1 Copper

Ridiculously Bad Support Experience

This all started when I was typing up an assignment for a university class. I was typing as usual, when I suddenly noticed that the "d" key stopped working - it had to be pressed rather weird to register on the computer. I looked down, and discovered that the key had snapped in half. The top part of the key fell off shortly thereafter:


At that point, I was more surprised than anything. I hadn't heard of something like this ever happening, especially under circumstances as normal as typing. Regardless, I contacted support, and set up a repair appointment. Things only went downhill from there.

Service Request 1: Broken D key

This was before the pandemic, so DELL was doing home visits from licensed technicians. The appointment was scheduled, and only a few days later, the technician arrived at my house. The only way to repair the key, he said, was to replace the whole keyboard. They keyboard happens to be located underneath all the other hardware, and so, the entire laptop had to be disassembled and reassembled from scratch. He worked for about an hour, and eventually, he put the machine together. I asked him to test it, just to make sure everything works. Sure enough, not everything did work: the machine no longer had sound!

During diagnostics, the laptop did not emit the "beep" it usually does. This was the first sign. Booting into Windows, the sound icon was crossed out in red, and no sound was present. Booting into Linux led to similar results. The microphone on the machine did not seem to work either. The service technician said that he didn't have the parts to repair it, told me he'd call it in, and left. Soon after, I got an email asking for times I'm available to call: I said "any time except for 1-4 pacific time". DELL support proceeded to call me at 3pm pacific time, when I had no service. Unable to reach me, they promptly notified me that they are archiving my service request.

Service Request 2: No sound (due to Service Request 1!)

This all occured near finals week at my university, so I had to put the issue on hold. Though the lack of sound was annoying, it wasn't as pressing as preparing for exams, so it was during spring break that I finally called again, and scheduled the service appointment. By then, the pandemic was in full swing, and DELL told me they'd mail me a box to put my laptop in, and I'd have to mail it off to their service center. Sure, I thought, that's fine. If it's at the service center, they won't ever "not have the required parts". I told the tech support person my address, he read it back to me, and so it was settled.

Until, that is, the box arrived at the wrong address. I had received the machine as a gift from my family, who purchased the computer to arrive at their address. The box arrived at that address too, despite my explicit instructions to have it deliver to my current residence. Since my family and I live 2 hours apart, it took 4 total hours to get the box to me (a drive that couldn't be made right away!), and by the time I had it, DELL was already threatening me again with closing the service request. Eventually, I was able to mail the machine off, and about 5 business days later (business days during which I did not have a working machine, which is very necessary for my school and job) I received it back. I was excited to have the machine back, but that didn't last very long. As I was using the computer with Wolfram Mathematica (a rather heavy piece of software running under Linux), I noticed that it was discharging even while plugged in. I booted into Windows, and was greeted with a warning, something along the lines of: "you are using a slow charger. please use the official adapter". But I was using the official adapter! I also tried to plug my mouse into the relevant USB-C port, only to discover that it did not work. I had to make another service requests.

Service Request 3: Broken Charging Port (Due to Service Request 2, due to Service Request 1)

This time, I made sure to tell the person on the other end of the support call to please send it to my address. I asked if there was anything I can do, or anyone I can contact, and was told "no, just mail the computer in again." I obliged. The box arrived at the right address this time, so I was able to ship it off.

In the "describe your issue" field on the provided form, I begged the technicians to send me a working machine. "Please", I wrote "Last time I got a machine back from support, it was still broken. I really need it for school and work!". 5 business days later, I received the machine back. I plugged it in to make sure it worked, only to find out... that the very same charging port that I requested be repaired, is still broken! It would've been funny, if it wasn't infuriating. How is it possible for me to receive a machine from repairs, without the thing I asked to repair being as much as improved?! 

Worse, a day after I received the machine back (I was able to keep using it thanks to it having two USB-C ports capable of charging), the LCD suddenly flashed, and started flickering. Thinking it was a software glitch, I restarted the machine, only to discover the same flickering during the boot animation and menu. Not only was the charging port not repaired, but now my LCD was broken! (in the below picture, the screen is meant to be blue, but the bottom part of the display is purple and flickering)


Service Request 4: Broken Charging Port + LCD (Due to Service Request 3, Due to Service Request 2, Due to Service Request 1)

This is to be continued. I just called in to support again, and they once again told me to ship the machine off. What's worse, they accused me of breaking the port myself, and told me this was no longer covered under basic warranty. I had to explain all over again that the port worked fine before the fateful day the D-key snapped. They told me they'd "look into it". And here I am now.

I didn't as much as apply extra force while closing the lid, much less cause any "physical damage" to the machine. Every bit of repairs needed to the machine after the initial D key was due to DELL's inability to correctly repair my machine. I have wasted 2 weeks of my life (counting only the time my laptop spent in repairs) on issues that were entirely preventable by DELL technicians simply doing their jobs.


D key snapped on laptop. Requested repairs. Each repair in a chain of three caused further damage to laptop. Most recently, DELL accused me of causing the damage. This is ridiculous. I will never, ever, by a DELL computer again, and will warn anyone considering doing so against it.