Taking Dell to court

This topic was created by Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter .


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  1. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

    Taking Dell to court

    I just bought myself a nice 8 core Intel I7 & 17" LCD laptop from Dell, it's predecessor was of course nearly famous for being the host of my C++ lectures that so many of you have watched.

    It doesn't work, keeps turning itself off.

    Dell can't get it to work, they've replaced the motherboard, GPU, etc still won't deliver.

    Dell is flatly refusing to refund, so I'm taking them to court.

    So my question is whether this is just a rogue machine or whether there is a serious design or other flw in the Precision Workstation range, which are the top of Dell's product line, my laptop cost £2K (call it about $3,000), so I had hoped it would work.

    As you know Dell has history in denying that that there is a flaw in a product range, most notable the evil capacitor case where Dell screwed many of it's customers.

    So if you have had issues with Precision workstation laptops let me know because not only am I suing Dell but of course taking notes and will keep Reg readers updated, hopefully with an article detailing both my experiences and how you can deal with a computer supplier who thinks the sale of goods act doesn't apply to them, indeed the people I have spoken to at Dell are mystified about its existence.

    1. Htos1

      Re: Taking Dell to court

      For me it was the N series that had the tendancy to have way too much voltage powering the little speakers due to the nice pre-amp/hd audio setup.You have to replace the mainboard AND speakers,and hope the ribbon cables that connect the peripherals to the mainboard work ever again.NEVER again.

    2. Vince

      Re: Taking Dell to court

      Sounds a bit like my experience of Dell just after they moved production to Poland (I think it was there?) a few years back.

      Spent £4,000 on a laptop. Should have been absolutely mindblocwing. Precision 4440 I think it was, quad Core i7 extreme, 16GB memory (maybe 32GB, I forget), GPS, light up keyboard (useful on call actually), batteries of never-ending-capacity, ridiculously high res screen etc etc.

      The theory was that this would be my desktop replacement, does it all machine.

      It arrived. It bluescreened.

      I had the 4 hour warranty.

      I had many many many visits.

      Each time it was more broken than the last time. Reinstalled each time (new hard discs aplenty), but never properly so drivers were missing for all sorts, like USB 3, or the wireless usb, or whatever.

      Many months of arguing the toss with Dell, resulted in "going to take you to court then" and pointed out I could almost certainly get the story in the press given the well documented and epic catalogue of failures.

      Laptop went back, money (eventually) refunded, bought the HP Elitebook, I originally wanted (but wasn't released at the time), and never cared since. Said Elitebook still working like a champ and only recently have I moved to a desktop again but mostly because I want/need several monitors.

      Since then I've refused to buy from Dell, and unless my customers absolutely insist, won't buy the junk they peddle for them either.

  2. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

    The latest incompetence from Dell

    The "escalation" people at Dell gave up answering their phones or responding to email.

    Then they tried to collect the PC, I asked for a shipping box, twice, in two emails.

    ...and two phone calls.

    Yep, no box.

    The courier quite properly refused to take it, since a laptop and it's bits would be unlikely to survive intact.

    The someone rings me to arrange collection and would I stay in another day at home so that someone *might* be able to collect it.

  3. RobinLarder


    Here is a cautionary tale for anyone who buys a new Dell anything from anyone who is not Dell themselves.

    I recently purchased a Dell laptop new in the box off Ebay. Unfortunately the hard drive crashed. Since the machine was still under warranty I contacted Dell. They ran through a short test and confirmed the hard drive was toast. Then the fun began. Since I was not the person they had originally shipped the machine to - they refused to help and further - until I gave them the name and address of the person on their paperwork. Since the guy I bought the machine off basically buys and sells surplus machines - he isn't the guy on the paperwork either.

    Since I am unable to supply Dell with the name and address of the original purchaser - so far they have refused to honour the warranty and fix the machine.

    I am now wondering if my best option is to simply fix the machine myself and try and reclaim the cost through small claims court.

    1. RobinLarder

      Update on the Above

      Shortly after posting this I was contacted by Dell Customer Services. They explained that the Techs simply didn't know the rules and asked me for proof that I had indeed purchased the machine - which I supplied. A few hours later I was contacted by the Techs and a new HDD will be delivered tomorrow.

      However... had I not spent almost a week arguing my case and simply listened to the Techs, instead of escalating the case several times - I would have been out of pocket.

      Something to remember...

  4. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

    Dell buckled under legal threats

    In the end, my case got passed to a grown up.

    They are few and far between at Dell, the so-called "escalation" people not don't make the calls back they promise but stopped even answering their phones.

    Dell are wilfully ignorant of the Sale of Goods act, not suprising because the Indians are in India and the utterly useless "escalation" rabble seem to be Americans, even if based in the UK.

    The Dell process is clearly set up to avoid properly dealing with rogue machines, I was informed at one stage that my very expensive laptop would disappear to Ireland and no ,they wouldn't say when if ever it would come back. Certainly it would be weeks.

    Only when I frankly bullied my way to the head of UK communications did I reach anyone who did what they promised to do. I had to force my way through the "there are no managers at Dell" bullshit, "all managers everywhere at Dell are in a meeting", the Dell standard "leaving the punter on hold until he goes away" process, putting the phone down on me, techs being explicitly told by their manager not to return my calls and a flat refusal to solve the problem.

    To make me look even more stupid than buying a Dell would, I purchased their extended warranty which without doubt is the most dump waste of £300 I have ever made in over 30 years of IT buying.

    The warranty used to be good.

    It is not now.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Re: Dell buckled under legal threats

      "the utterly useless "escalation" rabble seem to be Americans, even if based in the UK."

      I wouldn't be too sure of that.

      If they were only available in the PM (or they only called back then) they might well be in the US.

      Centralised shared services. It's the way of the future.

      I can hardly wait.

      1. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

        Re: Dell buckled under legal threats

        The useless "escalation" rabble *are* based in the UK, because they say they are and Dell support wouldn't lie to me would they ?

  5. Robert E A Harvey

    Burned too

    I deeply regret buying Dell.

    When I placed the order for this machine I ticked the box for a magic sim with 3 months unlimited free internet. It did not appear on the confirmation. When, after 2 days, I got through to someone on the phone they said I hadn't ordered it - because it wasn't on the confirmation. Nor would they add it, as it was only available with the internet ordering system, not on the phone.

    I placed, then cancelled, another order with a dead card. the magic sim wasn't on that one either. I decided they didn't exist, and that bait-and-lie was a new version of bait-and-switch.

    1. jainpranav

      Re: Burned too

      Need full case study on that any one give the detail in proper way....

  6. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

    Yes, something is going deeply bad at Dell

    Robert, Dell's online ordering system used to be pretty much the best of it's kind and the Scottish based support was very good, but it does appear that the only thing that matters now at Dell is cost, not quality and certainly not service.

    I begin to wonder if Dell will do a Blackberry and go from a market leader to a basket case in a year ?

    RIM, the makers of Blackberry actually had a more resilient business model, in that they got good revenue from customers *after* they had bought the gear, so a dud product or lagging behind on innovation couldn't hurt them much. It took sustained incompetence to bring them to the position where their survival in any form is less than 50/50

    Dell has very little revenue from services post sales, it's trying to buy some s/w and service biz, but that's simply an example of having a cash pile that the execs would rather play with than give back to shareholders. Dell sells hardware or surprisingly quickly there is no Dell.

    It's a shame, my last few laptops have been Dell and until Dell decided that even when a customer paid extra for premium service they'd be treated like crap I had actually recommended their top end laptops.

  7. jaycee331


    ... Dell employees are just practising the negative and unconstructive behaviours that Dominic's reg articles constantly promote. You know, like wilfully working against their employer and their customers to further their own careers without any form of morale standard. Obviously no-one is interested in your case because they are applying CVP 2.0. Enjoy the Karma payback Dominic.

  8. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter


    Jaycee is turning my words against me, not fair.

    But that doesn't stop him being right.

    Dell support has been set objectives and targets that give incentives to behave not in the interest of Dell as a company, sometimes these are aligned with the objectives of top Dell management, ie bonuses and stock options and keeping their jobs from quarterly results.

    The shareholders have different objectives of course...

    I make no apology for sharing these ideas, a very long time ago my very editor told me that a good article left the reader feeling that he was better off for reading it. Obviously with 6.5 million Reg readers each month I can't hope to do that for all, but although some people see my articles as morally bad, very few say they regret the three minutes it takes to read each of them.

    I *do* write constructive articles and it is telling that you don't know this. I have written about how to write better C++ code, useful features in Excel, reviewed useful books, explained how to handle abrupt unpleasant career changes, etc but you don't associate me with them because the ones that stick in your mind have what the power elite at the Reg tell me is "edge".

  9. jake Silver badge

    "I "*do* write constructive articles and it is telling that you don't know this."

    OK, let's explore this concept ...

    "I have written about how to write better C++ code"

    Better, perhaps ... but C++ is crap, regardless.

    "useful features in Excel"

    No such animal. There is always a better tool than Excel.

    "reviewed useful books"

    No such thing as a useful book review. All are advertisements.

    "explained how to handle abrupt unpleasant career changes"

    Oh. I see. You think you are a psychologist. Sad, that.

    1. jake Silver badge

      @Dominic (was: Re: "I "*do* write constructive articles ::snippage::)

      Sorry for that one. Usually I never post when pissed-off. I know better.

      A drunk running from the cops managed to spin out through ~110 feet of one corner of my vegetable garden just about dusk last night. He landed upside-down in the creek. Several hours later, after the police, EMTs and vehicle recovery crews were finished, I had about an acre of ruined produce[1] ... at peak season, no less.

      On the bright side, the perp is hurting ... On parole, drunk, no drivers license, no insurance, no tags on the vehicle ... and three broken limbs. Airbags deployed, but he wasn't wearing his seat-belt. Stupidity should hurt!

      Anyway, my bad. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I'll try to do better in the future.

      [1] Tomatoes, squash, eggplant, peppers/chilies, corn(maize), beans, carrots, radishes, etc ... It's only about 4% of this season's garden, but I give away what I can't use, and people are going hungry in Sonoma and Napa Counties ...

  10. Kevin Rogers

    Dell's technical specifications are worthless

    I spent a long time procrastinating over buying an Alienware M17x-R3, for use both as a development machine for work and as a gaming machine. I carefully read all the specifications for the machine, including those in revision A00 of the user manual. So, I knew I could easily upgrade to 32GB RAM and would be able to make the most of 6Gbps SATA III hard drives (handy for database and other development work).

    It was all great for a few months, especially with a Crucial M4 SSD installed, but then I was aware things were running more slowly than usual. I couldn't pin it down and didn't have the time, so ignored the issue. Then I started getting bad sector errors from the SSD, so got it replaced. A few months later, the replacement failed in similar circumstances, so I bought an Intel 520 instead. Over the next two weeks I started getting long hangs and blue screens in Windows.

    By the time I got to three blue screens in a row, I though a quick call to technical support would be in order - in case something was wrong with the laptop (of course, I was not really expecting support for the 3rd party SSD). Didn't get very far, but I did get told that support for SATA III 6Gbps had been dropped and the laptop was now limited to 3Gbps SATA speeds.

    Technical support and customer service are one and the same thing for Alienware, but to paraphrase their response was "tough luck". Their escalation management team have been no better. As far as they are concerned the technical specifications "can be changed without notice" and "you purchased the computer with a SATA II hard drive, so there's no problem". If I had chosen to upgrade to an SSD through Dell (paying a 200 quid over the odds in the process), they would have told me at that point that the laptop had problems with 6Gbps SATA III connection - so they'd simply removed support for it.

    In fact, revision of A01 of the manual (helpfully published months after I purchased) now no longer makes any reference to SATA III 6Gbps support and simply says only SATA II 3Gbps are supported.

    Throughout dealing with their escalation team, I have the impression they were annoyed at me. Only once did I get the genuine impression they were having a discussion with me about the issue - which changed pretty quick once they had acknowledged there were issues with SATA III connectivity.

    They refuse to acknowledge that I have a valid complaint, although they will acknowledge that SATA III support is faulty. The laptop does work, but not how I expected, which leaves me pissed off and no real options for getting the problem resolved.

    In short, their technical specifications for hardware are worthless - they might as well not bother publishing them.

  11. Mr_Bungle
    Thumb Up

    Shameless, self promoting recruitment drone buys stupidly priced laptop that fails.

    Dell, not recognizing this 'giant' of the industry, treats him like every other user.

    Sense of entitlement shattered. World + Dog applauds.

    1. dogged

      World + Dog applauds

      I think you meant

      arsehole writes pointlessly snide comment.

    2. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

      Not quite right

      Sadly they treated me "better" than the average punter, made it hard to right a good article.

      You will see from above that I "bullied" my way through the defective Dell escalation process,...

      I am indeed a shameless self promoter, I'm mildly disturbed that you think this is news.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @Dominic (was: Re: Not quite right)

        Looks like you've been caught in ElReg's "time warp", where old posts suddenly appear as new in your personal posting history after about six months ...

  12. Mark Eaton-Park

    I wonder if .......

    ...... Dell would have taken more interest if the OP hadn't been scuttled by his own side, see http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/10/29/alienware_gaming_dell/

    The article dates are interesting

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Sinking feeling

    Refusal to accept returns & refunds is usually a sign of a company in finacial trouble.

    Anyone remember Gateway PCs?

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