Tuesday, November 14, 2006

My Inspiron : Happy Ending!

I haven't posted for a bit on this story (originals here and here), so this will be a long one.  Luckily, it ends happily :).

Context : Had a Dell Inspiron 5150 laptop.  It stopped charging, and I gave up on it.  Then came notification of something called the Lundell Settlement which basically said that if you had such a machine with such a problem, you could get it fixed.  I sent it in, and on top of that a Dell customer advocate apparently found my blog on the subject and checked in to see if he could help me with anything.

Let me just say that it was great to have such a personal contact with customer support.  At first I thought that I should only use that channel for special circumstances, and was still working my way through the automated voice units until Todd just said, "Don't even go through that path, just tell me and I'll get you the info."  Gotta love that.  He even called me instead of emailing all the time.

So, back to the story.  There was a bit of a problem at first when they got the machine open.  I was told that the problem was damage from a spill, that it affected motherboard, video and keyboard, and that it was not a covered problem.  That it would be very expensive.  This was a complete surprise to me, and I ranted like a crazy person.  This had been my daily machine.  I'm the kind of geek that carries his laptop with him daily.  I used it up until the day it wouldn't charge anymore.  I did not have any memory of a spill.  So needless to say, I was upset.  I even accused them of just randomly pouring liquid onto machines on their end, just so they wouldn't have to fix them.

Todd listened quite calmly, told me all about how the system works (they have an independent group Solectron that evaluates the systems, that Solectron gets paid regardless, and so on).  He said that he would request that they re-evaluate the system.

I thought it was over at that point, and started lobbying to get the machine back.  Would I be stuck shipping it back to myself?  Would I be charged for repairs that I didn't expect?  Todd swore to me that there'd be no such costs.

And then, good news!  I get a call back to tell me that they re-evaluated the system and:

 * The only moisture damage was not evidence of a spill, and was only on the shielding, which I am not liable for.

 * The AC adapter is loose at the motherboard, so it is not charging, and that requires a motherboard replacement.  Which I am also not liable for, as this is apparently the original problem we were trying to discover (well, no kidding :)).

I had the machine back within days. No charge to me (shipping or otherwise), and I'm happy to report that I have my computer back!  I'm pleased.  This machine is destined for my family room for games and email.  And yes, it will run Linux.  I'm thinking Ubuntu.

Thanks Dell!  Nice service.  Was Todd scanning specifically for mention of the Lundell case?  I don't know.  Did my machine only get serviced like that because I had an advocate on my side?  Again, who knows.  But I'll tell you, if you've got an Inspiron 5150 that stopped charging on you, you're gonna want to go check that out.



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