Before you shop online at the Dell outlet, or at Dell at all, you need to know the following:
Today, 4/24/12, I had an awful, awful, awful experience with Dell.
My XPS L502X arrived that I had ordered from the Dell Outlet website.
In the box was not the computer that I had ordered.
NOTE: IF YOU JUST WANT THE MEATY LIFE LESSON FROM THIS TALE, SCROLL TO THE LAST BIT. THE REST IS MY ELONGATED TALE OF WOE.
If you are familiar with how Dell Outlet works, you know it is stocked with pre-configured Dell computers with 3 different designations: "Dell Outlet New" "Certified Refurbished" and "Scratch and Dent".
The labels should be self explanatory, but chatting with a representative will give you more specifics: "Outlet New" computers never left the warehouse and have NEVER seen use. "Certified Refurbished" were sent in for repairs, then given a full inspection and then put on sale. They may have seen some use but look for all the world like new computers. "Scratch and Dent" Have received full inspections and are ready to be sold but these computers have been damages cosmetically. The rep will tell you that these cosmetic damages are often negligible... but you still have the fact that these computers are very likely to have seen use.
As you can imagine, the "outlet new" computers are more expensive.
I wanted a computer that hadn't been used before, so I ordered an "Outlet New" laptop and paid extra for the "newness"
The computer I received had scratches on it. Very visible scratches on the lid. Now, you might be asking: do I REALLY care what my computer LOOKS LIKE? No... I really don't! but I care what it's been through- just like I would care about what the car I buy has been through, and this computer does not look "new." It has seen some use.
So, I call customer care. Haha... I am so not going to bore you with EVERY conversation I had throughout the day with these people... It would just get so excruciatingly redundant. Suffice it to say that the lower level guys all told me that I had ordered a refurbished computer. Refering them to the invoice did not help, they INSISTED. Finally, I talked to a lady named Evelyn in El Salvador.
Evelyn was confused. I explained to her the three different distinctions in the Outlet and how you pay more for "New" and less for "Scratch and Dent" and there was indeed a difference. Yes, it was tiresome to explain what should be obvious to someone in her position. She told me that she wasn't sure, but she thought that even the "new" outlet computers had been taken out of the box by the previous customer and used. I asked her how Dell made the distinction between the 3 statuses, was it by the time the customer kept the computer? No, she said: They rate the computers based on what the customers tell them they did with them. "YOU LET THE PREVIOUS CUSTOMER DETERMINE THE PRICE OF THE LAPTOP FOR THE NEXT ONE?" I said incredulously. She said she wasn't sure, and I should ask this guy Ray for more specifics. Ok, so she transfers me to Ray. Ray says "Outlet New" computers have never been taken out of the box. Ever. End of story.
Now I call Evelyn back. She is on lunch, and another guy answers who wants to take me on the whole merry go round again. I demand to be transferred to his supervisor. He does so, but with a warning: she will be no more lenient than he is. "We'll see." I say.
HERE IS THE MEATY LIFE LESSON:
Now I talk to Sandra Alberta, the supervisor of the Dell office in El Salvador. I tell her my whole story. She shockingly, surprisingly, (I really, really can't express accurately how surprised I am when I hear this) says that when you order a computer from the Dell Outlet, Dell does not always send you the computer you ordered. They send you the closest thing to it. She is unapologetic about this. I ask her to repeat. She does. She goes on further to say that 9/10. 9/10. 9/10 (one more time) 9/10 of the computers in the outlet have seen use and have scratches and dents. I tell her about the rating system. She says it means nothing. I ask her where this is written on the website. She says it is not written on the website. She gives me three options:
-I can return the computer I got and pay a 15% restocking fee.
-I can return the computer and they will replace it with another one. I want to laugh but I just end up crying: She says they will just end up replacing my computer with the FIRST computer in that model they find. It could be worse, might be equal, definitely not better. She GUARANTEES it will have scratches on it. The configuration could be ANYTHING equal or worse than what I have.
-She can send me $25 to shut the hell up.
Ok. I can't stress enough how serious I am about this. This really, actually happened. Dell Outlet is a quagmire full of classic deceit. Robbery of the worst and boldest kind. Respond to this and I WILL write back. These things WERE SAID to me by a Dell call center supervisor. She did not mince words. She told me the only other recourse was to TRY LEGAL ACTION. Again, this is all true and I will do everything in my power to verify this and confirm all of this and provide more details if you want help.
Thank you for listening and I hope I have enlightened you as a consumer.