On 08/31/2005, I purchased an AlienWare Area51 Desktop system for $4,127.14.
The system was shipped late. I was told the delay was because Alienware was moving thier operations into a new warehouse. No big deal I thought. Upon assembling the system and booting up the computor it crashed to blue screen after roughly 5 minutes. After attempting to start up the system numerous times to no success, I decided to call customer support.
I was informed at this time that I had no warranty, even though I paid extra for 1 year full on-site, remote and phone support. After getting no where on this call, I was forced to end the call and try to reach a different support member.
I immediately called back and thankfully got a different support team member. They were able to find my warranty information in thier system this time. This person then informed me that computors often crash when they overheat and that Alienware computors were made to run hot!(at this point I have not even been able to boot to windows)I was then told this ticket was considered closed! Frustrated beyond words I decided to get some rest and call back the next day. At this point I also mentioned that none of the software had been shipped with my system, to which I was told to download them from the net. No manuals, packaging, or drivers for any of my software and hardware were shipped.
After starting a new ticket, and my repeatedly stating there was obviously a problem with the system overheating, and mentioning that it is likely a video card issue(it was becoming painfully obvious that the person helping me had very little actual knowledge and was just reading troubleshooting tips on a prompter) I was told to open the case and remove both video cards. At this point I refused and requested my on-site service as was included in my warranty/support package. I was told that I could not get on-site service until all other means had been exausted, including utilizing phone support. So, begrudgingly, I agreed and proceeded to open the case, guided the entire time over the phone with tech support. We ended up swapping out both cards to see which one may be overheating. It was indeed a video issue, one of the cards was bad (a $750 7800 gtx ko).
I was told I could ship the card back (at my cost) and it would be replaced.
I decided to call back one more time and confirm that I would be sending out the faulty card the next day. To my utter disbelief I was told that my warranty was now voided because I opened the case, and that no replacement would be made nor could I continue the service call because it was a premium paid service.
On top of all this, I also had severe problems with the copy of windowsXP that was pre-shipped on the machine and had to reformat and buy a new OS at my cost. I am out of pocket $750 for the faulty card, $150 for my support package, and $110 for a retail copy of WindowsXP. This is by far the absolute worst experience I have EVER had with any retailer.