Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dell laptops are terribly low quality and you shouldn't buy one

I bought a Dell laptop at Thanksgiving and received it on December 3. Three weeks later the monitor failed - - the display was reduced to a bunch of pink smears. It worked fine if connected to an external monitor, and there were no visible cracks or other defects on the laptop.

I contacted Dell through their online support and was directed to ship the laptop back for repairs. Three days later, I received a FedEx box for shipping and shipped the laptop back to Dell.

Three days ago, Tuesday, I received an email from Dell informing me that the repairs would not be covered by my warranty, and directing me to call to find out more information.

I called Tuesday afternoon and was told that the LCD was broken and that my warranty did not cover fixing it. I pointed out that the laptop was only three weeks old, and was clearly defective - - I had never dropped it, and indeed had never taken it out of my house. The service agent was unmoved and told me that he would do me a favor and only charge me $200 to fix the screen (instead of the actual cost of $400).

I asked to speak to a supervisor, who told me that "LCD leakage" occurred, and that such a problem was not covered by my warranty. I asked what would have caused such a problem, and he told me it was likely caused by opening or closing the laptop. I told him that a brand new laptop that breaks on account of its intended use was defective, and thus any needed repair was covered by my warranty. He insisted that I would have to pay for the repairs. I asked to speak to his supervisor. He told me that no supervisor was available, but that one would call me on Wednesday.

As you can imagine, I was frustrated. And stunned.

On Wednesday morning, I received an email from Dell saying that "repairs had been completed" and that my laptop would be shipped back to me. I also received a call from FedEx to expect the laptop today, Thursday. I missed a call from a Dell manager Wednesday afternoon. The voicemail he left for me simply expressed regret for having missed me, and otherwise indicated that he had no familiarity with the situation, and had no idea why I wanted to talk to him. In light of the email, and vague nature of his message, I decided to wait to receive the laptop instead of calling him back.

So, I didn't know whether the laptop was really being shipped back to me, and if so, whether it had been fixed.

Today, I received the laptop. The LCD has apparently been replaced, and the monitor seems to be fine. Of course, I am extremely reluctant to actually use my laptop as a laptop since I assume closing the screen could break it at any moment.

In sum, think long and hard before buying a Dell.

91 comments:

  1. I was the same way, I had to spend my Christmas vacation fixing my mothers dell laptop and talking to dell about my sisters brand new dell laptop that needed to be totally sent back.

    after that experience, we got my sister a macbook.

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  2. I've had no problems with any of my Dells. 3 personal PCs, 11 work PCs, 4 PCs for my significant others' family, and 4 laptops. The only problem we've ever had was 3 years after getting one of the laptops the system was overheating. Dell sent a technician to our house to fix the problem, and ended up changing the motherboard, heat sink, fan, and RAM (when all he really NEEDED to change was the fan, but we thought better safe than sorry) and everything was free because she was still under her extended warranty. I've never had anything but luck with Dells. Any Acers and HPs on the other hand, seem to break when I look at them.

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  3. When I buy dell, I tend to expect short life expediencies, though I wouldn't spend any substantial amount of money on one. My Dell is 3 years old, sits in one spot, and although it still functions, the case, hinges, and frame are all falling apart. Perhaps I shouldn't expect the case to outlast the innards, but after reading this article, this will be my last dell.

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  4. Man... what happened to Dell. For my money, it's all about Vaio.

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  5. I'm sure there are bad stories about every make of PC.

    My most recent Dell story: A friend gave me his old Dell laptop when he got a new machine. The battery on the old laptop doesn't charge, but you could push in the cord and get it to charge.

    Sounds like an adapter problem, or a plug-in problem, or a battery problem, right?

    Checking online, no. That model of Dell apparently has a defective motherboard battery charger. After a while, what appears to be around the time it takes for the machine's warranty to expire, the charger starts to flake out and eventually fail to recognize a Dell adapter as a valid recharging source. The fix was to get Dell to replace the motherboard. I believe the replacements had the same defect?

    Well, there was one other fix. It turns out there was a period where the laptops would recharge from the AC adapter anyway, even when the motherboard defect kicked in. But Dell patched out that ability in a BIOS update...

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  6. A defect I could understand. Their attempt to pressure me into paying for the repair is what really upset me.

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  7. Dell has the ABSOLUTE WORST phone customer service I have ever experienced. My problem was simple. I bought 2 flip-type cameras from their online store (not made by Dell itself), and when I received them, they were not HD, as listed on the site. When I called the (off shore) customer service, the response I got was that, since they didn't make them, their responsibility ended at my purchase. The SUPERVISOR actually said to me, "Well, what do you want ME to do about this? It's YOUR problem." Never again.

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  8. I work for a medium sized brokerage firm that previously had a contract with Dell for Computer equipment. The failure rates were so high they switched to HP's. (which seem to occasionally die for no proper reason, but at a much lesser extent that the experience with the Dell PC's).

    For my $ though I wouldn't by anything but an Apple product anymore. Granted there will always be hardware failures, Apple build quality and support IMHO far exceeds the competition the last 3 years or so.

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  9. Return it and get a nice ThinkPad. Good enough for the space shuttle is good enough for me.

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  10. I've had my Dell laptop for 6 years now, and I have been unhappy with it from the start.

    It isn't "broken", but I am always waiting on that to happen - it makes a crazed high pitch whistle every now and again, and has done so for 6 years. I know it is probably the HD, but it hasn't had any problems yet, save for the noise. Still, I store nothing critical on it and keep everything on an external drive.

    I've had it plugged into the wall perpetually for 5 years and some months out of those six years - because the battery stopped holding a charge just around when the warranty was expired... so it really isn't all *that* portable.

    And since when I bought it they would not let me wipe Vista and go back to XP (else void the warranty), or forward to 7, a lot of my work day seems to go to just waiting for that damned spinning blue wheel to go away and for all my open windows to say something other than "not responding".

    I used to never trust HP computers, always told people they made good printers but not anything else - because they were seriously sucky from 286 through Pentium!!! - but the dell I want to throw through a window cost twice what I paid for Bethalynne's HP, which seems pretty terrific and incredibly fast by comparison.

    Hopefully they are still that good when I can finally replace my dell with an HP.

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  11. I got my dell studio laptop in the fall of 2008 and the hard drive conked out on me 2 weeks in. I knew I had made a huge mistake but foolishly I didn't send it back for a refund. I purchased this particular dell to do some video editing. It turned out to be a huge mistake. Everytime I would try to convert HD video files, let alone edit, my comp would overheat and shut off. The battery died around a year ago and I refuse to replace it. (wouldn't make much sense anyway because the fan is so loud that I can't use it in class to take notes.) My advice is send that POS back and get a refund and save up for a mac or get a desktop if you realistically aren't using the comp on-the-go. Dell used to be known for their good customer service but it seems that it has gone to shit. Even if the customer service is excellent a comp that has problems 2 weeks in is usually a bad sign. Hope everything works out and I'm a huge fan of the blog.

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  12. could have told you that one man. Also Alienware machines are terribad quality wise. it really comes down to fault tolerances in manufacturing at such a high volume - which is why you'll see so many people saying that they've "never had any problems with my dell", since it's essentially averages. You never know what you're going to get. That being said, everyone I know who has had a dell product has had drastic failures, and I'm a software engineer working around a lot of different people with a lot of different computers. My boss has one of the best laptops you can get from dell [in the 5k range] and it's failed 3 times so far. What saves him is the insane service plan he has with it, something goes wrong and they send him a new one or have a technician on the spot the next day. If you buy a dell get the best service plan you can buy at the time because you WILL use it for all it's worth.

    Sager has been around forever and they offer some competitive high quality laptops if you're not interested in shelling out for a Macbook Pro. I haven't regretted getting this little 13 inch one and I have about 4 other high power Windows/Linux laptops. Sorry to hear about your frustrations, in the future hit up your blog followers for advice on what lappy to buy =)

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  13. Actually, i have bought a Dell laptop nearly 3 months ago and lcd monitor moves inside plastic surface. after reading this post, i'm kinda scared.

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  14. pro tip: don't buy cheap Dells. don't buy consumer-level Dells. if you buy a laptop from them, ensure it's either a Precision or a Latitude.

    also: you'll find the same internal part quality in any of the lower-priced brands (and Sony). look at MSI. their higher-tier laptops are NOT cheap, but they're worth buying.

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  15. I find it slightly hilarious that all these posts are next to an advert for Dell.

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  16. My sister has a Dell that would constantly overheat, almost to the point of burning her hands. She shipped it to Dell to be fixed, and when they shipped it back, it was still overheating.

    She shipped it to them again, and when she got it back the overheating issue seemed to be fixed, but the upper right corner of her laptop is completely smashed and warped, like someone dropped it, or tried to pry the case open with a screwdriver. She also found a folder full of porn on her computer when she got it back that definitely wasn't on there when she sent it in.

    Dell is a real piece of work...

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  17. Maybe my luck with Dell has to do with being Canadian? I hear horror stories all the time about Dell, but still haven't had a single problem with any of my machines.

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  18. Dell's customer service is notoriously terrible. The advice to buy their best service plan possible is good advice, as it is only via such plans that they seem to take an interest.
    The best advice, though, is to simply not buy a Dell. I've had 4 in the family over the last 5 years, and only one of them has not had major issues--that one I bought completely refurbished by an ebay reseller with tons of feedback. It's running XP and has been perfect since he sent it. The other three came direct from Dell and have had myriad problems.
    Macs are on a closed system, so no matter how nice they are, I won't buy into that. From now on, it's Sony or Sager. And I'll probably go with a refurb again. Laptops seem to die after a few years anyway, so why not save some $ up front?

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  19. For a desktop, build your own. It's easy to do and way cheaper. For a laptop, buy Asus.

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  20. you know PartsPeople,on the web, carries all the parts for the dell laptops- and typically any end user can do the work themselves....

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  21. Well, so let's see what happened here. You return a laptop. Dell looks at it, marks it as "broken LCD". 99% of the time broken LCDs are due to customer dropping, and those - for good or bad - are not covered under warranty. So Dell tells you that you have to pay. You object. The Dell rep offers 50% off, which might be the limit of what he is authorized to offer. You object. A supervisor looks at it and makes the proper decision, the one you wanted in the first place, that the laptop should be repaired for free. And it is, and a Dell manager calls you (!) presumably to tell you so. In total, it looks like the laptop was out of service for about ten days including shipping three ways.

    What you have here is a minor miscommunication between the repair people and the front-line phone people, which was quickly resolved in your favor. You had the laptop back in service in ten days (over New Year's). This level of service is not perfect. You had to argue with two people on the phone that in an ideal world, you shouldn't have. But it hardly seems like a travesty of justice.

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  22. My company uses dell enterprise computers, the desktops seem pretty stable but we have had problems with laptops, 1-2% fail every month. There was a particular latitude model that was much worse.

    My personal machines are Thinkpads. I have had no failures but in my statistically insignificant sample.

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  23. I've had two dells over the years. The first one had a similar problem to yours. I rang them and by the end of the next day dell had sent a technician to replace the entire lcd and surround which was carried out with competence and speed, for free. That laptop is now 4 years old and still runs like a dream. I have another dell laptop that is built very well and hasn't had a thing go wrong with it. Couldn't recommend dell's laptops highly enough.

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  24. My wife has had two Dells - an Inspiron 1100 (the one that had overheating issues, some class action lawsuit resulted, but I'd fixed it myself) and an Inspiron 1525 (on the third hard drive, she keeps dropping it).

    I admit they're not well made but she's had okay luck with them.

    I won't let her buy another one though :)

    I either use Apple machines (currently an '08 MacBook Pro) or Lenovo ThinkPads (a T61p and an X120e).

    The Mac has had absolutely no issues whatsoever after 4 years of heavy use, running virtual machines, and the ThinkPads run Linux under heavy load as well. I don't find the Apple stuff to be 'closed' as I can install whatever I wish - mostly open source stuff - and nothing prevents me from installing Linux or BSD on a Mac up to this point. Or Windows, for that matter...

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  25. ha ha, boom boom! snarf. This will teach dell & other companies who put out substandard products then give terrible customer service.

    I have to say I recently had an outstanding experience with Apple who replaced a barely used 2yr old battery free of charge because it was clearly defective as shown by its recharge & recycle stats. I rely on Apple products and I feel relief that I can count on them always stepping up to the plate and giving what is really beyond excellent service.

    But I have to say also, that it's no less than I expect from anyone I buy products from, do business with.

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  26. I had a friend who had a Dell laptop. He had numerous small issues with it, but nothing bad enough to stop it working. In the end he sold it. 2 weeks after he sold it, the motherboard blew up. This was just out of warranty, about a year after it had been bought. Must say, the guy who bought the thing off him wasn't impressed.

    That particular experience has turned me away from ever buying a Dell. I had an Asus laptop, and Asus's technical support is very helpful and reasonable. I had two issues with that laptop but they rectified both very quickly. (As well Asus offered a 2 year basic warranty instead of the typical 1 year so that helped a lot.)

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  27. After just over a year-and-a-half, my wife's Dell began having screen issues. Not the picture--but the hinges. THE HINGES. She rarely takes it places--it just sits on her desk mostly--but apparently thats too rigorous an activity.

    The kicker is she's about 1 month from finishing her dissertation. Everything is backed up, but you can imagine what havok computer woes wreak on a graduate student about to complete her crowning academic achievement.

    We're replacing computers this year and Dell will NEVER get another dime.

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  28. I bought a refurbished 15R about 9 monthes ago. One of the USB ports is broken, but otherwise it's pretty okay, considering the $500 I paid for it.

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  29. Had virtually the same problem with Acer

    They said there was liquid damage. Definitely no way, I said. They wouldn't budge. Very convenient excuse

    Claimed via my personal insurance and replaced it with ....you guessed it, a Dell... doh!

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  30. We've bought Dells for over a decade. They used to be rock solid computers. Since they started outsourcing and basically rebadging everything, quality has gone downhill. The last group of laptops my extended family bought all died or had serious issue within a year, numerous extended warranty visits. Never ever ever again.

    My five year old ThinkPad issued by work only has the problem of a dead battery. Meh. When we switched to new ThinkPads, I twisted arms to be able to buy my work unit. I'll never ever go back. ThinkPads forever I say.

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  31. I've rarely had a problem out of any of the Dell systems I work with. Now, I would also like to point out that I wouldn't buy anything other than a Latitude if it's a laptop or an Optiplex if a desktop. Everything else in the consumer line I wouldn't touch with a 10 meter cattle prod.

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  32. My wife and I have owned 3 Dell laptops over the years. They are all still in fine working order (1 has been sold to a relative) and have never needed service.

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  33. I bought a monitor from dell in December. The invoice said that it wouldn't arrive until February 1st, 2012. There was no rush, and the monitor was cheap so I said screw it, I'll wait. A week later, after we entered 2012, I realized that the monitor didn't have a 1080p display. I went online to cancel my order. But I couldn't find where I could just click "Cancel Order." After ten minutes of having issues with the Dell site, I gave in and called their service number. Someone in India picked up (not complaining about that, just stating the facts) and after saying I wanted to cancel my order he told me that I called the wrong number (it was the most general number I could find on their site). He transfered me to someone else who then asked me what I wanted to do. "I want to cancel my order." Instead of canceling my order, she asked me if I would keep my order and she would take $10 off. I again told her, I wanted to cancel my order and then buy a better monitor. They weren't losing a sale or a customer, I just wanted to change my fucking order and they forced me to waste my time talking to people to do so. Then I asked why I couldn't cancel my order from the site, and her reply was, "Oh, you can't do that, you have to call." Um, ok. After putting me on hold for 5 minutes, she said she had my order up and again asked if I was sure I wanted to cancel. What the holy fuck. Yes, I want to cancel, I called to cancel. CANCEL MY ORDER. And she did.

    What should have taken less than a minute took about 20 and involved two people they pay wages too just because they don't want people to cancel orders. NICE ONE DELL.

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  34. I bought a new Dell laptop for my aunt for her thesis purposes. It overheats and reboots repeatedly when used for anything but web browsing. After correspondence, my ticket suggested I update the bios and drives. This still did not solve any rebooting issues. I wish I would have saved my pennies for something that wasn't a steaming pile of garbage.

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  35. New York's Attorney General sued Dell for engaging in deceptive business practices. That should tell you enough.

    If not, I also read a very good article from a long time Dell user describing the type of experience you are having. If you care to read it. It can be found here:

    http://www.brokeandbroker.com/1202/dell-xps-bill-singer/

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    Replies
    1. I read the article and it is a whopper ! Others feel the way I do about DELL - the worst laptop I've ever owned (and I've had about 5)... and... "I'd never buy another Dell." But I don't think I'd even get the opportunity... I understand they're going out of business. I wonder why?

      Delete
  36. Hi, My name is Lorna and I work for Dell. Please contact @DellCares via Twitter, or on Facebook at:
    http://apps.facebook.com/dellfeedback/?c=us&l=en. We LOVE to help our customers with any concerns they may be experiencing. #DellListens. Thanks, LM

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  37. I had similar problems with them a few years ago. When I bought a new laptop from them, the DVD drive wouldn't work. No matter what type of item I put in (DVD, CD, software), I could put the item in one time, but if I took it out and tried to put it in again, the system would tell me that I didn't have a DVD drive.

    I called Dell and they said that this wasn't a Dell problem but that it was a Microsoft problem. I told them that I had the laptop for two days and it should be a Dell problem but they said it wasn't their issue and I had to call Microsoft.

    I called Microsoft and they said it wasn't their issue but it was a Dell issue. Both companies wiped their hands clean of my brand new laptop telling me that I had no DVD drive.

    I finally managed to get Dell to swap out the computer for a new one, but the customer service person told me, "Are you sure you want to swap out for a new one since the same problem may happen on the new one?" Seriously?

    And, guess what, the same problem happened on the new one, and again I had to contact Dell and they again told me that it was a Microsoft problem.

    I then asked for my money back and they told me that I would have to pay a 10% restocking fee which would've been about $120-$130. I told them that I had the computer for a couple days and that the DVD drive does not work and for them to restock a device that doesn't work I have to pay $120? They said Yes.

    I complained to multiple customer service people who kept passing me around, and finally one customer service person told me he would have me talk to his manager, and he gave me advice about how to get my money back. He told me to be rude and mean and yell and demand my full refund and to not take no for an answer. He said if I behaved in that manner they would refund me.

    I took his advice and they did finally offer to refund me my full refund, but this whole fiasco, with both computers, amounted to me being on the phone for over 15 hours with Dell and Microsoft.

    I bought a Mac after that. Apple can't tell me that it's Microsoft's problem, so I've been a Mac person ever since.

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  38. So...

    1. You had a hardware failure.
    2. The support technicians provided a solution that you were unsatisfied with, and so escalated to their supervisor.
    3. That supervisor was unable to resolve your issue to your satisfaction so he continued the escalation for you.
    4. The next supervisor was unable to reach you but apparently signed off on the repairs anyway in order to provide a satisfactory customer experience.

    The bastards!

    If you can't tell, I've worked in hardware repair and specifically phone-based support. Further, the chances of the issue you describe not being a user-generated cause are extremely low to the point that it is most likely a customer is being untruthful to say it's not their fault. When dealing with easily one of the most expensive parts of a portable system, you have to be willing to draw a line against "customer is always right" for practicality. In fact, if it were something more integral to the function of the system but cheaper, from the RAM to even the motherboard, the odds are you would not have received much if any push back even if the plastics had a crack or two.

    Still, I have to agree, the state of customer support and specifically Dell's service have fallen dramatically in recent years; it's just always interesting to see how a case that was ultimately a very well handled procedure on the support side is viewed as such a transgression on the customer end.

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  39. typing this from a dell lattitude D830, having another D830 (for the wife), D630 (work) and a D430 ( for the kid) (maybe noticing a pattern :) ?) in the house...
    my old folks also have a D830,
    all fine and dandy laptops , who work just as they should with excellent high res 1920x1200 screens for the D830's .
    Things like all the situations described in the blog and all the posts below happen with ANY laptop brand and are most likely situated around a few models.
    Just Bad Luck...

    Like someone else stated, the laptop was repaired (after a bit hassle) for free in 10 day's...
    doesn't look to bad ...

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  40. You know your story makes me WANT to buy a Dell. It sounds like you had FANTASTIC customer service, albeit you had to prove it was a warranty issue - they gave in and quickly fixed the issue. Sounds like you were notified on my levels and mostly knew where your laptop was. This sounds better than most of my experiences with customer service from other high end manufactures.

    I work in a Dell shop. We have 800+ desktops, 300 Laptops, 100 servers. All DELL, and besides some driver issues and battery issues (which were quickly replaced / fixed by support) we’ve had nothing but good experiences.

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  41. Yea, I have worked support before. Loved when folks would call and say the lcd screen just broke on its own... Glad your little scammy scam worked buddy. You get a scam club gold star ;)

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  42. My Dell XPS M1730 laptop developed a battery fault a couple of days before the warranty expired.

    They replaced the motherboard. It didn't fix the problem.

    The warranty expired by the time the tech replaced the motherboard and decided it wasn't working. Dell offshore decided that because the battery was now identified as the faulty part (well, duh!), I needed to buy a new battery because of expired warranty.

    They did see reason when I argued the point.

    The camera stopped working and now throws a "USB device is not working" error in Windows at every boot.

    The HD died (click of death).

    The DVD-RW cannot record even a quarter of a DVD without failing.

    The video card died, which I had to replace with a lower-spec one myself lest Dell attempt to charge me the price of a mid-range laptop to replace it.

    To be fair, the laptop is now 4 years old and I banked on it lasting only 3 years.

    People buy Dell because they don't want to pay for Lenovo. People buy Lenovo when they want their device to work.

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  43. My girlfriend wanted to buy me a Dell laptop, but the sales rep talked her into leasing a laptop instead because they would gladly replace it if it got lost, stolen, or broken.

    When the laptop actually did get stolen, Dell told us we were lying when we said their sales rep had promised to replace it. They insisted that we owed them the full retail cost of a brand new computer; that was on top of the half dozen monthly payments we had already made.

    After hounding us by phone for months, Dell finally agreed to settle for about half the full retail cost. Then , after they received our check, hounded us by phone for another four months, insisting that we still owe them the full retail price of the computer.

    Never do business with Dell!

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  44. I had a horrible problem with HP, new laptop broke 5 times in one year. When they sent it back to me the 5th time they sent it back to an old address that I no longer lived at (3600 miles away) When I called support to get it sent to the right place they refused. I spent almost a month trying to get it back and finally decided to get it back myself (I had to go to the city for business) As I was sitting in the lobby of my old building picking up the laptop I got a call from HP finally agreeing to pick the laptop up (I attribute this decision to my last call to HP support wherein I said "I guess it's time to call my lawyer") I said to the caller "I'm here now, picking it up, nevermind. I will never buy another HP product" and I haven't and won't. I tell everyone I know and work with to avoid HP...maybe dell now too?

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  45. I've been working on computers for a living since 1993. My service record for Dells is no worse than their market share. I do see a lot more Gateways, Acers and Toshibas out of proportion to their market share. In fact I usually recommend Dells and HPs to customers who ask. Macs are great too except when they break. Then they take longer to repair and cost more for parts than any other brand.

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  46. This can't actually be a surprise to anyone. It's Dell.

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  47. Commenters here seem a bit thick. It's not particularly useful to hear that your Dell didn't break, since most products, even crappy ones, aren't defective. What's useful is knowing how Dell handled your warranty customer service when your Dell computer DID break.

    John's post tells us that Dell has learned nothing from the 2005 Jeff Jarvis Dell Hell experience that supposedly restructured Dell's customer service and their employees' attitudes. (Just for fun, google jarvis dell hell market cap.)

    The lesson for consumers: If you believe that a company should stand by its products, don't buy a Dell.

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  48. I agree with the "never buy dell" rule and have for years. I have had several laptops over the years, no choice, issued by my work, and have had a lot of problems requiring repairs and replacements, as have my colleagues. I don't have to pay for the repairs, of course, but there was substantial lost time involved. There was also a time when they replaced the motherboard (under warranty) but a few weeks later there was a different problem where the motherboard needed replacing again (replacement was probably defective), and they refused because the warranty had expired on the original motherboard (so there was no warranty at all on the replacement?!).
    They also seem to have some kind of magic circuit built in to the batteries, so after the 1 year warranty period (almost to the day, on 3 different laptops) the battery won't hold a charge, even for a minute or two.
    Customer service is awful too. I just wanted to find to cost of getting additional RAM, so when I called with the model number etc. they refused to tell me the price unless I gave them my customer number, like I had to be part of some secret club to ask a simple question with them!
    Now we use anything but Dell at work.

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  49. They fixed it for free and you're still pissing and moaning about it?

    Okay.

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  50. You're kidding us, right? You pretend to be someone who is objective? Get this, a sample set of (n = 1) is really worthless. Even if you get a boatload of similar stories here in the comments, selection bias has to be accounted for. Who knows? Maybe for ever poster here, there are 6,000 happy users? Stop confusing us with your sob story. Yes, write that you had to push-back -- that's deplorable. But, don't pretend to know how good or bad Dell machines are. You don't. Get off your bully pulpit - you clearly don't deserve to be there.

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  51. had mine for less than a year and have had the screen, hard drive, keyboard and mouse touchpad replaces.

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  52. My college used Dell as their choice laptop for a required laptop program. It was basically forced on everyone. There isn't one person I know on a campus of 10,000 students that hadn't had some issue with their Dell. The laptops overheated to skin burning temps. The chargers would just stop working for no reason or everyday use. Then there was a battery recall. There would be slow loading times, easily breakable features, plain worthless features...
    I once read somewhere that Dell has bad quality because when they need electronic components, they just grab them from any dealer, reputable or not. For example bad capacitors and batteries made in china that gave people problems were replaced with batteries made in japan. Overall, Dell is too big. Unfortunately since they are the generic bulk computer retailer, every place has Dells. I wouldn't say all Dells are bad, but it is a toss up. Recently they have improved a bit.

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  53. Huh. I've literally had no trouble with Dells, and I've had them almost exclusively for ten years. My first two were hand-me-downs from my father. Business laptops, built like a rock. The second was simply an upgrade, newer hardware than the first, which still worked.

    My third Dell was purchased new for me, an Inspiron 300m. It lasted me through middle and high school. A couple of warranty claims on it (one for the charge port, which had gotten loose, and the other for a floppy screen. By the time I graduated high school, it was pretty old, but still functional. (I brought it to college with me and used it as a netbook until I cracked the screen. I was sad to see it go. It was a great little laptop.)

    After graduation, I got my fourth Dell. A new Precision M4500. This summer, the hard drive died, and it got replaced without a problem. They shipped me a new one, and I stuck the old one in a box and sent it back. They even paid postage both ways.

    My fifth Dell is an old XPS desktop. Another hand-me-down from my father, I use it for media storage and server applications. The machine is six years old, and still going strong. The only thing that doesn't work on it is one of the four SATA ports.

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  54. I used to work IT for a company that was well-stocked with Dell Computers. We literally had lightning strike the building once, and take out one of our desktops. The hard drive was toast. I called Dell to order a replacement, and they refused to send me one until I installed their special diagnostic software to troubleshoot the problem. I was on the phone with them for 30 minutes, patiently trying to explain to them that there was no hard drive left for me to install their diagnostic software ON, which was why I needed a new one. I finally ended up holding the phone to the computer while I booted up. Once the rep heard that it sounded like a dying lawnmower, he finally said "oh" and agreed to send me a new one. Idiots.

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  55. I've owned about twenty Apple computers over the years. Other than a bad motherboard on an Apple IIc about one million years ago, I've never had a problem. And that was replaced swiftly and for free. My current computer is an eighteen-month-old MacBook Pro. It spends much of its time doing graphics and rendering. No heat issues. It has traveled approximately fifty thousand miles on forty+ airplanes, lived in hotel rooms, survived my young niece and nephew, and never hiccuped once. Yes, you can get cheaper PCs. I could also have bought a cheaper car in 1989 than my Miata. I still have the Miata, though, and it's still perfect. Next year I will buy another Apple.

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  56. In my experience Dells either last forever or they break within the first week of use. I've had a couple of Dells that barely made it from the car to the house, but I also have 3 are have been chugging along problem free for several years now. It's kind of a crapshoot.

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  57. I have had a MacBook Pro for six years, and never had a problem until last month when the hard-drive failed. I brought it to an apple store, and they replaced they replaced the hd with one twice the original size, and charged me $200. Not bad at all. That MBP still runs fast enough to do just about everything I ever want to do.

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  58. I don't like Dells, but I LOVE their commercials. "Dude, you're gettin' a DELL!" Ha ha.

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  59. I just want to say that everyone has a horror story. It may be a horror story for Dell, Hp, Lenovo, Acer, Sony, Toshiba, and any other manufacturer for that matter. I feel like this user got treated fairly. Every company has it's flaws and some are more significant than others. Also, sometimes they improve in one area and decline in another. They are all trying to do the same thing. MAKE MONEY. They experiment with different options to save money. Sometimes it works out great, and sometimes it doesn't. I have been in the IT field (Computer tech and now Network Administrator) for over 12 years and I have worked with all of these companies. I have likes and dislikes with all of them. My current favorites are Dell and Lenovo. Both of these companies provide exceptional quality machines as well as good service. My personal favorite is definitely Dell though. Hands down. I am probably the biggest Dell fan you will ever meet. It is a very hard task to earn my devoted vote, but Dell has done just that. I have been buying nothing but Dell machines now for years. My dad has an XPS 410, a Dell Mini 10, and an old inspiron laptop. All of which work great and have never needed any repairs despite constant use. I have an XPS 400, XPS 410, Latitude D620, Latitude XT2, Poweredge 2800, and a Poweredge T710. I have not had any problems with ANY of my systems either despite constant regular usage. Note: My 2 servers and 1 of my desktops stay on 24-7. When my younger sister was trying to decide what laptop to buy before moving to Chicago to attend northwestern for her masters degree I told her to buy a dell. I even built it for her online. She did. She has a dell Studio XPS 1645 I believe. Couldn't be happier. I am not trying to say that dells are perfect, because they aren't. What I am saying is that everyone has a different experience. I will say that one of the earlier posters made a comment about the entry level laptops that I completely agree with. All of the manufacturers make entry level laptops and I will say that I am not impressed. I won't buy any manufacturers entry level products, but their business grade gear is the way to go. I can also say that 98 percent of the time Dell's service has been awesome to me. I am not a fan of their phone support being in India. I just recently had one of those Indian guys assume I was stupid and when I informed him that I knew he was lying (since I know Dell's policies) he hung up on me. I have been working to get that issue resolved and it is proving difficult to get a resolution. They resolved the issue I needed handled with the laptop (hard drive replacement) but the fact that they do not seem concerned with how their phone support is treating their customers concerns me. That is also the only time I have ever had a problem with Dell support. I have called them well over 500 times over the years to get help resolving an issue, or to get a replacement part, or whatever the issue and I have always been satisfied. I also don't expect any one person or company to be perfect.

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  60. it's not clear whether you paid the $200 or they fixed it for free

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  61. SquareTrade (extended warranties) published the results of their analysis of laptop failures: http://www.squaretrade.com/htm/pdf/SquareTrade_laptop_reliability_1109.pdf

    ASUS and Toshiba fared the best, HP the worst.

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  62. I tried to get a replacement keyboard for a dell laptop. Long story short, I had 7 usb full size keyboards sent to me. I eventually bought one on eBay I even had their part number. HHahahahahah

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  63. I've had 2 great Dell laptops, but I did have one that was a total POS. One of the USB ports literally fell out at one point... never did find it.

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  64. You likely got a newbie on the helpdesk, they have a frightful turnover rate in india, he should have escalated you to an L2 sooner though but as a Dell Field Tech you wouldnt believe the scams people try on us.
    Dell used to offer 'complete cover' but companies would buy laptops - D630's usually 0 and just before the warranty ran out we would get a rash of calls about 'scratched bases' or 'damaged top covers' which we would dutifully replace at dells expense.
    Said laptops would then be sent out for auction with shiny new covers, bases, palmrests etc.
    yay for abusing the system guys. Needless to say this scam was uncovered and CC is no longer offered except under rare circumstances.
    Broken screens? the number of times we get called out for 'the screen isn't working' only to find they closed the lid on a pen, their two-year old took to it with a ballpoint or they dragged it behind them after it fell out their motorbike pannier (yes this did happen and the guy had the gall to ask if it was covered under warranty)
    We have to then suffer their abuse as we mark it CID (customer induced damage) and it is noted on the machines record for the life of that machine and the warranty is ended.
    So dont lie to us - shit happens, we understand that. But dont ever make the mistake of thinking we are stupid.

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  65. I had my Dell laptop for a little one year when it started shutting itself down automatically. Eventually it got to the point where it would shut itself down immediately after I pressed the start button, but before it started loading the system.

    Dell was not very helpful - I had passed the one-year warranty. It still sits in a corner as a paperweight.

    On another occasion I tried to purchase a customized Dell laptop online through the Dell store. I got a call that Friday evening that one part of the customization was not available, and did I want a more expensive upgrade?

    I said I needed to check my bank account and would get back to them on Monday.

    Over the weekend, Dell charged my account for TWO laptops, with the upgraded feature. Okay, mistakes happen. I called Monday morning and asked them to void that charge. My call was escalated until finally a woman came on who said that I had ordered both units, and could not change that.

    It got pretty ugly after that. I finally managed to talk to her boss, who voided the order, and who tried to get me to make a purchase with a 10% discount. By that time I'd learned my lesson - I'd had enough.

    Now I only buy Toshiba laptops. I've never had any problems with one - they take abuse, don't seem to break - ever, and do what I need them to do. I do upgrade to a newer laptop every 2-3 years, and have had 3 Toshiba laptops in a row - and am very satisfied.

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  66. Thinkpad people....Thinkpad. There's a reason the majority of businesses use them. I've had business laptops (that I used at least 12 hours per day) last longer than any person PC I've had from dell, hp, whatever. That includes a lot of travel with them and never really being careful. Everything on a Thinkpad is built to last but do yourself a favor and buy the professional versions and not cheaper consumer versions.

    Disclaimer: My personal PC is a desktop I built myself. However, if I were in the market for a laptop it would be Thinkpad without a doubt.

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  67. dell = hell
    what do you expect from a corporation...deny people rights to companies and get control of fairness back for the consumer...kill a corporate whore today!!!

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  68. thinkpads are crap...the touch pad wears out in weeks and the things overheat like mad...total crap and I've been in TI for over 25 years...we won't allow that dell crap on our network anymore

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  69. Every friend's computer I get called on to fix is a Dell. 90% of them have optical drives that fail to the point where tell people to just replace them. The internal parts of a Dell have been crap for a long long time, but for whatever reason companies still buy them as so some consumers. When friends ask me what to buy, the first thing I say is 'almost anything but Dell'

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  70. I got a new Dell laptop a few weeks before Christmas from Costco online. When it came, the keyboard wasn't seated - it floated and rattled in the frame.

    I assumed it was a minor issue, and that I'd get my husband to fix it. But before he did, he said he wanted to make the backup disks. The DVD writer would not work. It would burn, but failed to verify the DVDs, so they wouldn't read. He's a systems engineer, and knows what he's doing. He said it was going back.

    Thank goodness that we'd bought it at Costco. They took it back without any issues. I had heard bad things about Dell before, but to have two major issues before the laptop was even an hour old?

    Dell couldn't care less what they're shipping, as long as you give them money. I will never buy another Dell as long as I live. They are the worst of the worst as far as product quality goes.

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  71. I always see these things and think people are all smoking something. It's kinda like the oil companies, they all kinda suck, but maybe some are a little better than others.

    I've bought many Apples and many Dells and many ThinkPads and many Compaqs and many HPs and many Toshibas and a few Sonys and on and on. Mostly, they all work fine.

    Everyone ships machines that brick on the first day, or day 10 or day 50 or day 500. Or have small problems that just cause annoyance.

    At least Dell has (had?) a lot of customers, decent forums, available software versions for all their products - not something everyone can say.

    I'm clearly not the only one who thinks Dell has slipped over the years, though that fact doesn't make the other vendors any better than they are or have been.

    The real question is: why do you put up with such crap? Charge that back on your credit card, make a new plan and move on.

    And same goes for all these similar type complaints. Stop wasting your time, get your money back and make a new plan.

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  72. I'm not a fan of Dell by any stretch of the imagination, but I have to say that on one occasion at least - and a MAJOR occasion at that - they blew me away with their excellent customer service (and Apple, under the same circumstances, screwed the pooch.)

    Anybody out there remember capacitor plague? It hit pretty much everybody in the industry at one point or another; in particular, Dell's Optiplex GX270 and Apple's 23" iMac G5.
    The GX270 was a nasty little low-profile box that retailed for about $400; Blue Cross of California bought thousands of them and gave them to doctor's offices (why, I don't remember.) The G5 retailed for... about ten times as much? and one of my clients bought five of them.
    Well, a couple of years after installation, every damn one of those machines under my care - about 160 GX270s and the 5 iMacs alike - died due to bad capacitors. How the two companies dealt with it, though, was instructive...
    When I called in my first dead mobo to Dell, they shipped out a replacement immediately - it actually arrived the same afternoon. Every single Dell was either repaired by a technician on-site, or had a replacement mobo on-site (my preference), within one business day. I sometimes had to deal with customer service for a few minutes to convince them, but as soon as I uttered the magic words "leaking capacitors" a fix was on its way.
    Apple, on the other hand... thought different. The several G5s didn't die all at once, but staggered over several months; you would think that would be long enough for things to improve, but no. Each time it took extended argument and emailed photos of the leaking capacitors to convince support that there was an actual, covered problem; each time the machine had to be taken to the local Apple affiliate (this was before the Apple Store), and each time it was gone for one to three weeks. Two of the machines came back wiped clean, for no reason I could see.

    Now, I am not saying that this represents typical behavior for either Dell or Apple. But I know I'll remember it whenever I deal with either company in the future.

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  73. My wifes desktop died a few years back (generic build I did myself). As we had no readies at the time we elected to get her a Netbook as all she did was surf net, facebook and email... I have a desktop for any heavy lifting she may need.
    We got an Aldi (European grocery chain in Australia) and it has been more than fine - it came with a two year no questions asked warranty. She stills uses it now - although we are looking at upgrading my desktop the Netbook will stay until it dies...

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  74. Everyone is going to have their own problems with different brands, but I agree with this post about Dell machines.

    Having worked in a computer repair shop, it was the Dell machines that frequently broke down - mostly due to complete carelessness during the building process to cut corners and save money.

    They seem to make the machines as short-lived as possible so people give up and buy a new one every year: thus the horrible warranty system.

    Myself, I manage to make reliable computers for the same price that are built to last. What's so hard about that?

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  75. Im a musician. For years I would battle PC's so much so that I was forced to learn the minutia of not only the Windows OS (everything sucked until 7 which is really Vista with service packs) but various PC makers' hardware. Frankly, they are all junk IMO with an unreasonable lifespan.

    Im not a big 'fanboy' or cult follower of Apple but I am aware of the fact that their engineers design the OS and hardware to work seamlessly together, hence the proprietary dominance and also the hefty price tag. What you get is solid and stable computer that will last years and as a bonus looks stylish as well.

    Linux is a stable operating system for any poorly built PC computer but for my music production needs, it is an impractical alternative (something you may want to consider).

    Obviously, with PC's you can configure them to be uber power machines for less cash than what an i5 mbp would run, but Im telling you, once you go Mac you never go back. Its comforting to know that when I want something to work it does.

    To sum up, save and buy a Macbook Pro. You wont regret it.

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  76. I haven't had a lot of experience with Dell machines, but I haven't been terribly impressed by what I HAVE had, so I've never bought a Dell.

    At any rate, as others have said, everybody ships bricks every day, so the important thing is how the manufacturers respond. In this case, even though the LCD was apparently repaired for free in the end, I find it ridiculous that a supervisor was not available immediately. If the support center is open, a supervisor should be available -- period.

    I had a Sony Vaio for 4 years that I adored, but I bought it in the US and then moved to Europe. When I need a non-warranty repair that I was willing to pay cash for, Sony Europe refused to touch it and told me to send it to the US. I ended up ordering a new backlight, disassembling the LCD, and repairing it myself -- a hairy proposition, but in the end I only spend about $25. Anyhow, despite my love for Vaios, Sony is now out of the question because I cannot rely upon them for support.

    So now my wife and I have a couple of HPs. They have a global warranty (though recently I have heard about people having trouble with that) and have difficulty communicating with our HP printer (while my old Sony works with it just fine, even in Linux), but other than that have been problem-free.

    As for the people flogging Thinkpads here, I have one from work that I thoroughly hate. Sure, it stands up to abuse, but it weighs a ton and is ludicrously slow for its processor specs (which are not that great to begin with). Fortunately, I also have an IBM desktop running Linux for doing serious work....

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  77. Don't jump to System 76 and expect any different as my Lemur Ultra Thin, whos housing no doubt is a tad too thin, gave me the same problem. I musta gone wrong what I took it out my bag or perhaps when I put it in? They could fix it for $390 and offered to sell me a screen after weeks of begging for $270 under the premise it was not a user serviceable part. I picked an LCD up on Ebay for about $120 with the shipping from the UK. I like supporting small companies but I got burned on this on.

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  78. What model laptop did you buy? And why didn't you purchase the no-questions-asked warrantee?

    I have 2 Dell laptops - Vostro 1520 & Latitude E6500 that I use for my live shows - one audio one video. Also have had 2 before that. Not one hiccup.

    I find that Dells are the bomb-diggity for quality and warrantee. Just got a new T7500 workstation for my recording studio, having switched from the soon-to-be-dunzeled HP Workstations.

    The Mobo fried about 6mo in on my 1520 and a guy from a comp shop drove 30miles to my house, replaced the mobo - all FoC - and that be that. Sweet.

    So, as I've always said - You Get What You Pay For.
    I would suggest that it's not Dell, per se, it's "any laptop under $800". Doesn't matter who makes it it's gonna be crap.

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  79. Oh Sweet Jebus. As a Dell employee, I can only say, "Sorry."

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  80. I own a computer repair shop and we have serviced a lot of bad LCDs. There is no brand that is better than any better, including Apple. Dell doesn't make LCDs. Neither does HP. Neither does Apple. They source their LCDs from the same manufacturers. I don't know why Dell told this person that the LCD isn't covered. In my experience, Dell is fair and responsive, but no better or worse than anyone else.

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  81. I 'use' to work for Dell when this kind of action would get you summarily fired, walked out of the building in Round Rock and escorted out of the parking lot by the Dell police... That's Also why I've been a Mac user for a number of years As well.

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  82. Your post brought back horrific memories of having to deal with Dell years ago, when my Inspiron laptop scorched my dining room table and melted or burned out the inverter. They didn't want to replace the inverter, but were willing to replace the battery.

    Eventually, it took contacting the media, who syndicated an article about it to get Dell's attention and for Michael Dell's office and their escalation team to handle it. They replaced it with the model that ceases to recognize the AC as a method of charging about 2 years and 2 minutes after the warranty expired. Suuuuuck.

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  83. I bought my laptop 3 years ago with a 3 year warranty that expired this December. In the 3 years I've owned it the bluetooth card has been replaced 3 times, the keyboard has been replaced around 4 times (no spillage, just a row of keys that kept going out after a few uses), and the circuit board once. Outrageous for a "high-end" laptop.

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  84. I've never owned a Dell......feel a bit left out :,(

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  85. For the most part, laptops from all the major makers are flimsy and prone to failure. Couple that with the extreme difficulty of repairing almost any part of a laptop, and the whole thing is just setting up you, the customer, for failure and disappointment.

    Expensive Lenovo Thinkpad or Panasonic Toughbook is one way (actually two ways) to go, but I would go one of two different ways:

    -- If you can work with a desktop instead of a laptop, do that, and if you can assemble from purchased, standard-sized components, do that. If the motherboard, power supply, optical drive, etc., goes bad, replacing the faulty component is easy enough with a new off-the-shelf part.

    -- I understand that laptops are extremely convenient, and I use them for that reason. Instead of spending $800+ for a laptop, I will only spend $300-$400. It won't be top ofnthe line, but if I get even a year's use out of it, I'm happy. It it lasts 5 years, I'm practically delirious with joy.

    Laptops just aren't designed to last. They're certainly not designed to be repaired.

    Spend less per laptop, and spend more often if you wish. You'll be happier.

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  86. On my Inspirion 1545 inserting a headphone jack, and then removing it will cause the sound to stay off. The port does not sense that the jack has been removed. Place it back in, wiggle it very gently as you remove it and you will be able to get the port to realize the obvious and the sound will once again come out of the speakers.

    Spent two hours with tech support as they fumbled through their 'list', and was ultimately unable to educate them on exactly what the problem was. Even broke it down to list format. ie: 1. Sound is played normally through speakers. 2. Insert headphone jack. 3. Wait five seconds, then remove headphone jack. 4. Sound is NOT heard through speakers.

    I've always puzzled how level one tech support can be so totally clueless.

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  87. Hi all:

    There are actually stats on the industry return rates, customer service satisfaction, etc., and except for some fatal missteps by a few companies (Gateway, for example), all the major players have up and down years... they make a lot of sales, their complaints go up, their service goes down, they start to lose sales, their service goes up, their reputation goes up, rinse, repeat. Across the players it looks like a lot of sine-waves of difference frequencies and amplitudes when you look across the past decade.

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  88. I just bought a new N7110 portable computer (Laptop)from Dell. After only 12 uses the screen failed. I was totally satisfied with my two previous Dell Laptops. But now I am being told that it is the HD video card and the motherboard by their telephone tech. After 5 days on the phone with them and being transferred all over the place this issue still has not been resolved. I demanded an exchange as this is a brand new computer but past the 21 day return warranty. They want to replace the motherboard in my home. That will make my computer a refurbished one. Mean while I financed it and I am paying full retail for a new machine. I am seriously dissatisfied at present as the repairs are on hold awaiting a phantom supervisor from a phantom department to make a decision to exchange, refund, or repair. I would not recommend buying a Dell any more after this fiasco!

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  89. I purchased a Dell computer in November 2011 from QVC. It was $779.96 (it wasn't cheap). I bought it for my daughter for school. The computer's motherboard had to be replaced (witch Dell did free of charge) however they sent it back with a damaged wireless card so now it won't connect to the internet. She has spent hours & days on the Dell tech support line (they are very rude) and still no resolution. I called QVC and of course they got my money and said take it up with Dell. Dell said "it's a machine, we can't guarantee any machine". They keep telling her to wipe out her entire hard drive instead of allowing her to send it back for repairs free of charge again. It's not even a year old.... from what we gather this computer is known for these issues. Do Not buy a Dell, they do not back up their merchandise & please don't ever buy anything that expensive from QVC or your throwing your money away!

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  90. I bought a Dell in August 2010. At first, it worked great, but then at around Christmas, the monitor turned to static. I sent it back to the shop (I didn't have to deal with Dell personally; I bought my laptop from PCWorld, who handle all that) and a couple weeks later it came back with a new screen.

    Less than a month later, the same thing happened again.

    When it came back, it started to seriously overheat (bear in mind this was a brand-new state of the art machines, apparently, designed for high-powered gaming and graphic design...and it couldn't even run OpenOffice Writer and Google Chrome at the same time without going into meltdown.

    Now, two years after I bought that Dell, I gave up on it. I'm typing this from my brand new Samsung notebook. So far it's behaving itself much better. I'm also spreading the word around family and friends: don't buy a Dell, it ain't worth the repair costs.

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