Skip to main content

No more Dell

I have been buying Dell computers for around 20 years. Perhaps more significant for that company, as someone who ran the PC department for BA and has written for a good number of PC magazines over the years, lots of people have asked my advice on buying PCs, and I would say because of that advice Dell has sold dozens of computers. But my advice has changed - whatever you do, don't buy a Dell.

This has nothing to do with my recent conversion to using an iMac - I accept that Apple isn't for everyone, and are overpriced. It's just that Dell has let me down in a big way.

The reason I've recommended Dell for such a long time is not because they are the cheapest, or have the absolute best machines. It's because I've always found their service to be good when things go wrong. So when number 1 daughter wanted a laptop, I didn't hesitate to get a Dell. And because it has always worked for me, I got an extended onsite warranty.

So two years in, with two years of warranty to go, the M key falls off. A bit of the keyboard has detached itself. So I get in touch. And guess what? Apparently it is not covered because it's 'wear and tear'. Would they say the same if the screen fell off? (I did ask one the 3 representatives who I've talked to if this was the case, but his English wasn't good enough to understand my question.) The fact is bits shouldn't fall off your computer in ordinary use. That's not wear and tear, it is bad quality manufacture. If they extend the warranty, it should also cover this kind of thing.

In fact another Dell person, the support manager, made a very telling point. 'Ah,' he said, 'it's the N key, isn't it?' Well, no it wasn't, but this seems to be a clear admission that they know there is a problem with keys around that area falling off this particular laptop. Could it be that it has a design fault? But no, it's 'wear and tear.'

To make matters worse, they have been sneakily changing the warranties and there are number of complaints on Dell's bulletin board where they have refused to do on-site visits when that was in the original contract, because they have changed what the warranty is called to something that only includes return-to-base.

Now I know extended warranties are often a rip-off, but I've always done it on my computers because they are central to my business, and I wanted the same protection for my daughter's PC. I feel Dell has really dropped the ball - they are clearly more interested in squeezing the last drop from profits than their customers.

So I won't be buying from them again, and my advice to anyone wanting to buy a PC or laptop is to avoid them. They have just destroyed their one great selling point.

(Oh, and if you take out an extended warranty, get it in writing that it covers bits falling off your computer...)


Popular posts from this blog

Is 5x3 the same as 3x5?

The Internet has gone mildly bonkers over a child in America who was marked down in a test because when asked to work out 5x3 by repeated addition he/she used 5+5+5 instead of 3+3+3+3+3. Those who support the teacher say that 5x3 means 'five lots of 3' where the complainants say that 'times' is commutative (reversible) so the distinction is meaningless as 5x3 and 3x5 are indistinguishable. It's certainly true that not all mathematical operations are commutative. I think we are all comfortable that 5-3 is not the same as 3-5.  However. This not true of multiplication (of numbers). And so if there is to be any distinction, it has to be in the use of English to interpret the 'x' sign. Unfortunately, even here there is no logical way of coming up with a definitive answer. I suspect most primary school teachers would expands 'times' as 'lots of' as mentioned above. So we get 5 x 3 as '5 lots of 3'. Unfortunately that only wor

Why I hate opera

If I'm honest, the title of this post is an exaggeration to make a point. I don't really hate opera. There are a couple of operas - notably Monteverdi's Incoranazione di Poppea and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas - that I quite like. But what I do find truly sickening is the reverence with which opera is treated, as if it were some particularly great art form. Nowhere was this more obvious than in ITV's recent gut-wrenchingly awful series Pop Star to Opera Star , where the likes of Alan Tichmarsh treated the real opera singers as if they were fragile pieces on Antiques Roadshow, and the music as if it were a gift of the gods. In my opinion - and I know not everyone agrees - opera is: Mediocre music Melodramatic plots Amateurishly hammy acting A forced and unpleasant singing style Ridiculously over-supported by public funds I won't even bother to go into any detail on the plots and the acting - this is just self-evident. But the other aspects need some ex

Mirror, mirror

A little while ago I had the pleasure of giving a talk at the Royal Institution in London - arguably the greatest location for science communication in the UK. At one point in the talk, I put this photograph on the screen, which for some reason caused some amusement in the audience. But the photo was illustrating a serious point: the odd nature of mirror reflections. I remember back at school being puzzled by a challenge from one of our teachers - why does a mirror swap left and right, but not top and bottom? Clearly there's nothing special about the mirror itself in that direction - if there were, rotating the mirror would change the image. The most immediately obvious 'special' thing about the horizontal direction is that the observer has two eyes oriented in that direction - but it's not as if things change if you close one eye. In reality, the distinction is much more interesting - we fool ourselves into thinking that the image behind the mirror is what's on ou