Dell / Alienware incredible service fail


Jump to update (15/01/2015)
Jump to update (16/01/2015)

I’m going to put it out there – I don’t normally write about companies on this level, I try to resolve issues in a civil manner however this has now been going on for far too long and feel the need to share it. Some companies simply don’t understand customer service or even NZ law and must be put to shame and this time I simply can’t comprehend the bad customer service I have gotten from Dell regarding my Alienware 14 laptop of which developed a fault where it simply could not be used.

I spent around 2 weeks trying to get through to a customer service rep however all the numbers I tried were “premium support” numbers of which refused to help me since the serial number on my laptop was not under warranty. Now, under the CGA laptops are expected to last around 5 years and thus the retailer (in this case, Dell) must cover it for this time. They make it pretty-much impossible to get service via the normal methods so I went to Twitter to help and this brings us to our first CSR fail (via Twitter DM):

Me 29 Sep 15, 7:49am: Service tag is 1BSNYZ1 – my mobile number is +6427xxxxxxx or [email protected] Thanks for helping out!
Alienware Support 29 Sep 15, 9:41am: Thank you. I will be happy to forward your information to our team in your area. Please tell us a bit more about the issue you are experiencing?
Me 29 Sep 15, 11:56pm: Yeah sure – am having issues with charging. So I have 2x power adapters (thinking the first one that came with it was faulty) however both adapters come up with “The AC power adapter type cannot be determined” at random times then the laptop refuses to charge or operate correctly. The battery now refuses to charge past 50% and it appears the power adapter struggles past this point. Have tried operating the adapter from the very clean power in my works server room with no success thinking it was my home power supply. Have removed the battery and done the standard troubleshooting steps without any success. It is a bit of a pain as I can’t use the laptop for what it was bought for (gaming). Have also done a full fresh installation of Windows 10 and also tried Linux on it for a few weeks to confirm it wasn’t a driver issue. Basically, you name it I have tried it. I am confident it is an issue with the laptop and have resorted to using my Chromebook for daily internet activities which is coming on 2 years old now and still has over 10hrs battery life. Just more guttered since I paid so much for this laptop only to have it fail so early on and have tried my best to ensure it is well looked after and also ensure it is dust free etc. Thanks for your time.
Alienware Support 30 Sep 15, 5:52am: Thank you Michael, I will forward your information now.

So, being the patient person I am I waited patiently. I could not follow up each and every day since I had a job and life to adhere to. I then realised I was never going to hear anything back from them…

Me 9 Oct 15, 5:58pm: Hi there. Have not heard anything yet 🙁
Alienware Support 13 Oct 15, 4:16am: I’ll send an e-mail requesting an update.

So, some time had passed…

Me 28 Oct 15, 9:49pm: Come on guys. This is now getting beyond the joke. I understand it is not your fault directly but still had zero contact.
Alienware Support 29 Oct 15, 5:47am: We’ll request an urgent update. Sorry for the delay.

So, you’ll think I’d actually have some contact right? Wrong…

Me 20 Nov 15, 1:50pm: Hmm any progress on the update? It shouldn’t take this long to sort something out.
Me 1 Dec 15, 6:19pm: Hey guys, anything? This is getting a little ridiculous.
Me 1 Dec 15, 6:24pm: Just letting you know this is the last chance to get things right before Dell are taken to the disputes tribunal to lodge a case under the NZ consumers guarantees act. It is very frustrating for myself to have a faulty high end laptop and to be honest my views of Dell have been tarnished. I’ve never had this many problems with a laptop and with myself working in IT I should know a thing or two about these sorts of things. So, make it right for me please. This is the last time I ask.

And now, Alienware Support respond with this golden line (fobbing me off?!):

Alienware Support 2 Dec 15, 6:23am: Have you tried contacting tech support over there directly? I think that would be better at this point.

Now. Here is the thing… If they had known their own systems they’d know it is literally impossible for me to get any “non premium” contact numbers via their website without a service tag still in warranty – the page they link to below is not at all indexed on Google.

Me 2 Dec 15, 10:42am: Due to my laptop being OOW the website doesn’t give me the option to contact technical support… What is the number?
Alienware Support 2 Dec 15, 2:50pm: Here you go: del.ly/6017BrU5L
Me 2 Dec 15, 8:31pm: Thanks for that. And apologies for the rant. I am understandably quite frustrated.
Alienware Support 3 Dec 15, 6:23am: No worries, we understand. Let us know how it turns out.

So excellent right? I’ve finally got a lead with Dells “basic support” number. I phone them up and actually get a really nice guy who assists me, organises a repair under the CGA etc and follows up with the repair like a champ however the next part is a little cringe worthy…

Dell1

The service tech casually walks in and sets up a red vinyl mat on the floor and starts pulling apart my laptop. He then replaces the motherboard without applying new thermal grease to the CPU / GPU (yes, I am ignoring the fact he is not taking anti static precautions right now) and assembles it “fixed” without even testing to see if the problem is actually resolved – I mention to him there is a problem with the screen (he had a LCD panel there too) of which he quickly popped the LCD assembly apart and replaced the panel. So, this is fine however it didn’t look all too happy:

Dell2

Hmm, great – the “new” screen was a out of box failure. I asked the service guy to put my old screen back in of which he did – the laptop after the repair was a little angry (after the service tech left) – when it did boot there was issues doing anything CPU/GPU intensive without a strong burning smell and the laptop eventually turning off due to lack of thermal paste (see a video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dP3w4l0bbU)

So I decided to email my nice CSR back that sorted out the first repair. He was really apologetic and ended up booking a new repair for me to resolve all the issues. I explained the tech did not use the right screw for the PCIe SSD of which caused the SSD to fall out and the screw to become “lost” in the laptop. The repair company called and sorted out a courier to come collect my laptop – they were wanting to rush the repair to ensure I had the laptop back before Christmas. All good, so I got the laptop back and what changed? Nothing. Well – actually there was something that had changed…

Dell3 Dell4

So the last tech literally did nothing to fix the problem with my laptop (he says he did, I am sure he just got it booted once and left it as that) as well as the laptop got damaged somewhere in delivery (to or from) or at the service centre. I really looked after this laptop so this was quite discouraging to me. I contacted my nice CSR guy again in order to try and get a replacement because by this stage I had simply had enough. The Dell service techs did not take care in repairing my laptop two times in a row and now I have been without a laptop for quite some time. Now, I am at this stage quite a disappointed customer who won’t trust a third repair – and to be honest, I am well within my rights to refuse a third repair given the severe lack of care of the previous two repairs… Here are the email chains for all to enjoy starting from the 24th of December 2015:

Hi,

I just got my laptop back from repair for the 2nd time and is is far worse again. I have honestly lost all faith in Dell.

1) The screen issue still persists.
2) I can’t get it to detect the SSD, I have pulled off the back cover to ensure the SSD is seated correctly (and it is) however the EFI refuses to detect it therefore the laptop no-longer boots.
3) Half of the keyboard no-longer works, I can’t unlock my laptop without an external keyboard (managed to get the laptop booted ONCE).
4) The charging issue still persists (the original problem).
5) The laptop now plays monotone Christmas music (well, a POST Fail beep) on almost every boot.

I am not sure what the repairers did this time however it doesn’t even look like they’ve fixed anything – only made it worse. It is impossible to use the laptop right now. I am honestly thinking a replacement might be in order since I’ve given Dell plenty of time to get the problem resolved with no solution and it is within my rights of the NZ Consumer Guarantees Act. I’ve re-seated the SSD and RAM and checked all connectors under the back customer access cover however nothing appears to be amiss.

Can we please get something sorted? I do need my laptop and at the moment I’ve got a product that has only gotten worse with each repair.

For your reference I’ve documented the booting issues complete with the Christmas POST Fail beep: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dP3w4l0bbU

Kind Regards,
Michael

 

Hi Michael,

Greetings!

I am responding in behalf Azmi who is on leave right now.

About the case sincere apologies , we will further escalate this case and for the video you uploaded we are seeing a possible issue with the hard drives. What we can do to expedite resolution is send a tech out there to bring the drives and install Windows. Or how do you like to proceed this time?

Robelyn
Dell ANZ Consumer – Team Manager

 

Hi Robelyn,

The laptop is now unusable – the hard drives are tested fine (so the problem is with the mainboard) however this is now the 2nd time the laptop was repaired. I honestly can’t afford any more problems.

Under the NZ Consumers Guarantees Act if the supplier (Dell) can’t repair the equipment in a timely manner the customer (myself) can request either a replacement or refund. Since this problem has been ongoing for quite some time (I have a Twitter DM chat via @alienwaretech going back since October) and the repairs have only introduced more problems I have completely lost faith in my laptop.

In this case what I am requesting is either a replacement like-for-like Alienware or a refund so I can purchase a new laptop that suits my needs.

Kind Regards,
Michael

 

Hi Michael,

We will raise your request to our escalations team for a replacement to our escalation team and we will get back with you within 24 to 48 hours with the response. So sorry we maybe expecting delays due to the holidays but as soon as I receive a response will surely let you know.

Also incase approval will be granted the process may take a max of 15 business days, on interim would you want to wait or possibly we can schedule another tech out to replace parts which may fix the issue?

Thanks,

Rob

 

Hi Robelyn,

I am happy to wait for a replacement. Have lost all faith in the repair process now since the laptop is only getting worse with each repair and I need something reliable. Since I work in IT I have done quite a bit of troubleshooting with zero success. Have given Dell plenty of time to get a proper repair done.

Kind Regards,
Michael

 

Hi Michael,

Good day!

We already received a response from our escalation team and they declined the replacement system indicating we can go ahead with another service to resolve the issue.

I am so sorry about this. Please let me know if we should proceed with the service now.

Thanks,

Rob

 

Hi Robelyn,

I’ve already given you 2 chances to make things right with a repair which has resulted from a laptop that works to one that is not even booting, it was clearly not fully bench-tested before getting sent back to me. I can’t keep having this, as per my rights of the Consumers Guarantees Act since this issue is not getting resolved in a timely manner and is only getting worse I am requesting a Refund or Replacement. If I do not get either of those things I’ll be taking this to the disputes tribunal since I have been without a laptop for quite a while now due to repair botchups. I need a laptop that is going to be reliable going forward and have lost all faith with your repair service doing a proper job of the repair.

So please, organise a refund or replacement – a repair in this instance is not going to happen as per the above reasons.

Kind Regards,
Michael

 

Hi Michael,

Good day!

We raised your response back to our escalations team, however what we can do at this time is service only.

Thanks,

Rob

 

Hi Rob,

As per the last email to Azmi sent on the 10th of December I already made it very clear this was the last shot of repairing this laptop:

—-
Hi Azmi.

I’d like to add this laptop has serious overheating and stability issues since the motherboard replacement and the charging issue is not fixed.

With the CPU idle the temperature sits at around 90°C however if I try and open a game it’ll skyrocket to 140°C before overheating, smelling like burning and doing a thermal shutdown.

I’m quite disappointed about the repair so far since it has left me with a laptop that I can’t use. As per the CGA I am giving Dell the chance to remedy this via a repair however if it can’t be repaired on the next round I’ll be seeking either a replacement or refund under my rights of the CGA.

Kind Regards,
Michael
—-

Since I have given Dell plenty of time to remedy the solution I can’t accept a repair in this instance. Please organise a replacement under my rights of the consumers guarantees act since both repairs were not taken out with care (leaving me with a broken laptop). I also can’t trust that a 3rd repair will fix the issue and leave me with a stable, working laptop.

I have gone to seek advice and in this case the Citizens Advice Bureau agrees with my case in that the nature of the problem is serious taking in account I have given Dell plenty of time to resolve the issue and the repairs were done in a way it showed lack of care. In this case, I have the power to choose a refund or replacement – if you’re unwilling to replace the laptop then please refund all monies back to me and I’ll send the laptop back.

Please also note, I have had an Apple laptop fail once before which had an attempted repair done however the problem still persisted after a single repair, they replaced the laptop as a sign of good faith to ensure the problem wouldn’t arise. Most electronic goods are like this, and no company is exempt from the NZ laws if a product is sold in NZ.

If you can’t replace the laptop yourself then please escalate it to somebody who can. I don’t think you understand the seriousness of the issue at hand here.

Kind Regards,
Michael

So, as in true Dell style some time had passed (a week to be exact) and I never got a reply…

Hi Michael,

Good day!

I am sending this email to follow up if you want to proceed with the service to resolve the issue.

Thanks,

Rob

 

Hi Rob,

Please refer to my previous email.

Kind regards,
Michael.

 

Hi Rob,

Just following up on the replacement, where do you want me to send my laptop? (3 days later…)

Kind Regards,
Michael

 

Hi Michael,

Apologies, I was thinking you are no longer interested on the service as per your last reply.

We can schedule a depot service to resolve the issues on the machine. For me to proceed on this may I know the new noted issues after the recent service?

Thanks,

Rob

So, by this stage I am starting to think “Rob” is not quite as good as my friendly CSR that I got first – doesn’t appear to read my emails? I started getting quite upset…

Hi Rob,

The machine is not getting repaired any further. Please sort a replacement.

Kind regards,
Michael

 

Hi Michael,

We already escalated the case to our escalation team but they declined and there’s no way we can get a replacement , only service.

Thanks,

Rob

 

Hi Rob,

Dell have had plenty of chance with repairing the unit, I’ve lost complete faith in your repair service so a replacement is the only option to ensure the problems are resolved. You need to ensure your repair service takes care with their repairs following standard repair practise like replacing thermal compound on the components and ensuring all screws are replaced with the right type and the product is fully bench tested to ensure all problems are resolved – this didn’t happen with the last 2 repairs and I can guarantee it wouldn’t happen with the third either.

Kind regards,
Michael

 

Hi Michael,

I know that the experience has been frustrating for you , if you could give me all the symptoms that this system to have and us sending this system to depot I will assure you that issue will be fixed.

Thanks,

Rob

Frustrating is an understatement. I am pretty sure I have already given him the list of problems…

Hi Rob,

To be perfectly honest it has been quite a horrific experience for me and I have never had an experience like this before, I understand you – yourself can’t provide a replacement but to ensure the problems are finally resolved this laptop needs to be replaced.

I have really looked after this laptop and to have it come back with scratches, missing screws etc is quite frustrating to me. If this laptop does not get replaced I’ll be taking this case to the disputes tribunal and also fair go – I’ve been holding back on blogging about my experience also on a blog that gets over 20,000 views a month, it is simply unacceptable and the only way you can get this right once and for all is simply replace it ensuring all issues are resolved.

Please forward me through to somebody who can provide me a replacement.

Kind regards,
Michael.

 

Hi Rob,

Just following up on the update for replacement? (3 days later…)

Kind regards,
Michael

 

Hi Michael,

Good day!

Apologies but the replacement was denied as per our escalation team. I already sent them the last email you sent me , please let me know if they happened to get in touch with you. Kindly give them until Monday to respond as there maybe delays due to the holidays.

Thanks,

Rob

Hmm, so I am not getting anywhere with this – the date is now up to 3/1/2016… This is over 3 months from my initial point of contact to Dell. I follow up with Rob and don’t get a response then suddenly out of the blue on the 6th of January 2016 I get this little gem…

Good Afternoon Michael,

I’ve had your email sent over by my Tech Support manager to review and advise. I manage all legal and consumer law related concerns for Dell for the Australia-New Zealand region. If you’ll send me pics of the damage and missing screws and which service caused this I’ll have your concern raised to me service team to address this complaint.

For a 2 year old system we will need to issue service to resolve the faults that have been advised to my tech support team. If we’re allowed to service and are unable to resolve the issues within a reasonable amount of time your request for a replacement will be reviewed but not prior.

Please do advise the most opportune time for my team to contact you to get this booked in and I’ll get this expedited on your behalf.
Thank you for your time,

Holland
APJ CSMB Resolution Manager

Now, has this new guy completely ignored why I am complaining? Don’t they honestly read emails in Dell? I would phone but honestly that is a frustrating experience due to their poor quality VoIP lines (spelling things out is an incredibly frustrating task…).

Good Evening,

So my main concern is the apparent lack of care given by the repair company on my rather expensive laptop. I’ve really cared and looked after this laptop and to see it go through a repair on my lounge floor without proper anti-static precautions on the first repair (and cause more problems in the process likely caused by not using any thermal compound) then arrive back from the 2nd repair not booting or detecting the internal SSD, overheating once I managed to get it booted to put it through a bench test to diagnose (via a USB boot drive) doesn’t leave me with much room for faith of the repair contractor here in Wellington. I no-longer trust the workmanship of the repairs and am frankly scared to send my expensive laptop back to them due to the further damage they’ve caused. There are photos of the damage on my Owncloud platform here and whilst some would consider this damage minor I am quite upset considering I have taken very good care of this laptop.

Whilst yes I understand you can potentially put this laptop through yet another repair to get the current problems fixed it doesn’t ensure that any future problems or problems that might arise from your repair contractors lack of care will be fully repaired. I’ve allowed Dell to do 2 repairs now with new problems arising from both repairs and the problems that I originally stated not at all getting repaired – there is still a display problem, and I have confirmed the charging problem is still there (the two issues I mentioned in the first place) but now there is an overheating issue to the extent the laptop emits a strong burning smell after around 5mins of stress testing before shutting down due to overheating, damage on the outside of the case and also the fact the SSD (which has never once caused any issues) is now causing the laptop to refuse to boot. Not a single problem has been fixed, only more problems created.

So hopefully you can understand my frustration. I am completely sick of the repair process and going through another repair will not restore my faith in Dell, or the repair process especially if the problems do not get fixed on the next repair. To put it bluntly feel free to send me the parts needed to do the repair and I’ll ensure the repair is done to a professional standard – the parts I’ll need to go through this process are:

1) New Mainboard.
2) New LCD display.
3) New casing assembly to bring the laptop to its original condition before the repairs.
4) New 256GiB PCIe SSD.
5) New battery – since it sounds like the charge controller of the existing battery has failed.
6) A tube of thermal grease – since this is a gaming laptop the preferred brand to dissipate heat effectively would be artic silver.
7) Windows 10 Home Edition COA + installation disks or an ISO download link.
8) (potentially) a new keyboard since only half of the keyboard is working. I have not diagnosed if it is the keyboard or the flat-flex cable plugging into the laptop.

Or the easiest option would be to get this over and done with – putting it down to a training exercise to your repair contractors to take care of customers laptops during a repair and replacing the laptop in order to restore the faith of one of your customers (myself) ensuring that I have a reliable laptop to work with.

Kind Regards,
Michael

So “Holland” then comes back with this – honestly, what a reply saying this damage is “normal…” – I really take care of my belongings and I know full well it is not normal for a repair to come back like this:

Hello Michael,

Thank you for the below email and I apologize for the experience. Definitely not the interaction that we prefer our customers have with our Dell Service agents. Can you advise if you signed the comments section of the form that the DSP would have given you with these concerns? I can have it provided as we keep these but it would help when we raise our complaint against the Dell Service Provider engineer if this is also in the comments section of the either of the forms. If the damage you advise was done by the DSP was also mentioned at the time it would assist the complaint. On a two year old system, these types of dings to the sides and bottom are expected to be seen on a customer’s system I’m afraid however if the customer addresses the damage at the time of complaint, it does assist with the investigation.

I can’t approve parts only for you to do the service yourself I’m afraid. Not with that number of parts, now will new parts be approved. Industry standard is to use refurbished parts to resolve outstanding manufacturer’s warranty issues and is allowed under consumer law and is in the terms of sale and support.

I can request a senior DSP to attend site on the next service and book in an extended service request so that there is no hurry when doing the service if you’ll advise the most opportune time for this to take place we’ll get it in process.

Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns and can advise to the questions posed above.

Thank you for your time,

Holland

So, as you could well imagine I am pretty furious right now… I send them this:

Good Afternoon,

For the 2nd repair I never saw paperwork and this was where the damage came from. I am not at all comfortable sending the laptop away for repair again however if you must send it away I would ask this is the absolute last time. If the problems still persist after the repair then I would ask you just replace it. I am still going to write about this experience as it is rather appalling due to the fact my otherwise perfect condition laptop has been damaged by a repair process with the original problems not being resolved. I would have honestly thought it would be in Dell’s best interest to put this problem behind them…

So, you may repair this laptop under the following conditions:
1) The laptop is to be returned to “as new” condition as it was handed to the repair technician in the first place.
2) The laptop is to be fully bench tested to ensure all problems are resolved, also a simple reboot can work wonders to ensure that the laptop doesn’t end up in a case like mine.
3) All problems listed below are to be fully repaired – most of which are damage done to the laptop during these repairs.

The problems of which this laptop has are:
1) PCIe SSD is no-longer being detected by the laptop – the SSD is in-fact seated correctly in the PCIe slot. (New)
2) LCD display has colour banding seen on dark colours.
3) Half the keyboard doesn’t work. (New)
4) Laptop never fully charges – once the battery hits 80% it’ll stop charging, the power adapter struggles to provide power making either CPU or GPU intensive activities impossible due to lack of power before cutting out causing the laptop to only run on batteries.
5) Laptop overheats on an extreme level caused by both repair techs not applying, or correctly applying new thermal grease (after cleaning the old crust off). (New)
6) Documented marks on the exterior of the case. (New)

Once the laptop arrives back I’ll be putting it through a 24 hour CPU / GPU intensive benchtest and also testing all over issues listed above to ensure everything is resolved. If all of the problems are not resolved I’ll ask you replace the laptop.

So you can either repair the laptop with the above conditions met or replace it ensuring the problem is resolved once and for all. I am also happy to fill out a complaint sheet for your records.

Kind Regards,
Michael

And surprise, don’t get a reply? Yeah I kinda expected that. It is following the same tactic as all the other CSR’s. So the date when I sent this email was on January the 7th 2016 and from then and now I have been trying to follow up daily…

Good Morning,

Still had no update – could you please give me an update on what you’re doing to resolve my issue?

Kind Regards,
Michael

So as a lost cause I tried making friends with a new CSR at the call centre who escalates my issue again – suddenly, I get this today after it got escalated by another CSR:

Good Afternoon Michael,

We can have a senior Dell Service agent requested to come onsite to resolve anything outstanding on your system as Mail In Service is not available in New Zealand. I’m not sure why paperwork wouldn’t be provided after service as our Dell Service Agents are not paid unless these forms are signed, I’ll be raising this concern to my DSP team to advise.

I’ll have Rob contact you to raise the service request per the issues you’ve outlined below as well as requesting a senior DSP provide the service. Service will be carried out in alignment with normal manufacturer’s warranty solutions with the above stipulations. Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns.

Thank you for your time,

Holland

I’m sorry – WTF…

I’m sorry but that is not going to work for me due to the following reasons of which I’ve already raised.

1) Last time the laptop was “repaired” at my premises no anti-static precautions were adhered to.
2) I am out most days – I won’t be able to have anyone during the week to do this.
3) If you have a look at my notes and the last service you’ll find it was in-fact a mail in service so it must be available in NZ.

This has been going on for too long. Why can’t you just replace the laptop? As stated. I am not keen on a repair due to my serious concerns with the previous repairs. Please escalate this further.

Kind regards,
Michael.

I could imagine this will be going on forever… Why doesn’t Dell just replace the laptop their techs damaged? I don’t understand this… I won’t quote the other “Twitter Support” I have had from @AlienwareTech because quite frankly it is following the same trend. So, why doesn’t Dell listen or care about the customer? Yes, I understand some of my emails show anger but this is what they’re pushing me into – anger, followed by making me wait and spam them with messages for a follow up…

I’d say expect an update here – Hopefully now this is out to the public Dell will actually start listening to their customers… Yeah right…

 


Jump to the top for a little more context.

Update – 15/01/2016 – This email from Holland shocked me a little. Not only is it completely incorrect since this has been a battle for over 3 months it just shows complete lack of care. Now, Holland is not new to the game. His LinkedIn shows he has been with the company for well over 5 years dealing with escalations but my case is a little special since damage has occurred to my beloved laptop from their own repair contractors (who, to protect their business I will not mention the company name as it shall be between Dell and them). This email occured after I sent a follow-up email asking for an update, I had also linked this post to them for their own records. I did snap a bit with the response Holland sent me but honestly this company has been pushing and pushing me. Yes, I should just take them to court but I am giving Dell one last chance to make things right before going down that route.

Hello Michael,

Thank you for that link and the photos. Will pass that along to my Dell Service Provider management to support your complaint. I’m checking with my tech support management as I was not aware we had a Carry In Center or Mail In Center in the New Zealand area yet. If we have Collect and Return available in New Zealand, we’ll get that service in place and any issues resolved.

If we no longer have Mail In Service or Carry In Service available we will need to find a time in alignment with the terms and conditions of your support contract to resolve any outstanding issues on your system.

As I’ve been included in your blog, I felt in only appropriate to say hi to your readers. We’re getting any issues sorted as soon as possible and if we can’t resolve through service we’ll get that replacement booked for Murph as soon as we can.

Thank you for your time,

Holland

And this is where I snapped a bit – Honestly, what escalations rep goes and puts a footnote in his email contradicting everything on this post?

Hi Holland,

All I can say is “wow” with your email. For starters since this has been going on for over 3 months your statement below is completely false. It is simply a perfect example of how to not treat customers.

Please organise a replacement – if you can’t organise a replacement then escalate this to somebody who can and seek advice on how to do customer service. As you’ll note I’ve been removing your last name etc from my posts to ensure that nobody is directly affected. Would you like me to link to your LinkedIn profile on my blog so people can find you?

That post is up to 5,284 views now and has gained a fair bit of social media attention. Honestly, sort it out. I am sure that you’d not appreciate people finding my blog when they Google your name. This is your last warning…

Kind Regards,
Michael

 

Hello Michael,

I don’t appreciate being threatened and it will not change the current resolve. You have a system with two services that is closing in on two years old. We will abide by your statutory warranty rights and replace the system if there is a technical merit to do so. At the moment we’ve offered onsite service with a senior Dell Service agent and if it’s available mail in service. If we are unable to resolve the issues through manufacturer’s warranty service, we’ll replace the system but not prior.

I’m not a technical service agent or a member of the Customer Care team. I manage statutory warranty concerns to address possible concerns involving statutory law in Australia and New Zealand and have based the decision as such. No one will approve a replacement system without the next service being completed, anything that is counterproductive to this service occurring is only delaying the end result. If we can’t fix it you get your resolve, if we can you have a fully functional system and either way… everyone’s happy.

No amount of threats or threatening to release my name will change that resolve as it’s compliant with all warranty options and rights. Delay to final resolve is in your court.

Thank you for your time,

Holland

 

Hi Holland,

That was not a threat – that was more the point I am attempting to work with you in order to make things right. I won’t be publicising your full name so Google can index it only since I believe we can come up with a resolution. You’ve been in this game for well over 5 years so should honestly know a little better than to come up with a snarky response towards me.

Now, the points that I am trying to make are simple – for starters, if you had read my blog and understood this has been an ongoing battle to even get a service and seen the photos of the service tech just casually sitting on the floor without taking any anti-static precautions or following standard repair practise (also, since he was in-fact a senior tech according to his words) you’d understand the fact I am simply trying to get this over and done with in the best way possible with both Dell and myself. Also, by exercising my rights under NZ law (of which since I did do retail for over 5 years I am well aware of). The fact is a repair guy is not coming over here simply because that’ll result in another unsatisfactory repair – I can’t provide a clean, static-free environment for a proper repair to take place.

Since you’re adamant on providing a third repair and refusing to budge further on the replacement the laptop is to be sent into a repair agent – ideally a different firm if possible. The laptop is to be returned to me in “as new” condition of which the repair will be inspected and documented by myself – if I find any of the issues are not resolved you are to provide a no questions asked replacement of a new Alienware laptop with similar specs to the one of which your repair contractors damaged. Failing that, you are to provide a refund following NZ Law (the consumers guarantees act), if not, this matter will be taken to court and I will be seeking a full refund and purchasing a laptop from a firm who understands customer service by not fighting with their customers – it is honestly not a big ask.

Going forward have some professionalism with your emails. I am at the breaking point here and you’ve already caused a social media disaster so do the right thing to fix the issue.

Regards,
Michael



Update taken 16/01/2015 | Jump to top | Jump to previous update |

Hello Michael,

I can’t speak to the DSP sitting on your floor, they work in the area they are provided. If they aren’t provided a desk or table space to work they work where they can manage. Not using an antistatic mat is unacceptable and has been raised as a formal complaint.

I’ve had my team confirm there is a service center in Wellington and I’m having a service request raised and will address anything you want addressed on the system. The escalation was raised for an LCD issue along with overheating. The parts sent might have been DOA, or from your concerns, DSP quality. The Mail In Center will be able to address anything below in agreement with your terms and have the system returned.

Please advise all issues your system is experiencing and I’ll have them addressed.

Thank you for your time,

Holland

 

Hi Holland,

Cheers for that email. The issues that need to be addressed are the following:

– Laptop external casing was damaged, casing is to be replaced.
– CPU / GPU overheating issues – thermal paste to be cleaned + reapplied following application industry standards.
– LCD – current panel is somewhat defective, panel to be replaced.
– 256GiB PCIe SSD – Currently not detecting, not sure if it is the SSD anymore or the mainboard. Might be worth replacing. If data can be recovered and transferred that’ll be excellent.
– OS – The laptop was handed to me in a non-bootable state. Windows 10 Home to be reinstalled.
– Charging / Battery – appears the charge controller for the battery has failed. Battery is to be replaced to resolve charging / power issues.

24 hour burn-in test ensuring laptop boots from the SSD without any hiccups or any EFI prompts (as in – straight into Windows without looking for a boot drive via fastboot), laptop doesn’t overheat and thermal throttle / shutdown and charging issues are resolved.

I’ve taken a full report from the laptop listing serial numbers of the individual components. I’ll be comparing these serial numbers before and after to give an indication of what has been repaired.

Now, as a condition to this repair if any of the problems still persist a new replacement (not refurb) is to be issued ASAP without any questions asked with matching or greater specs to my current model or a credit is to be given to spend on a suitable laptop from the Alienware / Dell stores matching the value spent on this laptop. The old laptop will be returned to Dell in the exact condition I got it from the repair company with the box and power supply included. It’ll be also securely wiped using DBAN.

I’ll also be keeping my blog post updated as updates arise and use Social Media how I please to get a decent outcome since it is the only thing that has worked so far (and this shouldn’t be the case).

As stated, the repair can’t happen at my premises since I don’t have the space or time to ensure a suitable repair. The laptop can either be dropped off to the repair agent (if the repair agent is based in the Wellington CBD) or couriered in. This is to protect you also and give you time to ensure a suitable repair takes place.

As also stated I’ll be putting the laptop through a stress test to ensure the problems are resolved. A report will be given on any existing / new problems that are found before a replacement is sent to aid in a successful investigation with your repair partner here in Wellington. If you’re happy with these terms then please book a repair and get the repair company to call me on +6427xxxxxxx to organise the laptop to be delivered to them.

Kind Regards,
Michael

Hmm so this is the first time any real promise for a proper repair (and not just “another repair”) has been given. I’ll be actually interested to see how this pans out. The laptop is good however the damage caused on it I feel is irreversible (hence why I was asking for a replacement). Accepting these terms will ensure I either get my laptop back in as-new condition or a replacement which either way would be excellent. This is assuming the DSP can actually carry out a proper repair. I am not giving it to them, no way, I am intentionally making it difficult and will ensure that my end of the deal is reached only since I do need a reliable laptop. I am currently writing this off a Chromebook which is fine, however hardly not designed for gaming or video editing like my Alienware is. I am now just really looking forward to being able to successfully game again. I still don’t recommend anyone buying a Dell laptop since there are so many superior products out there and I have to admit, I got trapped by the good looks and build quality of the Alienware kit and was really hoping Dell had changed. There isn’t that many complaints on the level of mine out there (believe me, I have checked) and will not cave to removing this since I believe Dell really need to understand that customers come first and not profits. If they replace my laptop they’re losing out (again, profits come before customers) instead of doing a cheaper “refurb-like” repair but now it has the potential to actually cost them far more than simply replacing the laptop when they realised they were in too deep with the repair.

If they had actually listened to the customer (myself) from the very start this post wouldn’t have existed, and I would have been happy I got a proper resolution. I am not out to get them, I just simply want a reliable laptop and hate the feeling of having a laptop with a “band-aid” patch on it to keep it going for maybe another year or until the CGA runs out on it. I do understand it is a policy of theirs and I respect that but sometimes policies have to be bent to ensure a proper resolution is met.

So, looks like Dell might be doing something finally…

Hello Michael,

Collect and Return service has been booked. You should be contacted by my collection team to arrange collection. I’ve reached out to our Collection and service centre with your concerns below. They’ll get the system in house and review and advise me to the issues and I’ll advise them to the resolve.

Data won’t be able to be addressed I’m afraid, part of our T&C’s from the individual consumer to the government contracts.

While the battery has a 12 month manufactures warranty, I’ll approve a replacement as a gesture of goodwill to the experience.

Will have my team reach out to you with any other questions.

Thank you for your time,

Holland

Continued onto this post (end outcome): https://murfy.nz/2016/02/alienware-service-fail-getting-a-replacement/

 

Comments

    1. Likely what is going to end up getting done. It was worth making the “Dell Confidential” emails public but I am pretty sure everyone knows just how bad they are. I think after this I won’t be buying any more Dell products anytime soon.

  1. Welcome to DELL customer care. They keep you in a holding pattern until you give up. Go to court to get a refund. Had a glitch with my HP laptop, they just replaced it without question.

  2. I am currently going through this experience. With Robelyn too! She thinks it is fine to not respond to emails for well over a week and to then repeat the solution I had declined. It is a clear holding pattern and i doubt they read the emails given the responses. I have had 3 gpu repairs and 4 (still dead so 5) motherboards. They truly are a despicable bunch to deal with. I will never buy or recommend Dell or Alienware to anyone. I am skipping the 20 odd back and forth emails and I am going straight to court and I will be printing out this page to take with me. Hopefully highlighting this is a common tactic of a big corporate abusing NZ consumer law. I have an M17x R4 that can’t even upgrade to W10 if i wanted too and Dells official stance is it is not going to be upgradeable. 4.2k laptop that can’t run W10 and has had 4 repairs and is still dead. GG Dell

    1. If it has been through 4 repairs then you should be due for a replacement. As you can see above 3 repairs is what they’ll do before they consider a replacement. My laptop is currently “away at repair” with the same guy who botched it up in the first place. If he gives you any problems then link him to this blog post.

      1. It is currently dead so it would be the 5th repair. I am not interested in a replacement. The longest this machine has run before breaking is 13 months which was when I first got it since then every 6 months. Add the fact it is never going to be supported for Windows 10 it is not fit for purpose. Holland is involved now and has said he wouldn’t even consider a replacement. He then proceeded to tell me I would only get a partial refund if it went to court. So I am off to the Disputes Tribunal because Holland doesn’t get to try strong arm tactics on me. He assumes so much. Also Consumer NZ is notified of this as well. Dell is openly abusing NZ consumer law and making it so hard for anyone to get the resolve they want. I will update here as it progresses.

        1. Well this is illegal under the CGA. You should either get a replacement or full refund. I think this is something worth going to Fair Go. If my laptop comes back with literally any problems then I have it written I am to get a replacement so lets see if that ever comes to light. I agree though, I have been waiting almost 4 months now to get my laptop fully repaired / replaced which is not a repair done in a timely manner. Dell also make it incredibly difficult to deal with them (guess they want you to literally give up). Just keep fighting, you’ll get through eventually. Please reach out to me by email ([email protected]) with your resolution and / or your emails to Holland so I can add it to my ever-piling list. I am currently putting a case together to take to Fair Go / the NZ Commerce Commission regarding Dell and their repair tactics as it is simply unacceptable.

          1. Have you got your laptop sorted? I am in the process of the Disputes Tribunal with my issue. How are you getting on?

          2. Got the laptop back today – fully refurbished. It is almost perfect except now you can’t charge it and use the mouse at the same time (buzzing sound is emitted resembling a fly in the chassis). So tired of dealing with them… Time to claim my credit + replace it…

          3. WOW! Sorry to hear you still got screwed. I am looking in to a complaint for multiple breaches of the Fair Trading Act as well as the Disputes Tribunal. Dell are blatantly abusing NZ consumer law. The emails exchanged between Holland and I have him breaching Fair Trading Act more than once. And the only resolution he will provide is a service like yours even though my laptop is up for the 5th repair of major components. Look how that turns out! I will get in touch via email. Perhaps we can coordinate a complaint and actually get a punishment in the form of fines for Dell and Holland and their insolent behavior.

          4. Just had Holland email me to say he has approved a new “like for like” replacement and I’ll get contacted soon with the specs of the new build! Yuss!

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