Saturday, August 25, 2007

Dell service

Last week, the Little Princess called. She needed two things.

She needed help moving her stuff from storage to her new apartment.

And she had a problem with her computer.

A little less than four years ago, we gave her a Dell computer for college. She had taken her Gateway laptop that her mother gave her in high school, but, she needed a new computer, so we got her a Dell notebook.

Last year, she had a problem with it overheating. Since we had the full warranty and coverage on it, they sent a technician by to make the repairs. And it's worked fine since then.

Until last week.

That's when the Little Princess called to tell me about her computer issues.

And, it involved sparks and burned clothing. So, when she called me that night, I got on the computer, chatting with "Muthulakshman_82118" while she was on the phone.
Agent (Muthulakshman_82118): "Thank you . As I see in the records that you have an Inspiron 1100 with windows Xp home installed,correct ?"
Basil: "yes"
Agent (Muthulakshman_82118): "Basil, could you tell me the sparks comes out from the ac adapter or from the port on the laptop?"
Basil: "from where the plug goes into the jack. uncertain if it's the jack, or the plug, since it happens when plug is in jack, and cord connected to outlet"
Agent (Muthulakshman_82118): "Are you referring to the ac adapter ?"
Basil: "yes. sparks emit from back of notebook when ac adapter plug is in the jack on the back of the notebook while other end of adapter is in outlet"
Agent (Muthulakshman_82118): "Basil,do you have a spare ac adapter ?"
Basil: "No"
Basil: "Just the one that came with the notebook"
Basil: "shh has computer in Athens. I have another Dell notebook, but I'm in Phenix City, 3-1/2 hours away from her"
Basil: "so she can't use mine on my ohter Dell"
Agent (Muthulakshman_82118): "Okay."
Agent (Muthulakshman_82118): "May I place you on hold for 2-3 minutes."
Agent (Muthulakshman_82118): "Thank you for your patience."
Basil: "sure"
Agent (Muthulakshman_82118): "Basil, due to the nature of the problem, the damage sustained to the system may have affected more than one component. In order to ensure a complete resolution, Dell will send a like or better system replacement. In the meantime, I recommend that you no longer use the system. Once the replacement arrives, return the defective system in the box the replacement arrived. Be sure to include all cable and electrical cords."

And, yesterday, the replacement arrived.

It's an Inspiron 1520, with Windows Vista Home Premium, 2 GB RAM, 140 GB HD, and a DVD burner.

Yes, that's a huge upgrade from what she had. But, an equivalent, in one aspect.

When we got her the notebook, it was a middle-range notebook, upgraded somewhat. And, they're sending the 2007 version: a middle-range notebook, upgraded somewhat.

So, no complaints about the service. The fact that we needed the service is, of course, a problem. But, like I said, no complaints about the service.

Of course, her computer isn't the only computer with sparks out the back and burns in the last week. There was a story on a local Columbus TV newscast yesterday about a local family having an issue with their Dell notebook.
"Wife smelled something she picked it up and there was a flame out the bottom of it," says Brown.

And the computer wasn't even turned on.

Brown compares watching his laptop go up in flames to a roman candle lighting the sky.

It's the same story that was reported elsewhere as happening in Columbus, OH, but it was Columbus, GA.

Maybe we should consider ourselves lucky that the problem didn't burn anything down. Plus I'm wondering what to do, if anything, about the two Dells we have at the house.

Me? I'm going to continue to use my new Macbook.


  1. I bought a "chill pad" for our laptop (compaq) because it gets so hot and that's usually when it stops working. I have a Dell that stopped after 3 yrs. Not sure what's wrong with it. Burning clothes is sounding dangerous!

  2. Going from XP to Vista is a downgrade. Install Ubuntu or get her a MacBook.

  3. What BWH said right at the end! Time to get her converted too.


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