a lot of gaming being done on the Computer. But, to my absolute horror, I did end up with some guy named Malahujabakur Kretspitakilum (dramatization, of course) who spoke un-understandable English to the point I would be asking him to repeat his questions over and over and having to pass the phone off to my parents (I was quite young at the time). Anyway, they ended up shipping out the Computer with horrifying hardware specs such as 256MB PC133MHz RAM and an onboard integrated Intel Graphics Accellerator 32MB Memory video card which was not nearly up to par to play any of the "hardcore" games I was into at the time. So, the next day I called Tech Support and explained my issue to yet another foreign support guy with horrible English skills, and I was told, in short, "Sorry but it's the game developers problem so please contact them." and told me they wouldn't even send me a cheap PCI video card to show at least SOME sympathy. I was stuck with a Computer I had no use for gaming-wise. I ended up keeping it for 5 years until 2007 when I learned much more over those 5 years about Computers (learning that the motherboard Dell placed in it had no available AGP slots and only a few available normal PCI (not PCI-E) slots.) So, I had to buy a crappy PCI video card which did let me play *some* games but none that I was expecting when I was ordering the Computer.

All in all, over those 5 years of having a Dell Computer, I learned much and this year I built a Custom Computer and I couldn't love something more than this! Cost nearly the same amount of $$ and it's astonishingly better in all aspects. Absolutely wonderful.

Good-bye forever, Dell.
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