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Dell and World Record Customer Support

Posted on March 03, 2009

Recently a message started appearing that told me my A/C adapter was not recognized by the system. Knowing that the A/C adapter and laptop were covered by a next-day on-side warranty, I called Dell. I carefully explained the problem: the batteries don’t charge any longer, the boot-time error message, and that the green LED on the adapter seems dimmer than it should be.

The technician at Dell decided that, with this set of problems, the motherboard needs to be replaced. I asked if perhaps an adapter should be tried first… No, he assured me, that would not be the problem.

Two days later (which is service contract for “next business day service”) a very friendly and helpful technician arrived, and replaced the motherboard. Same problem. He and I had a good old laugh at Dell for that, and he asked Dell to send a replacement A/C adapter.

Two days later, it arrived. No warning message! Success! But wait… now when I move the laptop it looses power for a brief moment. If there is no battery, it turns off. This was not happening before

Calling Dell resulted in a mess. The first technician at Dell I spoke with was, to be as kind as possible, a moron. He had me run hardware tests. He had me set the brightness on the laptop LCD to full on and off battery, and since it didn’t flicker anymore was fully prepared to declare the problem resolved. I slowly and carefully explained that this is a physical problem and that moving the computer at all causes it to turn off if the batteries are too low or removed.

True to the incompetence that I have come to expect from nearly every computer company’s tech support, he declared that since no errors show up in the BIOS self-tests, it MUST be software. I asked to speak to his manager.

The manager declared that this was indeed a problem, part of the ongoing issue, but that I needed to ship the computer to Dell. This is because, in the mean time, my service contract has expired. They admit that while this was an on-going problem, and they will fix it, it won’t be done with on-site, and that I have to ship the laptop. I called bullsh*t.

After about 20 minutes of hold-time, two agents, and over 45 minutes of on-the-phone time they finally decided that it was indeed still covered under the same warranty replacement terms as when the problem started, and they will ship another motherboard out and have it replaced again, next-day (in service-contract terms), which means to the rest of us 3 days.

So, so far, to replace a $100 A/C adapter, Dell has wasted five hours of my time and probably two to three times what the laptop is worth in service calls.