Dude, you busted your Dell

After a three-month hiatus, we’re back for more blog-alicious blog-ventures! Doubly exciting is the fact that Cassia has posted two entries in a single day (!). I’m grateful that this area is no longer "my" baby, and I hope that Cassia will continue to post her motherly musings and experiences in the days and weeks to come.

As for myself, this past semester has been a long and difficult experience. I am grateful it’s over, and look forward to spending some much-needed time with my family over the next two and a half weeks.

Allow me to first catch you up on one of the major sagas of the last few months.

On October 21, I was sitting on my couch working on some school assignments, and I just happened to put my Dell laptop in such a position that it lost its balance when I got up to talk with Cassia about something. It fell approximately 18 inches to the floor, where it landed on its back hinge and closed on itself. Surprised and frustrated (I pride myself on the conscientious care I give to all my electronic equipment, which is one reason my laptop had lasted for two years in excellent condition), I picked it up and placed it on the couch to deal with later. When I returned to work, I was chagrined to notice that it was operating on battery power, even though it was properly connected to an AC outlet. After more than an hour and a half of troubleshooting, I reached the disconcerting conclusion that the fall must have damaged the internal power intake device in my computer. It could now only work on batteries, which becomes a problem when the batteries run down.

On Monday I took the laptop over to BYU’s Computer Repair shop (it being an authorized Dell service center) and asked them to take a look at it, offering my opinion that it could be a problem with the AC power converter. Two days later they gave me the word: not only was I right about the problem, but since the converter was soldered to the motherboard, I would have to replace that to get things back to normal again. Because my laptop was about a year out of warranty, the out-of-pocket expense to me would be about $450.

Needless to say, we hadn’t exactly budgeted for this kind of expense. But because my program demands that each student own a laptop, and because the cost of repair was less than what it would cost to replace the equipment, we gave the go-ahead for BYU to order and install a new motherboard from Dell.

The part arrived the following week, and it was installed and tested for reliability. But my computer wouldn’t turn on. Further inspection revealed that the motherboard was nonfunctional, and had most likely been that way before it left Dell’s factory. Dell was contacted and agreed to send a second replacement board as soon as possible. I was annoyed by the lack of quality control at Dell, but pleased that the company was willing to quickly remedy the situation.

Two days later I received an e-mail from Iley Copeland, BYU’s full-time computer support employee, informing me that the second motherboard had arrived . . . and that it, too, was nonfunctional. He was working with Dell to figure out what was going on, and told me they were very apologetic about the whole mess. I couldn’t believe the rotten luck at play. Did Dell employ a bunch of monkeys to build their equipment? Who knows – monkeys may have done a better job.

All this time I’d been getting by in my classes as best I could without a laptop. We have a desktop machine here at home, but it’s a "relic" I bought before resuming classes after my mission in 2001. Thankfully, BYU maintains a slew of Open Access Computer Labs across campus, and I had previously invested in a new 1GB flash drive (I got a terrific deal at Circuit City), so during this time I practically lived in the labs and carried all my work around on a thin little three-inch stick. I got by okay, but I definitely missed having unlimited access to the software and computing resources my laptop afforded me. It became more difficult to keep up in my classes and meet the expectations of the professor I TA’ed for, as he expected same-day turnaround on all homework assignments (all submitted, graded, and returned electronically) — the number of which also just happened to increase during this time. The wait for a fully-functional laptop, which was about two and a half weeks by this time, was growing more painful by the day.

The following Monday I received another e-mail from Iley. A third replacement motherboard had arrived from Dell. This one didn’t work either. At this point I was fed up. Dell had sent three consecutive non-working parts and seemed to be doing nothing internally to resolve the situation. I made up my mind to call Dell Customer Service and ask for a break on the price of the motherboard as a goodwill gesture on their part to atone for their incompetence.


One Response to “Dude, you busted your Dell”

  1. Man that sucks! Hope they cut you a break. We had a similar problem with compaq once.

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