My Dell XPS laptop is helping me explore and discover a lot of Dell’s business strategies and most of them are unethical. My previous post would detail the problem I am currently facing with my Dell XPS M1210. I knew that Dell would not help me unless I pay them what they demand. But still I wanted to check my Luck Quotient. I called up Dell and the executive (Mr trained-Smarty-dell-mouthpiece) spoke to me for about an hour. Let me give you the gist of the conversation.
I have recorded this in my mobile. I will post the audio clip soon.
Once I explained the problem, he asked me to be on hold for a while, so that he could check what best he can do for me. He came back on the line and told me that he is going to give me a break-fix-warranty.
Now what is a break fix warranty for me? Pay for 1 year extended warranty + engineer visit + spare part cost. That will be 19,000INR in total. I told him, that this problem is not only with my notebook. Many people who have got the same model have suffered because of the design flaw. This is Dell’s fault and Dell must absorb the cost and replace it without charging.
He accepted that its a design issue with the GeForce 7400 gfx card and Dell has automatically extended the 1 year warranty to an extra year for all the product with 7400 gfx cards. My laptop has cruised past 2 years exactly (on March 8th 2009) so Dell will not replace it for free.
I was pretty shocked. Hang on! One year ago on March 2008, I called you guys and wanted to pay for an extended warranty and no one told me that I get a free warranty extension at that time. You guys sent me quotes and if had gone ahead with the purchase, I would have ended up paying for a free service.
He justified and rolled back his statement that, these free warranty was only for systems with fault. Yes, mine is faulty as well. Only that the fault came to light exactly after 20 days of expiry of the warranty + “so-called-free-extended” warranty period.
Dell… the greatest customer screwing machine of all time… Ok! I don’t want to drift off-topic. Now, I don’t care about extended warranty. A company like Dell must take responsibility for its mistakes and take back the faulty parts it has sold.
His point was, the company has extended its good-will gesture for one year and my laptop had no problems during that tenure and now I have to pay for it.
And so forth and so on… the argument was going nowhere. The business strategy I learnt is, sell a faulty product to the customer and sell it over and over to the same customer, when the product fails. Nice strategy to make money, especially during the tough times of recession. I am sure Dell would not face any economic strangles with policies like this in place. Even if I pay for the service and get the Motherboard replaced, it is bound to fail in another year’s time.
Shall I or Should I not?
Dell, as we all know is an International house-hold name for quality computer products. But what we don’t know is the fact that, Dell have become complacent off-late and are concentrating more on quantity of sale, rather than the quality of the product.
There are people who have purchased Dell’s standard model laptops and sat back contently for the rest of the product’s long life time. There are also people like me who have gone in for so-called premium products (actually, experimental) and are doomed to suffer for the rest of product (short) life time.
I purchased a Dell machine 2 years ago. It was the top end machine at that time. Its the Dell XPS M1210. You can just google for its specifications, if you really want to. I preferred it over other products just for 2 reasons.
- Reliability on the Dell Brand name.
- Portability w.r.t. to its size (12″)
I did a thorough market research before I made the decision. I browsed a lot, I asked questions at forums, chat with people who have got laptops recently, hunted for information and quotations in almost every computer shop in Chennai and finally made the worst decision: to stick with Dell. In spite of the fact that, I don’t get to see the product, before I make the purchase, I went ahead and procured the consignment.
Until then, the customer service and sales personnel were very cordial and helpful. Exactly one year later, they started showing their real face. The scornful capitalistic empty-your-wallet plus-your-life-savings kinda face.
The battery failed me. Instead of the promised 3 hour backup, I got only 45 min or less. Then six months later, the battery went completely dead. I found out that the warranty or the extended warranty would not cover battery. (They were aware that it would fail in 1 year) And Dell batteries are not cheap.
Six months from then, out of the blue-moon, the graphics card crashed. I had no clue why it had happened. The Dell technical assistant over the phone asked me to run a few tests and declared that the graphics card has crashed and told me in a relaxed cool tone that I have shed a fortune to get it fixed. Eyebrows raised, I asked him the reason. He told that the graphics card was integrated with the motherboard and the entire mommy has to be replaced. I was not sure as mine had an Nvidia GeForce 7400 and it must be an add-on card. But the Mr.Knowall-tech-assist insisted that I must pay a shit-load to get my lappie bounce back to life.
To my bitter surprise, I found that many people who had purchased the XPS series had similar problem and I was not alone. The problem is with the heat sink design. The laptop design is so bad, that the processor’s heat dissipates via the motherboard to the vent. That’s a serious flaw in the design and this causes the circuits to fail. Unlike the famous “burning-laptop-battery” issue, this issue is not common in all the laptops they build, but only in a few. I believe that’s the reason, Dell has not called for a mass-recall.
If such a flaw has been detected on their standard laptop models, then they would have panicked, as the corporate bigwig customers would rap the knuckles hard on Dell. But XPS product line is not purchased by corporate houses, instead by single customers like me.
Yet, I strongly believe that Dell must have taken responsibility and must have come forward to solve such known-issues. But they didn’t. All they want is the customer’s money and not their satisfaction. I still can’t digest the fact that Dell has let me down and many other customers. Never again would I go for a Dell product. Not even for a mouse. Many of my friends ask me for suggestions and I have recommended Dell to them. I would never ever do that mistake again.
This time am not gonna pay Dell, instead, Ill try to fix the problem on my own. If not successful, I would ditch the laptop and get rid of the last Dell product among my processions.
Update: Adding a few links to validate the point that, I am not alone -