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Is this dodgy Dell motherboards and Service attitude (UK)?

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April 2, 2007 1:59:58 PM

Can I ask from members here what they think of the predicament I’m in with Dell UK (or rather the predicament I’m not in, because they don’t intend assisting me in any way). Essentially I have had the second complete motherboard failure in less than three and a half years with my Dell Latitude 500, and Dell’s attitude is ‘tough, and we sympathise, but give us the full £300 for another replacement’. This is my last (concluding?) email to the Dell manager:

Dear Robert,
For the avoidance of any doubt, I want to place on record my complete disappointment and disillusionment with Dell as represented by your decision to refuse me any discretion or leeway on the matter of the cost of the second replacement of a failed motherboard in just over three years on my Dell Latitude 500 laptop. It became quickly apparent in our telephone discussion yesterday, that you were unwilling to contemplate any compromise on the matter. Your perspective was that the machine was four months outside of the warranty, Dell had to draw the line somewhere and therefore could offer me no assistance on the matter. You at one point wondered if I was seeking free replacement of the second motherboard. You continually referred to the advisability of extended warranties that would have covered this repair. I in turn pointed out that the failure of two motherboards in just over three years on any Dell product is in itself an unacceptable level of performance – regardless of the warranty issue. I did seek an opinion from you on that, but I did not receive one byond your sympathy. There is also something clearly amiss with a laptop product whereby motherboards fail twice in a period of three years and four months. I have to say that this is true regardless of your apparent/unstated opinion to the contrary. I emphasised that I was not seeking a free or cheap deal replacement of the second motherboard; rather I was asking for some sort of discretion or easement on the full price given the circumstances. But this was something that you asserted that you were unable to consider. Your repeated references to extended warranties would seem to imply that the Dell customer must take out an extended warranty to counter-balance the proportionality higher likelihood of major Dell product failure. Despite your many assertions of ‘really sympathising’ with my situation you were unwilling to make any offer of any kind to add meaning or worth to your sympathy. I also felt disappointed to have had to wait almost a week for you to make personal contact with me if it were only to advise that you could offer no assistance or discretion. I this morning spoke informally with the IT personnel at two different clients of mine. I asked for their frank and candid advice (i.e. is this something that along with my custom with Dell that I just write –off, move on and forget?). In both cases, they considered your decision harsh and not at all in keeping with acceptable good customer service practice – and they both noted that there was no resolution of my query in my first email to you regarding the incidence of motherboard failures on D500s. I appreciate that that is informal and subjective anecdote, but I suspect that that is the typical opinion that I will continue to elicit as I enquire around with others. You advised me that you are in effect the senior Dell manager and that your decision is the final one from Dell. Consequently, I sincerely believe that your call on this matter was wrong and I honestly feel aggrieved and unfairly dealt with by Dell.

Almost 2 weeks ago now and I haven't even receive and acknowldgement!
April 2, 2007 7:29:06 PM

I understand why you feel like that, but, no offense, you are out of warranty and that is their policy. That is going to be the policy at almost any large company. The only companies that don't have that type of policy are smaller ones that need to retain their clients to stay afloat. Dell has no such problem. That being said, I do feel that Dell should have lowered the price only because it was the SECOND time it has happened to you. If it was the first time, I would probably have taken the same "tough luck" approach.

Dell was within their rights not to give you a "deal" or whatever you want to name it. Is it good business that will hold customers? No, but one small customer won't make too much of a difference to them. It appears from the no response from them that they are done dealing with your problem. Sorry for your troubles.
April 3, 2007 9:19:07 AM

lostandwandering, thanks for the honest opinion.

I suppose that I understood that Dell was correct on a strictly ‘legal’ or contractual sense. But some sort of gesture of goodwill could have been called for. However, as you say, why should they? That seems to be the attitude. In my own line of business the very least we would do is offer a small discount as a gesture (even if I was hoping for more, would the gesture of offering small discount of, say, $25 have busted Dell?)

I think that I’m belatedly finding about the computer manufacturing industry is that their products are often suspect and they get away with an attitude and low level of customer service with which they just would not service in almost any other consumer products sector.

Dell just seems to be a particularly stark representative of this.
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