Dell - Dell screws me over

Posted on Thursday, September 15th, 2011 at 6:40pm CDT by f2bea0e0

Product: Alienware M11x

Company: Dell

Location: US


Category: Other

Here is the copy of the complaint I filed with the Washington State Attorney General's Office Consumer Protection Division:

In July, I purchased an Alienware Mx11 laptop from the Dell website for $1,700. The computer was put together (it had to be built because it was custom) and sent to me fine. I used this computer only at home, however problems arose 20 days after I purchased the computer. The first thing that happened is my computer would not start up giving me an error message of "no hard drive detected". This issue persisted intermittently and unpredictably, and soon after another issue arose: the screen developed strange flashing lines across the screen, distortions that began to grow in frequency and size until by the time I sent the computer back I was barely able to make the file transfers necessary to save the information on my hard drive because the screen was completely distorted. The screen in fact was shifted completely to the right, and what was off the screen was on shown on the right side.

When I called, I spoke to helpful representative for whom I spent about 3 hours on the phone. The main thing we did was install a variety of programs on my computer that would assess the status of the computer. All the diagnostics we ran pointed towards serious issues with the system. We even found that the computer was performing at about 1/10th its promised frame rates (quality of the image) at a measly 5-6 average while this computer was shown to go as high as 60 fps.

Jeffry offered to do remote control from his computer to mine so that he could inspect various other aspects of the computer, particularly the issue with the hard drive. After some more messing with the computer, more tests and more diagnostics, he said as a solution, Dell would send a representative to my house the next day to fix the issues, however about a minute or two after he said his manager had told him to instead replace the computer (on the logic that the issues were too serious to "fix" and that they'd rather replace it). I said this would be fine, and they sent me the box to return my system in. I held on to the box for a short time and called them a number of times regarding the software that was on the system when it was shipped to me, because some of it is critical to the system's performance, like Optimus.

The gave me the run around over and over saying that any programs and data the computer was sent in with would be deleted and that was my responsibility to ensure it was backed up. They should know its not within the ability of the average computer user to find programs deep in the system like Optimus and Alienware Respawn and copy them for backup. I wouldn't even know how to put them back on even if I did find then. The main program however that I was concerned about was Windows Office Home and Student, because I had lost track of the CD, and I feared I would not have it when it was returned.

Finally, a tech rep showed me how I could recover it onto my system, and that very day I sent the computer out. At this point I had spent likely 8hrs on the phone with Dell as they transfered me to different departments and different people. Online, their system (I tried 8 or 9 times) didn't even show I had made a purchase under my account. One rep even told me there was record of a replacement order given, and told me there was nothing he could do, AFTER I was sent the box and the label. At this point, the case was then changed to repair instead of replace. This infuriated me because, one they apparently did not keep records or did not refer to them when addressing my case.

I caved and decided that it was better that I simply had a computer, as the reason I first purchased the computer was for the purpose of having it for school.

I packed up my computer and charger and sent it off in the provided box via FedEx. I waited and waited without any confirmation from Dell, and 15 days later, I got an email from Dell saying they never received the computer. I called again and the tech department could not find it, so they transferred me AGAIN to another person who listed off to me the times and dates when the computer was received and worked on, and when the parts would be sent.

After that fiasco, I finally receive my computer back a couple days later. When I turn it on, the operating system was removed, the data was gone (as they had warned), however what they didn't tell me was that they cleared all of the drivers, and all of the preinstalled programs, and didn't replace them. I essentially paid for those and I now don't have them.

This is the nail in the coffin however. The sheet they sent with me indicates that the only problem they actually addressed was the keyboard (the spacebar key was flimsy and wobbly). This means that of all the issues: the hard drive, the video card, and the screen (all of these components are necessary for the computer to work) the keyboard was fixed, not the ones that actually needed to be addressed.

I started up the computer, reinstalled the operating system (the computer wouldn't get past the black screen until I installed it) and lo and behold, the screen's aspect ratio was distorted, meaning everything on the screen was squished vertically. It wouldn't connect to the internet, it wouldn't play any games (says it couldn't "detect" the video card) and when I started to investigate, I found that almost all of the components showed a warning label.

Another unacceptable fault was that the screws on the back of the computer were completely stripped as they were angled improperly, so it looks like my computer was disassembled and reassembled by a neanderthal.

The way Dell has treated me, constantly going back on their word, not recording the contents of our conversations, not doing what was necessary to fix the problem THEY created, their impossible customer service system, and the fact that I still have a $1,700 computer that doesn't function properly and doesn't contain the programs I PAID FOR, is completely unacceptable. They have lost my trust, and I feel like I wasted $1,700 because what is sitting in front of me does not function, it is literally a 5 lb paper weight. Dell from the beginning should have addressed the issues and made it right for me because in the end, none of the resulting issues and challenges would have occurred had Dell sent me a functional computer in the first place.

Their warranty says 30 days, I called them on the 26th day to first address the issues. This case should be addressed from this angle because from the beginning the computer was broken as is evident by the diagnostic readings we got in my first 3hr conversation with Jeffry.

I have asked for a refund over the phone as I no longer wish to work with Dell, nor support them by giving them my money. They have treated me like another number, and I feel very angry that as a college student I will not have the laptop I purchased early so that I would have it for college. They refused on three occasions to give me a refund for the problem that was originally theirs on the basis that their refund period was 21 days. My problems started before that, and I addressed the problem within the warranty time frame.

The last rep I spoke to told me that there was significant enough grounds in this case to give me a replacement, and that one of my reference number indicates a replacement was due. She told me to take that reference number and give it to the tech department to get my computer replaced. I will, however the reason I am doing this is so I can have a computer for school: this is a time-sensitive issue. I expect that the replacement will be honored, but I want the final resolution to be a refund. Again I am only taking the replacement as a bridge so that I am not left without a computer when university starts, but I want Dell to give me the refund I deserve after putting up with their smoke and mirrors style of customer service.

I've got phone records to indicate just how much time I have wasted with this business.


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