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Jul 2nd 2007

dude! you’re getting a broken dell!

two years ago, i tried to order a new dell computer. dell sent me a $1200 piece of junk and refused to fix it. thank goodness i bought the laptop with a credit card, and i was able to ask my credit card company to intervene. i found a good form letter here and adapted it for my purposes. a redacted copy is below. if you people take one thing away from this blog, i hope it will be this wise adage: never buy a dell computer. — travis

August 5, 2005
Billing Inquiries Department
Credit Card Services

Re: Disputed charge on credit card, account xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx

Dear Sir or Madam:

On my most recent credit card statement, which closed on 7/11/05 and which I received on 7/18/05, there was a $1,223.25 charge made at Dell Catalog Sales, TX. This charge, made on 6/7/05, posted to my account on 6/12/05.

I am disputing the charge, which is circled on the enclosed copy of my statement.

While I was visiting family across the country from my home, I ordered a brand new computer with the characteristics described in the attached emails. As noted, I ordered the item on June 7, 2005 and I was told that the estimated ship date was June 23, 2005, which was just a few days prior to my scheduled return home. For this reason, I did not have the item shipped to [my location] directly, but shipped it to [my home]. To my surprise it shipped on the 11th of June. Not only did it arrive much sooner than expected, but I extended my trip and arrived home later than expected. I live on commercial farm, and it was signed for by someone other than me in the farm office. I never thought to have anyone on the farm turn it on, to test and make sure it was functional since it was a brand new computer from a reputable company.

Shortly after returning home, I opened the box for the first time and turned the computer on. Though the computer turned “on”, it was nevertheless non-functional because its operating system never booted correctly. I immediately called Dell and asked them for help. They walked me through seemingly endless diagnostic tests and maneuvers that involved turning off and restarting the computer repeatedly as well as one test that required me to run a test all night long and to call back in the morning.

When I called back, I was told that there was a software problem and that they would send me a new operating system and utilities CDs. One of the attached emails is a result of that conversation. After two more days with a non-functional computer, I received the CDs and called Dell again to be walked through the reinstallation process. This took several more hours and proved to be fruitless. With the computer in the same non-working state, I was transferred between multiple software and hardware support technicians, none of whom knew how to help me fix the computer. Their remedies included more starting and restarting the computer (though I questioned the purpose for all the wear and tear on a new computer). They also had me open up the back of the computer and pull out the hard drive and memory myself, although I am completely untrained, spent fifteen minutes searching for the tiny screwdriver needed to do the job, and was very uncomfortable working on my new computer for fear of damaging one of the most expensive items I have ever owned. I didn’t know what I was doing, and they didn’t seem to know what they were doing, either.

After a total of 5 or 6 hours on the phone troubleshooting, I finally told one of the support representatives that I had a “lemon” and I would like a new computer or a refund. She told me that if I wanted a refund I would have to call back on Monday (it was Friday night) and speak with customer service.

On Monday morning I called Dell and reached a customer service agent who informed me that I was beyond the 21-day return period and was not eligible for a refund. Though this is true, I hadn’t been using the system (nor could I have used it). The computer has been faulty since the moment it was built. I did not break it. It did not work for twenty-one days and then break. It has never worked. I asked if they would send me a new, functional computer to comply with my original purchase request. They told me that they could only send me a refurbished computer, which is pretty much what the one I have will be (if I can ever get it to work).

I have since talked with another technical support agent who told me that they could try sending me a new hard drive and memory. I agreed to this, but these items never arrived.

[Note: I now know Dell never sent the replacement parts. Over a month passed between my mailing of this letter and my credit card company notifying Dell of the disputed charge. Yet Dell never bothered to send me the parts it claimed might have fixed my computer. So much for Dell’s “award-winning support and service.”]

I ask that you please adjust my account in the above-referenced amount since my purchase order was not fulfilled. Please remove the $1223.25 charge from my bill and notify me in writing by sending me a new statement showing the correction.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me by mail at the address listed below, by phone, or by email. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.



Enclosure: credit card statement, order acknowledgement email, order confirmation email, shipment notification email, technical support email


Thank you for contacting Dell’s Technical Support. It was a pleasure working
with you in our attempt to resolve the issue you are having with your system.

The following information relates to your recent call. In order to replace your
part, we have setup an exchange.

Case # xxxxxxxxx
Dispatch # xxxxxxxxx

If Dell requires the defective part to be returned to Dell, you will find a
return air bill in the box. As you are responsible for the returned part, Please
complete the following steps.

Replace all defective components with the new components including manuals,
cables, etc.

1.) Affix the air bill to the box the replacement part shipped.
2.) Ensure Dell’s warranty reference # is listed in the billing reference
3.) Call 1-800-247-2676 to have the box shipped back to Dell Inc.
4.) Retain a copy of the air bill for your records.

Please return defective component within 5 business days.You WILL receive an
invoice, it is not payable unless you do not return the component. Please keep
this invoice as a record of service preformed.

Note it will take approximate 10 business days to receive the defective
component back in to Dell’s system.

If you need a status update on this service, please contact us on-line at:
1.) Log in
2.) If a first time user “Register and Personalize’
3.) Enter Service Tag
4.) Click “Support History and Status”
5.) Enter your Service Tag # to obtain a current status
6.) Select Date Range
7.) Search either “All Categories” or “Open Categories”
8.) Click on Service Call #
9.) Details about system, warranty and status of call with shipping information
10.) Check Shipper’s website using tracking system for more shipping details.

If you need further assistance with case # xxxxxxxxx, you may contact your case
owner via email. Simply “reply” to this email. Do Not change the subject line.
Changing the subject line will cause routing problems with the email back to
Dell. Please include the following information in the BODY of the email message:

1.) Best time to reach you
2.) Include phone number
3.) Include your case # xxxxxxxxx in the email message
4.) Brief description of the current state of your issue

For all new issues, please email Dell Tech Support from the following web page or call
800-624-9896 following the appropriate prompts.

Dell Support Tool

Dell Support 3 is a complimentary, automated upgrade and notification system for
your computer that offers you software updates and information that is relevant
to your specific computer.

Get the Dell Support Tool at

NOTE: Dell Support 3.0 is for Microsoft Windows XP only.

Visit the Dell Community Forum, where Dell users of all skill levels come
together to ask questions, share experiences, and learn at

In an effort to continuously improve your customer service experience Dell
randomly surveys our customers. You may receive one of these surveys through
email in the next few days. Your feedback will help Dell define how best to
improve our performance and provide the best possible customer experience. Dell
encourages you to complete a survey if you receive one. I thank you for your
time and thank you for choosing Dell.


[dell employee]


Dear Travis
We have received your order and it is being processed. Thank You.

What’s next?
· You will receive an order confirmation email within 1 day with your order number, customer number, estimated ship date and updated purchase amount.

· The Order Progress Bar above shows the current stage of this order.

Payment Method
Pay with one credit/debit card online Shipping Method
3-5 Day Delivery
Bill To

Please note that Dell cannot be responsible for pricing or other errors, and reserves the right to cancel any orders arising from such errors.
If this is a large purchase and you have chosen to pay by credit or debit card, you may want to notify your card issuer. Sometimes financial institutions will not authorize large purchases if such charges do not match prior buying patterns. Your order will go into production as soon as we receive authorization from your card issuer. Note: Your card will not be charged until your order ships.
Thanks again for choosing Dell!

Order detail – order placed 2005-06-07 23:37:30

Inspiron 700m
Intel® Pentium® M Processor 725 (1.60 GHz/400MHz FSB)12.1-in WXGA, Microsoft Windows XP Professional – For networking with work or school Qty: 1
Unit Price: $1,904.00
Inspiron 700m Intel® Pentium® M Processor 725 (1.60 GHz/400MHz FSB)12.1-in WXGA MM16WN [221-6397]
Memory 1GB DDR SDRAM 2 Dimms 1GB2D [311-3690]
Hard Drive 60 GB Hard Drive 60GB [341-0934]
Operating System Microsoft Windows XP Professional – For networking with work or school WPXP [412-0689]
Network Adapters Integrated Network Card INTNIC [430-0530]
Modem Internal 56K Modem 56MPC [313-1917]
Adobe Software Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 6.0 ADOBER [430-1048]
CD ROM/DVD ROM 8x CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) with double-layer write capability 8XDVDRW [313-3098]
Wireless Networking Card Intel® PRO/Wireless 2200 Internal Wireless (802.11 b/g, 54Mbps) IP2200 [430-0974]
Office Productivity Software (Pre-Installed) No productivity suite – Corel WordPerfect word processor only ICOREL [412-0714]
Security Software No Security Subscription NSNOR [412-0802]
Digital Music Musicmatch® Jukebox Basic MMBASE [412-0741]
Primary Battery FREE 64MB Dell USB Memory Key w/ 8-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery(65 WHr) 8BATKP [310-5292]
Limited Warranty, Services and Support 2Yr Ltd Warranty, 2Yr At-Home Service, and 2Yr Technical Support S2OS [950-1001]
Dial-Up Internet Access 6 Months America Online Internet Access Included AOLDHS [412-0625]
Digital Imaging or Digital Photography Photo Albumâ„¢ SE Basic DPS [412-0744]
Miscellaneous Award Winning Service & Support I700MS1 [464-0597]
Financial Software No QuickBooks package selected- Includes limited use trial QBSSP [420-5139]
Dell Media Experience Dellâ„¢ Media Experience DMX [412-0751]

Dell Home Customers: Save $750 on select Inspironâ„¢ notebook purchases $1499 or more (before tax and shipping)! (affilaite only online offer)
Expires on 2005-06-10 05:59:59 – $750.00


Dell Home Customers: Free Ground Shipping on any Dell Inspiron order greater than $899!
Expires on 2005-06-09 06:59:59 – $49.00

Sub-Total $1,154.00
Shipping Discount -$49.00
Shipping and Handling $0.00
Estimated Tax $69.26
Total $1,223.26


Customer Number: xxxxxxxx
Order Number: xxxxxxxxx
Estimated Ship Date: Thursday, June 23, 2005

Sub-Total $1,154.00
Shipping Discount -$49.00
Shipping and Handling $0.00
Tax $69.25
Total $1,223.25

Payment Method
Pay with one credit/debit card online
Shipping Method
3-5 Day Delivery

Bill To
Ship To

Thank you for shopping with Dell!
Congratulations! Your order shipped on
Customer Number: xxxxxxxx
Order Number: xxxxxxxxx
Shipping Method:
3-5 Day Delivery

3 Responses to “dude! you’re getting a broken dell!”

  1. h-diddy

    you probably have bad karma….I bought a dell and it has worked wonderfully….

  2. MattDark

    Mine doesnt…

    In my case, a dell will work fine at first, but as soon as your warranty expires the damn thing crashes, and all you get when you call or send an email for help are asians who just seem payed to read out a list of things that ‘may’ fix your computer, or an automated message that doesnt help at all.

    I’ve had 2 dells now, and both have become completely useless after the warranty expired. I managed to get one working, but it would only last a few hours before dying again.

    Dell really dont seem to care about their customers, they just care about hoarding as much money as possible

  3. Kayte

    We currently have 2 dells- one that has recently crashed due to a corrupt hard drive (and yes outside of the warrenty). We called, got put to their ‘expired warrenty dept’ and subsquently told there was ‘a technical issue in pulling up our file’ (no one else had this prob) and told we would receive a phone call back in 20 mins. We never got a call back. Now we have a $1500 big black paperweight and we are sending it back- whether they want it back or not and stopping payment. We took care of the computer (virus protection,ad-ware and spy-ware pritection and anything else we culd do), it wasn’t used that much and it still crashed- end of story is that basically Dell’s are over priced c**p.
    Ontario, Canada