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Getting the Best Deal From Dell — Or Not

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the consumer-advice-or-proprietary-information dept.

Censorship 207

Nom du Keyboard writes "When The Consumerist published 22 tips for getting the best deal from Dell Computers, according to a self-described former Dell sales manager, Dell fired back with a take-down notice. You might want to look quickly, in the event it does get taken down. The Consumerist's lawyer's initial response was to deny the takedown request."

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207 comments

Well, since it might get taken down... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19544575)

Full text from http://consumerist.com/consumer/insiders/22-confes sions-of-a-former-dell-sales-manager-268831.php [consumerist.com]
Anon because I'm not a karma whore and because I add nothing to the post. Enjoy :)
***
A former Dell kiosk manager writes us to share helpful tips about doing business with Dell. He has no particular problems with Dell, he just wanted to share some helpful tips for consumers looking to get the best deal. He includes info on getting the best deal from the website, different kinds of promotions the Dell offers, insider details on how the kiosk sales reps are compensated, what coupons and deals they have to offer you to close the deal, the email format for Dell in case you're thinking of launching an EECB, where to take your Dell credit card complaints, which extended warranties to avoid, how to get a domestic tech support rep... and more. It's very comprehensive. Enjoy!

I am a former Spherion rep that later became a Dell Branded Rep (manager) of a Dell kiosk in the Philadelphia, PA region. To work at one is to work at all, and I worked at four different kiosks in the region. I worked from July 2005 until October 2006, but keep regular contact with some of the guys I trained and brought up. Other than the usual complaints, I have no problem with the company.

Things most people know already:

1. Small business is better than home and home office - Small business typically runs a few dollars more than the home office, but you stand a better chance of getting domestic tech support rather than non-native English speakers. As an added perk, small business promotions are occasionally better than home.

2. Play with the web site - There are many different pricing packages for the same product throughout the various sections, typically three or more per segment. If you're buying a Dell soon, configure a unit from a link off the main page, from the product listing on the drop down and from the "As Advertised-Newspaper" drop down. Configure the same system each way at the home, small business and the Direct (kiosk) site (http://www.dell.com/directstore). It is very likely you will end up with nine different prices.

3. Extended warranty for laptops - Do it for as long as you feasibly see using your laptop, and include accidental. Two years is typically the lifecycle from "new product" to "no longer produced/no more refurbs" though YMMV. Once your model is off the refurb site, drop it. Voila! New laptop. The standard warranty will not cover any screen defects.

UPDATE: Current Dell rep says: If a system is no longer shipping a used/refurbished is always sent, though the refurb should be equal or better as far as hardware is concerned. As of this writing if a system is exchanged, via either Complete Care warranty or concession, and the system is still a currently shipping model a new system is to be sent.

4. Extended warranty for desktops - There is nothing in a low end desktop (non XPS) that is worth the price of the warranty should you have to replace it. Only pick it up if you have absolutely no clue what you're doing once the case is open.

5. Tech support phone - If you do go with the home/home office/direct route, tech support is outsourced (duh!). The tech support instant messenger typically provides a calmer, more understandable conversation due to the fact that accents are taken out of the equation. Think back to high school Spanish. It was always easier to translate the foreign language you were reading than if you heard it. Same concept applies here.

6. Tech support web site - If you're having a common problem, hit the product forums (however crippled they may be now). It is very likely your question/problem has been resolved before, and usually a domestic tech rep posted a solution there.

7. Warranty Repairs - On all but the two lowest warranties (90 day and 1 year limited), warranty repairs will be done in the home. The repair techs are only required to replace the broken part. They are not required to do anything else. If they replace your hard drive, they are not required to reinstall your OS or drivers. Most will do it if you're nice, but don't expect it. If you're clueless, there are tutorials all over http://support.dell.com/ [dell.com] that tell you how to do it yourself.

UPDATE: Current Dell rep says: Also with desktop machines at home service is the only option. Notebooks on the other hand may have a return to depot or an at home service contract.

8. OS Backup Disk - For over a year now, Dell has required you to purchase your Backup/Reinstall Disk. Order this with your machine. Once your Dell is delivered, it is a pain to get the disk at all, much less at a sensible price. If you do not have this disk and your hard drive dies, at home warranty repair will not be able to get your PC running once the drive is swapped without selling you a new copy of your OS.

UPDATE: Current Dell rep says: Dell no longer requires the purchase of the backup disk. They are included with every computer that ships with a Windows OS. On the subject of hard drives, if your drive fails within the first year of purchase you should be sent an imaged drive that will contain everything except for your royalty applications (Office etc). If for some reason you lose the media, you can request the OS, Resource/Drivers disk, and the applications disk at no cost to you. (Even if you are no longer under warranty Dell will send you an OS disk) Note that the Resource/Drivers and Applications disk is only available for currently shipping systems. Should you need to reinstall you'll need to download the drivers from support.dell.com from another computer and copy them over. Last, within the first year of purchase, if you need to reinstall the OS and you can't access the recovery image, or if it was deleted for some reason, you can request an System Recovery CD that does pretty much the same thing. (Not available on notebooks due to the Media Direct partition.)

9. DPA/Dell Preferred - This is the Dell credit card, like a Sears, Macy's or Radio Shack credit card. Typically a high rate, low limit card. The lowest APR is still around 18-20%, and that comes with a $5,000 limit. The $4,000, $3,000 and $2,000 limits have rates in the mid to high 20s. The lowest limt, $1,500, has an APR of 29.99%. NEVER USE THIS UNLESS THERE IS A KILLER NO INTEREST PROMOTION.

            a. Interesting Note: In the Back-To-School season of 2005, DFS (Dell Financial Service) was issuing cards to 18 year olds with a $7,000 limit and a 29.99% interest rate.

Stuff you may not know:

1. Promotion cycle dates - Thursday is the first day of new promotions. If you go to the web site at 11:45 p.m. on Wednesday night and again on 1 a.m. on Thursday morning, the promotions are different. The catalog promotions run from the start of the month to the end. Additionally, on holiday weekends (Memorial Day, 4th of July, etc.) there may be special sales/coupons for the three-day weekend.

2. Promotion styles - Typically, one week will be cash off while the next will be percentage off. If you liked cash off but the current promotion is percentage off, check the "As Advertised-Newspaper" section. These typically have a remnant of the prior week's promotion as well as better versions of the current week's promotions. Cash off helps for cheap systems, percentage off helps with high-end.

3. Dell Customer Care can price match within 24 hours from the time of order. Combining #1 and #2 from this section, if you are unsure of the value of the week's promotion but need to order something, order it Wednesday night. Check the promotions for the new week on Thursday. If its better, call and price match. If its not, sit back and feel smug for no reason

4. Dell corporate email - As of December 2006, everybody (save Michael Dell) working for Dell U.S. has the same form of email address: firstname_lastname@dell.com. Michael Dell's does not follow this pattern and is changed immediately whenever the current one is discovered by lower-level employees or the public.

5. Dell's internal fiscal calendar is different from other corporations. As their fiscal year ends in January or February (I honestly don't remember), the best deals will typically be found in late January and all of February. Also, buying during the last week of any quarter typically means free or deeply-discounted 2nd day or overnight shipping, and the quickest order turnaround. There are no steep discounts for the holidays, though they will run a few weeks of consecutive percentage off promotions during the back to school season in August.

6. The DFS servers are notoriously flimsy. If you apply for DPA (why would you?) and it is unable to complete, it means the server is overloaded but your credit rating has already been pinged. Reapplying will not fix the issue but it will repeatedly ping your credit. The system is unable to verify cell phone numbers and will automatically reject based on the use of one.

Fun facts about the Kiosks:

1. Why should I shop at a kiosk? I can order from home. - A very valid point, but the majority of kiosk customers are morons who think computers are magic boxes that let you see pictures of cats in funny poses while someone steals your AOL password. There's a few reasons why an educated person aka Consumerist reader should hit the kiosk up:

            a. Discounts - There are several ways the Dell Direct kiosks can attempt to match or beat an online deal.

                        i. Closing tools - Dollar off coupons that depend on how much you spend. Spend $600=$25 off; $1200=$50 off; $1,600=$75 off; $2,000=$100 off.

                        ii. Refuse to Lose - 10% coupons meant to allow a sales rep to seal a large deal. These can only be used when the computer price alone is $1,600 or more. It can not be used on accessories, TVs or multiple computers whose aggregate value is above $1,600. This must be requested from the Manager on Duty (MOD) through an email request, and will generally be credited before the computer is shipped.

                        iii. DPA coupon - Dell will already give you 2% off your order if, at the payment screen you click the link that offers 2% off when you pay with DPA. The kiosks have a 3% DPA closing tool that can be used also, giving a discount of slightly over 5%. This works for all DPA purchases including TV's, monitors and cameras.

                        iv. The closing tools are nothing but individual-use coupons entered at the shopping cart. They are invalid on the home and small business site. Reps are supposed to use them as a last-ditch effort, but as long as you're not buying a sub-$600 system, they should offer them without your having to ask.

            b. Printer cartridges - No you can't buy them there...officially. They are non-inventoried items that many kiosks have a heady supply of due to inexplicably random deliveries from corporate. If you're in a pinch and need one that day, go (don't call), get a feel for the employees, and if you think they're cool with it, offer cash.

2. There are two levels of kiosk employees. There are those hired by Spherion, creatively known as "Spherion reps," and then there are Dell Branded Reps, or DBRs. DBRs are effectively the management of the individual kiosk, and are the only ones able to work uncompensated overtime. Deal with them if possible, because they are very likely to be there the next time if you have a question. They've also been there much longer than any other kiosk staff, so they likely have a much better skill set for finding bargains.

3. If you have a problem with DPA, the kiosk has a specific email contact for Dell Financial. Problems can be resolved much much faster.

4. The Dell Direct kiosk website is configured differently than the others. There are "bundles" (linked from the main page under the "start shopping" graphics) and there are "non-bundles". Bundles, so called because...you guessed it...accessories and service are already bundled in, have a higher profit margin. They are also the most customizable system on the website. Non-bundles carry lower profit margins but may be limited. The salesman will always start from a bundle. Let them finish, then make them search the non-bundles for an equal system with a better price.

5. Kiosk reps are judged on the following:

            a. Unit price: The average sale price of each reps transactions. $1,200 was the goal as of March, 2007 but $1,600 was preferred.

            b. Bundle percentage: Dell varies on what percentage of all sales it wants to be from the "bundle" page depending on the month and who you're talking to. It is typically between 40% and 60%.

            c. Service: Each PC/Notebook sale is expected to have a 3 year warranty attached. Typically, the number is between $160 and $200.

            d. E&A: This is the percentage of the sale that was spent on accessories. Each transaction should have between 5% and 10%, or one printer and cable per PC or one bag, lock and travel mouse per Notebook.

            e. DPA: Dell Preferred Account purchases. The expected percentage of DPA sales has climbed in the past years. It currently hovers between 40% and 60%, and they want a 1 to 1 customer to submitted application ratio.

6. Secret shoppers - The kiosks are secret shopped constantly, and they're playing of a 20-question scorecard. Don't be surprised if the salesman asks really base/borderline-insulting questions if you act interested. They think you're a secret shopper.

7. Communication - Complaints made about Dell to the kiosk reps go unheard. There is no place for the rep to turn around and report the complaint to. Communication between reps and even district management is limited, and reps are discouraged from calling the regional management. Store, district and regional management are all run from email and cell phones. It is not uncommon for the kiosks to receive three answers from three departments, with the end result being all three statements retracted without a solution in place.

Re:Well, since it might get taken down... (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545443)

Dell is on a major decline. Back in the late 90s everyone wanted a Dell although they cost more then then others. But they were good systems... Dell sense has lowered the quality of the systems and made purchasing one a major hassle. Right now Apple is taking Dells spot as Yea it cost a bit more but it is worth it. PC.

wtf? (3, Insightful)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544587)

When The Consumerist published 22 tips for getting the best deal from Dell Computers, according to a self-described former Dell sales manager, Dell fired back with a take-down notice.

When are these companies going to learn that trying to suppress information on the internet just makes it multiply?

Re:wtf? (5, Informative)

qbwiz (87077) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544685)

When are these companies going to learn that trying to suppress information on the internet just makes it multiply?


Yesterday. [direct2dell.com]

Re:wtf? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19545045)

19) Dell offers choice. Our customers can order systems with Windows XP, Vista, Ubuntu, or no operating system at all. If Steve Jobs ever changes his tune on OS X, we'd probably offer it too.

Re:wtf? (5, Interesting)

farrellj (563) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545123)

Mr. Dell has realized that big business companies cannot compete in the computer field. I'd swear that he's been reading Toffler, and is trying to change direction of the monstrous ship called Dell. It's slow and ponderous, but it seems to be happening. Other than IBM, no other major computer company has made as public a commitment to Linux and Open Source as Dell has. HP will have to do something soon, if only to keep mindshare.

HP is going to be at a disadvantage because it has the same corporate setup that it has always had, no one person can step on and change the direction of the company like Jobs and Dell have done. In a world where change happens hourly, a bureaucratic organization is always going to be slower to change than a company where a person with a vision can cause change. It happened at Apple, and hopefully, it is happening at Dell.

ttyl
          Farrell

-----
FLIEGENDE KINDERSCHEISSE!

Re:wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19545859)

Maybe it's just to much movies?

In a world where change happens... hourly...,
        a bureaucratic organization....

A man... tries to change....
THIS SUMMER!

Re:wtf? (1)

Mex (191941) | more than 7 years ago | (#19546265)

Are you kidding? Dell's growth has been stagnant compared to HP's growth in the past couple of quarters. It's like everyone forgot about Fiorina and everyone loves HP now. At least clients do.

Re:wtf? (2, Insightful)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545127)

That webpage says "We goofed", but I don't see the most important part of an apology.
 
The "These are the steps that we have taken to insure that this does not happen in the future" part.

Re:wtf? (1)

michrech (468134) | more than 7 years ago | (#19546137)

That webpage says "We goofed", but I don't see the most important part of an apology.

The "These are the steps that we have taken to insure that this does not happen in the future" part.


Not only that, but it reads like a big advertisement..

"We goofed. We admit it. Here's all the stuff we want you to look at while you're considering buying another computer..."

Not good. I build my own systems, but guess where I *won't* be sending friends/co-workers/family in the future?

Re:wtf? (5, Funny)

shirai (42309) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544813)

My favorite part in the take-down notice is this:

Thank you. Note, though, it has been almost nine hours since we made the request, yet the posting is still up, with the number of hits growing logarithmically.
I think what they meant to say was exponentially. Logarithmic growth means it is slowing down really fast.

Note: Seems whenever a take-down notice is given, the number of hits grows... exponentially.

Re:wtf? (1)

Teifion (1022083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545083)

I think what they meant to say was exponentially. Logarithmic growth means it is slowing down really fast.
The Richter scale is logarithmic and quakes get more powerful as you add numbers, doesn't that mean you can say something grows at a logarithmic rate to say it's growing faster and faster?

Re:wtf? (2, Informative)

JanneM (7445) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545253)

Nope. Logarithmic growth generally means it's growing slower and slower, though never actually stopping.

Re:wtf? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19545259)

You misunderstand. The logarithmic function is being used in that case to scale the huge range of energy in earthquakes (everything from the effect of dropping a sledgehammer on the ground to exploding hundreds of atomic bombs in one spot) to a convenient "linear" Richter scale (it's actually based on something more complicated than "energy", but it's related). People's eyes usually glaze over when you talk about 9 or 10 orders of magnitude with the raw numbers.

Think of applying a logarithm (base 10) to some numbers:
input 10 is transformed to 1, 100 to 2, 1000 to 3, 10000 to 4
Clearly the logarithmic function is *diminishing* the otherwise exponential growth of this trend so that the output is linear.

By contrast, if something is actually growing at a logarithmic pace [wikipedia.org] then its rate of growth is declining. Put a linear input into a logarithmic function and see what happens.

Re:wtf? (1)

BlueTrin (683373) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545269)

Um ... not really ... a logarithmic scale is preferable to show exponential results.

Imagine that the Y axis is on a logarithmic scale, you will see small increases at the beginning then bigger increases. Like 1 2 5 10 25 100 1000 10000 ... etc, the number of hits grows exponentially and if you showed them on the appropriate logarithmic scale (versus time) you would see more or less a straight line, while on a normal scale you would see an exponential-type function ...

Re:wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19545285)

No. The richter scale is logarithmic, meaning that the number representing the magnitude of the quake is the logarithm of some measurement of how powerful the quake is. Same goes for measuring sound intensity using dB. A large change in intensity yields a small change in the number.

On the other hand, if something is growing logarithmically, it means that the quantity is growing proportionally with the logarithm of time. As time goes on, the quantity increases, but the speed at which it increases slows down.

Re:wtf? (1)

shirai (42309) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545485)

As my esteemed colleagues have already pointed out, nope.

But here's a few other points to clarify.

  • A straight line on a logarithmic graph is exponential growth.
  • If logarithmic growth actually meant increasing growth, then exponential growth would mean slowing growth, which I think you can agree is incorrect

To be fair, they are easy to confuse. I have in the past.

Re:wtf? (2, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545753)

I think what they meant to say was exponentially. Logarithmic growth means it is slowing down really fast.

Actually that's exponential decay. Logarithmic growth is growth, but very slow growth. Slower than linear growth.

Re:wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19544853)

Okay the info is out there and they can't take it back. That doesn't change the fact that someone seems to have breached their employee confidentiality agreement in a big way. Dell may have "apologized" but the guy is not off the hook.

Re:wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19545033)

You're so right. Just to prove it, here is another iteration:
- ----

Dell Demands Takedown Of Our "22 Confessions Of A Former Dell Sales Manager"

A former Dell kiosk manager writes us to share helpful tips about doing business with Dell. He has no particular problems with Dell, he just wanted to share some helpful tips for consumers looking to get the best deal. He includes info on getting the best deal from the website, different kinds of promotions the Dell offers, insider details on how the kiosk sales reps are compensated, what coupons and deals they have to offer you to close the deal, the email format for Dell in case you're thinking of launching an EECB, where to take your Dell credit card complaints, which extended warranties to avoid, how to get a domestic tech support rep... and more. It's very comprehensive. Enjoy!

I am a former Spherion rep that later became a Dell Branded Rep (manager) of a Dell kiosk in the Philadelphia, PA region. To work at one is to work at all, and I worked at four different kiosks in the region. I worked from July 2005 until October 2006, but keep regular contact with some of the guys I trained and brought up. Other than the usual complaints, I have no problem with the company.

Things most people know already:

1. Small business is better than home and home office - Small business typically runs a few dollars more than the home office, but you stand a better chance of getting domestic tech support rather than non-native English speakers. As an added perk, small business promotions are occasionally better than home.

2. Play with the web site - There are many different pricing packages for the same product throughout the various sections, typically three or more per segment. If you're buying a Dell soon, configure a unit from a link off the main page, from the product listing on the drop down and from the "As Advertised-Newspaper" drop down. Configure the same system each way at the home, small business and the Direct (kiosk) site (http://www.dell.com/directstore). It is very likely you will end up with nine different prices.

3. Extended warranty for laptops - Do it for as long as you feasibly see using your laptop, and include accidental. Two years is typically the lifecycle from "new product" to "no longer produced/no more refurbs" though YMMV. Once your model is off the refurb site, drop it. Voila! New laptop. The standard warranty will not cover any screen defects.

UPDATE: Current Dell rep says: If a system is no longer shipping a used/refurbished is always sent, though the refurb should be equal or better as far as hardware is concerned. As of this writing if a system is exchanged, via either Complete Care warranty or concession, and the system is still a currently shipping model a new system is to be sent.

4. Extended warranty for desktops - There is nothing in a low end desktop (non XPS) that is worth the price of the warranty should you have to replace it. Only pick it up if you have absolutely no clue what you're doing once the case is open.

5. Tech support phone - If you do go with the home/home office/direct route, tech support is outsourced (duh!). The tech support instant messenger typically provides a calmer, more understandable conversation due to the fact that accents are taken out of the equation. Think back to high school Spanish. It was always easier to translate the foreign language you were reading than if you heard it. Same concept applies here.

6. Tech support web site - If you're having a common problem, hit the product forums (however crippled they may be now). It is very likely your question/problem has been resolved before, and usually a domestic tech rep posted a solution there.

7. Warranty Repairs - On all but the two lowest warranties (90 day and 1 year limited), warranty repairs will be done in the home. The repair techs are only required to replace the broken part. They are not required to do anything else. If they replace your hard drive, they are not required to reinstall your OS or drivers. Most will do it if you're nice, but don't expect it. If you're clueless, there are tutorials all over http://support.dell.com/ [dell.com] [dell.com] that tell you how to do it yourself.

UPDATE: Current Dell rep says: Also with desktop machines at home service is the only option. Notebooks on the other hand may have a return to depot or an at home service contract.

8. OS Backup Disk - For over a year now, Dell has required you to purchase your Backup/Reinstall Disk. Order this with your machine. Once your Dell is delivered, it is a pain to get the disk at all, much less at a sensible price. If you do not have this disk and your hard drive dies, at home warranty repair will not be able to get your PC running once the drive is swapped without selling you a new copy of your OS.

UPDATE: Current Dell rep says: Dell no longer requires the purchase of the backup disk. They are included with every computer that ships with a Windows OS. On the subject of hard drives, if your drive fails within the first year of purchase you should be sent an imaged drive that will contain everything except for your royalty applications (Office etc). If for some reason you lose the media, you can request the OS, Resource/Drivers disk, and the applications disk at no cost to you. (Even if you are no longer under warranty Dell will send you an OS disk) Note that the Resource/Drivers and Applications disk is only available for currently shipping systems. Should you need to reinstall you'll need to download the drivers from support.dell.com from another computer and copy them over. Last, within the first year of purchase, if you need to reinstall the OS and you can't access the recovery image, or if it was deleted for some reason, you can request an System Recovery CD that does pretty much the same thing. (Not available on notebooks due to the Media Direct partition.)

9. DPA/Dell Preferred - This is the Dell credit card, like a Sears, Macy's or Radio Shack credit card. Typically a high rate, low limit card. The lowest APR is still around 18-20%, and that comes with a $5,000 limit. The $4,000, $3,000 and $2,000 limits have rates in the mid to high 20s. The lowest limt, $1,500, has an APR of 29.99%. NEVER USE THIS UNLESS THERE IS A KILLER NO INTEREST PROMOTION.

                        a. Interesting Note: In the Back-To-School season of 2005, DFS (Dell Financial Service) was issuing cards to 18 year olds with a $7,000 limit and a 29.99% interest rate.

Stuff you may not know:

1. Promotion cycle dates - Thursday is the first day of new promotions. If you go to the web site at 11:45 p.m. on Wednesday night and again on 1 a.m. on Thursday morning, the promotions are different. The catalog promotions run from the start of the month to the end. Additionally, on holiday weekends (Memorial Day, 4th of July, etc.) there may be special sales/coupons for the three-day weekend.

2. Promotion styles - Typically, one week will be cash off while the next will be percentage off. If you liked cash off but the current promotion is percentage off, check the "As Advertised-Newspaper" section. These typically have a remnant of the prior week's promotion as well as better versions of the current week's promotions. Cash off helps for cheap systems, percentage off helps with high-end.

3. Dell Customer Care can price match within 24 hours from the time of order. Combining #1 and #2 from this section, if you are unsure of the value of the week's promotion but need to order something, order it Wednesday night. Check the promotions for the new week on Thursday. If its better, call and price match. If its not, sit back and feel smug for no reason

4. Dell corporate email - As of December 2006, everybody (save Michael Dell) working for Dell U.S. has the same form of email address: firstname_lastname@dell.com. Michael Dell's does not follow this pattern and is changed immediately whenever the current one is discovered by lower-level employees or the public.

5. Dell's internal fiscal calendar is different from other corporations. As their fiscal year ends in January or February (I honestly don't remember), the best deals will typically be found in late January and all of February. Also, buying during the last week of any quarter typically means free or deeply-discounted 2nd day or overnight shipping, and the quickest order turnaround. There are no steep discounts for the holidays, though they will run a few weeks of consecutive percentage off promotions during the back to school season in August.

6. The DFS servers are notoriously flimsy. If you apply for DPA (why would you?) and it is unable to complete, it means the server is overloaded but your credit rating has already been pinged. Reapplying will not fix the issue but it will repeatedly ping your credit. The system is unable to verify cell phone numbers and will automatically reject based on the use of one.

Fun facts about the Kiosks:

1. Why should I shop at a kiosk? I can order from home. - A very valid point, but the majority of kiosk customers are morons who think computers are magic boxes that let you see pictures of cats in funny poses while someone steals your AOL password. There's a few reasons why an educated person aka Consumerist reader should hit the kiosk up:

                        a. Discounts - There are several ways the Dell Direct kiosks can attempt to match or beat an online deal.

                                                i. Closing tools - Dollar off coupons that depend on how much you spend. Spend $600=$25 off; $1200=$50 off; $1,600=$75 off; $2,000=$100 off.

                                                ii. Refuse to Lose - 10% coupons meant to allow a sales rep to seal a large deal. These can only be used when the computer price alone is $1,600 or more. It can not be used on accessories, TVs or multiple computers whose aggregate value is above $1,600. This must be requested from the Manager on Duty (MOD) through an email request, and will generally be credited before the computer is shipped.

                                                iii. DPA coupon - Dell will already give you 2% off your order if, at the payment screen you click the link that offers 2% off when you pay with DPA. The kiosks have a 3% DPA closing tool that can be used also, giving a discount of slightly over 5%. This works for all DPA purchases including TV's, monitors and cameras.

                                                iv. The closing tools are nothing but individual-use coupons entered at the shopping cart. They are invalid on the home and small business site. Reps are supposed to use them as a last-ditch effort, but as long as you're not buying a sub-$600 system, they should offer them without your having to ask.

                        b. Printer cartridges - No you can't buy them there...officially. They are non-inventoried items that many kiosks have a heady supply of due to inexplicably random deliveries from corporate. If you're in a pinch and need one that day, go (don't call), get a feel for the employees, and if you think they're cool with it, offer cash.

2. There are two levels of kiosk employees. There are those hired by Spherion, creatively known as "Spherion reps," and then there are Dell Branded Reps, or DBRs. DBRs are effectively the management of the individual kiosk, and are the only ones able to work uncompensated overtime. Deal with them if possible, because they are very likely to be there the next time if you have a question. They've also been there much longer than any other kiosk staff, so they likely have a much better skill set for finding bargains.

3. If you have a problem with DPA, the kiosk has a specific email contact for Dell Financial. Problems can be resolved much much faster.

4. The Dell Direct kiosk website is configured differently than the others. There are "bundles" (linked from the main page under the "start shopping" graphics) and there are "non-bundles". Bundles, so called because...you guessed it...accessories and service are already bundled in, have a higher profit margin. They are also the most customizable system on the website. Non-bundles carry lower profit margins but may be limited. The salesman will always start from a bundle. Let them finish, then make them search the non-bundles for an equal system with a better price.

5. Kiosk reps are judged on the following:

                        a. Unit price: The average sale price of each reps transactions. $1,200 was the goal as of March, 2007 but $1,600 was preferred.

                        b. Bundle percentage: Dell varies on what percentage of all sales it wants to be from the "bundle" page depending on the month and who you're talking to. It is typically between 40% and 60%.

                        c. Service: Each PC/Notebook sale is expected to have a 3 year warranty attached. Typically, the number is between $160 and $200.

                        d. E&A: This is the percentage of the sale that was spent on accessories. Each transaction should have between 5% and 10%, or one printer and cable per PC or one bag, lock and travel mouse per Notebook.

                        e. DPA: Dell Preferred Account purchases. The expected percentage of DPA sales has climbed in the past years. It currently hovers between 40% and 60%, and they want a 1 to 1 customer to submitted application ratio.

6. Secret shoppers - The kiosks are secret shopped constantly, and they're playing of a 20-question scorecard. Don't be surprised if the salesman asks really base/borderline-insulting questions if you act interested. They think you're a secret shopper.

7. Communication - Complaints made about Dell to the kiosk reps go unheard. There is no place for the rep to turn around and report the complaint to. Communication between reps and even district management is limited, and reps are discouraged from calling the regional management. Store, district and regional management are all run from email and cell phones. It is not uncommon for the kiosks to receive three answers from three departments, with the end result being all three statements retracted without a solution in place.

Re:wtf? (4, Interesting)

dsginter (104154) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545115)

When are these companies going to learn that trying to suppress information on the internet just makes it multiply?

This is already well documented as the Streisand Effect [wikipedia.org] . If I were Michael Dell, I would fire whomever sent the take-down notice. The outcome was quite predictable by anyone with half a brain (especially after the very recent AACS fiasco).

Re:wtfraud? (4, Insightful)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545227)

I'm goig to buck the slashdoxy and defend Dell. Please read the full post before modding down.

Doesn't #3 bother anyone else? It is explicit instructions on how to commit insurance fraud. If I were Dell management, I'd want it taken down for that reason alone. ( How would you feel if someone posted your bank password on the net, thus enabling any reader to defraud you? )

Re:wtfraud? (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545547)

Is #3 really insurance fraud, or just advice on what insurance not to buy? Maybe telling the world that most laptop lines are only supported for two years is more than Dell would like to admit, but it's not like any informed consumer think that any laptop is going to up to date for more than a few years. This was no great secret.

Re:wtfraud? (5, Insightful)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545695)

As you say, other parts of the same paragraph may indeed offer advice on what insurance to buy or not buy, but quoting from item #3 of the website in question: "Once your model is off the refurb site, drop it. Voila! New laptop."
This looks pretty clear to me. On a certain date, deliberately damage the merchandise, and the insurance that you bought will get you a new one. This part is advice on how to commit fraud. Surrounding it with other advice doesn't change that.

Re:wtfraud? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 7 years ago | (#19546091)

On a certain date, deliberately damage the merchandise, and the insurance that you bought will get you a new one.

OK, yes, I completely understand your point and I wouldn't do it myself. On the other hand, the contract says "if you pay us money and break your laptop, we will replace it". I'm not really sure if I'd consider it fraud if someone does exactly what their contract permits them to do. Sleazy, sure. Fraudulent? I don't know; Dell wrote the contract and those are the terms they offered.

Now, I have seen similar clauses used to protect the customer. My friend bought some random gadget from a big box store and realized that it didn't meet the specs on the box. When he tried to return it, the CS rep insisted that you could only return defective or damaged merchandise.

Rep: So, you can't return that.
Friend: Wait, your sign says that if it's broken I can.
Rep: But it's not broken.
Friend: ....yet. See where I'm going with this?
Rep: Do you want that in cash or store credit?

Re:wtfraud? (1)

falsified (638041) | more than 7 years ago | (#19546057)

This will (rightly) be considered redundant but it bears repeating twice lest someone tries this:

This is the exact definition of insurance fraud. Buying a policy with the explicit and premeditated goal of causing damage in order to collect on the policy is exactly what insurance fraud is.

Fraud requires dishonesty (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 7 years ago | (#19546247)

Actually, insurance fraud doesn't require the decision to be premeditated before the purchase of the insurance policy. If I torched my house tomorrow & tried to collect my homeowner's insurance, it would still be fraud, even though when I bought it several years ago I wasn't intending to burn it down.

Also, fraud requires deception. If my insurance policy didn't exclude damage intentionally inflicted by me, I could burn it down & it wouldn't be fraud. So, really, the requirement is lying in order to collect an insurance claim.

Re:wtfraud? (1)

schwaang (667808) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545943)

Yes it's unethical. I'd never do that on purpose myself, but it's good to know anyway.

Huge penis (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19544601)

In your butt. [goatse.cz]

TFA - In case the original gets taken down (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19544627)

Dell Demands Takedown Of Our "22 Confessions Of A Former Dell Sales Manager"

A former Dell kiosk manager writes us to share helpful tips about doing business with Dell. He has no particular problems with Dell, he just wanted to share some helpful tips for consumers looking to get the best deal. He includes info on getting the best deal from the website, different kinds of promotions the Dell offers, insider details on how the kiosk sales reps are compensated, what coupons and deals they have to offer you to close the deal, the email format for Dell in case you're thinking of launching an EECB, where to take your Dell credit card complaints, which extended warranties to avoid, how to get a domestic tech support rep... and more. It's very comprehensive. Enjoy!

I am a former Spherion rep that later became a Dell Branded Rep (manager) of a Dell kiosk in the Philadelphia, PA region. To work at one is to work at all, and I worked at four different kiosks in the region. I worked from July 2005 until October 2006, but keep regular contact with some of the guys I trained and brought up. Other than the usual complaints, I have no problem with the company.

Things most people know already:

1. Small business is better than home and home office - Small business typically runs a few dollars more than the home office, but you stand a better chance of getting domestic tech support rather than non-native English speakers. As an added perk, small business promotions are occasionally better than home.

2. Play with the web site - There are many different pricing packages for the same product throughout the various sections, typically three or more per segment. If you're buying a Dell soon, configure a unit from a link off the main page, from the product listing on the drop down and from the "As Advertised-Newspaper" drop down. Configure the same system each way at the home, small business and the Direct (kiosk) site (http://www.dell.com/directstore). It is very likely you will end up with nine different prices.

3. Extended warranty for laptops - Do it for as long as you feasibly see using your laptop, and include accidental. Two years is typically the lifecycle from "new product" to "no longer produced/no more refurbs" though YMMV. Once your model is off the refurb site, drop it. Voila! New laptop. The standard warranty will not cover any screen defects.

UPDATE: Current Dell rep says: If a system is no longer shipping a used/refurbished is always sent, though the refurb should be equal or better as far as hardware is concerned. As of this writing if a system is exchanged, via either Complete Care warranty or concession, and the system is still a currently shipping model a new system is to be sent.

4. Extended warranty for desktops - There is nothing in a low end desktop (non XPS) that is worth the price of the warranty should you have to replace it. Only pick it up if you have absolutely no clue what you're doing once the case is open.

5. Tech support phone - If you do go with the home/home office/direct route, tech support is outsourced (duh!). The tech support instant messenger typically provides a calmer, more understandable conversation due to the fact that accents are taken out of the equation. Think back to high school Spanish. It was always easier to translate the foreign language you were reading than if you heard it. Same concept applies here.

6. Tech support web site - If you're having a common problem, hit the product forums (however crippled they may be now). It is very likely your question/problem has been resolved before, and usually a domestic tech rep posted a solution there.

7. Warranty Repairs - On all but the two lowest warranties (90 day and 1 year limited), warranty repairs will be done in the home. The repair techs are only required to replace the broken part. They are not required to do anything else. If they replace your hard drive, they are not required to reinstall your OS or drivers. Most will do it if you're nice, but don't expect it. If you're clueless, there are tutorials all over http://support.dell.com/ [dell.com] that tell you how to do it yourself.

UPDATE: Current Dell rep says: Also with desktop machines at home service is the only option. Notebooks on the other hand may have a return to depot or an at home service contract.

8. OS Backup Disk - For over a year now, Dell has required you to purchase your Backup/Reinstall Disk. Order this with your machine. Once your Dell is delivered, it is a pain to get the disk at all, much less at a sensible price. If you do not have this disk and your hard drive dies, at home warranty repair will not be able to get your PC running once the drive is swapped without selling you a new copy of your OS.

UPDATE: Current Dell rep says: Dell no longer requires the purchase of the backup disk. They are included with every computer that ships with a Windows OS. On the subject of hard drives, if your drive fails within the first year of purchase you should be sent an imaged drive that will contain everything except for your royalty applications (Office etc). If for some reason you lose the media, you can request the OS, Resource/Drivers disk, and the applications disk at no cost to you. (Even if you are no longer under warranty Dell will send you an OS disk) Note that the Resource/Drivers and Applications disk is only available for currently shipping systems. Should you need to reinstall you'll need to download the drivers from support.dell.com from another computer and copy them over. Last, within the first year of purchase, if you need to reinstall the OS and you can't access the recovery image, or if it was deleted for some reason, you can request an System Recovery CD that does pretty much the same thing. (Not available on notebooks due to the Media Direct partition.)

9. DPA/Dell Preferred - This is the Dell credit card, like a Sears, Macy's or Radio Shack credit card. Typically a high rate, low limit card. The lowest APR is still around 18-20%, and that comes with a $5,000 limit. The $4,000, $3,000 and $2,000 limits have rates in the mid to high 20s. The lowest limt, $1,500, has an APR of 29.99%. NEVER USE THIS UNLESS THERE IS A KILLER NO INTEREST PROMOTION.

            a. Interesting Note: In the Back-To-School season of 2005, DFS (Dell Financial Service) was issuing cards to 18 year olds with a $7,000 limit and a 29.99% interest rate.

Stuff you may not know:

1. Promotion cycle dates - Thursday is the first day of new promotions. If you go to the web site at 11:45 p.m. on Wednesday night and again on 1 a.m. on Thursday morning, the promotions are different. The catalog promotions run from the start of the month to the end. Additionally, on holiday weekends (Memorial Day, 4th of July, etc.) there may be special sales/coupons for the three-day weekend.

2. Promotion styles - Typically, one week will be cash off while the next will be percentage off. If you liked cash off but the current promotion is percentage off, check the "As Advertised-Newspaper" section. These typically have a remnant of the prior week's promotion as well as better versions of the current week's promotions. Cash off helps for cheap systems, percentage off helps with high-end.

3. Dell Customer Care can price match within 24 hours from the time of order. Combining #1 and #2 from this section, if you are unsure of the value of the week's promotion but need to order something, order it Wednesday night. Check the promotions for the new week on Thursday. If its better, call and price match. If its not, sit back and feel smug for no reason

4. Dell corporate email - As of December 2006, everybody (save Michael Dell) working for Dell U.S. has the same form of email address: firstname_lastname@dell.com. Michael Dell's does not follow this pattern and is changed immediately whenever the current one is discovered by lower-level employees or the public.

5. Dell's internal fiscal calendar is different from other corporations. As their fiscal year ends in January or February (I honestly don't remember), the best deals will typically be found in late January and all of February. Also, buying during the last week of any quarter typically means free or deeply-discounted 2nd day or overnight shipping, and the quickest order turnaround. There are no steep discounts for the holidays, though they will run a few weeks of consecutive percentage off promotions during the back to school season in August.

6. The DFS servers are notoriously flimsy. If you apply for DPA (why would you?) and it is unable to complete, it means the server is overloaded but your credit rating has already been pinged. Reapplying will not fix the issue but it will repeatedly ping your credit. The system is unable to verify cell phone numbers and will automatically reject based on the use of one.

Fun facts about the Kiosks:

1. Why should I shop at a kiosk? I can order from home. - A very valid point, but the majority of kiosk customers are morons who think computers are magic boxes that let you see pictures of cats in funny poses while someone steals your AOL password. There's a few reasons why an educated person aka Consumerist reader should hit the kiosk up:

            a. Discounts - There are several ways the Dell Direct kiosks can attempt to match or beat an online deal.

                        i. Closing tools - Dollar off coupons that depend on how much you spend. Spend $600=$25 off; $1200=$50 off; $1,600=$75 off; $2,000=$100 off.

                        ii. Refuse to Lose - 10% coupons meant to allow a sales rep to seal a large deal. These can only be used when the computer price alone is $1,600 or more. It can not be used on accessories, TVs or multiple computers whose aggregate value is above $1,600. This must be requested from the Manager on Duty (MOD) through an email request, and will generally be credited before the computer is shipped.

                        iii. DPA coupon - Dell will already give you 2% off your order if, at the payment screen you click the link that offers 2% off when you pay with DPA. The kiosks have a 3% DPA closing tool that can be used also, giving a discount of slightly over 5%. This works for all DPA purchases including TV's, monitors and cameras.

                        iv. The closing tools are nothing but individual-use coupons entered at the shopping cart. They are invalid on the home and small business site. Reps are supposed to use them as a last-ditch effort, but as long as you're not buying a sub-$600 system, they should offer them without your having to ask.

            b. Printer cartridges - No you can't buy them there...officially. They are non-inventoried items that many kiosks have a heady supply of due to inexplicably random deliveries from corporate. If you're in a pinch and need one that day, go (don't call), get a feel for the employees, and if you think they're cool with it, offer cash.

2. There are two levels of kiosk employees. There are those hired by Spherion, creatively known as "Spherion reps," and then there are Dell Branded Reps, or DBRs. DBRs are effectively the management of the individual kiosk, and are the only ones able to work uncompensated overtime. Deal with them if possible, because they are very likely to be there the next time if you have a question. They've also been there much longer than any other kiosk staff, so they likely have a much better skill set for finding bargains.

3. If you have a problem with DPA, the kiosk has a specific email contact for Dell Financial. Problems can be resolved much much faster.

4. The Dell Direct kiosk website is configured differently than the others. There are "bundles" (linked from the main page under the "start shopping" graphics) and there are "non-bundles". Bundles, so called because...you guessed it...accessories and service are already bundled in, have a higher profit margin. They are also the most customizable system on the website. Non-bundles carry lower profit margins but may be limited. The salesman will always start from a bundle. Let them finish, then make them search the non-bundles for an equal system with a better price.

5. Kiosk reps are judged on the following:

            a. Unit price: The average sale price of each reps transactions. $1,200 was the goal as of March, 2007 but $1,600 was preferred.

            b. Bundle percentage: Dell varies on what percentage of all sales it wants to be from the "bundle" page depending on the month and who you're talking to. It is typically between 40% and 60%.

            c. Service: Each PC/Notebook sale is expected to have a 3 year warranty attached. Typically, the number is between $160 and $200.

            d. E&A: This is the percentage of the sale that was spent on accessories. Each transaction should have between 5% and 10%, or one printer and cable per PC or one bag, lock and travel mouse per Notebook.

            e. DPA: Dell Preferred Account purchases. The expected percentage of DPA sales has climbed in the past years. It currently hovers between 40% and 60%, and they want a 1 to 1 customer to submitted application ratio.

6. Secret shoppers - The kiosks are secret shopped constantly, and they're playing of a 20-question scorecard. Don't be surprised if the salesman asks really base/borderline-insulting questions if you act interested. They think you're a secret shopper.

7. Communication - Complaints made about Dell to the kiosk reps go unheard. There is no place for the rep to turn around and report the complaint to. Communication between reps and even district management is limited, and reps are discouraged from calling the regional management. Store, district and regional management are all run from email and cell phones. It is not uncommon for the kiosks to receive three answers from three departments, with the end result being all three statements retracted without a solution in place.

Dell already apologized (3, Insightful)

Urusai (865560) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544641)

Re:Dell already apologized (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544781)

According to that link, Michael Dell plays WoW - anybody know which server/faction? Only question is do you twink or grief?

nice try (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19544647)

good idea because take down notices sure do work well. 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

Re:nice try (0, Troll)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545247)

You betcha! 04 AE 82 5B E8 C0 CK 1N UR MUM 10 13 13 37

Re:nice try (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19545427)

It worked so well that everyone forgot about 45 5F E1 04 22 CA 29 C4 93 3F 95 05 2B 79 2A B2.

the thing about dell (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19544651)

if you buy a dell, you're a dumb ass.
 
if you buy a dell with linux on it you're a faggot and a dumb ass.

keeping people honest (1, Insightful)

drDugan (219551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544661)

Oh the Tragedy!

Somebody lets the cat out of the bag about the crap and value within a company product suite, and they go back to DMCA and takedowns.

We are reaching the middle of the sigmoid on information exchange - until now many have still been in the old model, and moving forward there will be more activity in the new (open free information exchange) model. Old-style enterprises are pissed off by the new model. How DARE they tattle on where they make some extra money at te expense of their cusotmers. This will only increase and radically change the nature of business activity for the better, so long as people really can continue to exchange information and know who each other really are.

Re:keeping people honest (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545185)

It wasn't even a DMCA takedown threat. They simply stated that the article included proprietary info and had to be taken down.

Re:keeping people honest (1)

drDugan (219551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545733)

yes, hence the "and".

Stop smoking your hippie dust (5, Insightful)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545237)

FTFA:

3. Extended warranty for laptops - Do it for as long as you feasibly see using your laptop, and include accidental. Two years is typically the lifecycle from "new product" to "no longer produced/no more refurbs" though YMMV. Once your model is off the refurb site, drop it. Voila! New laptop. The standard warranty will not cover any screen defects.
That's not "keeping people honest," that's encouraging fraud and abuse of the warranty system. Also see their suggestion on how to get Dell reps to steal printer ink for you ("offer cash")

Re:Stop smoking your hippie dust (0, Flamebait)

drDugan (219551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545841)

Maybe this was just a troll, but I don't think so. It sounds that you really believe you are in the right. Do you think that preventing people from sharing information with legal action is the correct way for corporations to maintain their profit margins? Please do elaborate.

And that "hippie dust" you smell, that is called compassion and balance, and it is fueled by what many call "web 2.0" - a revolution in human norms with several billion people all awakening to the gross and ridiculous activities of many wealthy corporations of the world. You really should live it up while you still can karma will catch you.

Your attempt at a pejorative dig shows how intolerant and ignorant you are of what is happening outside of the TV-drivel-eating masses in the US-centric, capitalist, English-speaking money-worship isolated culture you espouse.

Nice cherry-pick on your retort too. The OP was written after I RTFA and your bolding of one phrase to support your argument is, well, powerful in it's own way.

Re:Stop smoking your hippie dust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19546031)

All this over pointing out it is not 'cool' to advice people to break the law? It's not only legally wrong to cheat the warranty, it is also morally wrong and reprehensible to mislead people into thinking otherwise ("It's OK, kid. Just destroy your laptop and you get a new one for FREE!!!111! Hey, you already paid for complete care, they owe it to ya.")

Is it apropriate to use legal means to stop people from 'sharing information'? That depends on your attitude to the 'information.' Do you like child porn 'information,' asshole? Do you like advice on how to stalk, catch, rape, and kill women? Do you like posting instructions for skript kiddies to hack and manipulate nuclear missile launch fascilities, aircraft control modules, and power stations?
I say people who do that need help (psycho treatment, jail, etc.) but that's just me, sorry for not being web2.0 compliant, very sorry...

Grow up already.

Article text (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19544677)

"You might want to look quickly, in the event it does get taken down."

Or you could just repost it somewhere. Wheee.

Things most people know already:

1. Small business is better than home and home office - Small business typically runs a few dollars more than the home office, but you stand a better chance of getting domestic tech support rather than non-native English speakers. As an added perk, small business promotions are occasionally better than home.

2. Play with the web site - There are many different pricing packages for the same product throughout the various sections, typically three or more per segment. If you're buying a Dell soon, configure a unit from a link off the main page, from the product listing on the drop down and from the "As Advertised-Newspaper" drop down. Configure the same system each way at the home, small business and the Direct (kiosk) site (http://www.dell.com/directstore). It is very likely you will end up with nine different prices.

3. Extended warranty for laptops - Do it for as long as you feasibly see using your laptop, and include accidental. Two years is typically the lifecycle from "new product" to "no longer produced/no more refurbs" though YMMV. Once your model is off the refurb site, drop it. Voila! New laptop. The standard warranty will not cover any screen defects.

UPDATE: Current Dell rep says: If a system is no longer shipping a used/refurbished is always sent, though the refurb should be equal or better as far as hardware is concerned. As of this writing if a system is exchanged, via either Complete Care warranty or concession, and the system is still a currently shipping model a new system is to be sent.

4. Extended warranty for desktops - There is nothing in a low end desktop (non XPS) that is worth the price of the warranty should you have to replace it. Only pick it up if you have absolutely no clue what you're doing once the case is open.

5. Tech support phone - If you do go with the home/home office/direct route, tech support is outsourced (duh!). The tech support instant messenger typically provides a calmer, more understandable conversation due to the fact that accents are taken out of the equation. Think back to high school Spanish. It was always easier to translate the foreign language you were reading than if you heard it. Same concept applies here.

6. Tech support web site - If you're having a common problem, hit the product forums (however crippled they may be now). It is very likely your question/problem has been resolved before, and usually a domestic tech rep posted a solution there.

7. Warranty Repairs - On all but the two lowest warranties (90 day and 1 year limited), warranty repairs will be done in the home. The repair techs are only required to replace the broken part. They are not required to do anything else. If they replace your hard drive, they are not required to reinstall your OS or drivers. Most will do it if you're nice, but don't expect it. If you're clueless, there are tutorials all over http://support.dell.com/ [dell.com] that tell you how to do it yourself.

UPDATE: Current Dell rep says: Also with desktop machines at home service is the only option. Notebooks on the other hand may have a return to depot or an at home service contract.

8. OS Backup Disk - For over a year now, Dell has required you to purchase your Backup/Reinstall Disk. Order this with your machine. Once your Dell is delivered, it is a pain to get the disk at all, much less at a sensible price. If you do not have this disk and your hard drive dies, at home warranty repair will not be able to get your PC running once the drive is swapped without selling you a new copy of your OS.

UPDATE: Current Dell rep says: Dell no longer requires the purchase of the backup disk. They are included with every computer that ships with a Windows OS. On the subject of hard drives, if your drive fails within the first year of purchase you should be sent an imaged drive that will contain everything except for your royalty applications (Office etc). If for some reason you lose the media, you can request the OS, Resource/Drivers disk, and the applications disk at no cost to you. (Even if you are no longer under warranty Dell will send you an OS disk) Note that the Resource/Drivers and Applications disk is only available for currently shipping systems. Should you need to reinstall you'll need to download the drivers from support.dell.com from another computer and copy them over. Last, within the first year of purchase, if you need to reinstall the OS and you can't access the recovery image, or if it was deleted for some reason, you can request an System Recovery CD that does pretty much the same thing. (Not available on notebooks due to the Media Direct partition.)

9. DPA/Dell Preferred - This is the Dell credit card, like a Sears, Macy's or Radio Shack credit card. Typically a high rate, low limit card. The lowest APR is still around 18-20%, and that comes with a $5,000 limit. The $4,000, $3,000 and $2,000 limits have rates in the mid to high 20s. The lowest limt, $1,500, has an APR of 29.99%. NEVER USE THIS UNLESS THERE IS A KILLER NO INTEREST PROMOTION.

            a. Interesting Note: In the Back-To-School season of 2005, DFS (Dell Financial Service) was issuing cards to 18 year olds with a $7,000 limit and a 29.99% interest rate.

Stuff you may not know:

1. Promotion cycle dates - Thursday is the first day of new promotions. If you go to the web site at 11:45 p.m. on Wednesday night and again on 1 a.m. on Thursday morning, the promotions are different. The catalog promotions run from the start of the month to the end. Additionally, on holiday weekends (Memorial Day, 4th of July, etc.) there may be special sales/coupons for the three-day weekend.

2. Promotion styles - Typically, one week will be cash off while the next will be percentage off. If you liked cash off but the current promotion is percentage off, check the "As Advertised-Newspaper" section. These typically have a remnant of the prior week's promotion as well as better versions of the current week's promotions. Cash off helps for cheap systems, percentage off helps with high-end.

3. Dell Customer Care can price match within 24 hours from the time of order. Combining #1 and #2 from this section, if you are unsure of the value of the week's promotion but need to order something, order it Wednesday night. Check the promotions for the new week on Thursday. If its better, call and price match. If its not, sit back and feel smug for no reason

4. Dell corporate email - As of December 2006, everybody (save Michael Dell) working for Dell U.S. has the same form of email address: firstname_lastname@dell.com. Michael Dell's does not follow this pattern and is changed immediately whenever the current one is discovered by lower-level employees or the public.

5. Dell's internal fiscal calendar is different from other corporations. As their fiscal year ends in January or February (I honestly don't remember), the best deals will typically be found in late January and all of February. Also, buying during the last week of any quarter typically means free or deeply-discounted 2nd day or overnight shipping, and the quickest order turnaround. There are no steep discounts for the holidays, though they will run a few weeks of consecutive percentage off promotions during the back to school season in August.

6. The DFS servers are notoriously flimsy. If you apply for DPA (why would you?) and it is unable to complete, it means the server is overloaded but your credit rating has already been pinged. Reapplying will not fix the issue but it will repeatedly ping your credit. The system is unable to verify cell phone numbers and will automatically reject based on the use of one.

Fun facts about the Kiosks:

1. Why should I shop at a kiosk? I can order from home. - A very valid point, but the majority of kiosk customers are morons who think computers are magic boxes that let you see pictures of cats in funny poses while someone steals your AOL password. There's a few reasons why an educated person aka Consumerist reader should hit the kiosk up:

            a. Discounts - There are several ways the Dell Direct kiosks can attempt to match or beat an online deal.

                        i. Closing tools - Dollar off coupons that depend on how much you spend. Spend $600=$25 off; $1200=$50 off; $1,600=$75 off; $2,000=$100 off.

                        ii. Refuse to Lose - 10% coupons meant to allow a sales rep to seal a large deal. These can only be used when the computer price alone is $1,600 or more. It can not be used on accessories, TVs or multiple computers whose aggregate value is above $1,600. This must be requested from the Manager on Duty (MOD) through an email request, and will generally be credited before the computer is shipped.

                        iii. DPA coupon - Dell will already give you 2% off your order if, at the payment screen you click the link that offers 2% off when you pay with DPA. The kiosks have a 3% DPA closing tool that can be used also, giving a discount of slightly over 5%. This works for all DPA purchases including TV's, monitors and cameras.

                        iv. The closing tools are nothing but individual-use coupons entered at the shopping cart. They are invalid on the home and small business site. Reps are supposed to use them as a last-ditch effort, but as long as you're not buying a sub-$600 system, they should offer them without your having to ask.

            b. Printer cartridges - No you can't buy them there...officially. They are non-inventoried items that many kiosks have a heady supply of due to inexplicably random deliveries from corporate. If you're in a pinch and need one that day, go (don't call), get a feel for the employees, and if you think they're cool with it, offer cash.

2. There are two levels of kiosk employees. There are those hired by Spherion, creatively known as "Spherion reps," and then there are Dell Branded Reps, or DBRs. DBRs are effectively the management of the individual kiosk, and are the only ones able to work uncompensated overtime. Deal with them if possible, because they are very likely to be there the next time if you have a question. They've also been there much longer than any other kiosk staff, so they likely have a much better skill set for finding bargains.

3. If you have a problem with DPA, the kiosk has a specific email contact for Dell Financial. Problems can be resolved much much faster.

4. The Dell Direct kiosk website is configured differently than the others. There are "bundles" (linked from the main page under the "start shopping" graphics) and there are "non-bundles". Bundles, so called because...you guessed it...accessories and service are already bundled in, have a higher profit margin. They are also the most customizable system on the website. Non-bundles carry lower profit margins but may be limited. The salesman will always start from a bundle. Let them finish, then make them search the non-bundles for an equal system with a better price.

5. Kiosk reps are judged on the following:

            a. Unit price: The average sale price of each reps transactions. $1,200 was the goal as of March, 2007 but $1,600 was preferred.

            b. Bundle percentage: Dell varies on what percentage of all sales it wants to be from the "bundle" page depending on the month and who you're talking to. It is typically between 40% and 60%.

            c. Service: Each PC/Notebook sale is expected to have a 3 year warranty attached. Typically, the number is between $160 and $200.

            d. E&A: This is the percentage of the sale that was spent on accessories. Each transaction should have between 5% and 10%, or one printer and cable per PC or one bag, lock and travel mouse per Notebook.

            e. DPA: Dell Preferred Account purchases. The expected percentage of DPA sales has climbed in the past years. It currently hovers between 40% and 60%, and they want a 1 to 1 customer to submitted application ratio.

6. Secret shoppers - The kiosks are secret shopped constantly, and they're playing of a 20-question scorecard. Don't be surprised if the salesman asks really base/borderline-insulting questions if you act interested. They think you're a secret shopper.

7. Communication - Complaints made about Dell to the kiosk reps go unheard. There is no place for the rep to turn around and report the complaint to. Communication between reps and even district management is limited, and reps are discouraged from calling the regional management. Store, district and regional management are all run from email and cell phones. It is not uncommon for the kiosks to receive three answers from three departments, with the end result being all three statements retracted without a solution in place.

Best Dell trick I found was... (4, Informative)

Aphrika (756248) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544687)

Get the 1 year return to base support when you buy the PC.

About 2 weeks after you receive the system, you'll get a phone call and an offer to upgrade to the full 3 year on-site support for around £30 ($60). That worked out at about a third of the price than if I'd bought it.

Insurance Fraud (5, Insightful)

kebes (861706) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544715)

I'm all for trying to get the best deal you can on any purchase. However one of the recommendations is:

3. Extended warranty for laptops ...Once your model is off the refurb site, drop it. Voila! New laptop.
So, basically, the recommendation is to purposefully destroy your laptop, and then file a claim under the "accidental damage" provision of Dell's extended care insurance. The insurance, by the way, does not cover purposeful damage to the property. So basically this 'tip' is "commit insurance fraud."

Will this work? Yes. I knew a guy who did this with Dell's plan... got a nice upgrade for "free." I'm not convinced, however, that insurance fraud is really such a great idea. Nor am I convinced that this guy should be encouraging people to commit crimes.

Re:Insurance Fraud (3, Insightful)

froschmann (765104) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544823)

Telling people to buy printer cartridges from kiosks by "seeing if the employees seem cool" and "paying cash" for items that aren't in inventory also seems a bit below the board.

Re:Insurance Fraud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19546171)

In what universe is this "below the board"? The printer cartridge model itself is a scam perpetrated on unsuspecting customers.

Re:Insurance Fraud (5, Insightful)

RickRussellTX (755670) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544827)

Agreed, and it makes me wonder if The Consumerist read the article carefully. They're pretty aggressive about bad behavior [consumerist.com] by companies [consumerist.com] . So it's OK if a consumer steals for personal gain?

Re:Insurance Fraud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19545619)

The Consumerist's responsibility for the suggested insurance fraud depends how they spin the article. Was it: 1) Follow this guy's advice, or 2) Exposing Dell's inner workings?

See, the guy is a former Dell Sales Manager. You're being given a direct display of the essentially amoral stance of business. His attitude is their attitude -- Rules are the simply the things you better not be caught breaking. If you can't figure out how and when to break rules without being caught, you're seen as lacking in business skill.

"Nice guys finish last," and all that.

Re:Insurance Fraud (3, Insightful)

networkzombie (921324) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544873)

I agree. The author is condoning fraud and should be taken down. I purchase 10K worth of stuff from Dell each year and although I scream at their tech support for being idiots about twice a year, they still offer a great deal. If you intentionally rip people off, you are a criminal. If you tell other people that it is okay to intentionally rip people off, you are also a criminal. The article should be called - How to be a burden to society.

Re:Insurance Fraud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19546071)

If you tell other people that it is okay to intentionally rip people off, you are also a criminal.

You're a fucking moron. Do you suppose it is criminal if I tell other people that is OK to tell other people that it is OK to intentionally rip people off? Besides, the way I read it, the author is suggesting this: if your laptop is broken and you want REAL service, make sure it is REALLY broken. Dell's poor support is again at fault.

Re:Insurance Fraud (5, Insightful)

Mistlefoot (636417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544933)

I can see it now...... Some honest people with laptops that are broken will be hassled more while trying to get a replacement as safeguards are increased to try to remedy this.

And yes. The price of insuring your laptop may very well go up. Insurance companies aren't in the business of losing money. At the end of the day the of insurance fraud will be paid for by honest people.

But... (3, Funny)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19546337)

... I still get a brand new laptop right?

Re:Insurance Fraud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19545117)

I thought this was a warrenty and not insurance. Dell will not pay for stolen laptops, so how is this insurance? Also, motive is a bitch to gauge. Did the laptop hit the ground cause you were pissed off, clumsy, or deliberately threw it there to make money? What is an accident? If the laptop is left teetering on the edge near the cat's favorite spot on the counter, can one rightfully say the cat knocked it down? If the laptop is put in the baby's crib and is tossed out two minutes later, can you blame the baby? [WARNING! do not try with exploding laptops]

Re:Insurance Fraud (1)

iamnafets (828439) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545137)

Personally, I feel the extended warranties are frauds. The companies offering them will fight you tooth and nail in order to only give in to X repair/replace requests so they pull a profit. While that doesn't justify fraudulant use of the system, yeah.

Re:Insurance Fraud (1)

Belacgod (1103921) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545317)

Dell's never given me trouble with my extended warranty with them. I describe the symptoms, suffer through the pointless troubleshooting checklist, they send out a replacement part (and a tech if the part's hard to replace). My experience with Dell warranty support is enough to make me want to buy Dell again, which, considering how shitty their systems are, is indeed remarkable. But yes, I am a satisfied Dell customer.

Re:Insurance Fraud (2, Funny)

louisadkins (963165) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545463)

I used to be a laptop support (via temp agency) for Dell. (more than 4 years ago) At that point, at least, the process was pretty streamlined and easy. The only person that I can remember denying a claim on for this sort of thing (that was still inside the warranty period) was a guy that started slamming his laptop on the floor and stomping on it while I was on the phone, and then told me about it! "Well, what are you gonna do about it, huh?! I got a warranty for this $6,000 pile of junk!"

Re:Insurance Fraud (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545257)

That and douchebag ideas like this make it so that consumers pay more for their product. Most of the cost of auto insurance is not because of risk of accident or liability, but the risk of fraud.

Re:Insurance Fraud (1)

sohare (1032056) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545505)

That and douchebag ideas like this make it so that consumers pay more for their product. Most of the cost of auto insurance is not because of risk of accident or liability, but the risk of fraud.

You have proof of this where? Go look at how insurance rates are calculated based on costs of various accidents and their associated probabilities and you'll see that "most" of the price has nothing to do with fraud. Ya'll sound like a bunch of yesmen tools, if you ask me ;).

Re:Insurance Fraud (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545563)

Maybe because I work for an insurance company??? Just because it's not on Wikipedia...

Re:Insurance Fraud (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545723)

Honestly, what does Dell expect. This is a business decision that Dell has made. If they are going to cover accidental damage then they also must cover deliberate damage as there is no way to tell the difference, and sometimes it is blurry. Is improper packaging accidental? Is leaving it outside knowing it might rain accidental? Clearly dropping it on purpose to get a new computer is fraud, but what of it?

If they wanted an honest class of customer that was willing to pay a reasonable charge for a quality machine, they would not play all the games with discounts and the like. They would just offer an extended warranty that covered parts that wore our or broke, but would leave abuse to the responsibility of the customer. The fact that offer the extended warranty they do is another game they play. We know that most extended warranties are very profitable, though useful for products on which one wishes to manage maintenance costs, i.e. not cheap headphones and like. By offering such a warranty, the entice more people to purchase the product, probably more than need it, and must, in the end, still make a tidy profit. Might they make more profit without the 'fraud', might the warranty cost less without the 'fraud'. Sure, but that only effects me if I buy a dell machine, which I don't, if for no other reason than they want another $50 to support the machine that they sold me. It is games to make believe that they are getting a good value, when all they are getting is cheap computer that needs an extended warranty as it could fall apart at any minute.

Why I hate buying PCs from Dell (3, Insightful)

Blahbooboo3 (874492) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544729)

It's such a hassle to get a good deal from Dell. Between their rebates, coupons, instant discounts, and special offers the entire process is like buying a car!

If dell is trying to figure out why its market share is declining, it is likely because of the difficulty in knowing what you are buying is the best price. I don't think HP makes people go through all this nonsense.

Oh and also the whole small business vs. home office crap. What an annoyance how they both contain the exact same machines with just very slight differences.

Re:Why I hate buying PCs from Dell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19544899)

...the exact same machines with just very slight differences.

I don't think that word means what you think it does.

Re:Why I hate buying PCs from Dell (1)

Blahbooboo3 (874492) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545159)

Here, let me make it clearer for you since you're a smart ass. I meant the same model numbers (E520, E521 etc) but have no difference in configurations.

Re:Why I hate buying PCs from Dell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19545369)

Yeah, I bought several of their machines from the mid-1990's up to a few years ago, including one for my parents, all substantial purchases too (>$1500 each). Then they stiffed me when I sent in for my $150 rebate and I haven't looked at any of their stuff since.

It's all just commodity stuff from the Far East anyway.

pseudo code solution (-1, Redundant)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544735)

For (i = 0; i24;i++) {
          Buy_from_anyone_but_dell();
}

Yup, that covers it

Re:pseudo code solution (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544835)

if i24 evaluates to true then
    call function an infinite number of times
else
    exit immediately

SLASHDOT IS LATE. Dell already apologized yesterda (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19544773)

Lionel Menchaca at Dell says, "Ok, we goofed. We shouldn't have sent a notice". Find his full blog entry at:
http://direct2dell.com/one2one/archive/2007/06/16/ 18397.aspx [direct2dell.com]

Re:SLASHDOT IS LATE. Dell already apologized yeste (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19545623)

Listen. It's slashdot. You get half the story 3 days after it happens and you like it. Understand?

Re:SLASHDOT IS LATE. Dell already apologized yeste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19545717)

Lionel Menchaca at Dell says, "Ok, we goofed. We shouldn't have sent a notice". Find his full blog entry at: http://direct2dell.com/one2one/archive/2007/06/16/ [direct2dell.com] 18397.aspx [direct2dell.com]
Thanks for the scoop, Dell PR team.

Obligatory Coral cache (3, Informative)

Spazholio (314843) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544779)

Just in case, coral cache of the article here [nyud.net] .

Apple? (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544843)

Thanks for that.

Can we have one of these only for Apple?

Re:Apple? (1)

freedumb2000 (966222) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545089)

1: Everyone knows this one: Do not buy overpriced RAM from Apple! ;)

2: Try to buy a laptop right after an hardware upgrade cycle at Apple. The models taken out of the Apple store can usually be found with a big markdown at independant resellers (I saved 500 on my MBP that way, couldn't have afforded even the low-end MPB at the Apple store otherwise).

3: Do not buy Applecare form Apple. The Applecare plan for an MBP is 349$ at the Apple Store. They can be had much cheaper at ebay. Usually at around 200$.

4: At least here in Germany you can get a significant student discount. Even if you are not a student yourself. All you need is any Student ID number, it does not have to be yours personally, and enter it online on purchase or call up a sales rep. I have not tried this myself though.

Re:Apple? (1)

Teifion (1022083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545171)

Point 4 I can attest to personally, the Apple Higher Ed store is linked to from their online store, this is the UK one [apple.com] . I got a discount of about 18% - 20%, I can't remember exactly what it was but it was a bit better than getting it VAT fee!

As another poster has already pointed out, (5, Insightful)

Dr. Photo (640363) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544927)

Dell already apologized: http://direct2dell.com/one2one/archive/2007/06/16/ 18397.aspx [direct2dell.com]

And this article was posted to Slashdot AFTER that happened, and there is STILL no "Update: Dell actually apologized before we posted this article, 'cause we're dumb."

You're doing them a huge disservice by letting this stand uncorrected, kdawson.

Re:As another poster has already pointed out, (2, Funny)

zen-theorist (930637) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545311)

And this article was posted to Slashdot AFTER that happened, and there is STILL no "Update: Dell actually apologized before we posted this article, 'cause we're dumb."

You're doing them a huge disservice by letting this stand uncorrected, kdawson.

dont worry, slashdot editors usually include this information by the third dupe.

Growing logarithmically? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19544951)

"...with the number of hits growing logarithmically."

Heck, that doesn't sound so bad [wikipedia.org] . :-)

this is exactly why i dont buy anything from dell (0, Redundant)

atarione (601740) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545007)

the 16 different prices for the same thing depending on how you get to the item.

digging around the internet for working dell coupon codes...bah...

I just hate the amount of fucking around necessary to not get hosed trying to buy something from them.

Dell needs to quit the shell-game. (5, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545065)

Being cagey about their pricing only pisses off the customers and makes dell look like a fly-by-night operation.

-jcr

kiosk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19545071)

Dell kiosk manager = guy who works in a mall, and not even in an actual shop.

No GAL within Dell??? (1)

mtmra70 (964928) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545113)

4. Dell corporate email - As of December 2006, everybody (save Michael Dell) working for Dell U.S. has the same form of email address: firstname_lastname@dell.com. Michael Dell's does not follow this pattern and is changed immediately whenever the current one is discovered by lower-level employees or the public.


Interesting. Why would a company shield certain email addresses from others? I work at a fortune 500 pharmacutical company and any employee or contractor can see any email address, all the way to the CEO.

Re:No GAL within Dell??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19545209)

The CEO of a high profile company is certain to receive lots of outside email that he does not have time to personally attend to. He probably has more important correspondence he needs to pay attention to.

Re:No GAL within Dell??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19545291)

i agree that the general public should get another due the sheer volume of mail it would receive but to not have your employees be able to e-mail you seems like a symptom of a cultural problem within the organization.

Re:No GAL within Dell??? (2, Interesting)

alen (225700) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545693)

because no one complains to the CEO of Pfizer when their Viagra doesn't work that well. if your PC crashes and you can't understand tech support and everyone knows Michael Dell's email, his mailbox is going to get pounded with thousands of help me messages and he may miss something important

I do not think it means ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19545139)

what she thinks it means: "with the number of hits growing logarithmically."

If the website hits are growing logarithmically, then they are growing very very slowly. Oh well, expecting reps to really understand something 'technical' like logarithmic vs exponential growth is too much. And she probably earns way more than me as well, which is just a real shame. Dell should get a refund from her.

For laptops, go with the longest warranty possible (4, Interesting)

FuryG3 (113706) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545281)

That advice was given in the article. I'd add to that: check your states lemon laws.

I bought a Dell Inspiron 8200 when they first came out. I bought the extended warranty (3 years) and was very glad I did. Dell laptops are going to break. I had the little clip which holds the battery on break three times, the hard drive fail twice (and then the pins broke on the replacement hard drive, counting as a third breakage), I had it serviced for LCD-related issues three times, and there's some other problem I forgot about. This all happened over 3 years, and Dell was very quick on the gun to get my stuff fixed, usually sending replacement parts in 24 hours. I would have been screwed if I hadn't gotten the extended warranty.

As my warranty period came up, I started to get worried. The laptop was going to break again, and I'd be out in the cold. Turns out, in CA, if you get a computer serviced 3 or more times for the same problem, you can demand your money back. After some arguing with the Dell guys, they sent me an 8500 (refurb). My 3 year warranty expired the next week.

Point is: Paying the extra couple hundred bucks for the warranty saves you from buying a new laptop. After a feeling of joy, I felt a bit guilty about getting 2 laptops for the price of one. Then again, Dell chose to make laptops which fail constantly, not me...

Re:For laptops, go with the longest warranty possi (1)

Blahbooboo3 (874492) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545341)

Yes, but as a consumer did you choose the Dell unit because of the low price or you liked the actual design/functionality?

Point is we consumers do it to ourselves. We want the cheapest possible product, then wonder why the quality is low. This is with all things nowdays, ESPECIALLY airlines!

Sometimes you do get what you pay for :)

Re:For laptops, go with the longest warranty possi (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545555)

I chose Dell because of the design/functionality. I love the 15" Latitude/Precision keyboards. Page Up/Page Down are in the right place, as are Home and End, and it has the nubby eraser mouse (which I like more than the touchpad for most things).

Lenovo has similar keyboards, but doesn't tend to have notebooks with decent video cards.

Re:For laptops, go with the longest warranty possi (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 7 years ago | (#19546223)

Nubby eraser mouse? I see that you're sitting on the fence [xkcd.com] a wee bit there.

Re:For laptops, go with the longest warranty possi (1)

akintayo (17599) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545975)

I chose Dell 3 times because I am cheap. Which laptop brand would you recommend on quality ?

Re:For laptops, go with the longest warranty possi (1)

fireheadca (853580) | more than 7 years ago | (#19546219)

Yes, but as a consumer did you choose the Dell unit because of the low price or you liked the actual design/functionality?
...
Sometimes you do get what you pay for :)


Exactly, and expect it to function as such.

If you are rough on things like I am, go with something rugged. Otherwise, you end up
looking like a dumb caveman trying to preserve a battered butterfly.

Re:For laptops, go with the longest warranty possi (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19546003)

We order about a dozen or more Dell Latitudes every year, and we don't have problems like you describe. Even our older D800s and D600s are working well, and they're out of warranty. We still have inevitable things like hard drives dying and batteries going flat, but that happens to everyone.

Now, they had bought some Inspirons before I started there, and some of those are getting a bit naff; we've had a few docking stations go bad, for example. But the Lats are business-class and the Inspirons are consumer-grade, so that's not unexpected.

Moral: you get what you pay for. Their business-class stuff is usually a bit behind the times (still not selling C2D 6420 processors, for example) and weaker on graphics, but usually well-built.

I'd still build my own desktop PC, but alas don't have that luxury with a lapdog.

Maybe some trouble for the lawyer. (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545339)

Dell's attorney (Tracy Holland) was told that he would be contacted by the attorney representing Consumerist. This indicates that Consumerist is represented by counsel. In most states, the bar rules prohibit an attorney from directly communicating with represented opposing parties.

those dumb categories (1)

kisrael (134664) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545363)

"1. Small business is better than home and home office "

This is one prime reason why I never order online from dell. I just have this deep feeling that they shouldn't care about why I'm buying this computer... just give me the best deal, which frankly, ain't gonna very that much whether I'm a big company or joe blow. (Yes, I know bulk purchasers et bulk discounts, but still)

So that, plus, call me old fashioned, but if it's a model I don't know, I need to touch and feel the formfactor first hand, especially for laptops.

Micro Center in Cambridge ahoy!

#6 in the kiosks... (3, Informative)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545423)

#6 in the kiosks section is my favorite: "Don't be surprised if the salesman asks really base/borderline-insulting questions if you act interested. They think you're a secret shopper."

Nothing like pissing off legit customers so you can score a little higher on a phony performance score. A store I worked at dropped the mystery shopper crap while I worked there, but never explained the reason. I strongly suspect it was because the test isn't grounded in reality, but in the random chance of a single shopper once a month. They replaced it with a survey system, which is probably almost as bad... Surveys only get the best and the worst answer... Why would someone take the time to fill out a 'I got pretty normal service' answer? They don't, even if you offer $$$ prizes randomly.

Re:#6 in the kiosks... (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19546319)

I've never heard of "secret shopper", "mystery shopper", or whatever the concept is called. Could you please explain it?

Dell already apologized... (1)

legoman666 (1098377) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545837)

As posted on Arstechnica 6 hours before this was posted on Slashdot, Dell already apologized for overreacting. The apology can be read here: http://direct2dell.com/one2one/archive/2007/06/16/ 18397.aspx [direct2dell.com]

Re:Dell already apologized... (1)

tooyoung (853621) | more than 7 years ago | (#19546081)

As posted on Arstechnica 6 hours before this was posted on Slashdot, Dell already apologized for overreacting
As posted on slashdot [slashdot.org] , 3 hours before you posted.

A Few More Points (4, Informative)

chill (34294) | more than 7 years ago | (#19545923)

Dell's business sales reps work on quarterly quotas. The closer you get to the end of the quarter, the more they're willing to give you. The trick is, their quarters are shifted by one month. Instead of Jan-Feb-Mar, their quarter is Feb-Mar-Apr. So if you can get quotes in the first week of April, then hold off until the last week, they'll call you and offer all sorts of incentives to close the deal.

Same goes for July, Oct and Jan.

* * *

ALWAYS check the website for deals. Probably 1 in every 5 times I've gotten quotes from our Small Business Sales rep I've found better deals online. Tell them and they'll match or beat it.

* * *

Get your Small Business Sales Rep to set you up a custom page with the equipment you normally order, INCLUDING ADD-ONS. For over a year I was able to purchase 15K RPM SCSI drives off of the custom page for 1/3 the price quoted on the normal site. Ditto for rack rails, RAID kits and extra CPUs.

Much of this I consider to be common sense (2, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#19546055)

...the rest might be garnered from experience and understanding of how their business model works.

I didn't realize, however, that there would be a noticable difference in cost depending on which type of shopping you do. I will keep that tip in mind.

As for the warranty stuff? Definitely. And *USE* the warranty. I must say, I feel a little guilty if I were to intentionally break my laptop at the end of the warranty. That's just plain abusive and dishonest. But on the other hand, if I have an actual accident, I like knowing I can get it fixed. That said, I bought my current Dell laptop some time ago and I had forgotten that I had any warranty at all. When I realized that I was good until 2009, I called support and told them my keyboard needs to be replaced. Okay, so not really... I mean it's "worn" but it was functional. (Except when I've been playing UT2004... then sometimes the keyboard doesn't seem so responsive... but maybe that's me.) But I ordered a new one anyway. I do think my processor cooling fan is making a bit more noise than it did when it was new so I will probably make another warranty call some time before the warranty is out as well. And I ask myself once more... would I really "drop it" to get a new laptop? No... I just can't bring myself to even think about it. It's sorta sacriligeous doncha think? Who knows... I might change my mind when the time comes.

Lately, I have found that the last few calls I have made to Dell support has gone through central America and their accents were more than acceptable. I was very pleased with Dell's selection. I mean I'd prefer that Dell hired college kids for their support... fairly bright and fairly inexpensive. But I could barely detect much of an accent from the central Americans that I heard and they also had no difficulty understanding me.

Dell's service and pricing options are good especially when consumers know about it. Frankly, even though it's a guide to abusing Dell's good faith, it still shows Dell in pretty good light since they do offer these kinds of options for people. After all, even at the cost of giving bad people good service, it still offers good value to good people and I want to believe good people are in the majority.
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