Dell Troubles


broken m11x screen

After having some issues with my m11x that Dell Customer Support didn’t want to fix, I wrote this lovely email to Michael Dell ( himself. Didn’t get anything back from Mr. Dell, but they did call me back and sent a technician the next day to fix my issues.

To whom it may concern:

My Alienware laptop’s service tag is: ******. Nearly every hardware component has failed on my laptop during its short lifespan, and now after a recent experience with customer service, I’m afraid what I might be told the next time I have to call Dell about a problem with my laptop.

Last year as I was needing a new laptop for an 8 month trip abroad, I sold my old computers and started looking for something new. I then purchased Alienware m11x from your company. I ordered the system the week it released on February 2, 2010, and received it on February 24. I also ordered 3 years of warranty repair, hoping this would help in fixing any problems I might have with the laptop.

Within a month of ordering the system I had my first problem. A crack had formed on the top right corner of the casing to my LCD screen. This happened while the laptop was in neoprene sleeve inside my bookbag. I called Dell and the CS rep informed me that Dell had determined the crack had occurred due to my negligence and that the screen would be $250 to replace, and that it was impossible to just replace the broken casing. Your company also informed me that the warranty I had purchased did not cover the damage and that had I purchased a different accidental protection warranty (which was not offered to me on the phone when I purchased the laptop) when I bought the laptop that they could then fix the problem. I was disgusted about the doublespeak regarding the warranty, but I wasn’t really up to fighting it at this point. Upon hearing the price quoted for fixing the laptop I decided to live with the problem. I placed some electrical tape over the crack and continued to enjoy my computer.

The next problem occured in August, one month before I was supposed to leave for Europe. Both USB ports on the right side of my computer had ceased to function. In this case, when I called Dell about the problem a technician was sent to replace the daughter board for the USB ports. I then left abroad with a fully functioning laptop, albeit still possessing the crack in the top right corner of the LCD screen casing.

After one month abroad, I noticed that the screen on my laptop was becoming very loose and that the plastic on top of the hinges had become separated. It had trouble holding itself up and I was constantly adjusting it. While talking on skype with my family I made an attempt to adjust the screen, to which it responded with a horrific cracking noise. The screen then fell off the laptop onto the table, held only by a few cables to the laptop. Horrified, I tried to reattach the screen to the laptop which made the problem worse. As it was late at night, and Dell didn’t provide 24 hour support for the area I was in, I had to wait until the next day to call them. On October 21, I spoke with Egor from Greece (who was easily the most helpful representative I’ve spoken with from your company). After requesting I send pictures of the problem, he then sent a technician to fix my laptop. A week later, Dell replaced the screen on the laptop and it was back to being new. The old broken and cracked screen was finally gone!

I later learned that the screen issue I experienced is actually quite a common problem with the m11x. A friend of mine who also purchased this laptop had his screen fall off a few weeks after mine did. There is also a large thread on Dell’s forum regarding the issue.

It didn’t take long before I started having more problems with the laptop. In March I started noticing problems with it overheating while I was watching videos and playing games. I bought a notebook cooling pad which seemed to help the issue for a while. I then noticed that the new screen Dell had provided for me was also becoming loose and that the plastic covering the hinges was once again popping open. When I returned home in June the laptop was overheating to the point of shutting off any time I took it off the notebook cooler for a prolonged period of time. On June 1 the screen once again cracked and fell off the laptop. I then called Dell and spoke with another helpful representative named Fernando who ran a few tests on my laptop regarding the overheating issue, and scheduled a technician to come and fix my laptop. A week later, a Dell-authorized technician named George arrived at my home to fix my problems. I spoke with George about the screen issue, to which he told me that he had fixed at least 80 m11xs with broken screens while working for Dell. When he got around to replacing my motherboard, it was a sight to behold. The heat from the laptop had vaporized the heatsink compound off the heatsink and it had bent itself off of the motherboard. The metal heatpipes on the heatsink were covered in bubbles and creases which appeared to be caused by the heat from the laptop. George commented that this was a rather extraordinary case and then put a new motherboard in the laptop. Once again, I hoped this would be the end of my issues.

On June 24, Windows informed me that the battery in my laptop was in poor condition. The laptop’s battery sensor indicated that the battery had used up at least 80% of its lifespan. I called Dell and the CS representative told me that the battery was not covered under the warranty I had purchased and that it would be $160 to replace it. Seeing as the laptop is currently worth around $350 in ebay terms, I declined and decided to try living with the problem. My friend who also owns an m11x then told me that his battery had completely ceased to function and that when he removed his, he could see creases forming in battery casing from where the cells had been exhausted. I understand laptop batteries aren’t the most reliable of components, but this is just icing on the cake with everything else that has gone on with this machine.

Yesterday I noticed the control key on my keyboard became jammed. I took it off to clean whatever was causing to problem only to realize that the rubber button/contact which is underneath the key had broken away and was causing the key jam. Of course, the key couldn’t work without this tiny piece of rubber, so I called Dell once more and spoke with Miguel who informed me that this problem was also caused by my negligence, and that had I not removed the key before contacting them then maybe they could do something about it. The plastic hinges and the key are still fine, just the rubber contact that caused the problem in the first place is broken. Does this mean that I can’t clean my keyboard without first calling Dell? Miguel told me that because it was caused by negligence it was not covered by my warranty and Dell would not be replacing the key or my keyboard unless I payed $60. I then informed Miguel of the numerous issues with my laptop, to which he replied that he could increase the coverage of my warranty for $360 and then replace the broken keyboard on my laptop. I left the conversation at this point, quite despondent.

Tired of hearing me complain about Dell’s customer service, one of my friends urged me to call your company and try to get my problems fixed one more time. Today, I talked to another representative who told me the same things I heard yesterday. I then asked to speak with his supervisor, who’s name was Jeffrey Mora. I told Jeff of the previous, numerous problems I have had with my laptop, that I have been disappointed with how spotty my extended warranty has been, the poor quality of the computer, and the recent unresponsiveness of Dell’s customer service, and that I was very unhappy with how I was being treated here. Jeff told me that unless I spent the $360 on upgrading my warranty that he could do nothing more about my laptop. I asked to speak to someone else and was denied, and Jeff informed that there was nothing more that could be done regarding the laptop in this conversation. Frustrated with your company’s customer service, I chose to end the call there and send this email to see if any of you could help me fix my problems.

Thanks for any help,

– William

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