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Alienware Refusing Customers As Thieves

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the please-just-take-my-money dept.

Portables 665

ChrisPaget writes "Thinking about buying Alienware (now owned by Dell)? Think again. After buying an almost-new Alienware laptop on eBay, I've spent the last week trying to get hold of a Smart Bay caddy to connect a second hard drive (about $150 for $5 of bent metal). Four different Alienware teams have refused to even give me a price on this accessory, instead accusing me of stealing the machine since I didn't buy it directly from their eBay store. They want me to persuade the eBay seller I did buy it from to add me as an authorized user of his Alienware account — they have no concept of 'ownership transfer' and instead assume that if you're not in their system, you must be a thief."

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665 comments

Cars (5, Interesting)

googlesmith123 (1546733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27890873)

Imagine if the same was true for cars: Guy fixing your car: "Sorry mate...can't fix this....seems like you bought it from another human and not from a huge company".

Re:Cars (0)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891157)

Ummm, fixing a car does not equate to purchasing a bob for a computer case. With your logic, Ford as an example would refuse to sell you some gizmo adapter because you didn't buy the car through their "authorized channel". Pfft. No, I think this is just a case of Alienware being dumb asses.

Re:Cars (5, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891237)

Imagine if you paid cash for a car from a guy selling one in his driveway. A few months later, maybe you need a brake job, so you head to the dealer to have them do the work.

Do you expect anything except the dealer to do the brake job? Of course not. It's your car, you need brakes, so put brakes in it. But when the dealer types the VIN into his computer and it comes up "stolen", and says to you "sorry, there's going to be a delay," you might assume that he's just running a bad dealership. But that's not how the law works. If they discover you're in possession of a stolen car, they MUST notify the police, and it WILL get impounded and returned to the rightful owner. That's pretty easy to do when it's still in the dealer's garage, but not so easy if he lets the customer leave with it.

In the case of Alienware, if they sent a random customer who asked for a part a note saying "Sorry, but your PC is reported stolen, please bring it to the cops," the chances are good the customer will simply disappear, keeping the stolen goods. What are the chances he is going to voluntarily bring it to the police and say "here, have this laptop, I bought it from eBay and it turns out it was stolen. So you can just keep it, and I'll be out the thousand dollars then. Sure, I'll have a nice day."

Bottom line: how does Mr. Paget know that his laptop isn't stolen merchandise? He says got "a good deal" on it from a "hassle free seller" who shipped it promptly. If I was fencing hot PCs on eBay, you bet I'd be a hassle free, fast shipper. I'd also be gone in about a week. I'd say there's a damn good chance it IS stolen merchandise, and he's about to lose his money.

Re:Cars (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891321)

You could be right. Still...I bet I never buy a used alienware computer.

Re:Cars (5, Insightful)

googlesmith123 (1546733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891475)

alas...my point was that the big companies don't make any profit of a second hand laptop, so they make life difficult for end user. Whether it was stolen or not it beside the point. You can't assume something was stolen just because it was bought second hand.

Re:Cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27891515)

Guilty until proven innocent. What a crock.

Re:Cars (5, Interesting)

richdun (672214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891529)

I like the analogy in principle, but there's one problem with it - if I bought a car from a random guy (for cash or otherwise), and didn't get the title transferred into my name at whatever government office is responsible for such things in my neck of the woods, I'm an idiot. While there's currently no government agency policing computer ownership (pause for applause / tin foil hat brigade reaction), this highlights the importance of shopping at a reputable dealer when purchasing goods for which there is no clear transference of ownership. That, most likely, is the point you were trying to make in that analogy.

Alienware (5, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#27890875)

The monster cable of pre-built PCs

Re:Alienware (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#27890949)

I was thinking they're closer to the sort of stuff you get on Head-fi than monster. Pink noise cable burn-in CDs and so on.

Re:Alienware (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27891097)

More like the Extenz of pre-built PC's.

Re:Alienware (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891485)

I'd say it's even worse.

It's rare that you have to get technical support with monster cable cables...but with alienware PCs, especially notebooks...I had to deal with so many lemons from them for work...it ain't funny.

Re:Alienware (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891497)

Not exactly. You can get monster cables cheap (OEM) from warehouses and some eTailers.

Alienware is never cheap. Or at least, never cheap enough that it comes close to building your own PC.

Re:Alienware (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27891519)

Yep. If I hadn't got a good price on this second-hand Alien, I wouldn't have ever bought it.

Sure, it's a functional enough computer, but it's not and never was worth the $1300 my friend spent on it.

Simple Solution (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27890883)

Build your own fucking computer. if you can't do that you could always slit your fucking wrists as you are obviously too fucking stupid to even exist let alone use a fucking computer.

GO AHEAD FUCKING FLAME AWAY!

Re:Simple Solution (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27891037)

Aren't you supposed to say something about "sheeple"?

Other than that, welcome back; we missed you.

Re:Simple Solution (2, Insightful)

MR.Mic (937158) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891445)

"Sheeple" is such a useful word.
It instantly lets me know who to not take seriously.

No I wasn't aware of this unethical practice (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27890889)

Sounds as if they're trying to force you to buy from them and never buy used equipment.

All manufacturers want you to buy from them, but usually they won't stoop so low as to try and force you to prove you bought from them to BUY parts and Equipment for your secondhand legitimately-acquired gear.

I'll keep in mind to avoid Alienware gear like the plague, from now on, whether used or new, and recommend everyone else do exactly the same.

Re:No I wasn't aware of this unethical practice (4, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891029)

This the correct answer and any consumerist bloggers should pick up this story and INVESTIGATE properly to report their findings. (I do not advocate merely copying stories as it is both immoral and pretty dangerous if it turns out you are reporting incorrect information as is increasingly the case where people use Wikipedia as an authoritative source for information, for example.) Each and every one of these cases need to be brought to light so that either the company capitulates under the burden of public knowledge or the knowledge of the public makes them better consumers and can better avoid such vendors and their practices.

Alienware are overpriced anyway (0)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891055)

Unless you have money to burn or zero skill at assembling a PC yourself, I recommend putting together your own machine. You can get a comparable rig for much less money than an Alienware that way, even if you choose a nice designer case.

The lousy customer service is merely the icing on the cake.

It's a laptop (5, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891067)

Unless you have money to burn or zero skill at assembling a PC yourself, I recommend putting together your own machine.

How does one just put together a laptop? Last time I checked, laptop motherboards and cases hadn't been standardized to that point.

Re:It's a laptop (2, Informative)

skine (1524819) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891269)

Barebones notebooks are readily available at several online retailers (including Newegg), and similar systems to those offered by Alienware can be easily assembled by anyone who knows anything about the inside of a notebook.

Re:It's a laptop (2, Insightful)

manekineko2 (1052430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891473)

Any so-called similar systems built from barebones notebooks you make are only similar in the sense of their specs maybe. Much more so than for desktops though, for laptops, things like build quality of the PC as a cohesive whole matters. Also, instead of having one stop for warranty matters, suddenly you now have to deal with each of your component makers. Same situation as for desktops, except that notebooks that are by nature portable break 100x more than desktops.

Any ordinary geek can put together a desktop, but it takes a pretty hardcore geek (more hardcore than any I know) to build their own notebook.

Re:Alienware are overpriced anyway (4, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891163)

I'm a pro, and have built systems for.... well, longer than the lifespan of many newer Slashdot readers. Unless you like breaking equipment, wasting money, and climbing up a very steep learning curve, I recommend you buy a modest machine and spend your time instead on learning programming. The hard-won lessons of how to gracefully install or replace a heatsnk without getting silver heat sink paste into your memory slots, and to always buy a bag of those thumbscrews, what order the memory modules need to be installed, how to bundle your cabling and keep the airflow clear, how to get hard drives mounted given the knuckle-biting layout of screwing in some disk drives, etc., are a _complete_ waste of useful time for many people.

Alienware is, admittedly, pretty silly. Buy a refurbished Dell machine at their outlet or on Ebay, and spend your money on upgrades when you need them.

Re:Alienware are overpriced anyway (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27891229)

You act like all of that stuff is difficult, you must work for Geek Squad?

Re:Alienware are overpriced anyway (1, Troll)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891367)

Most members of the public have no business trying to build a PC on their own.

And even if you're a computer enthusiast, and you completely know how to do it.. Computers are a commodity now, and there's really no point in building them, once you've done it a few times and had your fun.

I for one would rather spend time designing software, programming, writing, and doing the things one gets a computer to do. So yeah, maybe it's laziness, or more about wanting to concentrate on more interesting things.

Nothing I build on my own will look as cool as an Alienware laptop, or other vendors that make equipment for high-end computers users, utilizing specialized parts.

Alienware uses custom designs you can't just buy off the street and build yourself, not without a lot of pain....

Re:Alienware are overpriced anyway (1)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891255)

Alienware is, admittedly, pretty silly. Buy a refurbished Dell machine at their outlet or on Ebay, and spend your money on upgrades when you need them.

Alienware is a subsidiary of Dell. He'd just be giving money to the parent company of the subsidiary that is screwing him over.

Re:Alienware are overpriced anyway (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891393)

If everyone buys from Dell instead of Alienware, Dell will see the horrible numbers of the Alienware subsidiary, and drop them like a bad habit.

Yeah, Dell actually has a sane policy, you can buy replacement parts from them, without owning or proving you have a Dell PC. If the Dell management ever cracks down on Alienware and makes them change their rules, or they simply absorb Alienware totally, and change their policies, it'll be fine to buy from them.

Re:Alienware are overpriced anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27891299)

If you're talking about laptops, you might have a point.

      But desktops are easier than legos. The hardest part is deciding what fits your needs best, and luckily there's tons of forums out there for helping people decide just that.

Re:Alienware are overpriced anyway (5, Insightful)

ergean (582285) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891455)

I don't know... I can build a new system in 30min tops if I have the components on my bench and they all are OK. I take probably more to have them ready for production. Depending on the destination I stress test them for at least 24h. After that clean install, clone and be on your way.

And I would advice every one to do this. I enjoy building my computers from parts. It takes me more to chose the right components than to build them.

Take it like a puzzle and enjoy it. And don't worry even if you brake something you are still paying less than buying a DELL.

I see this trend on slashdot and I can't understand it. People saying if you make more then xx$/h you should buy that and don't bother to do it yourself. I would say to you... damn you sleep probably around 8h/day think about all that wasted money.

Re:No I wasn't aware of this unethical practice (4, Interesting)

irving47 (73147) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891377)

I was. I had to fix one of their overheating, POS DVR/WMC's for a customer and it turned out it was under someone else's name from the beginning of the ordering process. It was very lengthy, and very difficult to figure out the original purchaser and their information. Until we had it, they would NOT honor warranty (even though they were perfectly capable of checking the serial number) or even quote prices for parts or labor.
Never again.

no honor among thieves (5, Funny)

slashdime (818069) | more than 5 years ago | (#27890899)

With Alienware's prices, I often wonder who is the thief.

Re:no honor among thieves (2, Interesting)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 5 years ago | (#27890935)

Indeed. I have to wonder why those who want such power don't just build their own machines.

Re:no honor among thieves (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27890965)

Because laptops are almost impossible to really build yourself. Sure, you can upgrade RAM, HDs, and even PCI cards, but for everything else you are stuck at pre-bought systems, unless you are a really gifted hardware hacker.

Re:no honor among thieves (1)

skine (1524819) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891121)

Barebones notebooks (also called Whitebooks) are relatively easy to find online; most from OCZ and MSI. "Building" these systems is no more complicated than upgrading components of a regular notebook, or installing the operating system. Actually, it's a little easier considering you don't have to remove anything.

The main problem is that the prices can be pretty high. Most include the graphics, but processors, memory, storage, and OS are all left to the user.

Interestingly, the OCZ options available at Newegg [newegg.com] range from a 10.1" netbook to a 17" notebook with a Blu-Ray combo drive.

Re:no honor among thieves (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891125)

http://laptoping.com/category/barebone-laptops/ [laptoping.com]

The market is not as diverse as that of desktops, and you are limited by more factors, but can most certainly build your own laptop.

Re:no honor among thieves (5, Informative)

adolf (21054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891277)

*shrug*

I've been building PCs for decades.

Meanwhile, my wife and I each have an Alienware desktop PC.

Why? Well, first, we each needed a new computer. The motherboard was dead on her venerable Dell desktop, and Dell's case was sufficiently strange to preclude replacing that component by itself. Later, I wanted a box to play games on, without disturbing my Linux desktop machine.

Second: The price was right. Before we bought these computers, I did the usual sanity check against Newegg. After buying putting a whole PC worth of good components of similar specification into my cart, the price difference was about $100.

Yeah - $100.

For that hundred bucks, one gets a very fancy ATX case which is easy to work on. Working audio ports on the front which interface properly with the sound card (instead of stupid rear-panel pass-through crap), such that the sound card can detect when headphones are plugged in and reconfigure itself automatically. An in-home service agreement. A PC which doesn't need assembled, but just unpacked and plugged in.

And unlike most prebuilt machines, when they're first turned on, they just boot Windows. I don't have to spend a couple of hours removing extraneous crap software. It comes up and behaves about the same way a new PC would if I'd have taken the time to build it myself and install Windows with a base load of drivers, except I didn't have to do it myself.

Meanwhile, they use about the same parts I'd have chosen myself if I were building a new PC. Good DVD-R, XFX video, fancy-pants motherboard with lots of expansion. The power supply is nameless, but is every bit as heavy as a good power supply ought to be. It included the same Logitech mouse I'd have bought myself. So on, so forth.

And it's pretty.

I don't think Alienware's pricing is out-of-line at all.

YMMV.

Re:no honor among thieves (1, Offtopic)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891397)

Working audio ports on the front which interface properly with the sound card (instead of stupid rear-panel pass-through crap), such that the sound card can detect when headphones are plugged in and reconfigure itself automatically.

What kind of horrible case has this?

Alienware just has horrible CS overall (5, Interesting)

firegate (134408) | more than 5 years ago | (#27890925)

One of our offices needed a couple of PC's and I ordered two through Alienware - everything went through fine and they were set to arrive two weeks later.

Three weeks after I placed the order, Alienware informed me that they hadn't built or shipped the computers because I had asked that they be shipped to an address other than the CC billing address.

I'll never do business with that company again.

Re:Alienware just has horrible CS overall (4, Informative)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891179)

Alienware feels like they're trying to do business in a new age of credit card fraud but can't quite figure it out yet. Almost all vendors require your shipping address to be on your credit card as a billing address, but they can tell you about it almost instantly. Customer service tells you that you can add a secondary address on your credit card really easily. Not Alienware. Many vendors require you to have a proof of ownership for certain service. Dell lets you change the ownership online. Not Alienware.

Alienware needs to invest some of its hard-tricked money into providing decent customer service.

Well, a lot of stuff on eBay is stolen... (4, Interesting)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#27890927)

Did the vendor include the original invoice? That should work.

Can't understand their 'fix' of adding you as user of the original owner's account, though. Surely goes against the basic rules of CRM.

While we're on the subject of 'ownership transfer', note also that under most EULAs, you should also buy the software all over again...

Re:Well, a lot of stuff on eBay is stolen... (1, Insightful)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27890973)

EULA != law

Re:Well, a lot of stuff on eBay is stolen... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27891021)

Yes it does.

Re:Well, a lot of stuff on eBay is stolen... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27891085)

EULA:law::fiction:fact

Re:Well, a lot of stuff on eBay is stolen... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27891153)

No it's not fucktard. Here's a hint because you're too dumb to understand, the L in EULA doesn't doesn't stand for law.

Re:Well, a lot of stuff on eBay is stolen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27891297)

Well, you stupid moron that is fucking stupid and is very stupid and I don't like because you are so goddamned stupid and just aren't very nice, let ME explain that the A in EULA doesn't stand for asshole, either.

Jerk.

Re:Well, a lot of stuff on eBay is stolen... (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891449)

No, but it is a contract, and contracts are enforced by law. You don't have to like it, but it's true. I'll bet that if your employer suddenly decided to pay you less than stipulated in your contract, you'd go to the law for recourse, but your salary is no more or less law than a EULA.

Whether or not most EULAs actually can be enforced through law is a separate issue altogether, but if they are not it is because they are invalid contracts, not because they are not based in law.

Re:Well, a lot of stuff on eBay is stolen... (2, Informative)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 5 years ago | (#27890993)

Assuming that all of the relevant discs were provided along with the hardware, that would conflict with the right of first sale, which can not be licensed away [arstechnica.com] by any EULA, at least in the United States.

Re:Well, a lot of stuff on eBay is stolen... (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891049)

The BSA doesn't go by discs or keys, but by invoices. Last I heard, if you don't have an official one, they consider it pirated. Now, I don't consider them good, just that they have more than enough money to make 99.999% of people settle on their terms (but this is something only business have to worry about...)

Re:Well, a lot of stuff on eBay is stolen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27891361)

In practice, business don't have to pay the BSA extortion, they just don't know any better. The correct answer when the BSA shows up for an audit is "NO." Turns out that except in a couple of countries in Europe (France and Belgium IIRC), the auditing clauses in most contracts are effectively unenforceable. Big companies know this and have teams of lawyers to handle the saying "NO." For small companies, they either don't know enough to say "NO," or they have so little software anyway, it doesn't matter to them.

Even if the BSA does sue, by the time they actually get all the paper work done and a court day scheduled, you can have done your own internal audit, dotted you i's and crossed your t's. Then you can just give in and let them in to audit. They won't find anything, so you can then make a big stink in the press about big companies like Microsoft and Apple harassing the little guy because they are afraid they can't compete.

Basically the BSA is a toothless Lion, so stand up to them.

The requisite IANAL, but I actually asked one about this once. It's part of why big companies don't care about the onerous terms in the MS licensing agreements. They know they can't be bullied and MS will have to back down on virtually all of them.

Re:Well, a lot of stuff on eBay is stolen... (4, Informative)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891109)

which can not be licensed away [arstechnica.com] by any EULA, at least in the United States.

Non sequitur. If you read your linked article, you'll see this bit:

Citing the 1977 case of United States v. Wise, which involved the sale of used films obtained under dubious circumstances, Jones found that the Ninth Circuit's precedents suggested that the circumstances surrounding the sale of AutoCAD software constituted a sale, not merely a license. Therefore, the First Sale Doctrine applied, and Vernor was not bound by any of the terms in Autodesk's license agreement.
But the judge acknowledged that three more recent Ninth Circuit decisions involving software seemed to cut in the opposite direction without explicitly overturning Wise. Jones found that Wise was controlling precedent, and ruled in Vernor's favor. If the case gets appealed to the Ninth Circuit, the conflict among these precedents is likely to occupy the court's attention.

I don't know if that case was appealed, or what's happened to it. However, even if it was appealed and upheld, I believe that ruling would set precedent only for the 9th circuit, not the entire U.S. I don't remember off the top of my head, but I seem to recall there being a circuit split on this issue.

Re:Well, a lot of stuff on eBay is stolen... (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891089)

It used to be the case that, at least with Windows, the license followed the machine on systems with OEM installs. Has that changed?

Re:Well, a lot of stuff on eBay is stolen... (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891331)

You're right, what you can't do is resell an OEM copy by itself.

It's for that reason that WGA ties your software to your hardware and never actually asks for your personal details.

Re:Well, a lot of stuff on eBay is stolen... (3, Informative)

mpe (36238) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891511)

You're right, what you can't do is resell an OEM copy by itself.

Depends where you are. In Germany you can, since a court ruled that "retail"/"OEM" distinctions have no basis in law.

I bought one... (2, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27890933)

I bought a new Alienware system a few years back (right after Dell purchased them), and it was honestly one of the worst laptops I have ever purchased. The specs were decent for the time (1.5 Ghz Intel M CPU, 512 MB of RAM, good enough graphics, etc), it looked nice, and even the price was not much more than a comparable system from HP or another vendor. But thats where all the nice things ended. So first was the power cord managed to get frayed from about six months of medium usage, so I ordered another one, tech support was actually decent and they sent me one for only about $20 or so. About six months later the motherboard dies, thankfully it was under warranty and they repaired it no questions asked (save for the guy who couldn't speak English who kept on trying to convince me that it was really my power cord when it wasn't). About six months after that, the power cord became unusable again, due to fraying (I don't know what was with early 2000s laptop power cords, but neither my Alienware nor Gateway laptops' power cords ever lasted long) they informed me that even though my machine was under warranty, they discontinued support for my model so they sent me to a third party retailer. Upon buying the cord that they told me to, I plugged it in and it worked decently for about a month. Then the plastic tip started burning. About that time I decided to change laptops and laptop vendors.

More careful is good. (1, Interesting)

cuby (832037) | more than 5 years ago | (#27890937)

Do you have the original bill provided by the seller? Do you even asked for it to check if the item was not stolen? I think if companies were more careful, like this one, people would be more careful before buying 2nd hand stuff.

Re:More careful is good. (1)

mikael (484) | more than 5 years ago | (#27890991)

A simple check of the serial number should be able to determine whether it is stolen or not. Keeping a digital photograph of the serial number of every valuable item seems to be the best way of recording them.

Couldn't you just... (1)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 5 years ago | (#27890939)

"persuade the eBay seller [you] did buy it from to add [you] as an authorized user of his Alienware account."

tagged !whine !boohoo and others as they come (2, Informative)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 5 years ago | (#27890941)

For the price of an Alienware, you could end up with a Thinkpad W700ds. Order it without the tablet and you'll have a manufacturer that encourages such activity.

Besides, Dell isn't exactly well-known for originality or quality.

Sounds like standard procedure for Dell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27890959)

I've seen this happen many times with Dell, if you are not the original owner by their records they provide zero support. They sell computers not cars, not everyone is going to take 30 minutes to sit on hold to transfer ownership when they get rid of a virus infected windows box.

The parts aren't on eBay as well? (4, Informative)

assassinator42 (844848) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891005)

I had to buy some plastic components to repair a Dell laptop a while back, so I searched online and got a list of the part numbers I needed. I called someone working for Dell in India, and got the total price I'd need to pay to buy the stuff directly from them [after having the phone rep try to sell me RAM or something]. Turns out I saved a bit by buying everything online.

Warranty (4, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891015)

Thinking about buying Alienware (now owned by Dell)?

Nope. They are vastly overpriced for what they are and I'm not in a habit of paying extra for computers because of the way they look.

Four different Alienware teams have refused to even give me a price on this accessory, instead accusing me of stealing the machine since I didn't buy it directly from their eBay store.

If that is true then I agree it's crazy. I noticed that they were asking for a warranty number and I've never heard of a computer manufacturer refusing to SELL you a part unless you have a warranty number. However, is it at all possible that the support people were misunderstanding you and thinking that you wanted the part for free, under warranty? I know it's four different people and you explained it to them, but it is perfectly possible that all four are complete idiots and didn't even bother listening fully to your explanation of what you wanted.

Re:Warranty (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27891169)

They are vastly overpriced for what they are and I'm not in a habit of paying extra for computers because of the way they look.

Like an Apple?

Re:Warranty (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27891293)

Show me an Apple that is vastly overpriced for a computer with identical specs.

Re:Warranty (4, Interesting)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891453)

Nice thing about apple is...if you have money they'll kiss your ass. Most computer companies I deal with seem like they expect me to kiss their ass before they'll take my money.

Refusing to sell to non-warranty holder (1)

wbean (222522) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891463)

Nope, I've had the same problem with Dell. I spent the better part of two hours on the phone with various Dell employees on various continents before I found somebody who would sell me the disk caddy for my Dell Workstation. (I am not the original owner.) Even these days their phone bill must have been more than the cost of the plastic part.

Killing the resale value (1, Interesting)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891017)

They are just ensuring there is no resale value for there products. Imagine if a car company refused to sell you repair parts if you buy the car second hand? Their products would have ZERO resale value, which means that no one would buy one in the first place, because they would know that when they wanted to trade up, there was no market for their old model.

Given the resale value of used Apple hardware, those prices don't seem so high now.

Transfer (5, Interesting)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891019)

Why did the former owner not transfer his alienware account to you?

Sounds like the one ripping you off is the original seller, much like if you bought a car and he didn't transfer the title.

Then again...why do you need an alienware account in the first place?

Re:Transfer (1)

Yeorwned (1233604) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891249)

You knew you we're gonna get ripped off the minute you bought something just because it had a Dell logo on it. Oh wait, you got a Dell that has an Alienware logo. Yeah, you still ripped yourself off.

Re:Transfer (1)

Lunatrik (1136121) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891251)

My brother has an alienware system, and you can have multiple systems associated with the same account. Thus, it wouldn't even make sense for someone to list another person on your account as a rights-holder -- what if they stole another of your computers?

Bad system all around, bad company in my experience. Sad, too, because they started off overpriced but friendly.

Re:Transfer (4, Insightful)

TiberSeptm (889423) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891373)

That would be ridiculous. Assuming the seller didn't have any other Alienware computers, it would still be asinine to expect them to give the purchaser access to their private account. As this experience shows, access to that account is the primary way that Alienware employees assure themselves that they are talking to YOU. It is, unless they have changed it recently, the same account you use to make and track purchases.

Now if the seller does still own Alienware machines then this suggestion is even more ridiculous since they would still need their account for their own very probably hardware failures. Then there wouldn't really even be a possibility of them removing personal information from the account before giving access to the new owner.

This is nothing like transferring the title to a car, since there is a mechanism to do that. This is like demanding someone who sold you a used but unlocked cell phone put you on their plan. You should not have to create joint access to your private support and billing logins in order to resell a used computer.

Re:Transfer (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891481)

Agreed.

Alienware should allow you to transfer machines.

1. Either the owner of record can transfer
2. With proof of purchase, the new owner can force a transfer.

Re:Transfer (1)

Eil (82413) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891439)

Why did the former owner not transfer his alienware account to you?

Sounds like the one ripping you off is the original seller, much like if you bought a car and he didn't transfer the title.

Computers neither have no need titles.

Re:Transfer (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891507)

Which is why alienware is being a complete douchebag for giving the new owner flak.

However, that still doesn't let the seller off the hook for failing to notify alienware of the sale.

Re:Transfer (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891477)

If I bought a Mustang without a title their are hundreds of companies along with Ford that'll sell me parts for it.

Buy IBM/Lenovo (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891035)

Seriously, IBM make some of the best laptops around. Alienware makes shit that appeals to "core" gamers who think they're getting the best thing for gaming but all they're getting is an over priced piece of shit. It's been that way before and after the Dell purchase.

Re:Buy IBM/Lenovo (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891185)

Absolutely, a high end thinkpad may be "for business types" but it still smokes pretty much anything else on the market. You'll just have to live without it being covered in blue LEDs or whatever shit they're doing to "cool" laptops these days.

Re:Buy IBM/Lenovo (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891411)

Are there any decent 17" Lenovo laptops with *real* GPUs yet? The main selling point of Alienware isn't the look or the name, it's the graphics - you can get dual (SLI or CrossFireX) high-end cards, good processors, and even RAID-0 hard drives, in a 17" laptop, for about $2000. I don't know of any other vendor offering that - Toshiba tries but their machines are far more expensive.

No, I've never bought from them - I don't have $2k for a new laptop and a really top-of-the-line graphics solution isn't necessary - but their specs to price ratios are actually surprisingly good. I know nothing about their customer service quality, however.

I look at Alienware as .... (3, Insightful)

R.Morton (1540993) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891077)

over priced pair of shoes anymore they are no better or worse than any other laptop vendor, but some folks just gotta have the whole "Alienware case of coolness" thing going on.

  just amounts to the same parts as Dell, Toshiba, HP, Apple Ect just in a pretty shell.

just like shoes no matter how much you pay for them be it $5.00 or $300.00 they all will wear out at about the same time anymore as most makers of these products out source to the same companies in the same countries.

R.Morton

Re:I look at Alienware as .... (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891425)

Could you please point me at the HP or Apple laptop that comes with ATi RadeonHD 3870 x2 graphics (yes, 2 GPUs)? I'm not aware of any, certainly not for under 2 grand (you have to cut the rest of the specs kind of low, but you can get it for that price in an Alienware laptop, brand new).

why don't you just (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27891113)

get hold of a Smart Bay caddy to connect a second hard drive...from ebay(or newegg).

Um, so? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27891147)

Lots of stolen laptops end up on Ebay. Given that, I can completely understand their concerns.

Re:Um, so? (4, Informative)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891247)

No - if their concern is valid, you tell them where you bought the computer, provide serial numbers and so forth, they take any number of actions, including:
1. Working with law enforcement - if the thing was stolen, you're either out or you have a civil case against the thief.
2. Transfer the record to you

You're right to look at the social side of the issue - but go a step further - technology can solve this particular problem.

Meh, Alienware was dead to me after Dell took over (1)

Runefox (905204) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891183)

Besides, if you're looking for a truly high-end computer and you're not looking to build it yourself (or you're looking for a notebook), Falcon Northwest [falcon-nw.com] is one of the best there is, and they've been in the business since 1992. Of course, they're custom-built high-end PC's; They'll cost a pretty penny, and there's no assembly line, so they'll take a week or so to arrive, depending on your order.

It sound shitty, but... (3, Insightful)

isa-kuruption (317695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891235)

How are they supposed to know if you bought it or stole it?

Maybe they should have a warranty-transfer process? Like automobiles do? Maybe they already do, the seller just lost the card?

Then again, how do you know the seller didn't steal the laptop? Are you in possession of stolen property?

Again, there is no way for Alienware to know whether your possession of the laptop is legit unless the legit owner notifies them of the transfer.

So I would go back to the seller and tell him/her to resolve the situtation.

Re:It sound shitty, but... (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891527)

It's foolish to assume it's stolen. People sell laptops every day. I don't keep up with paperwork for out of warranty hardware and not all that many other people do either I've noticed. Imagine if you couldn't buy any parts for anything without proving that it's not stolen? I bought a fan for my heatpump condenser just 2 weeks ago. If I had to prove I didn't steal it I'd be screwed.

Dude, you just got DELLED. (2, Informative)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891243)

I bought my wife a Dell. Just after the warranty, the motherboard died. They would not/could not provide a replacement motherboard (their statements were factually inconsistent). I trashed the damn thing and cannibalized some parts.

Dude, you just got Delled.

Re:Dude, you just got DELLED. (1)

Jesterace (914041) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891281)

I ended up getting a Inspiron 9400 with the Geforce GO 7900G. After playing Bioshock the gpu fried. I called Dell and they tried to make me purchase a new LCD screen as they were insistent that was the issue for $500 as I also had no warranty left. (makes me wonder if it's related to the recent nvidia mobile chipset disaster). I could not make them believe it was actually the GPU that fried. So I went on eBay and bought an ATI gpu and got it working again. Glad it had a modular design and a changable gpu. But yeah, I will not buy another Dell either, and by the sounds of this I'd not buy Alienware either.

Re:Dude, you just got DELLED. (1)

cymen (8178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891429)

If there is one thing I like about Dell laptops it is that eBay is littered with parts for them.

Good for Alienware (0)

Kohath (38547) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891261)

This would actually make me more likely to want to buy from them. It's good to know they would be on my side if my computer ever got stolen.

mod 04 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27891319)

their hand...she BSD su80rs. What These ear\ly architecture. My

Perhaps it is stolen (0, Redundant)

confused one (671304) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891329)

Did you consider the possibility that when you gave them the serial number on that laptop that it turned up on their list of computers reported stolen? Did you ask them this?

Re:Perhaps it is stolen (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891347)

Never mind. I re-read the blog and realize now that they're just being asses.

What gets them big vs What keeps them big (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891341)

Funny that service is one of the things that got Dell to the size they are, then was one of the first things that got shipped off to offshore call centers after they got big. Apparently Dell decided service was the first thing to go at Alienware as well.

That kind of silliness is what got me into building my own hardware. Too bad you can't do that with laptops...or can you?

may actually be stolen (4, Informative)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891343)

Lots of laptops sold on eBay are stolen property. If the one you bought was stolen, then the original owner may have reported it stolen, which means the serial # is in a database that Dell maintains of "hot" laptops. No Dell-authorized repair company will work on them.

To their credit, though, they put the database online so you can see if a serial # is in there. Anyone considering buying a Dell laptop on eBay should look up that laptop's serial number first to see if it's stolen. Caveat Emptor.

Re:may actually be stolen (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891409)

It may be stolen, but that's not why Dell is refusing service. Dell is refusing service because it wants everyone to buy from them!

Where is the accusation of theft? (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891395)

The blog posting does not show how Alienware made an accusation of theft. The "theft" meme is an invention by the poster. Alienware are quite within their rights to refuse to sell parts to anyone -- although this seems like a very stupid policy. As for the warranty, it is possible that the original warranty requires that the warranty number is provided by the customer, or even that the warranty is not transferable.

All of these actions seem like stupid policies by Alienware, but nowhere is there an accusation of theft from Alienware.

I will never buy another Alienware... (5, Informative)

xaoslaad (590527) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891407)

I bought two Alienware computers. One for my wife and one for me. Both being avid gamers, we loved them. I managed to spill water in mine though, and severely damanged it. Of course, this was completely my fault and no reflection of their system.

However, their handling of the replacement is. I shipped the laptop and called a few days later to ensure that they had received it, to which they claimed they had. Two weeks from the time I sent it in I had still heard nothing, so I called them, at which point they claimed to have never received it. I managed to misplace the shipping paperwork I had because I believed the laptop had showed up, etc...

They accused me of lying and having never sent in the laptop until I was able to get replacement paperwork, etc. from the post office. The reality was that they had misplaced it in their shipping warehouse. So after the two week delay I then had to wait 6 more weeks for the out of stock part to come in so that they could replace it.

And so, with prompt service, and considerate customer service like that, who needs anyone else.

its like when ford bought jaguar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27891419)

the generic company bought out the suffering high end company... the quality will go down just enough and slide to the back of the pack and the next new thing will take the lead

Chris, you are an idiot drama queen (0, Redundant)

santiagodraco (1254708) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891441)

This guy is an idiot.

First off NO ONE accused him of being a "thief" or a "criminal", that's just his idea of drama.

Secondly they asked him to simply have himself added to the account. Is that so difficult?

Garmin does the same thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27891491)

This happened to me with a used Garmin GPS that I purchased over ebay (in the original box, by-the-by); The unit had a problem that could only be solved by mailing it back to Garmin for "reconditioning," but Garmin flat-out refused to let me send them the unit and PAY FOR reconditioning, because I was not the owner registered to the serial number.

The purchase had been 14 months prior, and I didn't have any record of who I'd bought it from - Garmin refused to even give me an email address for the original owner so I could contact them and find out (hell, I'd have mailed them the broken unit if they had actually been robbed). Even though I find Garmin products superior to their competitors, I'll buy (new) TomTom from now on...
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