Jim's Dell Laptop Debacle - Final Words

Well, I gave Dell two weeks to find a middle ground with me regarding my issue a month ago with my Dell laptop and the Next Day Service I purchased but did not receive. Here's an update and my closing remarks (thank you, readers, for being patient with me while I tried to resolve this problem and share the results with my blog readers).

* Total cost of Next Day Service fee: $168.00
* Total time to repair Laptop: June 10 to June 22 - 7 business days, not counting day it died and day it was repaired

* Total billable hours lost: 11 (really 22 but I was able to use my Backup PC for some of my work)
* Value of work lost: $1100.00 (two small editing assignments lost, too - estimated around $200-300 each)

Last week, Dell offered me a 17% discount on my next purchase - for a $400 netbook, that comes to around $68.00 - $100 less than the cost of the Next Day Service (I politely declined the offer.)

So, here's my Final Words on the matter:

1. I will no longer be a Dell customer - no more laptops, desktops, printers... nothing.
2. I would encourage this blog's readers to seriously consider the trouble I had in getting my laptop serviced on time when considering their own purchase.
3. The small print in Dell's Next Day Service agreement, in a nutshell, says that Dell will attempt to fix your computer the Next Business Day but if they don't, tough luck.
4. Dell has lost one customer - me - and, with an average of 45,000 unique visitors to this blog each month, I'm guessing they've lost a few more. And it only cost the company $168.00 - what a deal!

I've been a Dell user since 1997 and am somewhat surprised that this issue has gone this far. I'll conclude by saying that while I've enjoyed my Dell laptop, I welcome my readers' suggestions on where to go for my next laptop.

Bye Bye, Dell.



Eric D. Burdo said…
The private school where I teach is going with laptops this year. We are seriously considering Lenovo, based on their track record, and the fact that they have a large repair presence here, due to the fact that the State uses Lenovo exclusively.

So... you could always give Lenovo a try...
DBrewer said…
My sister recently had a terrible run in with Dell Customer Service. They refused to give her the product key (or even a receipt for) the Microsoft Office she purchased a year ago. When she tried to continue pursuing the issue with them they labeled her a "disgruntled customer", refused to help her further and were very rude to her. I was a loyal Dell customer until this issue came up so I feel your pain. BTW Microsoft Service came through with a product key despite Dell's refusal to even give her a receipt for the program so it at least ended well!
Michael Kloss said…
I'm on a Mac for 5 Years now and well I am very happy with it. Right, they are also not perfect but the maximum wait time that I couldn't work with my mac was 1 day.
NXTDude said…
Jim, three words...Get...A....Mac, they'll never let you down. =) --NXTDude
Unknown said…
HP has some great machines and great deals. I recently bought an HP G60t series with a 16" screen. At the time, the HP's were the only machines I could configure under $1k with a decent (256 Mb) graphics card.
Damien Kee said…
I'm in the middle of reading "What Would Google Do" by Jeff Jarvis. In it he talks about how in 2008, Dell turned around an atrocious customer service record by reading and responding to blog postings. Looks like they might have reverted back to their old ways.

Get a MAC!

I'm a happy apple costumer for 4 years now.
They are probably one of the best things I've discovered in my entire life.

Apple, think different.
HT154 said…
Get a MAC

If you do, you can still install Windows on it for software like BricxCC, while still receiving superior customer support
Anonymous said…
If I ever manage to save up enough money at one time to purchase a laptop, I'll make sure not to buy a Dell.

People seem to be very happy with Mac. My dad has an HP, which I use often, and he hasn't had many problems with it.

Hi Jim, Sorry about your adventure with Dell. i switch to a mac book pro in Dec 08 after an overdose of blue screens of death on a brand new XPS420 ,,, which i ended up returning for a full refund after a week. Then i got a ThinkPad T500 with Docking station but it was also giving me BSOD using LEGO LDD and NXT-G on Vista so i returned it and wondered NOW WHAT !! then for fun i thought maybe it is time i got a MAC!!! I got a MBP. OK they cost DOUBLE but today i can confirm it was worth every penny. After 28y of using Windows i must say MAC OS Leopard rules! Meanwhile if you prefer to stick to PC, know that you can get amazing prices on LENOVO Idea/Thinkpad via the EPP program (Friend of employee price program). Even tho IBM sold to LENOVO the PC division, we still have access to the Lenovo EPP program. So keep in mind you've got a friend at IBM :D

bazmati / bazmarc
Dell lost me as a customer a long time ago for the same stuff. I tried Compaq for my next purchase, but they weren't too much better. I've had REALLY good experiences with Apple's service, and am working on an iBook G4 now - The only Robot related problem I've found is that RobotC is not compiled for it...
Unknown said…
THANK YOU for publicly airing this grievance (imagine those having the same issue but can only suffer silently). i don't recommend dell (by default) anymore, i used to b/c nobody could beat dell on pricing...

question - did dell HARD SELL you "Next Day Service" or did you seek it on your own? or did dell cold call you to add this?

great that you've included BILLABLE hours, others have posted that it isn't relevant - but it IS! dell hard sells "Next Day Service" noting the cost of parts AND emphasizes that you'll save on HOURLY labor costs and suffer the MINIMUM amount of DOWN TIME!

many have suggested getting a cheap pc or switching to mac, i understand that its not that easy - as you've noted, the problem is the SOFTWARE. i too make sure that i'm LEGAL with all my software. i spend most of my time in mac os x and windows xp under emulation, but i still have many old (ancient) boxes running various os's b/c i paid for the software, if the software is still relevant, and the os that it runs best on still works on that ancient box, then both the software AND the hardware still has value.

i've NEVER heard anyone receive true "Next Day Service" from dell; tech support asks the end user to "try some things", assuring them that all the following repairs are simple and that they're confident that they can walk the user trough it, eg, open the computer and reseat memory/ cards, or install components that dell ships to them. only after all these options are exhausted, then the user MAY get "Next DAY Service", weeks, or months later!

please blame any future poor book reviews on dell!
BlueToothKiwi said…
Jim - I am sorry to hear about your experience.

I ordered a brand new Dell desktop (with the new i7 processor and the top of the range video card). I would have loved to have got the 17% discount as it would have made a HUGE difference to what I paid! But I guess their offer is probably not transferrable!

Regarding My Dell - it worked fine out of the box with the OEM version of 64 bit Vista.

However, I had minor problems upgrading to the latest build of Windows 7 Beta. But Dell have been wonderful - giving me drivers and Bios to get it working (although they had no obligations to support beta OS). The customer service for NZ is run from Malaysia. And the service I got (follow up / emails / phone calls) have been fantastic.

Regarding how you lost some work - Dell also give you free service called Data Safe online which allows you to back up all your stuff. It is pretty good - as I can do that from anywhere with a broadband connection.

Yesterday they rang up and told me because I ordered it last month, they will give me a free upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate (64 bit) when it is released in October.

To me that is service.

It is amazing how two people can have such a VAST difference in user experience from the same company. May be the Support centre for Asia Pacific is better run?
Fay Rhodes said…
In our household, we have MAC (since it was first sold), Lenovo and HP. Our experience with all of them has been mixed.

MAC is good if you have something easy to fix. It's awful if there is a model defect---like a design that overheats. They keep the machine for weeks (on three different occasions) and then tell you that it "meets specs"---which was ridiculous, because it sounded like a jet engine when it got warm. Even a relative who is a certified Apple tech got the same runaround.

Lenovo dates your warranty from the manufacture date, which penalizes you if you buy from someone other than the manufacturer. But they honored their in-home repair service---which was nice, since we live WAY out in the country. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be so happy with it if it was Vista. (It's XP.)

The Vista HP had constant blue screens of death, and is now being used with Linux.

I love and hate them all. :)

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