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Question on Dell's Warranty

I am about to make a purchase of a Notebook from Dell. I was wondering which warranty plan is best suited to Notebook owners.

I remember reading once that computer manufacturers make most of their margins through additional warranty items. I am tempted to go with Option D below, will this be a waste of money?

Option A: 1-Yr Return-to-Depot (RTD) Service+Complete Care, 24x7 Phone Hardware Tech Support, 365 days a year

Option B: 1-Yr Return-to-Depot (RTD) Service, 24x7 Phone Hardware Tech Support, 365 days a year

Option C: 3-Yr Return-to-Depot (RTD) Service, 24x7 Phone Hardware Tech Support, 365 days a year

Option D: 3-Yr Return to Depot (RTD) Service+Complete Care, 24x7 Phone Hardware Tech Support, 365 days a year

Option E: 3-Yr Ltd. Warranty, 3-Yr Onsite Service, 24x7 Phone Hardware Tech Support, 365 days a year

Option F: 3Yr Ltd. Warranty, 3Yr Onsite Service+Complete Care, 24x7 Phone Hardware Tech Support, 365 days a yr

Ram Dass
Friday, September 19, 2003

Do not; repeat, DO NOT get a return-to-depot warranty. Murphy says your notebook will break when you need it most. Onsite means the next (business) day you'll have a guy there with the parts you need. Return to depot means sending the notebook back to Dell (back up your hard drive!) and waiting 1-3 weeks to get it back.


Friday, September 19, 2003

Thanks for your feedback :)

Is it worth it to invest in the Complete Care Option? Description:

Complete Care Coverage
Accidents happen, so ease your mind with Dell's CompleteCare Accidental Damage Protection. This service protects against accidental damage such as electrical surges, drops, and spills for up to 4 years (except fire, theft, or intentional damage). Combine it with our award-winning service and support and anything that happens to your system will be covered! .

Ram Dass
Friday, September 19, 2003

I wholeheartedly concur with Philo. My onboard ethernet died on my Latitude and now I'm stuck. I've gotta wait 'til I'm about to go on a laptop-less vacation before I return it.  (Although, to be fair to Dell, they claim I'd have it back within a week, including overnighting it at their cost both ways).

Friday, September 19, 2003


It's not just accidental spills, but "acts of nature", like when my computer exploded the other day. A power spike killed my power supply and motherboard. They were in 2 days later and replaced everything in under 15 minutes.

Worth the extra cost.

Tim Sullivan
Friday, September 19, 2003

I also agree with Philo.  I have a 3-year return-to-depot warranty on my Dell notebook.  I had to send it back, and it took about 4 or 5 business days.  (Not too bad, granted.)  I also have a desktop as a backup, so it was just an inconvenience. 

The bigger problem is that my notebook has some minor, but aggravating, glitches (like a mouse pointer that occasionally develops a mind of its own.)  Even though I'd like to get these problems fixed, they're not serious enough to go without a notebook for a week -- so I just put up with it.  If I had on-site service, it wouldn't be a problem.

The CompleteCare insurance, though, is just the equivalent of a Best Buy extended warranty on your VCR -- probably a big profit center for Dell.  From an actuarlai perspective, you're better off saving the money -- is it worth spending, e.g., $200 to protect a $2000 notebook when there's only a 1% chance that you'll ever need the coverage?  (Numbers pulled out of thin air, of course, but probably not too far off.) 

On the other hand, if you're accident-prone and your boss is paying for it, go ahead.  <g>

Robert Jacobson
Friday, September 19, 2003

Darn right it's worth the extra cost for the CompletCare warranty.  It adds about $150 to the cost of the notebook, over three years.  For a $2,500 product, that's an incredibly inexpensive insurance policy, especially when you consider that every part will cost at least that to fix.

My advice to notebook purchasers is to buy a CompleteCare warranty for as long as they think they will own the product.  For desktops it's a different story, but notebooks are subject to all kinds of abuse and you don't want to be stuck with a $800 screen repair for your six-month-old notebook.

Karl Perry
Friday, September 19, 2003

Has anyone actually exercised the CompleteCare warranty?  Had a guy show up on site and fixed it that day?

My first Dell laptop was an i7500.  Twice the display crapped out and I sent it back under warranty.  It was back in under 3 days each time.  However, I have a hard time believing that Dell will send a guy on site to fix major mechanical breakage or a display. 

I just don't believe it.  It suspect that the guy will show up, shrug his shoulders, put it in a box and send it back.

My i8200 is coming up on its 1 year anniversary this November.  The case is a much better mechanical design than the i7500, and I've had no trouble with the unit.

nat ersoz
Friday, September 19, 2003

I had a display crap out. I didn't have onsite, but was led to believe that if I did, the guy would come out and take care of it.
Note that replacing a laptop display is pretty straightforward; the problem is the parts


Friday, September 19, 2003

I think with next-day on-site, they'd send the parts overnight to the tech.  However, that requires Dell being able to diagnose the problem to some degree over the phone, and then predict which parts will be necessary.  If it's something basic like replacing a display or motherboard, no problem.  If it's more esoteric, who knows.

Robert Jacobson
Friday, September 19, 2003

I bought a used Dell Latitude laptop from my BIL (who bought it from his company when they went under).  Warranty and official ownership stayed linked to the defunct company.

Trying to upgrade it, I accidentally wiped the BIOS, slagging it.

On a whim, I checked Dell's website - still under warranty.  I called, and they sent a guy to my office the next day to fix it.  Never questioned that I wasn't the official owner listed in their records, or that I was in a different city than the company that owned it.

I was really impressed by the service.  Granted, I don't know how much they paid for that warranty, but it was nice for me

Saturday, September 20, 2003

We have the E option on all our machines. The times we needed it, Dell (well, not Dell but the company they outsource to) did show up next business day and repaired the machine. What can be a pain is convincing Dell on the phone that the macjhine needs a hardware repair, but once you are past that, evrything is rosy.

Just me (Sir to you)
Saturday, September 20, 2003

I've had two experiences with Dell's warranty operations in 10 years.

First time, a laptop blew up on Sunday night - called Dell tech support that same Sunday night.  Monday the Airborne guy came and picked it up.  Wednesday (of the same week) it was delivered back to me repaired and the BIOS updated.

Second time, a laptop battery failed on Saturday.  No big problem, I had a backup battery, called it in Saturday anyway.  Monday (two days later) Airborne delivered a new battery and took the dead one away.

Needless to say, I am a happy customer and they get our laptop business.

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Saturday, September 20, 2003

The other advantage of on-site is the data stored on the machine.
If you send it off for repair nobody says you get the same machine ( and harddrive back ). So you have to back everything up first - then maybe reinstall.

Plus if it is company data - are you allowed to send it off for repair without wiping everything - I'm not.
From other companies I have had repaired machines back with somebody elses system installed on them.

Martin Beckett
Monday, September 22, 2003

We have a company full of Dell's with the on-site guarantee on all of them, and this year we've had to call maybe 5 or so repairs (the laptops seem to have a habit of losing the display, though that may be due to bad handling), and every time the repair guy has shown up exactly the next business day and fixed the machine very quickly.

It's a huge relief, and worth every penny.

Antti Kurenniemi
Monday, September 22, 2003

My two cents: I have a personal Lattitude CPJ650 laptop that I bought from Dell Factory Outlet in 2001.  This unit seems to have a design flaw that causes the keyboard to occasionally need replacing due to the location of the keyboard ribbon near a major heat source.  I've had Dell on-site service come out twice and fix this with replacement keyboards, and it's always been painless for me to call, justify the repair, and schedule a session.

Ben Combee
Saturday, September 27, 2003

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