View Full Version : My open letter to Dell

April 25th, 2011, 08:50 PM
I've been going back and forth with Dell ever since the GPU in my laptop kicked it. It's the latest in string of problems with my Vostro 1310. I've been a big fan of Dell through the years, but I'm over it. Here's my open letter to Dell. I sent it to as many Dell contacts as I could find, but I thought I should share my experience with the community in case anyone is on the fence about buying anything from them.

To whom it may concern,

Wow. What a saga of bad hardware and poor customer service. My laptop died in December of last year. When I tried to boot, the screen gave no video output. I never saw the Dell splash screen or the boot-up POST. If I plugged an external monitor into the VGA port, I got some garbled video. I knew I had an Nvidia GPU so I began to look into the problem. After some research I found out about the Nvidia GPU class-action lawsuit and I called Dell support. I was treated in a curt manner and told that no one would help me unless I paid for out-of-warranty support. When I pushed the matter, I was finally directed to the Nvidia settlement website.

I looked the site over and realized it was an option, but it would take weeks, if not months, to fix my laptop. I contacted Trudi since she was the Dell employee who had helped me with my purchases over the last couple of years. I asked her if there was any way that she could help me find a faster way to resolve this issue since I have been a loyal Dell customer for many years. I have purchased many systems professionally and regularly recommended Dell to friends, family, and co-workers over the years. She responded right away and tried to get me in touch with someone who could help. She said that she was no longer in a position to help me directly, but directed me to Adam. Adam responded to my first email, but subsequently ignored every message I sent after that. No one from Dell ever followed up with me on their own accord, but at least Trudi replied to my communication.

Eventually, I gave up and filed a claim with the class-action suit. After several weeks, my claim was accepted. A couple more weeks of waiting and a box arrived. I packaged up my laptop as instructed and sent it in to the Dell depot. A few days later, my machine was shipped back to me. It arrived on April 12th after a 4-month ordeal. I was relieved to finally have a functioning computer again, but my relief quickly faded. I took it out of the box and there was a note enclosed that said my problems were due entirely to my battery. That made absolutely no sense to me. A notebook computer should boot even without a battery if it is plugged in. I jumped through one hoop after another, was ignored by Dell, and finally got my computer back, only to be told that the problem was the battery. Sure enough, when I tried to boot, I got nothing. Just some beeps. I tried again, it didn’t beep, but I got a flashing Num Lock key while the other Lock keys were solid. I tried booting with and without the battery and it would not start. I put the computer down, walked away, and tried it again a couple hours later. It booted! Since that time, it will boot intermittently, but other times, it just beeps at me (3 beeps) or displays the Lock Light error. In both cases the screen is blank and the backlight isn’t even on. Since I needed a new battery anyway (it only held 30% of its capacity) and because the depot techs said that was the root of all my problems, I bought a new battery, but nothing changed. It works about 50% of the time. Today, I got tired of dealing with the problem and called support again. They said that the depot had replaced the motherboard in response to the Nvidia issue, but that it sounds like the replacement board is having problems. Support is sending me another box, so I can return my laptop for repair…again. I do have to say that Marvy was very nice and helpful, but I find this entire episode to be completely ridiculous. However, I will be sending my laptop back for further repair and keeping my fingers crossed.

I have lost my faith in Dell. Our bank is in the process of growing and also replacing hardware that is at the end of its life. I want to consider Dell equipment, I really do, but this experience has left a terrible taste in my mouth. I know there are many divisions within Dell and that my experiences with this crappy laptop (in its life, the DVD-Rom has died twice, the battery died prematurely, my GPU went out, and I received a faulty motherboard) should not discourage me from purchasing a Dell EqualLogic solution or a bulk order of desktop workstations, but the Dell name is tainted for me.