Dell tries to sell extended warranties using questionable tactics

By on August 16, 2012, 5:00 PM

A recent bit of investigative journalism by the crew at Laptop Magazine has uncovered some shady sales tactics in use by Dell’s support team. As part of their 2012 Tech Support Showdown, the publication placed three separate calls to Dell’s support team regarding various issues and each time, they were solicited to buy additional software or hardware in order to resolve the problem.

The first call to tech support had to do with a question about using three-finger swiping on a touchpad. The rep informed them that this was a software issue and they would have to sign up for a paid software warranty before he could assist them any further. Packages included a one-time fee of $129 for a single incident or $199 (a special discount rate) to cover up to four incidents over the next year.

The focus of the next call was to ask about using Dell DataSafe to back up a computer. They were told that software questions, even ones related to Dell-specific software, weren’t covered under the hardware warranty and they would need to buy a $239 software warranty to proceed. When they declined, the rep handed over the phone to his manager who explained that DataSafe online would be free for 2GB of backup storage for a year and a fee applied to extend past the one year timeframe. The manager then told Laptop Mag that it’d be easier to buy an external hard drive locally or through Dell for backup purposes.

Improving battery life was the topic of the final call and after a hurried explanation about not letting the battery drop before 40 or 50 percent, the caller was told he had won a daily drawing to purchase a four-year extended hardware warranty for $317. The rep continued to push the warranty on them even after they made it clear they weren’t interested.

When confronted with this information, Dell told the publication that their observations gave them an important lesson to learn from. More specifically about each incident, the touchpad advice in the first call was said to be an error, questions about the second call were generally avoided and Dell’s reaction to the third call was that daily drawings weren’t a regular practice nor were they encouraged tactics in technical support.

Laptop Mag plans to profile other brands in the near future as part of their 2012 Tech Support Showdown.

Support image from Shutterstock.




User Comments: 22

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PinothyJ said:

Pahahahahahahah!

That is one way to get back into the news...

Guest said:

DELL sucks .. so deal with it ...

after spending 300 dollars on extended warranty that was made clear to me .. covered EVERYTHING .. did not in fact cover the battery .. and offered to buy an overprice onc .. so I reverted to e-bay for a 80% discount .... NO more Business from me DELL .. good buy ..

PinothyJ said:

DELL sucks .. so deal with it ...

after spending 300 dollars on extended warranty that was made clear to me .. covered EVERYTHING .. did not in fact cover the battery .. and offered to buy an overprice onc .. so I reverted to e-bay for a 80% discount .... NO more Business from me DELL .. good buy ..

Good buy? So you were happy with your purchase in the end?

^^...

Tygerstrike said:

Im sure Dell will backtrack and throw their own ppl under the bus instead of actually admitting they are trying to scrounge up extra cash. I know they have had cash flow issues but really. When you are trying to screw the customers who have purchased your product when they need help, you lose on them ever buying your product ever again.

howzz1854 said:

I had similar experience with HP, when trying to buy an Envy laptop directly from their online store. I had a $200 off coupon at the time and used it. the website at the time clearly showed the discount all the way to the end of the Submit order page. then once I clicked submit order, it gave me an order confirmation WITHOUT the $200 discount. I called HP, and they told me it was a system glitch and nothing they could do but offer me a $100 REBATE on the purchase, so I told them to F@#$ off and refund my money back, of course they had to forward me to multiple people in order to refund my money.

never again.

Guest said:

This is disappointing to hear. I myself have never had bad service or customer care in the 15 years I have been dealing with Dell. I must be some kind of anomaly or something, because I've heard horror stories from other people. By the way, the whole extended warranty thing is a joke no matter what or who you buy from. I ordered my latest laptop online and had no problems what so ever. I do have a great product but this will definitely be my last Dell product. Too bad they are headed downhill.

Guest said:

Welcome to retail people! When you go shopping, YOU do the shopping, not the sales people who are paid commission. -Words of the wise

This is nothing new, and its not just Dell. Its all retail environments now.

Guest said:

I agree that most retail business do similar types of things. As for extended warrantees, in most cases they are a waste of money. I will say on the Dell Business side of things, they do a very good job in support without the BS.

Guest said:

I don't agree that most retail business do similar types of things. As for extended warrantees, in most cases they are good value for money. I will say on the Dell Business side of things, they do a very poor job in support without the BS.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

AARRRGGGHHH!!! NO!!! Not the questionable tactics! The wicked, wicked, people!

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

My parents both have Dells.

They have great tech support.

Has to drop everything he's doing to fix the computer all for the low price of dinner.

=/

Jillxz said:

DELL sucks .. so deal with it ...

after spending 300 dollars on extended warranty that was made clear to me .. covered EVERYTHING .. did not in fact cover the battery .. and offered to buy an overprice onc .. so I reverted to e-bay for a 80% discount .... NO more Business from me DELL .. good buy ..

Good buy? So you were happy with your purchase in the end?

^^...

No , it was obvious that he was talking about the battery he got from eBay at an 80% discount ,lol

likedamaster said:

Dell has been this way for a very long time. Not surprised. HP is now this way, and their laptops are even worse than Dell.

Doctor John Doctor John said:

AARRRGGGHHH!!! NO!!! Not the questionable tactics! The wicked, wicked, people!

My reaction too, I'm afraid!

j05hh j05hh said:

The company I work for we install SonicWall firewalls for most of our clients. After Dell purchased SonicWall we no longer purchase SonicWalls for our clients because tech support is impossible to work with. Back to Cisco firewalls.

Guest said:

Its both funny and sad read of people still having bad experiences with Dell. I was a Dell customer before Dell was Dell - when they were Michael's personal company called PC's Limited. I continued through their IPO and the name change and the phenomenal growth. Prior to the late 1990s. their tech support, customer service, and the products themselves were top notch, industry leading. But when the lessons Michael learned from Goldman Sachs about squeezing every dollar, cutting corners and basically screwing the little guy, I dropped Dell. After spending millions with Dell for my company, I walked the day I couldn't get satisfactory tech support for my own personal laptop. Corporate customer support had also fallen down. Reading now the predictions that Dell is done is disheartening to a point, but since I said farewell a decade ago....oh well....

Jillxz said:

I think HP Desktops are great. I have had one for 4 years with no problems. Had a Dell before this one and did not like it. Would never buy another Dell. I would buy another HP. I also like Lenovo and Toshiba

Renrew Renrew said:

What is it with these large corporations?

Wait I know--It's called the god complex. They get so large that they actually believe they can get by without the consumer. The bean counters run the companies and try to squeeze every nickel to justify their existance. Don't they learn anything from the failures of other companies.

I'm sad to see Dell take the road to failure, but so many other companies Sony, HP etc. are going in the same direction.

I guess they're going to be too big to fail and will eventually expect the government via the taxpayer to

bail them out.

GeforcerFX GeforcerFX said:

I only buy Dell Precision anymore, and XPS back when it was good, haven't had a single service problem with them, but thee are the US based service people. Most inspiron or desktop support comes from across the ocean.

Guest said:

This is so true! Anywhere I shop these days I can't get through check-out without being solicited for an extended warranty, a store credit card or some other unwanted crap. One of the worst offenders is Sam's Club. I already pay to shop there, and on top of that there are usually 3 or 4 third-party solicitors heckling me to purchase everything from aluminum siding to wonder knives. Stop already!!!

Bobbye Bobbye, Helper on the Fringe, said:

About extended warranties: I'm told that Best Buy has been living on them for years! Maybe people are getting wiser now since I read that BB is struggling.

And about the Dell comment to pay for removal- yes, this is accurate. I'm helping someone now who had a hard drive crash on a new system. Dell said it was because he didn't have System Mechanic on it. Insistence was so strong that user ended up with 3 years of it on 3 computers>> well, the program turned out not to be an asset and on a call to Dell, he was told he would have to pay for them to remove it!

Guest said:

Dell - using the standard American playbook of greed and ripping off the consumer with absolutely no regrets. Would never even consider Dell for my corporate or personal computer purchases.

"Dell told the publication that their observations gave them an important lesson to learn from" Nice PR spin for "we will never admit we are wrong". Disgusting business approach.

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