Friday, May 18, 2007

Dell delivers (not!)

My company has been a Dell customer for many years, having purchased four computers in the last 12 months alone. A few weeks ago we decided to purchase a new laptop, more precisely Latitude D620. This baby comes with an Intel Core 2 Duo clocked at 2.0Ghz, a 14" inch screen with a resolution of 1440x900 pixels. Most importantly, it weighs 2.0Kg (4.4lbs).

We signed the order on the 30th of April 2007 and paid for it on the 3rd of May. Tracking the order on Dell's web-site, we noticed that the order was not being processed. I contacted the sales person to inquire about the order. She said that as fat as she could tell no payment was received and that she needed proof of payment to look into the matter. After sending her proof of payment, it took another day for the accounting team to match our payment with our order. Nevertheless, with the payment glitch fixed, the laptop went into preproduction on the 9th, was finished the next day and shipped by UPS on the 11th with expected delivery on Wednesday the 16th of May.

Lo and behold, we received it on the announced date, at around 11 AM. I was quite excited to receive this new laptop as a replacement for my older Inspiron 5100 (also from Dell). After 4 years of good and loyal service, while my old companion still works nicely, it weighs a hefty 3.5kg (7.7lbs). Since I have to schlep it on foot for about an hour each work day, 1.5kg (3.3lbs) less weight on my back is something I was looking forward to.

Opening the package, all the components were there. Unfortunately, instead of weighing 2.0kg (4.4lbs) my Latitude D620 weighs 2.5kg (5.5lbs), that is a 25% difference compared to my order and Dell's own specifications. Contacting the sales person, she proposed to sell me 4 cell battery, purportedly lighter than the 6 cell battery I currently had. Unconvinced, I asked to speak to her manager and somehow got disconnected. Sigh.

The second time I called I was put in contact with a customer service representative, who, recognizing the problem, promised to replace my laptop with a model of my choice. Needless to say, I was quite impressed by Dell's generous offer. To good to be true, she called an hour later reneging on her previous offer, under a completely bogus pretext. Let me cut a long story short by saying that there is a limit to the amount bull this particular customer (yours truly) was willing to put up with.

How can Dell hope to retain customers when what they
deliver only approximates what they advertise ? One of the customer support people at Dell went as far as acknowledging that Dell was minimizing their laptop's weight to increase sales and that other vendors were also playing the same dubious game. One thing is for sure, we won't be buying another Dell product anytime soon.


DellCAJohn said...

John here, customer advocate at Dell headquarters. I was quite puzzled by your post, as all of our training documentation and product overviews I found indicate that the D620 baseline weight was 5.0 lbs (2.27kg) with a 6-cell battery, 4.41 (2.0kg) with a 4-cell battery, and that the weight was dependent upon system configuration. No guarantee was ever made regarding the exact weight.,239035653,240090822,00.htm

Regardless of this, if you can send me a case number verifying that you were indeed offered a system exchange over this incident, I would happily make sure that offer is followed up with the appropriate action.
"ATTN: John"

Ceki said...

I based my purchase on information found on Dell's Swiss site with contents similar to:

Starting weight of 2.0kgs (4.41 pounds) for the D620 is with a 14.1-inch WXGA display, integrated graphics card , Dell Travel Module and four-cell battery. Weights vary depending on configurations and manufacturing variability.

The independent reviews you mention indeed state that the D620 weighs
2.5kg in reality. I wish I had seen those reviews before my purchase.

From a legal point, you may be right. Indeed, no absolute guarantee has been made about the weight of the product. Although I somehow expect a product advertised at 2.0kg to weigh more or less 2.0kg when delivered to my doorstep. I don't see how the extra 20% weight is justified given that I did not order any add-ons, except the 6-cell battery which does not explain the difference.

Anyway, I appreciate your offer for help. Fortunately, the matter has
been recently solved.

DellCAJohn said...

That is good to hear. I am sorry for all the confusion it caused!

If you need anything at all regarding any of this, feel free to let me know.