I’ve been trying to order a spare battery from Dell.
It took a month for them to tell me that they don’t even have that part to sell to me as a spare.
Now if Dell themselves can’t sell me a Dell battery part… guess the only option is a generic one huh?
1. Dell Outlet is wierd but great
Dell Outlet is where Dell sells their refurbished and returned products. What’s so great about this? A lower price, but yet still with official Dell warranty.
How this works:
Find something you want from the listings.
Link: Dell Outlet Australia
The listings get periodically refreshed
At times, all listings are taken down (stock taking?)
Once you find something you’re interested to buy, jump on the online chat with the reference number. They will reserve it under your name for 48 hours, sending you a quotation via email. So no harm to reserve an item before committing to purchasing.
The quote ended up being $400 cheaper than the listing. idk why, but sweet.
They can’t quote for part upgrades or warranty. I wanted the bigger battery, and they gave me the Spare Parts department contact details. I never figured out how to extend the warranty, something about contacting a ‘post-sales team’. Meh.
2.No inquiries about spare parts until you’ve bought the product
Dell Spare Parts will not give a quotation for anything until you have actually bought the product. If you cannot provide a service tag, they just won’t help you. My plan was to upgrade to the bigger battery myself, since the outlet rep told me that they couldn’t do upgrades for outlet products. I could see that buying the model brand new came with this bigger battery, so I assumed that this particular stock had been a corporate customised build to order.
Part numbers are not published online, however reps can look something up for you if you give them the machine model number. But you still can’t actually buy it without the service tag.
Over the phone, because the Spare Parts rep knew I had no service tag he proceeded to have a friendly chat about how I should get a laptop with a graphics card because it would be better for games… (all I want is you to sell me a battery!!!) * cries *
(I didn’t have a service tag yet because I was about to buy the laptop from Dell Outlet. Actually I did have the tag from the Dell Outlet quotation, but the Spare Parts rep got really confused when it wasn’t under my name…)
3. Spare Parts email support is slow
There are only two ways to contact Spare Parts. Phone or Email. Email is much worse.
My first email took 5 business days before a response. Okay, so they are slow. Got it. After some back and forth, I sent a final reply a week later (mistake #1) with my shipping and billing details so the rep could get a quote out… didn’t get another response. After waiting a week and a bit with still no response, I send a follow up email which got a prompt reply.
My second email thread was responded with a quick phone call from Dell to ‘confirm I had sent that email’ and confirm if this was a ‘home’ or ‘work’ order. Nothing since then.
All attempts to reply to my second email thread now just bounce back. Dell needs to reply back at least once so that the thread gets assigned a ‘ticket number’.
Lesson learnt: You’re gonna want to include your shipping/billing name and address, the all-important service tag, and the list of spare parts you want. I found the Dell For Partner site useful to get the part names since they don’t provide the part numbers publicly.
The spare parts department closes earlier than the general listed hours for phone support. But the support rep said they’ll get that department to call me back (they haven’t yet).
Dell’s support team operates globally, so they might ask what country you’re calling from. I needed to explain what Dell Outlet was to one rep.
4. They get confused when you buy a ‘Latitude’ product as a home user
I am sometimes tempted to press ‘2’ when they ask whether I’m a home user or work user.
“I don’t have a customer number or business name to give you. I just am a person who bought a laptop from you.”
Bonus rant: Cable broke in two weeks, and they wouldn’t replace it.
I bought both a DELL U2515H monitor and U2414H last year (monitors themselves have been 100% great - I can live with two tiny ‘bright’ spots). Both shipped with a MiniDisplayPort to DisplayPort cable, but one broke just two weeks in. Yep, the cable connector pin got bent.
After an hour on the phone with ‘express’ customer service and getting them photos, they refused to replace the cable :/
I would have thought that a mere cable is pretty cheap for them to replace. It’s like less than $10 AUD. If I had bought just a cable and it broke, it’d go back to the store. Now, I’ve just bought a $300 AUD monitor and the cable it came with broke. Hmm.
Bonus rant: The audio jack has driver issues
I don’t know if it is a problem with Realtek, Waves MaxxAudio, or Dell, but with the inbox drivers this new laptop wouldn’t detect any audio output plugged to the audio jack - until you restart the computer. Every time. The jack worked fine when I tried manually using the Microsoft generic HDA drivers.
Anyways, purging those drivers and letting Windows Update install them finally fixed this issue, but lost Waves MaxxAudio output processing functionality – good riddance!
Moral of the story
Make some noise - or don’t get heard at all! Use Dell’s online chat or call them via phone during work hours instead of email. Emails sucks completely. I have never been called back, although promised. They’ve ignored my request for a warranty extension from their online form.
Complain to the right people (figure out which department/email/contact number). Unless you’re a business customer each department seems to stick only to themselves… one rep told me “I don’t even want to go there”.
Complain right! Give them the details they need so there’s less back and forth. Always give the Service Tag, because it’s Dell.
Update: Aug 2018: Finally got a quotation. Well, not really. The guy finally emails me back saying that they don’t have the part to sell me 💔. I know the 60 Whr battery exists for this model, but Dell Spare Parts will only sell me the 45 Whr which I already have. And the rep also me that they can sell me a spare AC adaptor, but without the USB-C cable part - but they can’t be detached!?????
Oh well, that’s that! There’s a catch to everything. Dell make some quality screens and okay-ish laptops, but they’ve let me down by poor service big time.
Things would probably be better if I had an ABN number?? 🤔
Update: Sept 2018: After another month, I finally received my 60 Whr battery from China/eBay :) Seems to be a real OEM part. Also, Dell’s QC gives me a bad impression - I found a random loose plastic thingy sandwiched between the lid as I opened up the laptop to do the battery swap :/
It is so much easier to order a spare part for a ThinkPad. Part numbers are published online, you can order direct online, customer support treats you as a business customer no questions asked (because of the ‘ThinkPad’ product line), and on-site technician service has been pretty great ✅
That said I won’t be spending $400 AUD on a screen replacement… read my next blog post