Dell / Alienware repair failure – end result

First of all. If you’re new to this thread of Dell and their horrendous customer service, and repair failures then read Part 1 here.

Jump to partial resolution (22/02/2016)

I am continuing the topic here only since this may get long if Dell goes back on their word of a replacement following future problems with my laptop. So, I got my Alienware 14 back today (finally) after being in repair for 4 weeks total and it is fully refurbished to the point it is a new laptop however there are now more problems.

  1. Laptop is actually not charging correctly still (my original problem I first sent it in for).
  2. It is thermal throttling still.

Now, #2 I can live with only since this is easily resolved. If it was just that I wouldn’t be complaining however #1 is the big problem here. So, this problem stems out from the very start and was the original problem I sent my laptop in for. Essentially, they’ve put my laptop in a state as though I never sent it in the first place which to me is quite unacceptable They replaced (ready?) the Motherboard 5 times, palm-rest, keyboard, LCD, LCD Bezel, LVDs Cable (goes in between the screen and motherboard), heat sink, middle chassis, bottom door (bottom of the laptop), battery, DC-IN Jack, power adapter and have also tested several times to confirm everything was working.

So, here is also proof that the Laptop is still acting up: https://youtu.be/SArlZcFVHkA

The repair company were confident they fully tested the laptop before it went back out to me (and yes, I do believe them) however they likely just placed the laptop on charge and left it seeing if it would charge without testing everything else. Also, the office is quite noisy so I don’t think they would have heard the buzzing sound it now emits when charging. So now, it is replacement time from Dell.

This time I’ve ensured that if this laptop was not fixed correctly I will get a “no questions asked” replacement (I laugh at that because I guarantee they won’t make it easy and I am in for another fight – I can feel it). If only Dell would just listen to their damn customers at the very start then I wouldn’t be blogging about it. So, to start off the first chain of emails here I’ve just sent this one:

Good Evening,

I have got my laptop back from Unisys – I can see that almost everything got replaced however now there is a new pretty major flaw.

– Laptop now buzzes (honestly sounds like a fly is trapped inside the chassis of my laptop) when it is plugged into AC power. I’ve tried 2x power adapters both getting the same result. The mouse stops working every time the buzzing sound is emitted. I’ve uploaded a video to YouTube showing the problem here: https://youtu.be/SArlZcFVHkA

Now, Unisys said they replaced a total of 28 parts in this laptop but had issues with the repair. As quoted in the conditions of repair if this laptop continues to have issues Dell are to give me a credit to buy a new laptop from the Dell store or replace it with a new (not refurb) likewise model. This laptop is also thermal throttling and since the USB bus goes fully unresponsive for periods of time when plugged in (disconnecting the touchpad, keyboard and also USB ports) I am unable to fully test AC performance in gaming (it’s designed task).

I am needing the laptop sorted ASAP so please sort out a credit or new replacement of a likewise new model from your store as agreed above.

Kind Regards,
Michael Murphy

 

Good Morning Michael,

Had this system tested thoroughly prior to sending it back to you, not sure how the buzzing sound has occurred.

I’ve approved a whole unit replacement and my customer care team will be reaching out to you with the Like for Like exchange process. We’ll send you the specs of the new build, it’s built and shipped to you. If you have any questions or concerns on the process after Care has explained please do let me know and I’ll try to assist.

Thank you for your help in resolving this issue and I apologize for the inconvenience.

Thank you for your time,

Holland

So Dell have approved a new replacement! Finally! So, as you can see my email chain was rather long. If you’re stuck in the same situation a case with the NZ Disputes Tribunal may be your only option (only since with me they knew I started posting all correspondence online). Here are also some tips to gain a replacement:

  1. Be persistent – this is a must. Because Dell (as you can see) are terrible with contact. You’ll need to constantly follow-up to ensure you get the service you need.
  2. If you’ve got social media use this to your advantage. Honestly, Dell need to be exposed more online with having terrible service.
  3. If you have had 3+ repairs then you qualify for a replacement as Holland said in one of my previous emails. Mention this.
  4. If they push for another repair make it clear this is the last repair they’ll ever do – be strict and ask for a full refurbishment. It’ll take a while however when it comes back you’ll either have an “as new” laptop or if the laptop is indeed faulty once you get it back you’ll qualify for a replacement (like I did).
  5. The NZ Consumers Guarantees act does cover you for 5 years. Make sure you mention this.
  6. Log all phonecalls and emails and ensure you don’t change your story. I’ve noticed they attempt to disregard things you’ve said for their benefit.
  7. If all else fails, take them to the Disputes Tribunal.


The replacement I am getting includes the following:

Alienware 13:
CPU: 6th Generation Intel(R) Core(TM) I7-6500U (Dual-Core, 4MB Cache,up to 3.1GHz w/ Turbo Boost)
OS: Windows 10 Home Edition
Display: 13.3 inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Anti-Glare 220-nits Display
RAM: 16GB Dual Channel DDR3L 1600MHz (2x8GB)
GPU: NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) GTX 960M with 4GB GDDR5
WiFi / Bluetooth: Killer 1535 802.11ac 2×2 WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1
Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD

So, my new build does seem to be quite a downgrade in comparison to my current build (which has a quad-core Intel® Core™ i7-4800MQ Processor – 6M Cache, up to 3.70 GHz) . I often run virtual machines and do some CPU intensive tasks and dropping back to a dual-core ultrabook-grade CPU will more-than-likely impact that.

I did question them on this:

Hi Melissa,

Thanks for the update – one of the questions I had around this laptop is the CPU in it seems quite a bit of a step down compared to what I had. Since I do quite a bit of CPU intensive work with running virtual machines and heavy video editing I am quite worried dropping down to a dual core will impact that, looking at this comparison it does indeed seem to be the case.

Is it possible if we could go towards a model with a quad core i7 CPU w/ a 256GiB SSD + 1TiB HDD in one of the 15″ varieties? I feel that the 15″ with the same sort of setup is more of a direct replacement to my current laptop otherwise I’ll be dropping back to a smaller screen and dropping back on performance too. For me, my Alienware was a direct mobile desktop replacement and is used for some intensive tasks.
If this build could include a 256GiB SSD instead of a 128GiB SSD it’ll be perfect. I’m just worried after seeing reviews of the Alienware 13 + the CPU choice this laptop has and feel it is not fit for the purpose I originally bought this laptop for.
Kind Regards,
Michael

Just realised the build I linked doesn’t show the double ram promo (16GiB) so essentially will be looking at:

Alienware 15R2:
6th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-6700HQ (Quad-Core, 6MB Cache, up to 3.5GHz w/ Turbo Boost)
Windows 10 Home
16GiB Dual Channel DDR4 (8GiB x2)
256GiB PCIe SSD (Boot) + 1TiB 7200RPM SATA (Storage)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M w/ 2GiB
15.6″ FHD IPS Display

Along with the rest of the standard stuff. Spec wise that is the closest to my current Alienware 14 without dropping back to a dual core ultrabook-grade processor.

Kind Regards,
Michael

Hello Michael,

The Whole Unit Replacement offering will be built to the specs of the original system, not in relation to current promotions being run by the marketing teams. I’m told we no longer have the Alienware 14 available so we can build you quotes for an Alienware 13 OR an Alienware 15 to the same specs of the original replacement. The only way upgrades are provided is if the same or comparative components are no longer available.

Thank you for your time,

Holland

Hi Holland,

Thanks for your reply – if you could work some magic with the 15″ I mentioned above (which took in account the current CPU / GPU, ram and storage of my current build) that’ll be fantastic, like I say I am just worried that the CPU simply won’t work with what I do with this laptop due to it being more of an ultrabook grade CPU versus being the desktop replacement the Alienware 14 build I’ve got is. Like I say, it is quite a bit of a step back in the CPU department. It just doesn’t seem to be a like-for-like replacement.

Cheers,
Michael
I’m not specifically complaining about the laptop – I feel that the laptop would be an otherwise perfect replacement if it wasn’t for the CPU being only a dual-core ULV job. Here you’ll find a comparison with my old CPU. It is finally good to get some traction on this.

Hello Michael,

Waiting for the official engineering decision. Ask a friend in Alienware team to see his opinion and he reviewed your concern and advised that Alienware 15, with quad-core i5 and GTX 965M.

Y5185A1AU

Would be the best solution to address your concern. 2-3 generations newer then your original while still being quad core. He says it’s near 30% quicker.

Will have the Care team work up a quote for these specs and matching components to the original order as soon as possible.

Thank you for your time,
Holland

In the end I just accepted the 13″ i7 model. It is a bit of a downgrade from my current model however may be more practical as others have stated. I am not completely letting this go and have updated Consumer NZ on their replacement tactics, as well as the fact I was fobbed off so many times. This whole thing has been simply exhausting and I feel others may have given up a long time ago.

Cheers Holland,

I’ve taken a good look at what I am needing to do and think it might be good to kill 2 birds with one stone – continue on the original quote with the 13″ as I think for my needs building a dedicated PC for the heavy lifting might be better for me in the long-term.

I appreciate you looking into this for me – was worth asking! Sorry to trouble you.

Kind Regards,
Michael

Hi Michael,

Thank you for that.
I will revert with the ETA as soon as the order is rebooked.
I am getting the required approvals for the specifications.
If there is anything else I can do to help, please let me know.

Regards,
Melissa

I can see the new Alienware has been ordered and I have an order number (hopefully for the 8th of March). So, a timeline:
  1. 16/09/2015 – First point of contact via Twitter (not via DM) since there are no public contact details for Dell without a valid in-warranty service tag.
  2. 29/09/2015 – Finally, some traction via DM (Twitter).
  3. 11/12/2015 – First Repair.
  4. 22/12/2015 – 2nd Repair.
  5. 11/01/2016 – 3rd Repair.
  6. 19/02/2016 – Laptop back from repair – still faulty.
  7. 21/02/2016 – Replacement offered.
  8. 24/02/2016 – Replacement ordered.
  9. 08/03/2016 – Replacement arrived?

Total time taken from first point of contact? 175 days. And for this reason this is why the Commerce Commission has been notified along with other cases outside of mine.

Dell have broken parts of the CGA including:

  1. Repair was not carried out in a timely manner.
  2. Repair was not done with care.
  3. A replacement of the same model, or same price was not offered – I was forced to go with a lesser model. Dell refused to take in account the fact quite a bit of my work is CPU intensive and refused to offer me a quad-core i7 model. They did eventually offer me a Core i5 quad core model however again, this is quite a bit of a step down from my current model.
  4. Refusal for a refund – I’ve received cases from others where the refund offer was 1/4th of what they paid for the laptop in the first place.
And the conclusion is I will never buy, or recommend Dell. And also, I’ll stop hating on Apple and their MacBook line since in the same time somebody I know got a full replacement, first time from Apple under the CGA for a Macbook Air and an upgrade in the process in literally a few weeks.

Comments

  1. Been an interesting read for sure. I’m currently going through drama with Dell and their 5th repair of my system. The APJ CSMB Resolution Manager even flatout told me I have no rights whatsoever.

    Terrible company to deal with

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

twelve − 5 =