View Full Version : Never buying Dell again

12-21-2005, 03:31 PM
Well, today the Dell Nightmare finally got me. I've been buying Dell computers for as long as they've been around, and bought my latest one just this spring, and XPS Gen 2. I spent half of yesterday just trying to get service, and trying to buy a new laptop to replace the old one that won't work well for the on-the-road work I have to do now.

Here's the letter I sent to Michael Dell:

Dear Mr. Dell:

I've been a Dell customer for as long as Dell has been selling computers. Every single system I've purchased has been a Dell, and currently I've got 3 desktops and 2 laptops (and a DJ) in the house. At one time I was quite happy with both the product and the service. However, since you outsourced your support (both sales and service, apparently) to non-US sites, that service has become non-existant.

Yesterday morning, after discovering that my Inspiron 8100 appeared to be showing the same motherboard-related problems that required a repair 3 months ago (despite not having been used since that time), I called support to get it repaired under my 4-year At Home warranty program. Your phone system disconnected me in mid transfer. I called again, and was again disconnected, during hold. Finally, I called a 3rd time, and after a 20 minute wait, got a tech. I explained to the non-English speaking person (who could barely be understood) that I was experiencing the exact same symptoms as my last repair call. She pulled the data (after a 5 minute hold), and then wanted to walk through the entire diagnostics sequence *again*, despite having the exact same info from the previous repair call. I explained that I paid for a support contract, and Dell wasn't paying me to fix my own computer. I paid several hundred dollars to have *Dell* fix my computer, as I don't repair laptops.

After nearly an hour of repeatedly explaining the problem, she *finally* began the process to send a tech out. At that point, your phone system disconnected me. Again. After I'd spent nearly 2 hours trying to resolve my problem. I called *again*, waited 20 minutes, got *another* tech, who attempted to make me go through the entire process *again*, despite having just gone through it with the previous tech.

Finally they agreed to send out some memory, which may or may not fix the problem. Not a tech. I can instal memory, but I PAID FOR A SERVICE CONTRACT. If I'm not going to get service, At Home, as stated in the contract, what am I paying for?

Despite that, because I've always used Dell, I decided to give you One Last Chance. I've decided to purchase a new laptop, and went onto dell.com to see what I could find. I wanted an XPS unit, because my XPS desktop works well, and I wanted the same speed and power in a laptop. I discovered the following sale for the XPS140 on your site:

I was thrilled, because as a one-woman home business (remember when you were like that?) on a budget, I need to maximize my 'bang for my buck'. And $680 of upgrades included in the unit for $1399 seemed the exact thing I needed.

Imagine my shock when I discovered that, contrary to the advertisement, all the listed upgrades were *not*, in fact, included. The page which allows for configuring the system, here:
http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?c=us&cs=19&l=en&oc=iM140u5&s=dhs doesn't include either 1GB of memory or 36 months of virus protection, as was listed in the ad.

The ad says: "Load it up with great features and still pay the same price! Configure one of these special notebooks with an e-value code or order code containing sequence i6000U7, i9300U6, i6000U6, i9300U5, or iM140u5 online and get select upgrades for FREE! You’ll pay nothing extra if you choose any of these items: up to 1GB1 memory, up to 80GB2 Hard Drive, up to 8X CD/DVD Burner3, Intel® PRO/Wireless 2915 Internal Wireless, 2Yr Ltd Warranty4, 2Yr At-Home Service5, and 2Yr Hardware Warranty Support, Microsoft® Office Basic, and McAfee® Security Center 36-months!

Choose from one of the notebooks below, simply select your applicable upgrades and "add to cart"! Offer is good online only."

The average person (myself included) would take this to mean that you get the listed upgrades. And you are told to 'select your applicable upgrades', which indicates you can choose which ones you'd like.

Well, the unit in the link above won't even allow me to choose memory or virus protection. They're chosen for me, and no choices to add either are allowed. So, thinking that perhaps the page programming was incorrect, I called Dell Sales. I got a non-English speaking woman whose accent was nearly too thick to understand. I explained the situation, that not all of the promised upgrades were available to choose on the web pages, and she *very* condescendingly explained that Dell only offered *some* of the upgrades, not all, and I could take it or leave it. I tried to explain that I wished to have the system with the memory at 1GB, instead of some of the other upgrades, as stated in the ad, and she interrupted me (repeatedly), became rude, and refused to transfer me to someone who could help, despite several polite requests on my part.

I eventualy persuaded her to transfer me, and was transferred twice more until eventually I was placed on hold, apparently indefinitely, as I waited on hold for over 20 minutes in silence, no music, no 'we'll be with you shortly', just silence.

Finally, I hung up. I had wasted a total of over 4 hours on Dell. And half of that was trying to give you money.

No more. I'll be buying from Sony or HP from now on. And I'll be telling all my customers (I'm a web designer) to purchase something other than Dell as well.

Being abused while trying to spend money with your company doesn't cause me to want to buy. But it *will* cause me to recommend to all my clients, friends, relatives, blog and forum readers, and the 40,000 people per month that visit my website to purchase anything *but* Dell.

Vicky - looking for a 2.0Ghz laptop with at least 1Gb of RAM, 80Gb of storage that is light and has multi-media feeds for less than 2K - any suggestions?

12-21-2005, 03:40 PM
That's a shame, DELL used to be the premier brand -- let us know if you hear anything back?

You might find a Toshiba that fits those requirements, however may be a bit over $2,000.

12-21-2005, 03:44 PM
I'm looking at Toshiba and Sony right now.

Last time I griped, about the non-English support, I actually got a phone call from a minion. Amazingly. We'll see this time.

12-21-2005, 03:56 PM
I had a terrible time with Dell back in the late 1990s. That's when my partner and I switched to Apple. Despite some minor irritations, I don't regret it a bit.

12-21-2005, 04:00 PM
Hell hath no fury... ;D ;D ;D

It's funny that everyone is running into the same problems with many companies when the "support" is outsourced.

You have a lot more patience than I do Vicky! Maybe Santa will bring you a new computer?

Good luck,

12-21-2005, 04:12 PM
Bought a Toshiba laptop last year.


Graphics portion of the board overheats sending unit into blue screen; memory went bad; power inlet broke.

Second time I've heard of the graphics problem in Toshiba laptops.


12-21-2005, 04:18 PM
Hmm. Any opinions on the Sony boxes, or HP? I'd lost confidence in the Compaq units years ago, they went from great to abysmal in such a short time. I don't have much of a read on the HP/Compaq merge, how it affected their systems....Sony seems to be getting decent reviews in the rags, but I've never owned one.

::sigh:: I'd buy an Apple, but a) half my software won't work on them , and b) they're too durned expensive.....

12-21-2005, 04:21 PM
About a year ago I was about to buy a computer, and I looked at getting a Dell or Microsoft computer, when a friend of mine who works in a computer shop totally discouraged me. I looked at what they had in them, sourced the parts and found I was been over charged.

I built mine from scratch for just under 2000, that includes a new 17’’ flat panel, <BenQ> case, keyboard, mouse….1gig ram, Sony DVD burner, 3gh CPU (pent 4)… and I got to see how it all clips together <I have a 256mb graphics card as well> basically I found you can build your own cheaper, and better then anything those companies can offer you, and usually shops that sell pars are happy to help.

As for a laptop I have never owned one. But I do know that the ibooks are very nice. Apple makes nice computers.


12-21-2005, 04:22 PM
Bought a Toshiba laptop last year.


Graphics portion of the board overheats sending unit into blue screen; memory went bad; power inlet broke.

Second time I've heard of the graphics problem in Toshiba laptops.

Darn -- Toshiba used to be a good brand :(

Vicky, The HP server line is good, don't have a good read on the laptops... our company is moving away from HP on the desktop/laptop platform and moving to DELL (shaking head).

12-21-2005, 04:26 PM
That's the poops Vicky! Hope you find something soon.

I'm a Franken-puter type myself...much easier to upgrade only portions of a box that isnt chock-a-block with propietary crap, and as Mu mentioned, it's hella cheaper.

12-21-2005, 04:32 PM
That works fine for desktops, but home-sourcing a laptop is an exercise that mostly ends up making you bald (from tearing your hair out). I've built computers, and yeah, its a lot cheaper.

::sigh:: I really did want to buy a Dell, but I've never had them work so hard to not get my business. Time to vote with my dollars.....

12-21-2005, 04:45 PM

Have you thought about IBM? My dad has had a number of them (supplied by his employers) over the years and has always been happy with them.
Here's a short review of a Thinkpad x41... it's an ultra portable... but other models might fit your need better.


Being an avid modder for most of my life, until I switched to OS X, I had discarded Dell early on as their components were not industry standard, If you wanted to upgrade your Motherboard you couldn't just go out and buy the best ATX board and swap it in. Only a dell board would fit because they used a non standard hole mounting pattern.


12-21-2005, 05:32 PM
Santa was really cool last year and got me a Toshiba Qosmio G-15 l. Initially he got me the 17 inch Sony Vaio, the graphics used shared memory, you had to burn your own recovery disk (the stuff was on your HD eating uo 20 Gigs of the 100 total) and the images on the screen were OK. So.. the elf (read me) went back to the store and exchanged it for the 17 inch Toshiba. I never had any problems with it, once home and plugged in it recogized the wireless network and aked me of I want to use it! That was it...great straight out of the box Much better screen, works like a champ inspite of all the abuse I put it through.
I'm still waiting for the Mac powerbooks due out early next year ;)


12-21-2005, 05:35 PM
Compaq had a history of cracked hinges. Not sure of any recent issues. HP never really built a unit I liked, although I have heard nothing bad about them.

I would have to second Wrath's IBM suggestion. The Thinkpad's are very durable, and work well with few glitches that I have encountered. The T42 is a very nice unit, slim and light, although the screen could be a bit bigger.

Brewbear is right about the "straight out of the box" ease of use with Toshiba. Pity the hardware was not up to the same standard.


12-21-2005, 06:11 PM
Hi Vicky,

Sorry to hear about your troubles with Dell. I have Dell servers and really can't complain since (knock wood) they run well. But I've gotten away from Dell client machines. And the company I consult for is also dumping Dell as their standard and I believe they're going with HP. Considering they have a workforce of over 120,000 employees worldwide, and most use laptops, I think that's a pretty good vote for HP. When I spoke to some of the internal support people, they told me a key factor was the lack of support from Dell. So you're not alone.

Personally, however, I use a Toshiba P25-609. It's a couple of years old, but it runs well and I haven't had any trouble with it. My only complaint is that the top of the keyboard panel where I rest my wrists while typing tends to heat up on the right side, even to a point where it can be a little uncomfortable after a while. But an external keyboard for long sessions fixed that. And I love the extra wide screen, especially since I'm a designer and developer. I use either .NET or Dreamweaver MX, and for both there is plenty of room for the canvas, and the controls on the edges.

Anyway, the machine was close to $2600 when I purchased it, but I believe I've seen them now advertised new for less than $2000.

Best of luck with your search,


12-21-2005, 06:29 PM
Laptops: IBM Thinkpad or Toshiba, (I have one of each at home along with an Inspiron 8100 that works quite nicely)

Desktops: HP/Compaq (in a business environment) at home I build my own using Thermaltake cases and ASUS motherboards, etc.

Servers: IBM or HP/Compaq (pretty much bullet proof and very strong service and support departments)

I'm under contract now with a large law firm and we are ripping out all of the Dell Power Edge rack mount servers in the US, Europe and Asia. Just scaled a couple of IBM Rackmounts last night in the LA office. Sweet boxes. Dell has just gotten too big and started acting like IBM, Compaq, HP, etc (pick another success story that turned it's back on it's customers until they revolted and left) buying sh!tty parts and maintaining no consistant manufacturers or suppliers that held to strict quality standards. Their support sucks out loud and they have really lost the drive to deliver outstanding quality and service that they used to have.



12-21-2005, 06:39 PM
A guy here at work actually got a really nice MSI laptop with an Athlon 64-bit proc, XP 64-bit Edition, DVD burner (I think), and other niceties for $1800. I'll ask him tomorrow where he got it (online somewhere) and pass that along ot you.

12-21-2005, 07:53 PM
Been using a Toshiba laptop for two years with no problems, so far I like it but I don't know a lot about them.

12-21-2005, 10:30 PM
On Apple - can you wait a couple weeks? I expect them to announce some great laptops on Jan 6th. Much more bang for the buck and also the possibility that your existing software will run on it. Even though they can get away with quad processor liquid cooled desktops, they're getting hosed by IBM/Motorola on PowerPC chips for laptops. They're switching to Intel. Probably January. And possibly that it will run windows, but that part is just speculation on my part. If not in the announcement, then SOMEONE will figure that out shortly after.

But if you REALLY wanted to catch Dell's eye, you should have told him that you were switching to Apple. :) He has always seemed to have a thing against Apple. Even to the point of rediculing Steve Jobs. kinda funny.

12-21-2005, 10:31 PM
I had the same support problem with Dell. About 6 months ago the thing conked out, wouldn't load past the boot screen. Called tech support, under warranty, and got someone in India who couldn't understand us, and we couldn't understand her. Went through about 5 different people, none of them could help. Finally when we joined back up with my dad, he fixed it, being the uber-techie that he is.

Moral of the story: Outsourcing saves companies money, and they don't care if they lose a few customers in the process.

12-21-2005, 10:57 PM
MacRumors has it that the new powerbooks might have a dual core processor. Mac's position is that the new machines are able to run Windows as a dual boot system but they are not supporting this feature. I can bet that within a couple of months you can find some apps that will make the powerbooks dual boot at http://www.macupdate.com/ . They have loads of apps, many free ones!


12-21-2005, 11:15 PM
Check out MPC Corp, they dont do much pitching to consumers, just concentrate on business and education. Best thing about them no offshore tech support, all inhouse techs www.mpccorp.com (http://www.mpccorp.com)

12-22-2005, 12:11 AM
You can buy something called “Virtual PC” for mac’s any who can’t you? And then they run all of windows programs. If I recall, then again I have never owned a mac, just a good friend of mine has. I have only crashed a Mac once, I think I looked up ‘d’ in the search and attempted to open a program at the same time….


12-22-2005, 04:40 AM
Most people who have problems with computer companies tend to start building their own systems, the problem is I've never seen parts for building your own laptop. :(

I've had my Dell Dimension for a little over a year now, and I have yet to have any problems with it that I couldn't fix myself. I doubt I'll ever have a laptop, mainly because of the high price vs. few features compared to a desktop. If I ever find myself in need of a portable system (for LANs and stuff), I would opt to just build a computer using a micro case, and get a small flatscreen monitor.

12-22-2005, 02:09 PM
Mu - VirtualPC is a PC emulator that runs decently on a mac. Decent means that if you have a 2GHz G5 mac, it will run like a 1GHz celeron PC. Also, Microsoft recently bought it from connectix. So I don't know what to make of that. They'll probably kill that like they did with internet explorer.

Drunk Tailor Mark
12-22-2005, 07:27 PM
Dude, you ain't getting a Dell

12-29-2005, 03:40 AM
It had to happen! After my glowing report on Toshiba, my laptop took a dive :'( It had to be 2 weeks after the warranty expired too!
I went and looked at laptops and frankly, I'm sick and tired of Windows so.....I am now the owner of a new ibook. I really want the powerbook about to be released but couldn't wait. I guess I'll just have to buy the new powerbook next year!
Vicky, any decisions on what you'll buy?

Cheers and a Happy New Year to all,

12-29-2005, 09:59 AM

Welcome to the wonderful world of OS X!!!!!!!


12-29-2005, 10:45 AM
Well, on Monday I got a call from Tech support at Dell (an English-speaker this time), who apologized for the shabby treatment, worked out some of the issues using their internal knowledgebase data, and sent me 2 new batteries and a new power cord. Seems that the removable batteries can cause motherboard-like issues after they get older, and mine are nearly 4 years old. Normally, Dell only warranties batteries for 1 year, but since I've been having so much trouble, they gave them to me for free (one time exception, he kept saying). My power cord has a small break inside that you can't see, but if you jiggle it, the backlighting switches from AC to battery...so they're sending a new one of those out too.

The Sales escalation team is supposed to call either today or first of next week (much of Dell is off for Christmas week) to fix my issues with buying a new Dell. So, I'm holding off.

Research of other laptops kept leading me back to the XPS 140. I looked at HP, Toshiba, Sony and IBM. No one else has the combo of speed, memory, and add-ons that I need for the price except Dell.

So, I'ved decided to hold off until I talk to the Sales team, see what they have to offer (Here Mrs. Rowe, let us give you a free laptop, and we're sorry you had trouble with Dell.......................yeah, right, in my dreams!). I'm hoping they will live up to the spirit of the deal they posted that played semantic tricks to let them only provide some of the products, instead of all, as it reads at first.

I'll post my Sales experience here....LOL

12-29-2005, 12:40 PM
Vicky, stick to your guns!!!!! Maybe they'll finally take notice that the customer base is not just a group of dummies, there are smart people in the group and we demand service!
WW, I have been using both PC and Macs for years, I have both at work but for the price, I had to buy the Toshiba for home. The video card is out and in a laptop it is built on the motherboard so I'll have to change that! My biggest problem for the mac is getting software (cheap!!!) Other than that...I'm golden! I just figured out that both laptops use the same memoryso the ibook will get another gig of ram transplanted from the Toshiba really soon!


12-29-2005, 01:11 PM
I get all mine free ;D ;D ;D - I did purchase 10.4 because I'm willing to support the future development of OS X... I have a dream that OS X will one day be licensed and it will bury Microsoft.


12-29-2005, 01:58 PM
I get all mine free ;D ;D ;D - I did purchase 10.4 because I'm willing to support the future development of OS X... I have a dream that OS X will one day be licensed and it will bury Microsoft.

WW - dream on ;)


12-29-2005, 07:35 PM
I know... I dream the impossible dream, but it's only because I don't have the power to call in surgical nuclear strikes.


12-29-2005, 08:57 PM
LOL ;D ;D ;D

12-29-2005, 09:06 PM
I believe open source (L)Unix systems have a better chance of over taking Windoz then any of the others.


12-29-2005, 11:26 PM
Vicky - I hope it all works out for you. But file this one for future reference. I think it took way too much effort for you to get the respect that a customer shelling out thousands deserves.

I don't think that open source linux has much of a chance. As much as I love it and as much as I would be using it over windoze if Apple were to suddenly vanish, it will probably never be mainstream. People are afraid of change. Open source efforts don't have the direction that a company like Apple can give. They are programmers giving direction to programmers. They can't provide a user interface or the support that 95% of the users out there will need.

In the end I'm with Wrath. OSX for everyone! It will be interesting to see what 2006 will bring for Apple. I don't think that they will license their OS, but I predict that we will see Windoze running successfully on Apple's computers. We will be able to buy an Apple and run windblows and OSX side by side at full speed.

12-29-2005, 11:43 PM
I'd be on Apple like white on rice if my applications would run on them. But I use too many smaller apps. The Big Boys run there, but I've *way* too much time and money invested in WinBlows apps to switch now.....

12-30-2005, 12:08 AM
I totally understand. I've ported open source SW to OSX myself just because it wasn't there and I wanted to use it. Keep your eye on their stuff to see where they are when you need to upgrade again in a few years. I think Intel is very happy with them because they drive innovation and M$ follows. So Intel can really push the envelope on performance with Apple. I'm excited for their partnership. As much as I love PowerPC and RISC (quad liquid cooled G5 baby!) Motorola and IBM have not stepped up to the plate with the processor. They can't live up to their promise. Laptops will never get a G5.

02-21-2006, 01:46 PM
I get all mine free ;D ;D ;D - I did purchase 10.4 because I'm willing to support the future development of OS X... I have a dream that OS X will one day be licensed and it will bury Microsoft.


Of course, the new Mac's are running on intel chips.... (Blew it again, they should be running on AMD chips, much faster...)

Just my 2 cents..


02-21-2006, 03:43 PM
I wouldn't say that they "blew it" at all. Hardcore gamers are the people who are most likely to shell out the big $$$ for ultimate performance (AMD vs. Intel). And these people will not buy Apple anyway. I'd say that most Apple computer buyers don't care enough about the slight performance edge AMD might have right now.

And I'm sure that there's more to it than just raw processor speeds. Did AMD offer competetive pricing? What about a future roadmap and their history to deliver on that? What about integration of chips like controllers and whatnot? Apple cares about aesthetics more than any other computer company, and if Intel has the ability to integrate multiple chips, then that gives Apple a design advantage.

The Apple world is much different than Wintel. Apple users in general are more concerned about the overall experience than the minutia. There are always going to be performance nuts out there looking for every last ounce, but the majority are more interested in big speed bumps like getting dual-core laptops.

02-21-2006, 05:22 PM
And I'm sure that there's more to it than just raw processor speeds. Did AMD offer competetive pricing? What about a future roadmap and their history to deliver on that? What about integration of chips like controllers and whatnot? Apple cares about aesthetics more than any other computer company, and if Intel has the ability to integrate multiple chips, then that gives Apple a design advantage.

Actually, right now Intel's roadmap is a mess. They don't have an answer for AMD's biggest and best that is within reach in the next year or two. Their chips are slower. They produce more heat. What Intel does have is a proven track record which is something AMD has managed to blow on many occasions. They also have the ability to produce their own custom chipsets.

That being said, don't really want to start an Apple vs. M$, or Intel vs. AMD flame war here. However I would be very surprised if we don't see some Apple on AMD sometime in the near future. Sure Intel's ability to do their own chipsets (and in the process be able to cook up any scheme Apple wants/requires to prevent OSX from becoming easily stolen) probably won them over to the Intel side of things but the cold hard fact is that neither company has been even close to adequate on the supply side. Neither one can crank out enough chips. Add on to their usual supply problems additional demand from one of the most demanding companies on the planet and I think Intel is going to find themselves with a huge chip deficit. I think that together both companies can keep the beige box crowd happy while keeping Steve into parts as well.

02-21-2006, 05:28 PM
Actually, right now Intel's roadmap is a mess. They don't have an answer for AMD's biggest and best that is within reach in the next year or two. Their chips are slower. They produce more heat. What Intel does have is a proven track record which is something AMD has managed to blow on many occasions. They also have the ability to produce their own custom chipsets.

That is my point. I don't wish to start a flame war, eithor. I have heard from a number of dedicated Mac user that are wondering why they didn't go with the faster chips.

I'm sure it will all play out in the end.

02-21-2006, 10:19 PM
Like I said above (or below depending on how you have the responses sorted :o ) it really had nothing to do with the chips. It came down to the fact that right now Intel is the total package. They made the chips (the fact that they are a little behind AMD had no bearing) and the chipsets. The chipset was key for the type of protection Apple wanted. BIOS is dying (finally) and we have Apple to thank for it.

Once AMD can convince their chipset partners of the same thing and can provide Apple with a solution they won't have to wait on I think Apple will be forced to use a little of both just to meet demand because like I said, I don't believe either company can supply enough chips on their own.

02-22-2006, 11:22 AM
My wife has only bought Fujitsu laptops for years and is very satisfied with them. You might check them out too.


02-22-2006, 12:48 PM
I have had decent luck with Toshiba's in the past as well. Though I have to admit, I am waiting for the 17" MacBook to come out before I buy another laptop.

02-22-2006, 01:19 PM
Fujitsu is the top mark in the wintel market by my estimation. Looks like the malicious coders that spawn all these nasty viruses are getting bored with Wintel now and turning their attention to OS X. It kinda sucks that you have a great operating system out there like OS X, and a bunch of idiots that just have to try and screw with it because they have nothing better to do. Weasels.



02-22-2006, 07:05 PM
Well, I ended up buying Dell after all. I got a very responsive bunch of folks to my nastygram, they solved my issues with my old system, and gave me employee pricing on a Dell Latitude D610 with all the bells and whistles. So, they get a stay of execution......

I've been a fan of Dell for so many years, and I never stopped liking their equipment, its just that their service sucks these days.

Vicky - staying with a friend who works for Dell (and who also thinks the service stinks - she's a programmer for them)