Alert

DELL / ALIENWARE Technician Bricks Laptop Beyond Repair

So here we have another fine example of Dell and Alienware’s horrific customer service.
I had an Alienware 14 laptop recently repaired by Dell. The laptop was purchased in April 2014 and was fully loaded tipping the scales over at a close to $3000 dollar price tag. I had several other repairs preformed on the unit over the years. The final repair however damaged the laptop beyond repair.
The initial contact to the service and support center was because the unit had a damaged and swollen battery, internally located on the bottom side of the unit and relatively unserviceable due to it being integrated into the unit’s multipart stacked design. The damage was due to an unknown internal failure of the lithium cells and was not caused by an accidental fall or other catastrophic event, it simply failed, heated up to a burning temperature became swollen and no longer held a charge.
With my laptop having full warranty coverage and accidental coverage at the time I contacted Dell for service. My warranty was scheduled to expire in May 2017 so I quickly filed my claim in mid-April and requested that the unit be repaired.
At first Dell told me the battery was available late in April when I asked for service. After a week of no response from a repair technician I called again to follow up on my request and claim. When I was finally returned a phone call I was told the battery was no longer in production and that I could purchase a new one from their online store. After searching the store there were none available and I figured since the battery did not fail due to failure due to any fault of my own and was clearly swollen I asked it be replaced under the warranty. Dell eventually agreed after another week of back and forth emails and phone calls.
I was told that since the battery was on backorder now, I would be under warranty even after the expiration date of my Pro Support plan or at the very least until the battery could be installed since I had an open pending claim however after that the unit would no longer be covered if the part was delivered after my Complete Care contract expired. I understood that and asked if I could extend my warranty at that time and was transferred over to someone in India and then the issues began.
Months later in early July I was contacted by the service technician. I was told the battery and other components had arrived and the repair would begin on a Friday. When I asked about what other components were shipped he stated he didn’t know and that I’d have to wait until he arrived.
On his arrival he had the battery, a mother board, top and bottom covers and touch pad. He stated in order for the battery to be installed I would have to accept that all of the components on the work order be replaced. To this I refused. The unit worked fine and ran flawlessly. In fact I had spent several hundred dollars upgrading the memory and SSD hard drives most recently and I only wanted the battery installed. He refused to comply with my request.
He stated the battery had an internal chipset revision and that the mother board would need to be replaced as well in order for the battery to work properly. Being a former systems administrator I knew this was nonsense and I called him out on it. He said he would send everything back and I would have to start all over leaving me no choice. I explained my warranty situation and he insisted on completing the work order. Since I had no other computer or unit for my use and needed my laptop for my employment I had no alternative but to accept the install. If he had left without installing anything I would be out of warranty and be unable to get a repair putting my back against the wall.
Of course days after the repair with the unit working perfectly the new motherboard shorted out and died leaving me with a totally inoperable unit that would not power on in any way. When you insert the power cord into the unit the blue indicator light on the end of the plug shuts off denoting a short in the power supply or laptop. I ruled out the power cord since the battery was fully charged at the time of the fault and now the unit will no longer power on at all. I get no BIOS beep, no indicator lights and no response from the laptop.
I contacted Dell and Alienware to explain my grievances and ask if the new component came with a warranty and I was told that yes they had a 30 day warranty but since the service record was started back in April I was well past the 30 days and no longer covered at all. I could for close to $400 dollars send my now dead laptop into a service depot for repair but they could not guarantee it would be serviceable due to a lack of parts. Another lie as they had recently offered an extended service plan and clearly shipped parts to cover the initial repair.
So in summary I can’t extend the warranty, the laptop is now dead after months of waiting, I can’t get anyone at Alienware or Dell to service my unit and since it is not within my financial means at this time to purchase another new unit to get me back working I am loosing revenue to support my family.
Part of the problem is Dell tracks service from start of claim not completion of service. The other obvious issue is the language barrier between an English speaking American and a screen reading Indian “support technician”. I cannot in more simple terms explain my issues to someone overseas who is simply not capable of understanding the vocabulary of the situation and of course the actually on site technicians are from a third party from all over the state in which I reside.
I’m simply at a loss here. I am frustrated, mad, annoyed, perplexed and vexed. I can’t get service on my now bricked unit and there is no accountability at all.
So does Dell or Alienware care to reply?

Discussion is locked

Follow
Reply to: DELL / ALIENWARE Technician Bricks Laptop Beyond Repair
PLEASE NOTE: Do not post advertisements, offensive materials, profanity, or personal attacks. Please remember to be considerate of other members. If you are new to the CNET Forums, please read our CNET Forums FAQ. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Reporting: DELL / ALIENWARE Technician Bricks Laptop Beyond Repair
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Comments
- Collapse -
Understandable
He stated the battery had an internal chipset revision and that the mother board would need to be replaced as well in order for the battery to work properly. Being a former systems administrator I knew this was nonsense and I called him out on it.

The motherboard has a regulator for charging the battery on it, and that might have been the cause of battery failure. Some have separate charging circuit on motherboards, but I suspect yours is inbuilt.
- Collapse -
Sadly the battery, motherboard match and issue.

Is a known thing. Designs have evolved and it's hard to keep up.

What they failed on here was turning this into a teaching moment about the new designs. But not all technicians are teachers.

Good luck in your efforts to get it fixed but I want to comment that at the office we rarely go past about 1,200 USD on a laptop. Even with 16GB RAM, SSD and a fine GPU. I know folk that go bleeding edge with 32GB RAM and more, but I cringe since they are piling far too much into a laptop. They should be back on a desktop for that much gear.

CNET Forums

Forum Info