Dell is Ripping Off its Notebook Customers
Yesterday my the battery on my one-year-old Dell laptop died without warning. Today my AC adapter died. Thankfully I have a desktop I can use and a friend with a Dell AC adapter, so I’ve been able to get on the Internet. This afternoon I went on Dell’s website to check the price of an AC adapter, and boy was I surprised at what I found…
Note: Dell replied to my complaint in the comments below and I have since made a new post replying those comments.
The particular Dell notebook I have is the Inspiron 1501. I got it 15 months ago for around $600. What I love about it is not the great features I got for the price, but the fact it doesn’t have Vista. It’s served me well since the day I bought it, and the only issue I’ve ever had is a missing key. In that particular instance, I called Dell and had a new keyboard on my steps in less than 48 hours.
When my AC adapter and battery died, I didn’t think it would be a big deal to replace. Dell has a handy site that lets you enter your notebook model and shows you compatible batteries. That may seem like nothing to you and me, but to the average user, this is a godsend. After entering my model, I found my battery and AC adapter in an instant:
6-Cell Lithium-Ion Battery – $139.99- 1.3 star rating
90-watt AC adapter- $69.99- 2.3 star rating
Yeah, you got it right. Dell is charging $140 and $70 respectively for products that have dirt-poor ratings, ratings which are posted on their site. Reviewers of the products complain about the same issues I have- short life spans and high prices. This isn’t that surprisingly considering the scary past of some Dell batteries.
Normally I would have a problem with Dell if my computer had been under warranty. Unfortunately, I only opted to purchase the 1-year warranty when I bought my laptop. meaning that around 3 months after the warranty expired, I’m stuck with a $210 purchase, which is more than 1/3 the original purchase price of my laptop more than a year go. Not only that, but the replacement products will probably break again in another year considering the low reviews they received.
So, what am I going to do? Probably look somewhere else like eBay or Amazon. This makes my situation less serious, but what about the average Joe who doesn’t know he can get a better deal elsewhere? Most people automatically assume they must get replacement parts from the manufacturer. In the case of Dell, these are replacement parts that are faulty and being replaced at exorbitant prices for other faulty parts. They are selling ignorant people faulty technology and charging them high prices to replace it when it breaks. I’ve had a good track record with Dell in the past, but now I am reconsidering my position on the Round Rock tech giant.
Upon taking a look at some other notebook makers, some seem to be charging similar rates to Dell, but others much lower prices. Still, their items at least don’t have low ratings as far as I can tell. HP has power adapter prices very similar to Dell’s, but Gateway and Lenovo both offer $39.99 adapters. Apple’s AC adapters and batteries seem to be both overpriced and have low ratings.
In my opinion, I think Dell should replace my battery and AC adapter. Though my laptop isn’t under warranty, is it unreasonable to expect an AC adapter and battery to last longer than 15 months? Up until a few months ago I had a 10-year-old Thinkpad with a working original AC adapter. I know you’re listening Dell, and we both know you can do better.
NEW: Check out our guide to longest battery life laptop computers.