May 29, 2013

Why Dell is no longer the smart choice

My first PC was an HCL. That was a machine which successfully handled all my torturous operations with the teeny weeny 500 Mhz Pentium III and a 128 MB RAM. Owing to that, I chose another HCL when I decided to go for a laptop. Two and half years and two motherboard replacements later, I decided to get a new laptop. That was October 2010.

Dell was my undisputed choice. The reason was simple. Laptops, as I knew it, were not perfect. They were supposed to die at some point of time. My target, however, was to make them run as long as I could. Dell gave two advantages that others didn't (at that point of time). One was a complete cover warranty (which included accidental damages) and the second one was On Site warranty(which only HP provided at that time), which meant a service engineer would visit you to fix your laptop.

Fast forward another two and a half years and I am in need of a new laptop again. Let me explain my situation. After extending the warranty by a year at the end of the first year, the warranty finally ended this January, roughly five months ago. Everything was going well when one fine day, the laptop refused to start. It would give three steady beeps repeatedly.

On calling up Dell, the so called technician was adamant. He supposedly diagnosed the error as a motherboard failure without even listening to anything else I had to say, when documentation online told me otherwise- this could happen from issues with the RAM, HD or even the system board. Anyways, what they said after that was the more irritating part. They wanted me to pay ₹ 11000 beforehand for the repairs, without even looking at my laptop! What if it turned out to be just a faulty RAM? Would they refund me the rest of the money? Do note that the amount would serve as only a one time repair with no extended warranty. The extended warranty would have supposedly cost me ₹ 17999 only.

Even if my laptop was running fine, the cost of increasing the warranty is ₹ 8000, whereas other companies like Sony extend warranty for twice the time for less than half the amount.

The reasons which led me to choose Dell back them are just obsolete nowadays. There is hardly any company which doesn't provide On Site warranty. The Complete Cover Warranty of Dell is also matched by most of the companies, at least on their high end laptops.

Dell has other big issues which I chose to ignore then because of their service. The battery backup is not up to the mark and the batteries just wear out a bit too soon for comfort. Also, if you play games, the laptops have a tendency of heating up (wearing out other system parts in the process). The Inspiron range has a very poor cooling system and sometimes cooling pads are not enough for that as well. Although I have been lucky with my internal hard drive, I have noticed the failure of hard drives in many cases, involving a tedious data recovery process after sending your old hard drive to some secret location out of view of even the US drones.

I visited a very reputed computer shop in the city today and I was shocked to find that they didn't sell anything in the Inspiron series anymore. The reason- they are tired of customer complaints and also the fact that there is no Service Center for Dell and the solution Dell provides for every petty issue is a replacement which is unaffordable and quite unreasonable. Why spend 17999 only on repairing a laptop and extending the warranty, when you can get a brand new one for just a few thousand more?

Dell has, however, built such a brand value in the Indian market that people go in blindly for it. I think it is time Dell customers like me come out of their niches and see how much the world has changed since the time they last purchased a laptop. 

I would conclude reminding you about one important thing that my dad says, the lower the warranty extension cost, the higher faith the manufacturer has on its product.

This is posted under the contest "The moral of the story is ...!" by IndiBlogger. Have a look at My Healthy Speak Blog!

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