Dell Service Rant or Can you be without your computer for 2 weeks?

The fans on my Dell Inspiron 8100 started acting wonky today … so I ran the diagnostics and was informed that the fans were failing.

I called Dell service. Held for 10 minutes and then found out it was the corporate support line, so I called back and waited another 10 minutes.

I described the problem to the tech (pleasant guy named John, who was definitely in America) and he said that the fans probably needed to be replaced. Unfortunately, my service contract is “Rapid Response Depot”… and the turnaround time is about 2 weeks.

Now I don’t know about you … but I certainly can’t be without my computer for 2 weeks.

The online service manual have instructions on how to replace the fans … but there’s no part number, and John couldn’t find one as a “Customer Replicable Part” … so the only option I currently have is to send it in.

John said he would talk to his manager about it and see if there are any other options.

He called back about 20 minutes later and said I had 3 options …

  1. Upgrade my service contract to onsite repair … then they would send someone out to replace the fan.
  2. Try to find a part number and order it through their parts department … and replace the fan myself. This, unfortunately, would void my warranty.
  3. Send the system in and hope for the best.

Well #2 isn’t acceptable … I paid good money for the service contract and don’t want to pitch it in the garbage.

Option #3 isn’t any more acceptable than it was before … so my only option appears to be #1.

I asked John how much a service contract upgrade would cost … he said it would be about $100. He tried to conference me in to service contract sales … but couldn’t get it to take.

He then gave me the number and told me to call, get the contract upgraded, then call support back to arrange the repair.

I call the service contract sales number, sit on hold for 30 minutes, and talk to a guy named Mike … I explained the situation and he told me that I couldn’t upgrade the service contract until the current problem is fixed. There was nothing he could do about it.

I asked to speak to a manager … and was told that none were there at the moment … but they would put my name on a list of people who need calls from managers (at this point, I suspect the list is long).

This is freaking ridiculous … I’m willing to give them money to send someone out to fix my computer … and they won’t take it. It’s not like I will cancel the contract the day after the problem is fixed.

At this point, I really don’t know what to do … Mike indicated that he heard the turnaround was more like 3 days (which is more acceptable, but not by much).

[time passes]

Well, I’ve decided to ship the machine in to Dell for repair. I don’t want to delay it any more than necessary.

The tech I talked to arrange the shipping advised me to take the hard drive out. I think I’ll also remove the extra memory I purchased, just in case.

This really sucks … Dell has lost me as a customer … not because of the fan failing … but because they wouldn’t let me upgrade my service contract for onsite service.

1 comment

    • David Gibbs on 04 Feb 2004 at 6:59 pm

    Well, the service contract sales manager never did call back … not really sure I expected it. Customers just don’t seem to be that important to Dell. Maybe I’ll send a letter to Michael Dell.

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