Dell BBB Complaint

Here’s my full complaint that I wrote for the Better Business Bureau.  There’s a 4000 character limit, so I had to shorten it.

The sources that I used for information are: (Alienware website about the time I purchased my computer) (page 49)

I purchased an Alienware m11x R1 laptop through the Dell website on 11/30/2010. Service tag [*******]. As of 7/19/2011, there is 141 days left on my warranty.

On Wednesday, 7/13/2011, I called Dell/Alienware tech support to service my laptop. The original problem was the computer was experience random shutdowns. The first tech support rep opened a service ticket to repair my computer by replacing the motherboard and the palm rest. On Friday morning, 7/15/2011, the service technician arrived at my office and replaced the parts mentioned above. After replacing the parts, the machine seemed to work fine. For this particular laptop, Alienware/Dell offers an overclockable CPU. As I had been running overclocked prior to being repaired with no problems at all, I decided to overclock the CPU through the system BIOS as documented in the user manual.

After enabling the OverClock through the BIOS, the machine would no longer boot.Only a black screen would appear. I proceeded to call Dell tech support again to resolve my problem. I was to get transferred to a “tech 2” support rep. I explained the situation to him. At this point he told me that Dell does not recommend overclocking and overclocking the CPU voided my warranty. I disputed this claim that my warranty was voided since this is a feature that Dell heavily advertises and promotes, and I used a tool that Dell has built into the system. However the tech support continued to say that the warranty was void.

We proceeded to attempt to fix the problem. We tried resetting the system BIOS by removing the battery and the CMOS battery. These proved fruitless as my computer would still not boot. The tech support proceeded to upsell me for a “complate care” warranty, which they would then have no problem fixing under this warranty, even though my current standard warranty was still valid. I hung up the phone and began to research if my warranty truly was voided or not.

After much research, I’ve concluded with certainty that my warranty is still valid. Firstly, Dell on various websites has stated that overclocking the CPU on the m11x will not void the warranty. Here are several sources:

“A customer will not void his warranty for utilizing the CPU overclock setting in the BIOS of the M11x.”

“You will not void the warranty for utilizing the CPU overclock setting in the Bios.”

Secondly, another person the same Dell community forums had the exact same problem as I have and tech support was able to replace the motherboard.

Lastly, there’s a huge disconnect in how the Alienware m11x laptop is marketed and designed vs how tech support supports the laptop. When I called tech support and told him that I had overclocked the computer, the first thing he said was “we do not recommend overclocking. Overclocking your computer will void your warranty.” However, the marketing and advertising of this laptop would suggest otherwise. On the Alienware website, the CPU is stated to be “overclockable.” In the user manual, it explains how to overclock the CPU. On multiple reputable websites reviewing the m11x (CNET, Notebook Review, Gizmodo, Laptop Mag to name a few), the overclock ability was highlighted as a feature.

No where in any of these places warned that overclocking would void your warranty. Not on the website. Not in the user manual. Not in the system BIOS where you enable the overlock is there any warning in sight. In fact the opposite is stated as shown above. As you can clearly see from these sources, Alienware not only recommended and encouraged users to overclocked their computers, but Alienware would expect the user to. In fact the only time, the first time I heard that the warranty would be void from overclocking was calling tech support.

Clearly what Alienware/Dell markets is not what tech support claims to support. At best this is just a miscommunication in tech support. At worst, it’s a systematic web of lies perpetrated by Dell in order to deceive customers to buy computers that Dell never plans to support.

Resources: (Alienware website about the time I purchased my computer) (page 49)

On Tuesday, 7/19, I called Alienware tech support again to show this information that I found. I spoke with Jackie from tech support. I told her about all this information I had found, even an instance with a customer with my same problem getting support. She refused to the warranty on the computer. I asked to speak with her supervisor. I then spoke with Carlos, rep ID 111408. I explained everything to him as well, and again he said he would not honor the warranty. He said I was welcomed to talk to another supervisor, but claimed that any supervisor would say the same. I was then transfered to Customer Care to see if they could do anything. I spoke with Ralph, Rep Id 244389, and he immediately escalated it the “manager of customer care.” I then spoke with Munish, Rep Id 104895, who said he could not help. He said if it was simply a case to replace the motherboard, he would do it, however he had no authority to do so. I told him my next step was to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, but recommended me to call tech support once again, even though the previous 4 tech support people were unwilling to help.

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