A Dell order and return experience

On 7/31, I placed an order for a Dell S2409W 24-inch Widescreen Flat Panel LCD Monitor, a new model from Dell which has a 16:9 display ratio and runs about $350. I needed an external display for my MacBook Pro, because it’s getting cumbersome to edit photos on a 15″ screen.

On 8/21 (three weeks later), it finally arrived. After connecting it to my Mac, I discovered it just didn’t have the display quality I needed, and started thinking about returning it.

A couple of days later, after I tested it and calibrated it as much as I could, I filed a request for a Return Authorization on Dell’s website. I had to fill out a form with all of the order information and with my address (which I had to enter twice), because the website isn’t designed to pre-populate the fields based on the information already present in your account. There is a way to log in, which promises to pull that information for you, but even if you do log in, nothing gets pulled. You can’t just go to an order and click on a Return option.

I got an automated confirmation right away which assured me they are “working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to answer customer inquiries”, and that I could expect a response in “24 hours or less”.

Their response did not arrive within 24 hours. When it did, it said they are “unable to process a return authorization for the order,” and to “please contact Dell Consumer Customer Care at 800-624-9897.” I called them.

I was greeted by the Dell phone robot, and followed the various prompts to navigate the menus, until it was satisfied and passed me off to a real person. That’s when the fun really began.

Rep 1 (Indian): “Could I have the order number? What is your name? How can I help you?”
Me: “I’d like to return that order.”
Rep 1: Okay, let me connect you to someone that can help.”

Rep 2 (Indian): “Could I have the order number? What is your name? How can I help you?”
Me: “I’d like to return that order.”
Rep 2: “Okay, let me connect you to someone that can help.”

Rep 3 (Indian): “Could I have the order number? What is your name? How can I help you?”
Me: “I’d like to return that order.”
Rep 3: “Okay, let me connect you to someone that can help.”

Rep 4 (American): “Could I have the order number? What is your name? How can I help you?”
Me: “I’d like to return that order.”
Rep 4: “Why?”
Me: “Display quality is not satisfactory when connected to a Mac.”
Rep 4: “Have you tried to adjust it?”
Me: “Yes, but it just won’t display colors the way they need to be displayed.”
Rep 4: “Do you have a video card?”
Me: [Couldn’t believe what I’d just heard… Pause] “Of course, otherwise my computer wouldn’t work.” [Which is true — to my knowledge, you need either a graphics card or an embedded graphics chip to display video with a normal computer, and besides, they don’t ship Macs without some sort of video cards.] “Look, I just want to return the order…”
Rep 4: “Okay, I wanted to make sure, because you’ll be charged a 15% restocking fee.”
[Then she got to work on processing the Return Authorization and issued it to me.]

I spent 19:06 minutes on the phone to get the Return Authorization, and had to go through all of that stuff listed above. I’m not counting the time spent digging on the Dell website to submit the web request, which obviously didn’t come to anything.

You would think:

  • Dell would want to make it less onerous for its customers to get their business done when they deal with them over the phone.
  • It’d take less than four people to get to the right person.
  • I wouldn’t have to speak to three Indian reps at some call center in India, then get transferred to an American rep somewhere here in the States, before someone could address the reason for my call.
  • Someone who processes RMAs wouldn’t try to troubleshoot a product, especially when I’m not interested, and when they don’t know how a computer works.
  • Dell would have a way to pass the order number and customer name from rep to rep, so I wouldn’t have to say them over and over and over.

You’d be right to think all those things. Unfortunately, every time I interact with Dell, I see that they still don’t have their act together. They’re too big, disorganized, they don’t treat their customers properly, and they make it a hassle to deal with the company. As for their design philosophy, it’s practically non-existent, unless making ugly stuff counts — except for their recent Studio laptops and Studio Hybrid desktops. Is it any wonder they’re not doing so well?

And what’s up with the 15% restocking fee? I thought the industry “standard” was 14%.


47 thoughts on “A Dell order and return experience

  1. Dino says:

    Nothing has changed with Dell, I am buying an APPLE!!!!

    I specially asked the agent if I had to pay for this (Snappy Fax) software, I was told NO. Now I hear I have to pay for it as it is a trial version. That is not right!!!

    I just paid a lot of money to Dell for software support I did not need. All she had to do was tell me the name of the software I needed to download but she said she couldn’t that I needed to pay for support and she would download it for me.

    I would have preferred to pay for the software only and download it myself and not pay Dell for the support. The fact of the matter is she lied. Down right lied!!!!!!!

    Can I get some of my money returned?

    I was not told the truth and I feel Dell extorted money from me.


  2. Andrew says:

    I see the original post was on August 26, 2008 by Raoul. Well it is December 16, 2011 and guess what? Things are as shitty as ever at Dell.

    Dell Purchase ID: 2002947359273
    Order Date: 11/25/2011
    Order Number: 857427731

    Product Description:
    Dell UltraSharp U2412M 24″W Monitor, 24.0 Inch VIS, Widescreen, VGA/ DVI/ DP
    Quantity 1

    Est. Delivery Date:
    12/13/2011 (DELAYED TWICE!)

    This item was delayed twice, as you might be able to tell from the original order date. I received an automated call from Dell stating because my order had been delayed, by FCA regulation Dell needed a reconfirmation of my order from me in order to continue with the order. I did not reconfirm the order.

    After the phone call I figured I could order from a more reliable retailer BuyAccessories for the same item at a cheaper price on Amazon, they shipped the item next day and it arrived on time exactly when they said they would.

    Alas, I find out I was illegally charged by Dell after they themselves sent me a message saying my order required reconfirmation. They charged me and sent the item, I did not want it anymore after ordering from Amazon.

    I have sent 2 emails through the Dell return system and have not received a response in several days contrary to the 24 hour response time.

    I spoke to 5 unhelpful indian customer support representatives from Dell while my order was delayed and have spoken to a couple more regarding the return, of course I did not get any help.

    Damn Dell, I guess I’ll just have to let them take my money and make sure they never do it again to me or anybody I know.


  3. DELL - Fraudulent Business Practices says:

    12/8 Purchased 2 Dell INSPIRON Studio 17 all bells and whistles
    1tb (2 500gb 7200rpm striped for speed) RAID 0
    i7 / 6gig
    lighted keyboard

    12/20 delivery

    1/3 Brother receives system & likes system (what does he know)
    2/9 I arrive to see the ordered laptops
    immediatly notice there are 2 500gig partitions
    go into BIOS to find only ATA AHCI – this system can’t do RAID 0 or Raid 1
    Look closer – The system is an XPS 17 – Questioning how my order was changed without NOTICE, began the long process of TRYING to return LAPTOPS that I did NOT ORDER or WANT. They do NOT RAID (Stripe) the drives into 1tb and they are NOT what I ORDERED.

    Colby and I BUILT an INSPIRON STUDIO 17 as the XPS 17 was out of REACH price wise to match the HP ENVY 17 of $1699.
    He said he could beat that deal by $200.
    He asked if he could control my computer, I DID and We built the system together.
    HOW my Order turned into an XPS 17 that doesn’t support 2 500gigs striped together as 1tb IS A MYSTERY!
    DELL is giving me grief about 3 days of OVER 30 days.. Saying things like
    “What took you so long to Call?”
    “Where have you been, why are you calling first now?”
    “There was a Problem with the INSPIRON you ordered and We sent you an XPS 17 instead, you should be happy. An XPS is a much better machine than the Inspiron”
    “I WOULDN’T give you an RMA if I WANTED TO”
    “I don’t know what your complaining about, the ORIGINAL order was for $2499 each plus Printer $645, and now your total is $2000 each and $465 printer”

    I DID not AUTHORIZE DELL to CHANGE MY ORDER – my brother had the email confirmations and doesn’t know anything about computers, WHY WOULD WE QUESTION ANYTHING that we ORDERED!

    I KNOW what I ORDERED and THESE LAPTOPS ARE NOT IT, THE PRINTER also had a 3 year ONSITE warranty – which is NOT on the ORDER
    The Laptops have 3 year ONSITE warranty on them to get the price up on the invoice, so my brother didn’t suspect anything, I DID NOT ORDER 3 Year ON SITE, ONLY HARDWARE.

    THE TOTAL ORDER WAS SUPPOSED to be $2499 each laptop and $645 for the PRINTER. Total of $56XX or somewhere close.
    I JUST WANT all this RETURNED as this was a FRAUDULANT transaction on DELL’s Part and I’m getting grief from DELL saying they are NOT RETURNABLE

    I respect the dell return policy, but IF EVERYTHING on the ORDER was correct, I WOULDN’T Be Losing sleep, anxiety, stress…
    THIS has been going on for 8 days with NO reply’s but 1 saying they are requesting an RSM with a “SALT in the WOUND” email back to my brother.
    I have not had sleep in 8 days…..

    The Email


    The customer, XXXXXX XXXXXXXX, is asking for assistance because what they ordered was an Inspiron with a Sandy Bridge chipset but they were not notified that there will be a change in their order. They received two (2) XPS L701X under the Order Number XXXXXXXXX. The return of the systems has a slim chance of approval on our end. May we request for an RSM approval for this.

    Respectfully yours,

    I called Dell to get an address to ship them back, for a tracking # to give to the CC Company to take them off the card with responses like
    “We won’t give you the address without an RMA”
    “We aren’t issuing an RMA”
    “Your order is escalated to another team” FOR 7 DAYS?



    • Rachel T. says:

      I completely understand your frustration I have been dealing with dell for over 2 months now. Trying to get my money back and their product returned. I am currently on my third replacement with them since the beginning of my purchase. It’s been a complete nightmare and I can’t seem to get anyone to help me or tell me what steps I need to take next with these idiots. When I first ordered my computer they got the shipping address wrong even though I specified in my correspondence with the sales rep. in an email even that I needed my shipping address different than my billing but of course she got it wrong and that was an ordeal just to even get it to my address. Then after all that they had sent me the wrong computer which I didn’t notice because they look very similar until I had to call the tech support that same night for issues of the performance and connectivity of the product. SO then I immediately shipped the computer back and I noticed that in my invoice the lady had listed the an inspirion 15r instead of the 15z that I stated I wanted to buy and had to constantly call them about my refund so they said they escalated it to get a faster refund and when I finally got my money back thats when I should of took it and went somewhere else but stupid me I discussed it with a sales rep and they said for all the inconvenience they would give me the same computer and everything I bought the first time for the same price so I said okay but not to be knit picky it was actually 10 dollars more.then when I received it I noticed that it wouldn’t connect to my wireless network immediately when trying to set up the computer, it had so many issues right off the bat that eventually after troubleshooting it so many times I was fed up so the guy who ended up taking over my issue personally said that he would send me the replacement before I had to send the other computer back since I was in school and needed my computer this was convenient so I agreed but then after receiving that one I still kept facing the same issues except this one won’t stay connected to the internet. I have dealt with tech support several different times and my issue has never been resolved I am constantly having to manually connect over and over. I read thats a common issue for them anyway so I know I am not alone. But after each tech reconfigured it they told me I would have nothing to worry about if I wanted to send this computer back because I had reported the issue way before the return period date. I did their troubleshooting even after time and time again of repeating I want to return it for my money back I got the run around. And needless to say after jerking me around for over 2 or 3 weeks those 4 people who were constantly emailing me and calling to say they would fix my problem just completely stopped responding to me at all. I am guessing because they had made me wait until past the date of the return period so they didn’t need to help me any longer. i have tried so many different ways to get to someone who could actually help me but no luck.
      There were so many different calls over and over and being hung up on and told I was being transferred to this department and that but only to hear a click and dial tone. One call that I wish I had a recorder on was the last correspondence with this customer care supervisor by the name of “Ron”. He was being very rude and constantly interrupting me when I was speaking and then he said so you want to return the computer and I said yes but I will have to call you back later because I am busy right now. Then when I called him the next day he had the nerve to be extremely rude and tell me he will not return my product and then hung up on me. About 5 minutes later he called back to say how does it feel to be hung up on since you hung up on me yesterday. I couldn’t believe the disrespect and not to mention how unprofessional it was. But I was hoping someone on here could help me and tell me what I need to do next since i keep getting referred back to customer care who then tells me they can not authorize a return past the policy date and that there is no one above them but it makes no sense. I have every single email and all the dates of my calls, everything that I documented since they don’t show half the service request numbers that I should have related to my account I am constantly having to reexplain my issue. Please someone give me some information on how to handle my problem.


  4. jeremy dav says:

    I hate Dell… I wish they would die… Customer service made me order the wrong part… they said i would get full refund and free shipping it back, then the guy said he would email me a label, i never got email for days and im still waiting :(.. i called and asked about the label and the indian talked so fast i couldn’t understand and he hang up immiediately. I was like WTF


  5. Pingback: Hardware review: Dell S2409W Flat Panel Display - Raoul Pop

  6. Paul Carruthers says:

    Raoul – it sounds like you got off lightly there – if only you had the experience I ‘ve had with dell over the last several days.

    I paid for an order of a PSU, which was critical to the running of our small business, to be delivered sooner (3-4 working days). The order doesnt arrive, in fact it seems to have sat and waited at the Depot/Hub since the first day it was dispatched (5 days ago) and they simply say it’s not thier issue and to wait for phone call off the courier.

    Date Time Location Activity

    Today is 08/12/09

    – In total I’ve had nearly three HOURS of waiting and being transferred on the phone
    – I’ve had the phone put down on me THREE TIMES
    – I’ve had two completely different responses, the first saying it was thier issue and they were going to find out what was wrong – CLICK phone goes dead. The next person saying it wasn’t thier issue (I have her name)
    – I’ve simply pointed the fact to them that if they see my track and trace on the item, it has not moved for 5 days even though it’s on a 3-4 working days delivery – I asked if this seems strange and to look into it.

    It’s been a week since my order and I have absolultely no idea when I will receive it, if someone is going to contact me, or if I should spend another 3 hours calling Dell again.

    Paul Carruthers
    paul at resike dot co dot uk


  7. Joni says:

    ?Dell owes me a refund….Long story short. Bought a Dell laptop for my son. Don’t know if it worked because it wouldn’t charge. Return was authorized (after many phone calls and transfers) They have now had the returned computer for over 30 days and they have yet to refund me my money. I have called every week and get the same “pat awnswer”, it will be in 3-5 business days. I have asked to speak to a manager, get put on hold, told they are not available and that they will call me back…. of course no call back. I really would like to get my $875 back. Any other ideas?


  8. Kevin says:

    Dell aren’t my favorite guys (see above) but in their defense, when did they ship the item? What method of shipping did you choose? Were there weekends involved?

    Shipping dates are labelled as estimates, once and order is out of their hands, it’s well… out of their hands. Transit time is the responsibility of the carrier.

    Update to my previous situation, it took another half dozen calls and the better part of a day, only to be told I still had to pay a 15% restocking fee. I explained my issues, pointed out the money I have spent with Dell just this year, they had no interest in doing away with the fee. They did offer me $10 and then $25 to keep the item. I told them to stick it but between the discount, Bing cashback and an initial coupon I ended up keeping it and reselling it for a tidy profit. All things considered, a simple return still would have been much preferred. Dell has lost my money for quite some time.


  9. Before I placed an order online through for DSI blue console for my son’s 3rd bday I’ve checked first when is the delivery date – and it popped up October 7, so i ordered it because my son will be receiving his gift on his bday which is October 7 BUT he/we did not received the item i’ve ordered through So i called dell and asked them why we did not received the item. And they asked a lot of info like the name, address, order #, dell #. And gave that to the customer service all the info he asked and the only thing he told me call the UPS. So when i called UPS they don’t have that much info…

    CUSTOMERS like me be aware now if you order something from dell because the day you expected the item will be arrive is not!

    I’m not going to order anymore from dell. This is my first time to ordered something online from and this is the experience i had from them. I’m not going to order from you again… AMAZON is better!


  10. Ramesh Nair says:

    Also, I would be much obliged if someone at Dell would be kind enough to help me with this situation.


  11. Ramesh Nair says:

    I have also had a miserable experience with Dell. I had an XPS 410 machine that just gave up on me, that machinese started to run obnoxiously slow. When I called Dell’s Tech Support (I had the extended warranty) they said I have a hard drive problem and sent a technician to replace the 500GB hard drive with another. After this replacement, I continued to have the same issue. Once again, I called the XPS Tech Support (even though I had the XPS support, it still took me well over an hour to get a hold of someone who could help me) and they told me that they would replace the hard drive, motherboard, and memory. I said fine, a technician came, and replaced all of the parts, but I continued to have my problem. At this point, it has been three weeks since the problem started. Finally, after lengthy arguments and complaints, I get the system replacement I had hoped for. Dell told me (a supervisor) that I could get rid of the old system, a new one would be sent to me, and I would be done. As soon as the new product came, I am warned to return the original part, which I no longer have because Dell said I could dispose of it, because if I do not, I would be charged. I am still trying to get this issue resolved, but it is absolutely ridiculous. I was for a long time, a very happy Dell Customer, but no longer.


  12. Kevin says:

    Dell has made no efforts to remedy this. I’ve been ignored via e-mail twice.

    I have had to call their 9897 number 6 times and still haven’t been helped.
    Each call has had no less than 3 transfers.
    I have been disconnected twice.
    I have been told to call back via a direct number, only to once again be given the 624-9897 number I dialed.
    The “order tracking system” has been down twice. Yesterday I had to wait an hour before trying back, today it’s 2-3 hours.
    On the 5th call last night I was transferred to a returns center which was a 4th (FOURTH!!!) transfer, only to get an automated messages stating the office was closed.

    All this to return an unopened Mp3 player. If someone tries to pull some restocking fee BS after all this, I’m going to seriously invest in researching a device that will let me cattle prod someone over the phone.


    • I’m with you, Kevin, that sucks. And as for the remote cattle prod, I’d pay good money for something like that. Just think of the many uses!


  13. JackieatDell says:

    Hi Lisa,

    Sorry you have had a problem returning your memory. I would be happy to help you with this. Please email me your Dell order number so I can take a look at your account.




  14. Lisa says:

    Another Dell nightmare! I simply ordered memory by means of an online chat with “Chinkee” who assured me that she was ordering the correct memory for an older model Dell computer. First she told me the product was no longer available but then assured me that it was. Of course when the memory arrived it was not correct. I went online and requested a return on Dells’ website. About 2 weeks later I was notified by email:
    Dear Customer,
    We have not yet received the merchandise for your returns authorization #
    We have now cancelled the return authorization as it has been more than 15 days.
    If you wish to return the merchandise, you must contact Customer Care on # 1-800-624-9897 within 48 hrs and request a new return authorization.

    I had never been prompted to return the merchandise but now I’m being told that the return authorization is being cancelled if I don’t contact them in 48 hours. I’ve spent about 45 minutes on the phone, four separate calls to no avail. The automated voice even told me several times that the “Warranty is no longer available” when I had not spoken to anyone nor had I entered any type of customer ID, order number or the like.

    Can anyone recommend a different phone number, location on their website or another method by which I can actually speak to a Dell representative?

    Thanks in advance for any assistance with a very frustrating experience!


  15. Chris says:

    Finally got someone who knew what they were talking about.

    They kindly offered a new replacement, and upon rejecting that, a $50 discount on a new replacement.

    I thanked him for the nice offers and we proceeded with the return.

    He was very helpful and emailed me return labels, provided me the return authorization to write on the side of the box and said I would have a full return within 30 days of them receiving the product.

    I am hoping for a happy ending here.

    Not to mention an 24″ Apple LED (or Eizo) in the near future!


  16. Chris says:

    I am currently waiting for my 7th Dell “return specialist”. They all do the same thing you listed. As for an order number and name. Ask why you are returning your product (which in my case is a 2408WFP 24″ monitor) and then they say they will transfer you to someone who can help you.

    I hadn’t really been on hold at all, just ping-ponged around for the last 45 minutes and 3 phone calls I had made to Dell. But after I mentioned to my 6th “return specialist” how long things had taken and that everyone kept on saying the same thing and then passing the buck, I found myself on hold…

    I am now approaching 10 minutes on hold.

    This is the first display I have bought in the last decade that was not an Apple studio display. I took a chance and found the Dell, even with my Spyder 3 Elite monitor calibrator to be inaccurate in a variety of ways. It may very well just be a lemon, but this is not turning out so great. It’s color is inconsistent from right to left, pretty significantly, and when I turn it on (which takes 7-10 seconds) it often times flickers on and off, seemingly searching for it’s DVI connection, sometimes 3-5 times off and on for 30 seconds or so.

    Two weeks of this has been enough. I am going to deal with the excruciating return process, and probably order a graphics card upgrade with a mini-DVI port in it and get the 24″ Apple LED screen. I am sure Apple will promptly release an upgrade, as well as a 27″ and 30″ versions, but I need a new screen with more accurate color… now.

    Still on hold…

    Time for another beer!


  17. James says:

    Hey Geoff,

    I’m okay but my good friend Carlo has an unresolved issue with Dell.

    He wanted to buy a Dell Ultrasharp monitor (2709w), but it was too costly for him. Then yesterday he realized he was a day away from two Dell online coupons (that he found on that he could have used that would have allowed him to purchase the monitor at a much lower rate. He is so frustrated that he missed these coupon offers by one day (they expired on March 4th, he learned of it on March 5th).

    If you can quote him the same price for which he could have purchased the monitor, you could have an instant sale and a very happy customer. His email is: I know it would mean a lot to him and he’s a good guy.


    – James


  18. James-

    No problem. Was taking a shot in the dark as we have tried to reach out to the folks there in the past.

    I know you mentioned your experience with us began in 2001, but no meniton of if there are still any unresolved issues that we might be able to help with. If there is, I’d be happy to have Raoul pass along my email to you so that I can take a look.


  19. James says:


    I agree with a lot that you have written about Dell. I will say that my experience with Dell starts in 2001, and at that time their tech support had already been outsourced to India. By doing so, I was faced dealing with awful service repeatedly on the phone over the years. Not to mention the poor performance of every Dell unit I encountered, desktop or laptop.

    I read a recent report online that Dell is doing quite poorly lately on the business front. Everyone’s numbers are down, but theirs in particular. Word of mouth spread, and when you have enough consumers advising friends not to purchase Dell based on their experience, it adds up. Dell will continue to sell computers because they are affordable, but I would never ever recommend one to a coworker or friend, unless they were ready to take on potential problems.

    As for Macs, no computer can do “everything”. My general feeling, based on my experiences with their computers, is that they manufacture the best computers. Yes their products cost more, and yes they are not a perfect company, but in my opinion they make the best quality computers and have exceptional customer service, along with an amazing online support community in the form of forums and websites.


  20. Varsis says:

    Macs are not “the best” they might have their uses but they can’t do everything.
    2ndly, Dells used to have a VERY good name for themselves with exceptional service and quality product.
    As of late I’ve seen MUCH decline in the support department after Dells decision to do a large scale transfer of their tech support to India. This in and of itself makes it difficult to get an ailing product serviced, but couple this with increasing failure rates of many of Dells product line and you create a customer satisfaction nightmare in the long run. As I’m sure Dell is starting to see traffic will start to shift away at ever increasing speeds due to this service, or lack thereof.
    I can report however that Brad from Dell was able to get a hold of me and resolve my problems with the recalled LCD screen in my Inspiron 9200 via a replacement panel which I finished installing.
    I will happily report however, regardless of the recent service brought on by a public outcry, I will NOT be returning more personal or recommended business to Dell.



  21. Eve, Brad from Dell has asked for your contact information so he can help. I’m going to send him your email address. He also tells me he’s almost done with resolving Varsis’ case. I’m glad to see he’s willing to help and I hope he can resolve your case as well.


  22. Kim says:


    I think you should file the complaint. I am not sure whether or not it will help your case personally, but it will definitely expose these unethical practices that Dell continues to engage in and thats really important. Under the law if the product is defective, they have to replace it. The fact they fraudently replaced your hard drive with a cheaper version doesnt surprise me. Nothing this company does surprises me, actually. While Brad (rep from Dell) was very useful in helping me return my item (and I hope he will be as helpful with your situation) he is only one person at Dell. You cannot listen to the representatives in India that tell you that the return option is not available. I was also given that speech. You have rights as a consumer regardless of what they tell you at Dell: You have to consider the source of that information. If you read the court opinion and findings that were involved with verdict issued in the Dell case, you will find a striking similarity between the things Dell was found guilty of doing and what has happened to you. Despite being found guilty, they have yet to stop.

    Once again, I urge you to use the link above and email your complaint. While Brad may help you resolve the issues youve written about above, notifying The New York Attorney General will help put an end to Dell’s fraudulent practices once and for all.

    Good luck to you.


  23. Eve says:

    Kim, thank you for providing the link to file a formal complaint against Dell.

    I too have had a frustrating experience with Dell and am considering legal action.

    I purchased a 500GB DELL XPS M1330 in December 2008 as a Christmas gift for my husband. It has been less than two months and we have been going though one problem after the other with the laptop. First, the thumbprint does not work. Next, some keys in the keyboard abruptly gave in also. I called Dell and asked to return the product and get my money back (I paid a lot of money for this system considering that I expected that my husband to keep it long term- 500GB of memory, 9 cell battery- instead of the regular 6- etc, etc); I was told that the 21 day period had passed so unfortunately, I cannot return the product. Did I also mention that the system takes awhile to boot, frequently turns blue and shuts down on its own and we cannot get over the constant clicking sound that we figured was coming out the Hard Drive (after being transferred 4 times and 2 hours on the phone with Tech Support). We finally got Dell to send a replacement keyboard and hard drive yesterday. The tech came with the parts from Dell. I pleaded with the tech to backup the data on my old hard drive and add this information on the new Hard drive- he refused stating that Dell strictly states that the customer use a third party to back up data. He quickly installed the parts and left my computer running a batch job to configure this new hard drive. A friend had offered to backup the data using the tools he had. When he took out the new hard drive that the tech had placed in the system, we discovered that it was an 80GB hard drive (remember, I purchased a 500GB).

    On the paperwork, it states that the part is a 500GB Hard drive; did Dell think we will not notice that they actually sent an 80GB???? Dell maintains that this is a “Warehouse glitch” and will resend another hard drive but I have had enough. They have added insult to injury by trying to replace the 500GB hard drive that I paid for with a refurbished 80GB. If I cannot return this system, then we will pursue this matter in court.

    My husband is constantly on my MAC computer and refuses to use the Dell XPS because of the numerous problems. I just got off the phone again with one of Dell’s Supervisor’s in India or the Philippines and she basically said point blank that we cannot return this laptop. They have left us no other choice.


  24. Varsis, I’ve been contacted by the same Dell representative that wrote comment #16 on this post. His name is Brad. I’ll send him your email address privately, and he’ll get in touch with you to try and resolve your situation.


  25. Kim says:

    Hello fellow Dell unsatisfied customers. You are in good company. I wrote a post on here some time ago and am following up with information about what you can SUCCESSFULLY do to challenge the current policies/terrible customer service at Dell.

    Back in 2008, the court found Dell guilty of many of the practices I’ve read people complaining about splashed all over the internet. Here is an excerpt summarizing the court case against Dell:

    In May 2007, the Attorney General’s office filed suit in Supreme Court, Albany County against Dell and Dell Financial Services (“Dell”) alleging that Dell engaged in a number of deceptive and illegal practices in connection with its sale, financing and servicing of computers and other electronic goods and accessories. On May 23, 2008, the Court found in favor of the Attorney General on many of his claims, including the Attorney General’s claims that Dell misled consumers about the terms of the financing for which they had been approved, engaged in false advertising in connection with its promotional financing offers, failed to honor its warranties and service contracts and failed to provide consumers with rebates to which they were entitled. The decision also authorized the Attorney General to apply to the Court by December 1, 2008 for restitution (compensation) on behalf of consumers who were harmed by Dell’s practices.

    This past Fall, the Attorney General notified certain consumers by mail and email and posted information on the Attorney General’s website about the opportunity for consumers who were harmed by Dell’s practices to submit a special complaint form if they wished to be considered for restitution. The Attorney General’s office reviewed all of the complaint forms submitted by New York consumers and submitted many of those complaints to the Court in December in support of the Attorney General’s application for restitution. That application is now pending before the Court and we expect that it will be several months before we receive a decision.

    Subsequently, I submitted a complaint online to the New York Attorney General’s Office and they mailed me back telling me they contacted Dell on my behalf submitting my complaint to them in the process, via their office. They actually take it seriously due to the outcome of the court case. And I am certain a complaint coming from the New York Attorney General’s office via any dissatisfied customer will have considerable more weight than one just coming from the customer themselves (when dealing with Dell anyway).

    So, I urge you to submit your complaints online to the New York Attorney General’s office to let them know that Dell is still not complying with the court order issued in 2008 and have not stopped the related practices that led to the conviction for fraud. Here is the link I used to submit my Dell complaint to NY Atty Gen:

    The Attorney General’s Office can’t do anything about it unless they know Dell is not in compliance with the court order, so I urge all those unsatisfied customers who have spent time on hold or who have been party to Dell’s deceptive practices to notify them. Perhaps some good will come of it and justice will prevail.

    Good luck.


  26. Varsis says:

    Dell Laptops.
    A few years back I purchased a Dell laptop. An Inspiron 9200.
    It had FINALLY come to dells attention a while back that the 9200 had LCD panel issues.
    They decided they would start replacing free of charge the LCD panels in many of the defective units.
    Lines were being displayed vertically on the monitors after a short term of usage.
    My laptop quickly exhibited this problem and a repair call was made. A replacement LCD was issued, at this time the problem not being known I was issued the SAME defective LCD panel again.
    Well needless to say it worked fine for a few months before it started to experience the issue again.
    Checking up on Dell I come to find out they started to acknowledge the problem and related it to the use of a bad batch of panels. They made no attempt to notify customers of the unit, they instead waited for customers with the issue to contact them, and put in a CUTOFF line for those who didn’t know or didn’t contact them. By the time I got fed-up enough with the lines to call in i was told I’d have to buy a replacement be cause I called in after the cutoff date. Thanks for the support…When you do a recall on a product its generally assumed you RECALL the customers who purchased the defective equipment.


  27. BradatDell says:


    Thank you for your assistance on this. I look forward to helping her.

    Thanks again,
    Brad L
    Community Liaison


  28. BradatDell says:


    I would like to look into this further with Kimberly. If you can, please pass my email address to her and I will help in any way that I can. If you have any questions please let me know.

    Brad L
    Community Liaison


    • Brad, thank you for getting in touch. I’ve forwarded your email address to Kimberly. I hope you can help her.


  29. Kimberly - Louisville KY says:


    My experience at Dell was so much worse than yours. I bought a laptop through Dell. I even paid additional monies so I would have additional Tech Support – and not just for the first 30 days – cost me about $150 more. My laptop just arrived today and it isnt working properly so I immediately called for Support.

    I got transferred six times prior to getting a Tech support agent in North America – Finally. I thought the 45 minutes I had spent on the phone trying to get help finally had paid off – boy was I wrong.

    After going through the issues, assessing the problem, I get told I would have to pay more for support because the guy was in North America. The cost I had paid was only for basic support – not for their super duper tech support – you tell me the difference because I havent a clue.

    So then I get transferred again. Finally after being on hold for an HOUR – not kidding over an hour, I’m thinking I am done with this problem – Cancellation is what I want.

    I get transferred again to cancel the order and wait another hour and 45 minutes listening to music. I then get told by an agent he will not process the return or give me an authorization number unless I pay a fee – 15%. Talk about adding insult to injury.

    No way in hell am I paying that fee. I actually had talked my parents into buying a Dell laptop yesterday and I know they will be just as sorry as I am the first time they try to call. I wish I had never made that suggestion to them – they will probably write me out of the will.

    So, because they had sent the router separately, I now not only have to call back to argue the fee but have to spend more time out of my life on hold with the returns department sometime this week because it will not arrive until Thursday.

    Dell sucks. Over the course of this week, I will be mumbling this phrase over and over to anyone who will listen. I have never experienced a wait time that long in my entire life. I have never been transferred so much for calling about service issues. And what is with the tech support? I pay extra for it to find out that I have to pay more –

    Nothing at Dell makes any sense. I am truly disgusted.


    • Kimberly, that’s a horrible experience, and you’re right to be upset with them about it. I don’t know if any of their reps are still watching this article, but I hope they do something about this.


  30. Kashif, I’d say that laptop needs to be returned right away. It sounds like it has a hard drive failure from the clicking sounds it makes. Call Dell and ask for an RMA ASAP.


  31. I recently orderecd an XPS laptop from Dell, it was top of the range and price was on extreme high end. when the laptop arrived after a delay in delivery, it DID NOT function. The laptop would crash on start up and I never managed to make it run smoothly. I followed limited information on Dell website to resolve the issue. In addition, the machine has a constant clicking noise from within the laptop.

    I have tried and tried but even the sales person who was forever on phone to place the order now claims never there. I sent emails, spent hours on phone and faxed letters but for NO RESPOONSE from DELL. as if the Dell has gone to Den.

    I want to return the laptop as it is within seven days and exercise my legal right under the distance selling. The tinely silence from Dell staff is thoroughly disappointing because I would have recommended the laptop to my public sector client if the laptop had functioned and support was available. Instead I am spending my time on these websites from my daughter’s Sont laptop which functions very well.

    Can someone advise what should I do?


  32. Barry says:

    Will do Richard

    Well Rauol,
    Its impractical for companies such as Dell to hire computer illiterates. I kept note of several companies. Personally I think they should end that practice.
    But it might be due to trimming cost, while trying to skim the wealth, who knows what goes on behind the screen.
    They sure know how to bleed an average user financially.

    As my previous comment cheap products not yet rated. I meant it as a satirical remark for several laptops, I had observed. Not as an insult to anyone.
    Besides you need a sense of humour to get you by 😛 😀
    from personal experience.
    Companies tend to treat their customers like used toilet paper.
    Decent computers are hard to come by, I’m sure that you had run into several issues along the way.

    anyways stay cool


  33. Hi Barry

    Appreciate the feedback and we have been making a lot of changes in the last two years to up our game on all fronts:design, usability, quality and more. We are not perfect but we are hard at work at constantly getting better, as well as listening and learning. Stay tuned for more coming.

    Maybe the community where you want the new dell laptops sold should be submitted to….and then get all your friends to vot for it too 🙂


  34. Barry says:

    Hey Rauol
    Nice review,
    it sure stinks when big companies become disorganized. Well at least you got a response from dell.
    Granted sometime ago, Dell used to make sweet computers, I am not too sure about the current computers.
    In 2004, my older sister used to have a used dell desktop, which served her about two years, till it met its maker. which is not bad, the computer she brought off was a nurse who moved out of community.
    Dell laptops are doable, as my for my acer laptop it crapped out on me long time ago, so I’m stuck, even tho I was told my warranty didn’t cover, which i ended up paying for repairs, which is still crappy.
    some companies make cheap products
    cheap products not yet rated.
    anyways raoul be cool 😛
    ps dell should sell their laptops in our community 😉 😀


  35. Yo says:

    I had the same exact experience from Dell when then sent me the wrong model monitor. All I wanted was and exchange and it took 4 people and multiple call backs. I even got put through to a supervisor who put me on eternal hold.

    I will only by Dell products through Costco because Costco will take the products back with no problem.


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  37. Raoul

    To get through all of our searches takes some time, so sometimes we run behind….but Yes you would have had a response without Thomas Hawke. Our listening and learning in the blogs is not based on who you know, its based on what you write 🙂


  38. Richard, I appreciate the long and thoughtful comment, and also the actions you took as a result of hearing my case. Let me answer a few of the points you made:

    – It’s true, Apple did not respond in any way, shape or form to my posts about our iMac’s repair experiences. Perhaps they read it, perhaps they didn’t. I don’t know. The thing is, I didn’t expect to hear from them, nor did I expect to hear from you. I doubt I’d have heard from anyone at Dell regarding this if Thomas Hawk hadn’t made you aware of it. [reference]

    – Really glad to hear that the Dell website may be improved based on my feedback! I also hope that the phone support will be made more efficient.

    – I don’t mind the fact that the online answer was received later than 24 hours, as much as I mind the fact that I filled out a return authorization online, and it was rejected without an explanation, which made it necessary for me to call about the same issue later.

    – I said it before, and I’ll say it again. (I also said this in my post, and I’m sorry that I did not make it clearer.) I don’t mind the restocking fee. I minded that it was 15% instead of the usual 14%, and wondered why. That’s all. I don’t want special treatment. I just want responsive interaction.

    – As for the “ugly stuff”, let’s face it, Dell’s been making some pretty ugly computers these last several years. The older Dell computers were ugly and loud. Yes, you have been making great progress in the last 12-18 months. I didn’t “begrudgingly” admit the Studio line was well-designed, and I don’t know why it came off like that in the post. If you were to ask my close friends, you’d find out that I praised the design of the Studio line to them, and was genuinely surprised to see Dell finally come back with great designs after all the criticisms they’d received over the years.

    – I appreciate your response, and the fact that you took the time to look at my case in such detail. It was unexpected and very welcome.

    TH, thank you very much for pointing my post out to Richard!


  39. Hi Raoul

    Thanks for the post and information about your Dell order and return experience. As you know, part of our “modus operandi” is to listen, learn and improve, and I want to assure you that we heard you and are following up on the various issues you raised.

    I hope that perhaps that demonstrates that we do get it as we strive to improve and make our business even better, especially in terms of direct relationships with our customers, like you.

    Perhaps I am being overly sensitive; however, your conclusion that we “do not have our act together,” in comparison to “Thank you Apple” after all you went through with your iMac is a little surprising to me. Did Apple respond to your blog post and all those concerns along the way in any direct way?

    That being said, is one of the oldest global e-commerce sites on the web that has gone through many upgrades. You are correct. Certain aspects of our website do not live up to today’s standards (prepopulated forms). I can tell you that logging into your account is supposed to pre-populate your name and email address. However, as a result of your post, we are now looking at pulling more information from saved shipping profiles. Whether that happens immediately or as part the many future planned upgrades to that site, I cannot be sure. But, we heard you and got it.

    Clearly, we failed to meet our 24 hour service level agreement, and the number of call transfers is surprising. I have not yet ascertained why these occurred, and have contacted you for some additional information. But we dropped the ball. Corrective action is being taken on this front.

    As for the restocking fee. These are common for “customers who change their mind” but not for products that may be flawed. Doing a little photography myself and understanding issues of color calibration, if the monitor from us was not calibrating properly, I understand the implications that has for your photography. As a result we are waiving the restocking fee.

    By the way, I think your comment about “making ugly stuff” merits reconsideration too, especially in terms of the new design of the studio line, the hybrid (which you seem to grudgingly note). I would also include some of the xps line, including the XPS One (PC magazine called it the industry leader in its field and an Imac killer) and especially the new Latitudes.

    We are garnering more design accoldaes and third party endorsements for design everyday, while delivering new levels of computing power with personalization that are leading the market. We continue to build anew and renew, again thanks to feedback and constructive relationships with customers. Stay tuned for more.

    We really appreciate your feedback and thanks again for the pointers about things to fix. We hear you and acted and will continue to act. I hope perhaps someday you might think of Dell as a company that is, in fact, getting its act together,constantly striving to do better.


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