Why I’m walking away from Dell

Back in January of this year, I purchased a Dell Venue 11 Pro tablet. It immediately began to malfunction. But like the good Dell customer I have been for many years now, I assumed the issues with the tablet could be resolved by working with Dell tech support.

So that’s what I did. Over the course of months I went to Dell to fix problems with the tablet’s bizarre screen frenzy, with the Window’s store inexplicably and repeatedly ceasing to be accessible from the tablet, with the screen freezing over and over making ordeals of even simple tasks like filling out a form, writing an email or, in many cases, just turning the tablet on. I ran the prescribed diagnostics, refreshed the machine several times, reloaded my software, updated the firmware, etc.

(I also went to Dell when the stylus I bought for the tablet stopped working – they eventually sent a new one. The new pen works sometimes).

But it turns out that the correct solution to all my Dell tablet woes was much simpler: I should have simply demanded a full refund within a month. At least that’s according to William Zelada, the Dell representative who told me in the email below that Dell would not replace my device at this point:

From: William Zelada <US_Con_SL_RTNS@dell.com>
Date: July 30, 2014 at 7:56:03 PM CDT
To: <iesbears@aol.com>
Subject: RE: Dell Support Request: Return an Item/Order <<#1807466-7829595#>>

Dear Nick,
I understand from your email that you would like to return the product. I sincerely apologize for the any inconvenience caused to you but I have reviewed your account details and it shows that the order was invoiced on January 2nd 2014. I would like to inform you that all Dell customers have 30 days satisfaction window from the date of invoice to verify all aspects of their purchase and evaluate all components. After this initial 30 days all sales are considered final.
Since your order is outside the satisfaction window, I regret to inform you that I will not be able to process your return request.

If you are still having technical problems you will have to continue working with tech support to find a solution for the problem on the tablet (you still have warranty on the tablet until January 2nd 2015).
Resolutions Team

The screen in mid freeze. I had plenty of time to capture this image, by the way.20140726_200847477_iOS

Not an atypical thing to see on the Dell Venue 11 Pro20140726_203156894_iOS


And if you didn’t watch the link above of the bizarre shaking screen frenzy, you really owe it to yourself to watch at least a little of it.

 20140731_153542272_iOS So what can you learn from my unfortunate misadventure?

1) If you pay more than $1,000 for a product, send it back at the first sign of defective manufacturing. Actually, no matter what you paid, sending back what seems defective may save you a lot of wasted time and effort in the future;

2) a tech support warranty which calls for you to give a company 11 months past the return warranty, may be a waste of time and possibly money;

3) do not expect loyalty between you and even a company you have done business with for years to be a two-way street. I had bought 8 computers from Dell over the years, which accorded me nothing. Perhaps it would have if I had been a giant corporate client. Losing my consumer business is just not a big enough deal to Dell.; and

4) the Dell Venue 11 Pro – at least the one I am now stuck with — is essentially a piece of junk. To say that I advise against buying one – no matter how many decent reviews you may run across — is putting it mildly. 

It would also be an understatement to say that I am frustrated, irritated, and disturbed by Dell’s refusal to replace my obviously defective product (I’m assuming that all Venue 11’s can’t possibly be this dysfunctional – but maybe I’m giving them too much credit). But after spending hours and hours dealing with the various issues which still plague this device, I’m ready to move on. 

So if you’d like to tell me which computer company always produces good products, and always stands behind them, and puts customer service and customer loyalty above arbitrary corporate platitudes, please share.



Author: nickpattersonfreelance

I'm a professional reporter, writer, editor, teacher, storyteller. A former travel and features editor for Southern Living, I started Velleity because people keep offering me travel stuff and you may as well benefit from it.

6 thoughts on “Why I’m walking away from Dell”

  1. I had the same tech issues when I bought mine back in November 2013. Luckily I returned it after a week when I started reading the Dell Forums. It’s basically an expensive paperweight.

  2. FYI, Dell has wiped all negative traffic about the Venue Pro from the forums. At least I can no longer find the conversations that were there back in November and December.

  3. I have found there is no company you can rely on for quality service anymore. This ranges from computers and cameras to your cable and telephone service. Please don’t get me started on Charter or AT&T. I had the same thing happen with a lawn mower and a weed eater. I purchased what I thought was the best Husqvarna lawn mower. I used it a week and the motor seized up. I called Sears where I had purchased the mower and they stated they would get me in touch with the service department. I said no you won’t, this is a brand new lawn mower and I will not have it serviced, I want a new mower. They sent me a new mower and picked up the old one. The same thing happened with the weed eater from the same manufacturer. I used it in the front yard and it was great. When I moved to the backyard it froze up. I had purchased it that day. I immediately took it back to Lowe’s and swapped it for another one. Both of these products were excellent, the second time around, and I would recommend them. The bottom line for me as I have learned. If it starts with problems the first 30 days, tell them you want a new one and accept nothing else. Well, at least try that first.

    As a side note and pertaining to your demise, I have lost all faith in Dell and their service department. We have used their computers for years. But lately, I would look for the best price and warranty and run with it.

  4. Wish I’d seen this before I bought this junk. Having the same issues. Tech help just managed to stall me past the return date and now I’m stuck with this stupid thing. I bought this Venue Pro 11 for 3D/CG work but the pen is unable to draw a line for more than 3 sec at a time! Useless! Pen is supposed to be pressure sensitive too?? Ha! If it works at all! I just got it back from the service depot today and all they did was reinstall windows! What!?!?! They have sent me 4 stylus’s in 4 months. I am so … “annoyed” at Dell!! Grrrrrrrr!!!!!!! Never buying Dell again!!

  5. Scott:
    Sorry you’re going through what I did. Really makes you wonder about Dell’s commitment to quality control on the front end – especially after all this time. For what it’s worth, after I complained enough and publically, Dell did reconsider and replace my hard drive. Substantial performance improvements all around. Not perfect, but much better.

  6. A cautionary tale for those that don’t purchase extended warranties on electronics. You can pick literally any product out there and find similar bad experiences with hardware. Any product will have a certain failure rate. I highly suggest SquareTrade warranties. Also only purchase electronics with a good credit card that offers you extra return protections. My Chase Freedom and Sapphire cards allow for returns up to 90 days past purchase. That’s an extra 60 days of peace of mind. American Express cards offer an additional year of warranty on top of manufacturer warranty of I’m not mistaken.

    Even so I still always buy square trade warranties when I get close to the 30 day from purchase. You gotta cover your asks these days.

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