Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Friday, May 30, 2008

Dell Phone Support Disassembles My Laptop

Dell made the news recently after my friends at New York’s Attorney Generals office sued for “false advertising, failure to provide services and deceptive business practices”. I recently purchased a new Dell laptop and while I didn’t submit a complaint I was a victim of one of the charges.

Most news organizations and bloggers are focusing on misleading finance offers and long waits on the phone but my experience was a first of its kind for me. According to the list of complaints my experience falls in the following category…

  • pressuring consumers, including those who purchased service contracts promising “next day onsite” repair, to remove the external cover of their computer and remove, reinstall, and manipulate hardware components;

My new Inspiron 1520 had a problem with bad memory. As a technical person it wasn’t hard for me to run the appropriate tests and confirm my own diagnosis. After removing the external memory chip, the problem still existed so it appeared the laptop would need internal servicing.

So I called Dell to arrange my repairs. Imagine my surprise when the phone rep wanted me to remove the keyboard and unscrew internal components so I could access the internal memory chip. I was stunned. I just couldn’t imagine them telling somebody’s mother how to do this over the phone.

Even I didn’t feel comfortable snapping off my keyboard so I pleaded with the rep to just let me pack up my laptop and ship it to Dell. Nope, if I wanted it repaired, my only option was to work with the phone rep. I finally agreed and sure enough it turned out I had a bad memory chip inside my laptop.

Now for the good news. Dell still didn’t want me to send back my laptop. Instead, they shipped the required hardware to a local repair rep who came out to my home and completed my repairs. Kudos to Dell for in-home repairs but please stop the over-the-phone surgery.

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Blogger TheManRetired said...

I had a similiar experience with Dell and their memory errors when I bought a new Dell 1525 laptop but I never had them want me to remove anything. I did put a blog on the web and if you want to read it go to

2:51 PM  
Blogger RamblingRoland said...

Couldn't agree with you more. I stopped buying Dell for similar reasons.

12:09 PM  
Blogger George, Group Admin said...

Same thing happened last year, after the upgrade purchase through Dell of a Desktop. Had a major motherboard failure. The tech rep from India tried to encourage me to do onsite testing. I kept protesting as I am visually impaired, a cancer survivor and not able to lift heavy objects with my left arm, etc., after gently turning over the desktop case and removing the cover, not an easy task for me, he then wanted me to remove every visible component. In the end it was decided that the mother board was indeed bad and a local service rep arrived the next day, replacing mother board and power supply. What type of service is this. I am in South Carolina.


1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't owned a Dell for years, but I remember that when I did... it arrived all new and shiny and wouldn't turn on (!). So, I called them up and I still remember the Dell person who said, "I will hold while you go and get a screwdriver."

Hello, if I knew that much about computers, I wouldn't have got one which includes home-based support!

12:13 PM  

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