Tuesday, February 23, 2021

My Adventures with Dell

My computer was purchased in 2015, and it was a Dell. It came with Windows 8.1, and I upgraded it to Windows 10.

It worked ok. Then back at the end of January, it crashed big time, and when I finally managed to reset it, I lost my programs. My data was backed up on an external hard drive, so it was fine.

There is a backdoor through which one can download Windows 10 for free. I used that and managed to get the computer up and running.

In the meantime, my well-meaning husband insisted I purchase a new computer. This one was, after all, six years old, and that's generally all I get out of a computer.

So I went to the Dell Computer site and after chatting with a technician in chat, and then with someone on the phone, I settled on an Inspiron 3880. I needed something with a DVD drive and a media card reader. I don't game much anymore so mostly I needed something for browsing and word processing.

The computer arrived and the FedEx guy practically threw it in the door (he is never gentle with anything). I managed to get the new computer up and running, and over the last two weeks I installed my software, created a backup and restore disk, and hooked my external hard drive backup to it.

However, when I went to use the SD card reader, it wouldn't read the card. I downloaded straight from the camera instead. Later, I tried a different SD card. It went in and it read it. But when I popped it back out, a piece of plastic came out with it.

Now the card reader won't work at all. It doesn't read cards, and it won't bounce them back out, either.

Seemed to me it came faulty.

It happens.

I contacted Dell via chat. I was told that because this was a hardware "wear and tear" issue, it wasn't warranted. At that time, the computer was 13 days old.

The chat person gave me a number to call. I called. I was placed on hold, and after a very long time, the call simply . . . ended. No one ever picked back up and then I got that "erk erk erk" noise that says you've been disconnected.

Frustrated, I went to twitter and tweeted: "Never buy a @Dell!"

Moments later, Dellcares messaged me. They would solve my problem, some helpful person named Laverna said.

After I explained the problem, she too said that they wouldn't fix the issue, because maybe I'd pushed too hard on the card and broken the spring inside. Really? I've been using card readers for 20 years and this is your response?

I told Laverna they were very useless and I would never buy another Dell. (I probably won't after all this.)

This is my fourth Dell computer. They've always been fairly reliable, but I could tell this 3880 was more cheaply made than my old one. The DVD drive feels like it will fall apart when trying to install a DVD.

Anyway, later I received another message from Laverna at Dell. She'd talked to her manager, and they were going to send me a new internal card reader at no charge to me but I would have to install it.

I asked if this would void the remainder of the warranty and the answer was, probably.

I went to Amazon and bought an external media drive, which should arrive today or tomorrow.

In the meantime, Dell went ahead and began the process of sending me this part, which after learning that it would probably void the remainder of my warranty if I install it, I didn't particularly want.

After I received an email saying the part was on its way, I thought, well, I can just hang on to the part and install it in a year, after the warranty period is up. I don't have a problem using an external card reader. There's a USB port for it.

But maybe I can't hang on to it like that, because there were these indications on the Dell support site that I may have to send the old part back.

Early this morning, I woke to find another Twitter message from Dell. Here's the entire thing:

I left it there, because (a) I'm not getting a monitor, (b) no one is coming to fix this, and (c) the FedEx guy doesn't hang around waiting on things.

My best hope now is that when the part arrives, there is a note in there that says I don't need to send the old part back. An external card reader cost me $15. This part can't cost Dell but what, $1 maybe?

Customer service sure isn't what it used to be. If I had the money, I'd give this one to my husband and purchase something somewhere else.


  1. Wow!! That is all I can say Wow! At first I was confused because it said monitor and that wasn’t what you were saying was broke. I’m not sure I would accept the delivery. I would also use my writing talent to shoot a letter to the head of Dell Computers and maybe even JD Powers to inform them of the quality of their computers and the lack of customer service.

  2. I can feel my shoulders up around my ears in tension as I read this! I hope the resolution works!

  3. They just don't make things they way they use too. I had a lot of problems. I finally got a new hard drive and it works really well. I had to pay $200 for the Geek Squad to service it 3 times and finally get the hard drive which was on sale. Still better than buying a new one!


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