My bad experience with DELL customer service


Disclaimer to potential customers of DELL: once your guarantee is expired, you are on your own! I could not find a way to repair my almost new Dell XPS13 laptop as soon as the guarantee was expired. You can prepare to do the repairs yourself, and I hope you have the skills, and only if you live in the right country. If you don’t, then welcome to the nightmare of Dell customer service:

My new laptop – XPS 13, a dream come true (?)

I purchased my new Dell XPS13, top-notch laptop on the 13th of January 2016. I had some issues on the first year, but nothing too serious. Until one day, on the 11th of February 2017 (less than one month after the guarantee was expired) it simply stop working. Ever since then, I have been trying without luck to find a way to repair it. Here is my story dealing with the crappy DELL customer service. Today its 28th of June, and I am still in square one. 

First problem: Laptop won’t turn on

I had exactly the same problem as this person. Watch the video:

No previous warning, nothing done wrong the day before. In the morning, it was just not working.

Second problem: Dell extremely poor international technical service

The site: mission impossible

I tried to contact immediately Dell Customers service. However, if you try to do so here you will find out that there is only automatic answers, none of them useful as the laptop simply won’t turn on. I navigated through all the site, and I could not find a way to simply send an email to DELL. (Please try and let me know how it goes if you don’t believe me). The only way to send a written message is if you want to provide feedback for their site! Good luck if you want to send an email and you hope that you will get an answer from them! 

Mission impossible. What if you are abroad? You can’t send an email if your warranty is expired, there is simply no way
The Dell Facebook group? Welcome to middle east

So I am not in Australia, even if the Laptop was purchased there. I work for an international organization and I am currently based in Yemen. The other options to contact Dell available are Chat (AEST time), Twitter and Facebook. Great! Right?

Facebook and Twitter available. But… never mind where you bought your laptop, based on your IP DELL will force you will talk with the country covering that IP range!

I tried Facebook. I was hoping to chat with the Australia crew, who proved to be helpful in the past. If you look at the link, it directs to the following url:

HOWEVER! If you click on it, based on my current IP I guess, DELL is forcing me to discuss matters with DELL Middle East! See the nice redirect page we have here on Facebook!

Mission impossible 2. Even if your laptop was purchased in Australia, if you connect to the Facebook page of Dell in another country, you will be redirected to the regional site of that country. AND YOU DON’T HAVE A CHOICE, SORRY.

Dell Middle East: Answers in one working day, or two, or three… or four weeks maximum, no more than five

I first contacted Dell in their Facebook site on February 13th, after two days of trial an errors, watching possible solutions in youtube. It took Dell Middle East three days to answer my initial request:

Patience is everything in life

DELL technical service in …. YEMEN! Yes, one is still working

Great, I have a number to call. But wait! Can I call this number from Yemen? Surely I can, right? Well, not really: the phone provided is a landline in UAE, and guess, for different reasons beyond this post it is not possible to call them! (I know, I should be more understanding, Yemen is at war, situation is not that easy, I am sure there must be another way).

So I asked if there was another way, and good news is that DELL has some partners in Yemen who might be able to assist me:

Finally some help. Note that February is gone, March as well, April too… we are in May already!

The good news: at least one of the partners in the list still exists and it is open.

The bad news: it is located in Sana’a, in the other side of the frontline. I am based in Aden. There is a war between the service provider and me.

OK, Yemen is complex, what about Djibouti?

I update DELL on my situation. I get in and out of the country using a humanitarian link to Djibouti. So getting my laptop repaired there was also an option. Let’s try that option:

Let’s try in Djibouti. Maybe it would be easier than in a country with a civil war ongoing…

When days become weeks (one business day, remember? that’s just in your dreams)

I kept and kept trying to get an answer from Dell Middle East. (Reminder: I had no other way to contact Dell, so I was stuck with this option. )

Attempt #2, May 25th:

Second attempt, on the 25th of May. Let’s see how long it takes to get an answer…

Attempt #3, June 3rd:

Third try might make it work! Mmmno. Try again…

Attempt #4, June 18th, and my patience is getting thinner already…

Try #4. Still no answer!! Loosing my patience already…. 4 months have passed!

Answer is here, challenged included…

On June 20th, I finally got an answer from DELL:

We can’t repair it, but you can do it yourself, right? We certainly hope so…

In short, no repair available in DJIBOUTI either. Just spare parts. You are once again on your own. We hope that you have the technical skills that are needed to change the motherboard of your laptop yourself.

(Well, on the other side, after these four months struggle, at least it was something on the positive end)

Opening the XPS13: unexpected surprises

So, without anything else to loose, I gave it a try. Challenge accepted. I have opened laptops in the past, I regularly fix myself my old Lenovo X200, and I thought I was up to the challenge. At the end, I did not wanted to wait another 4 months until the end of my mission to have my laptop repaired.

I got a professional screwdriver set, from the IT staff, and I used this video which had all the instructions needed for a safe removal:

But the road to success is full of surprises.

First thing I noticed after a first inspection was that one of the screws of the right speaker was missing. I am the first and only person to open this laptop since it was sold, so I am guessing they forgot it on the factory! 

Where is the screw?? These guys at the factory… Quality assurance saw this?

Then a second issue: only after trying with the first one in the list of screws to remove, the extremely poor quality screw used for the battery refused to move, and instead, start loosing metal pieces. And got stripped in seconds!!! I couldn’t believe it how bad quality it could be. So, no removal of battery today. I still continued, in the hope that I could simply reset the laptop by unplugging all cables and press the power button for 10 seconds (it failed, but let’s not rush it). 

Stripped in seconds. I did not forced or anything, instead of turning, it start loosing debris… unbelievable quality!

But that was not it… I was thinking, how much bad luck can I have?? But when a second screw does the same, you stop blaming yourself. As I made progress with others, when I tried to remove the SSD, guess what happened…

Not so visible as in the first one, but believe me, there is ZERO grip. I stopped as I did not wanted to ruin it forever as with the first…

So my plan (my hope) that with a power reset my problems would be solved were completely destroyed. I still disconnected all cables from the motherboard, in a futile attempt to see what happened. To my dismay, of course, it was impossible to connect back the flat bus cable to the motherboard once done, as I could not remove the battery…. Just to avoid loosing it, before closing the box I attached it back, but on top of the battery.

To avoid loosing it. It was a complete defeat, but at least I did not want to loose it…

RESULT: complete defeat! Let’s go back to the plan of sending the laptop to an official DELL technical service. 

DELL in Thailand, maybe????

Let’s go back to square one. The good thing, is that I am going to Thailand in a few weeks, so I could bring my laptop and have it repaired while there. I better get started contacting the service providers now, in case they need to order the parts, right? So I did, message sent last 23rd of June again to … DELL Middle East (our only and unique option to contact Dell, since my IP address says so). Here the exchange:

Getting the contact info for Thailand service providers. Maybe this time I am lucky

Big NO. “The model is not available in Thailand”

I sent the request to one of the providers. Unfortunately once again I was not going to solve my problems. After 4 days of “checking with DELL”, the Service provided informed me that “the model is not available in Thailand”.

Here the exchange:


The XPS13 model is not available in Thailand, according to this Service Provider…

So now what??

I really consider that all my options have been exhausted. After almost five months of trying with all means available, I am ready to give up. I paid more than 2,000 AUS DOLLARS for a top notch laptop that weeks after its first birthday stop working, and that it proved to be impossible to be fixed. 

But now, unless DELL takes responsibility of their *extremely* crappy customer service and offers a reasonable solution, I will make sure that the world knows how bad they deal with their customers, once the 1 year limited warranty is expired. THIS SITE IS DEDICATED TO DELL CUSTOMER SERVICE! YOU DESERVE IT GUYS. 


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