What to do when company won't honor exchange policy/warranty?

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What to do when company won't honor exchange policy/warranty?

Post by Kerdaboy » Fri Jan 06, 2017 12:48 am


I had purchased a new laptop from dell/alienware over black friday, after a month delay it finally arrived at the start of Christmas week. However there was some melted plasticy material about 1/3 the size of a credit card that extended from the screen hinge to the top of the keyboard. I had contacted the company right away however after acknowledging it was from production assembly I was told it did not qualify for a return/repair since it was cosmetic damage only.

However after looking over the company's "system arrived damage" and "limited hardware warranty" there isn't anywhere that says cosmetic damage is excluded. In fact in the system arrived damage policy it specifically lists cosmetic damage as one of the eligible reasons. The warranty doesn't include cosmetic anywhere in exclusions and has workmanship listed as one of the eligible reasons as well.

When I provided this counter point via email or twitter direct message with their customer support I never end up getting a response addressing this; only just a sorry but we can't exchange or fix this or no reply at all. The only time their customer service acknowledged this they then tried to say my laptop was refurbished from the outlet so it didn't qualify even though it is brand new from dell.com.

On top of this, I also haven't been able to get an 100 dollar credit honored by the company which I have in writing via an email from their customer service that was given previously due to poor customer service when my laptop was delayed on 4 separate occasions.

Every time I try to get either of these two issues resolved via chat I am told to call their customer care or sales resolutions who then either a. tell me to call the other department or b. tell me it is escalated and will be processed right away with a call or email followup. only to have me check a few days later with nothing being done. This has been going on for almost two weeks now.

I had contacted my credit card company to mediate a resolution so I could get my laptop exchanged/fixed and my credit from dell honored but it seems the only option available is to do a chargeback for the full amount which I don't actually want to do.

Was wondering if anyone had any advice as to what to do to get this resolved? Refund is an option but I do need a laptop with similar specs and I got a fantastic price over black friday between the sale at dell itself as well as cashback and credit from amex that is no longer available (would probably cost be me an additional 500 + to get the same laptop if I refunded and reordered). Thanks in advance!

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Re: What to do when company won't honor exchange policy/warranty?

Post by Pajamas » Fri Jan 06, 2017 1:09 am

Just do the chargeback and when you submit the written complaint make it clear that the resolution you expect is replacement of the laptop with the a new one (not refurbished) and the $100 credit you were promised for the delay.

If you want to give them another chance you could call and tell them you are going to do a chargeback if it is not resolved while you are on the phone. Sometimes the threat of a chargeback and the associated fees to the seller will get them to move on a complaint, but I suspect that the Dell customer support person won't care about that.

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Re: What to do when company won't honor exchange policy/warranty?

Post by rockylou » Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:33 am

We had a problem with a laptop, which was beyond the 1 year warranty but within the 2 year warranty, that Maine extends for products like this. We couldn't get through to anyone at the company so I called the consumer protection division of our attorney general's office. They contacted the company and the company immediately called and sent a disc which resolved the problem. If you have a similar division in your State, I would give them a call.

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Re: What to do when company won't honor exchange policy/warranty?

Post by 8foot7 » Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:07 am

Chargeback. That's what it's there for.

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Re: What to do when company won't honor exchange policy/warranty?

Post by nisiprius » Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:22 am

First, you need to spend however long it takes--maybe half an hour--doing whatever it takes to get a good picture of the problem. Fiddle with lights, fiddle with angles, make sure you have a high quality picture in which the cosmetic damage is obvious. A picture is worth a thousand words. The person you're talking to has no idea if its something gross that anybody would object to, or if you're a malcontent talking about a dust speck.

The question is how to show the picture to them. When my Amazon Kindle developed a kind of brown stain at the bottom of the screen, I submitted the request via the website and IIRC there was a way to add an attachment. Or perhaps I put the image online at postimage.org and included the url. That sometimes works but sometimes they can't use an internet link. It occurs to me that a sneaky thing to do might be to say, "How can I get the picture to you? My name on Facebook is thus-and-such, I could post it there so that you can see it, would you like me to do that?"

Second, you need to go into "full-bore record-keeping mode," right now. Probably on paper but whatever works for you. You need to start recording who you talked to, when, exactly what they said, and at the end ask "is there a reference number for our conversation?"

Third, do the chargeback with the credit card company, absolutely. Why don't you want to do that? The very worst that happens (I think) is that the charge goes away for a while and then comes back, so you're no worse off that you are before.

Four, if the ultimate outcome is nil, is a letter to the CEO. It's crazy but it works. The thing is that these seem to be handled in a completely different way, all the usual customer service channels involve "what does the fine print say?" but a letter to the CEO is more like "squeaking wheel gets the grease."
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Re: What to do when company won't honor exchange policy/warranty?

Post by Kerdaboy » Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:57 am

Hi everyone,

Thanks for all your advice. I may file a complaint with my state's attorney general's office. I do have everything that are non phone documents (emails, twitter direct messaging with their support, and customer service chat logs ) chronologically as well as the dates and times of important phone calls and what was promised (and never followed through on) were made with dell/alienware.

I did want to clarify the issue isn't that I don't have documentation of the credit or the damage to the laptop (I have both in writing via email correspondence), dell/alienware is acknowledging both of those. They are just saying for the laptop cosmetic damage doesn't qualify and won't give me any reasons as to why my cosmetic damage is an exception to their arrived damaged and limited hardware warranty policy.

For the credit, they just keep throwing me back and forth between departments and finally when I do get someone that says they will process it/escalate to a supervisor etc, its always over the phone and when I call back they have no record of the interaction and no credit was initiated, despite the fact every time I call them I get told the call is monitored and recorded.

Also wanted to clarify I did contact my amex to start a dispute to try to get dell honor their own policy and issue me the credit I was promised however it seems all amex can actually do is charge back the entire amount I paid for the laptop. I am okay with the price I paid, it was a good price I just want to get the two above issues resolved.

The other issue I have with the chargeback is at least according to a few ppl on reddit/dell community boards apparently dell sends the disputed amount to collections if they (dell)lose. As I am in the process of a home purchase within the next year, this seems like a terrible risk to open myself up to.

I had also contacted the general manager for alienware via twitter who told me he would look at my case personally. However it seems this was mostly fluff as he never bothered to ask me for a case/order/ticket # or any other identifiable information (don't think twitter handle is going to do anything) and after tweeting for a follow up twice and getting no response (even though he is clearly tweeting and retweeting) over a week I have kind of given up on that route as well.

Thanks again for all your help.

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Re: What to do when company won't honor exchange policy/warranty?

Post by gotlucky » Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:04 am

A warranty is a contract.

If you feel the other party breached the contract and won't honor their end, you can (and should) sue them in small claims.

Everyone should go through the process at least once. It's empowering when you get the other party to pay what is rightfully yours. It gives you a lot more faith and credit in people who honor their agreements. In your case, more than likely, they will settle because it would be cost prohibitive as well as damaging to their reputation if they try to defend.

Small claims is a fascinating look into human nature when you get to sit there and listen to the other cases.

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Re: What to do when company won't honor exchange policy/warranty?

Post by 2retire » Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:10 am

I'm confused, was the laptop sold as a Refurbished unit or as New?

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Re: What to do when company won't honor exchange policy/warranty?

Post by Kerdaboy » Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:17 am

2retire wrote:I'm confused, was the laptop sold as a Refurbished unit or as New?
Hi 2retire,

It is a custom build to order new alienware 13 r3 with the oled panel from dell.com. It is not refurbished. In one of my interactions with them, after they tried to tell me cosmetic damage did not qualify and I brought up the damage upon arrival and limited hardware warranty they then tried to tell me my new alienware was from the outlet and so didn't qualify (According to the outlet their refurbs also have the same policy as well so it wasn't relevant either way) It has been a very bizarre experience.

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Re: What to do when company won't honor exchange policy/warranty?

Post by cmeretire » Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:23 am

Dell clearly has a return policy of 21 days for refurbished systems -

"You may return your refurbished system up to 21 days from the date of invoice, with the exception of refurbished servers and storage. Refurbished servers and storage products can be returned up to 30 days from the date of invoice."

If they won't "exchange" it and you don't want it in this condition, just tell them you want to return it under their own policy and be done with it.

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Re: What to do when company won't honor exchange policy/warranty?

Post by barnaclebob » Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:31 am

You at least need to know the time limit to initiate any chargeback. I wouldn't worry about any collections issues until they happen. Send Dell an email saying you are initiating a chargeback and will send them the laptop when you get your money back.

Now, if you would rather have the damaged laptop at the black friday price than a new laptop at prices now, then you might want to think about it first.

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