Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Compare cell phone plans using Wirefly's innovative plan comparison tool ×
Censorship Your Rights Online

Getting the Best Deal From Dell — Or Not 207

Nom du Keyboard writes "When The Consumerist published 22 tips for getting the best deal from Dell Computers, according to a self-described former Dell sales manager, Dell fired back with a take-down notice. You might want to look quickly, in the event it does get taken down. The Consumerist's lawyer's initial response was to deny the takedown request."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Getting the Best Deal From Dell — Or Not

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 17, 2007 @06:18PM (#19544575)
    Full text from http://consumerist.com/consumer/insiders/22-confes sions-of-a-former-dell-sales-manager-268831.php [consumerist.com]
    Anon because I'm not a karma whore and because I add nothing to the post. Enjoy :)
    ***
    A former Dell kiosk manager writes us to share helpful tips about doing business with Dell. He has no particular problems with Dell, he just wanted to share some helpful tips for consumers looking to get the best deal. He includes info on getting the best deal from the website, different kinds of promotions the Dell offers, insider details on how the kiosk sales reps are compensated, what coupons and deals they have to offer you to close the deal, the email format for Dell in case you're thinking of launching an EECB, where to take your Dell credit card complaints, which extended warranties to avoid, how to get a domestic tech support rep... and more. It's very comprehensive. Enjoy!

    I am a former Spherion rep that later became a Dell Branded Rep (manager) of a Dell kiosk in the Philadelphia, PA region. To work at one is to work at all, and I worked at four different kiosks in the region. I worked from July 2005 until October 2006, but keep regular contact with some of the guys I trained and brought up. Other than the usual complaints, I have no problem with the company.

    Things most people know already:

    1. Small business is better than home and home office - Small business typically runs a few dollars more than the home office, but you stand a better chance of getting domestic tech support rather than non-native English speakers. As an added perk, small business promotions are occasionally better than home.

    2. Play with the web site - There are many different pricing packages for the same product throughout the various sections, typically three or more per segment. If you're buying a Dell soon, configure a unit from a link off the main page, from the product listing on the drop down and from the "As Advertised-Newspaper" drop down. Configure the same system each way at the home, small business and the Direct (kiosk) site (http://www.dell.com/directstore). It is very likely you will end up with nine different prices.

    3. Extended warranty for laptops - Do it for as long as you feasibly see using your laptop, and include accidental. Two years is typically the lifecycle from "new product" to "no longer produced/no more refurbs" though YMMV. Once your model is off the refurb site, drop it. Voila! New laptop. The standard warranty will not cover any screen defects.

    UPDATE: Current Dell rep says: If a system is no longer shipping a used/refurbished is always sent, though the refurb should be equal or better as far as hardware is concerned. As of this writing if a system is exchanged, via either Complete Care warranty or concession, and the system is still a currently shipping model a new system is to be sent.

    4. Extended warranty for desktops - There is nothing in a low end desktop (non XPS) that is worth the price of the warranty should you have to replace it. Only pick it up if you have absolutely no clue what you're doing once the case is open.

    5. Tech support phone - If you do go with the home/home office/direct route, tech support is outsourced (duh!). The tech support instant messenger typically provides a calmer, more understandable conversation due to the fact that accents are taken out of the equation. Think back to high school Spanish. It was always easier to translate the foreign language you were reading than if you heard it. Same concept applies here.

    6. Tech support web site - If you're having a common problem, hit the product forums (however crippled they may be now). It is very likely your question/problem has been resolved before, and usually a domestic tech rep posted a solution there.

    7. Warranty Repairs - On all but the two lowest warranties (90 day and 1 year limited), warranty repairs wi
    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) * on Sunday June 17, 2007 @08:42PM (#19545443)
      Dell is on a major decline. Back in the late 90s everyone wanted a Dell although they cost more then then others. But they were good systems... Dell sense has lowered the quality of the systems and made purchasing one a major hassle. Right now Apple is taking Dells spot as Yea it cost a bit more but it is worth it. PC.
      • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Monday June 18, 2007 @05:50AM (#19548437) Homepage Journal
        I haven't ever had a problem with their monitors. On most deals forums many people chime in to skip the "deal" and just get a dell xxxx monitor. Their 20, 22, and 24s, are recommended that buying someone else's is usually reserved for super deals.

        As for their PCs, well I build my own and my recent laptop was not a dell? Why not? Simple - I got one of those super stupid open-box but new in box machines from Best Buy when Vista rolled out simple because it wasn't pre-loaded with Visat (1999 original P105-9722 for 1299 with $200GC on top and free Vista Business Upgrade - go figure)
      • by zoney_ie ( 740061 ) on Monday June 18, 2007 @07:44AM (#19549035)
        Apple are not competative (at least in Ireland) for anything but higher end systems. Indeed, in that area they are problematic too, as you perhaps won't find one that has beefier components in quite the right areas.

        I find Dell mid-range with components beefed up to be a winning choice. I like things too such as having 4 year on-site warranty on a laptop that had better components than anything I could find at the same price range elsewhere (€1200 incl. dedicated graphics - X1400). My desktop was a great way to get a higher mid-range system suitable for gaming (GeForce 6800 in mid-2005) with 20" screen (total €1400). Dell called me after my one year collect and return ended and offered warranty of four-year on-site for 90 - which I took seeing as it covered the large LCD also. Indeed that Dimension 5000 of mine is perfectly happy in 2007 with an X1950PRO installed (I was a bit concerned about PSU capacity, but it turned out not to be an issue) - in fact not only is it great performance now but quieter than when it was new!

        I'm not at all impressed by Apple systems. They would have to be cheaper than similarly specced alternatives for me to bother. They seem to be form over substance, and I don't even like the form (style is a matter of taste, so unless they have multiple styles they'll always only appeal to a certain market segment). Also I know plenty of people with such systems and the support stories are horrific. For all the odd stories I've heard from people I know of bad Dell support, it's mostly good stories (indeed I've had only helpful responses from them).
    • A little extra on Dell Preferred Accounts.

      1. Do not pay by snail mail. They will hold onto the check without cashing it to give you fees as you start to pay down the balance.
      2. Whatever they tell you the interest rate will be, its going to be higher. Wait before buying the PC to see what your rate is. Its a hassle to send the computer back.
      3. When you finally pay it off, a rep (indian) will beg you to stay. You have to convince him you want it canceled and expect to wait on the phone 20 minutes. They try to keep your account open for 2 years after its paid off. If you select that, read the fine print online. You will find out they can charge you inactivity fees.
      4. They find ways to fee you when you get below $1000. They lose payments. They process them incredibly slow.
      5. If you use the check free payment method, be sure to pay very early. The speedy processing option costs $10 extra and they still wait to process it to auto fee you.
      6. Your interest rate will keep going up. In general interest rates have been rising, but Dell likes to stay ahead of the curve.

      I strongly recommend that everyone stay away from DFS. My experience was very poor. I financed a Dell Precision 650 refurb a few years ago. The computer is great, but the DFS account was terrible. If you don't beleive me, google it.
      • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Monday June 18, 2007 @05:47AM (#19548421) Homepage Journal
        Then I usually mail my payments the next day after receiving my statements. I do the same for any credit card I cannot easily pay online. I never had them late apply anything and I always buy with DPS when shopping with Dell as the 2-3% is a nice topper on most purchases.

        I do believe DFS is actually handled by a real bank, at least at the time I opened my account with Dell the information was picked up by an organization that wasn't named Dell nor based where they were, could be a front.

        I find that with most credit pay systems that if you cannot pay the day the statement arrives then you are better off without the credit.
      • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Monday June 18, 2007 @08:40AM (#19549421) Journal

        1. Do not pay by snail mail. They will hold onto the check without cashing it to give you fees as you start to pay down the balance.
        Anyone who deals with business leases or other financing knows that this is standard for the industry. I am forced to issue lease payments 10 days before they are due to ensure I am not assessed late fees. This is annoying for cash flow.

        The other solution I've found is to send a couple payments a year via certified return receipt (make sure to mark that no signature is required!). If they hold your check, you have proof that they receivd the check on time. Then call them and offer to fax the delivery receipt; they will refund the late charge. I suspect they also then note the account, because I've found that subsequently, few checks get held.
    • by dugn ( 890551 ) on Monday June 18, 2007 @01:09AM (#19547073) Homepage
      Dell rescinded. They say they blew it by threatening a takedown. http://consumerist.com/consumer/takedowns/dell-adm its-error-in-asking-consumerist-to-remove-post-269 653.php [consumerist.com]
  • wtf? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @06:19PM (#19544587) Homepage
    When The Consumerist published 22 tips for getting the best deal from Dell Computers, according to a self-described former Dell sales manager, Dell fired back with a take-down notice.

    When are these companies going to learn that trying to suppress information on the internet just makes it multiply?
    • Re:wtf? (Score:5, Informative)

      by qbwiz ( 87077 ) * <john@noSpAm.baumanfamily.com> on Sunday June 17, 2007 @06:31PM (#19544685) Homepage

      When are these companies going to learn that trying to suppress information on the internet just makes it multiply?


      Yesterday. [direct2dell.com]
      • Re:wtf? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by farrellj ( 563 ) * on Sunday June 17, 2007 @07:41PM (#19545123) Homepage Journal
        Mr. Dell has realized that big business companies cannot compete in the computer field. I'd swear that he's been reading Toffler, and is trying to change direction of the monstrous ship called Dell. It's slow and ponderous, but it seems to be happening. Other than IBM, no other major computer company has made as public a commitment to Linux and Open Source as Dell has. HP will have to do something soon, if only to keep mindshare.

        HP is going to be at a disadvantage because it has the same corporate setup that it has always had, no one person can step on and change the direction of the company like Jobs and Dell have done. In a world where change happens hourly, a bureaucratic organization is always going to be slower to change than a company where a person with a vision can cause change. It happened at Apple, and hopefully, it is happening at Dell.

        ttyl
                  Farrell

        -----
        FLIEGENDE KINDERSCHEISSE!
      • Re:wtf? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by innocent_white_lamb ( 151825 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @07:42PM (#19545127)
        That webpage says "We goofed", but I don't see the most important part of an apology.
         
        The "These are the steps that we have taken to insure that this does not happen in the future" part.
        • by michrech ( 468134 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @10:34PM (#19546137)
          That webpage says "We goofed", but I don't see the most important part of an apology.

          The "These are the steps that we have taken to insure that this does not happen in the future" part.


          Not only that, but it reads like a big advertisement..

          "We goofed. We admit it. Here's all the stuff we want you to look at while you're considering buying another computer..."

          Not good. I build my own systems, but guess where I *won't* be sending friends/co-workers/family in the future?
        • by AdamWeeden ( 678591 ) on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:01AM (#19549553) Homepage

          The "These are the steps that we have taken to insure that this does not happen in the future" part.
          It's in there, just a little obscured. If you look at their link to IdeaStorm [ideastorm.com] you'll see that they have implemented that user's idea which changes their response policy to blogs revealing "confidential" information.
    • Re:wtf? (Score:5, Funny)

      by shirai ( 42309 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @06:50PM (#19544813) Homepage
      My favorite part in the take-down notice is this:

      Thank you. Note, though, it has been almost nine hours since we made the request, yet the posting is still up, with the number of hits growing logarithmically.
      I think what they meant to say was exponentially. Logarithmic growth means it is slowing down really fast.

      Note: Seems whenever a take-down notice is given, the number of hits grows... exponentially.
    • Re:wtf? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dsginter ( 104154 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @07:40PM (#19545115)
      When are these companies going to learn that trying to suppress information on the internet just makes it multiply?

      This is already well documented as the Streisand Effect [wikipedia.org]. If I were Michael Dell, I would fire whomever sent the take-down notice. The outcome was quite predictable by anyone with half a brain (especially after the very recent AACS fiasco).
      • by jamesh ( 87723 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @11:42PM (#19546601)
        Or promote them.... why is everyone assuming that Dell didn't know what they were doing when they submitted the take-down notice???

        I doubt this would have made it to Slashdot, or at least wouldn't have been nearly as interesting without the news of the take-down notice. This way Dell gets a whole load of people thinking that they now know how to screw Dell on their next purchase. It's even possible that the original blogger was astroturfing on behalf of Dell.
      • by seanadams.com ( 463190 ) * on Monday June 18, 2007 @12:46AM (#19546935) Homepage
        If I were Michael Dell, I would fire whomever sent the take-down notice. The outcome was quite predictable by anyone with half a brain (especially after the very recent AACS fiasco).

        Did you stop to think that might be exactly what they wanted? Nothing moves units like when customers think they've beat the system or found some angle on a promo, like combining a promo with a sale price etc.
    • Re:wtfraud? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Harmonious Botch ( 921977 ) * on Sunday June 17, 2007 @08:01PM (#19545227) Homepage Journal
      I'm goig to buck the slashdoxy and defend Dell. Please read the full post before modding down.

      Doesn't #3 bother anyone else? It is explicit instructions on how to commit insurance fraud. If I were Dell management, I'd want it taken down for that reason alone. ( How would you feel if someone posted your bank password on the net, thus enabling any reader to defraud you? )
      • by Original Replica ( 908688 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @08:57PM (#19545547) Journal
        Is #3 really insurance fraud, or just advice on what insurance not to buy? Maybe telling the world that most laptop lines are only supported for two years is more than Dell would like to admit, but it's not like any informed consumer think that any laptop is going to up to date for more than a few years. This was no great secret.
        • Re:wtfraud? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Harmonious Botch ( 921977 ) * on Sunday June 17, 2007 @09:25PM (#19545695) Homepage Journal
          As you say, other parts of the same paragraph may indeed offer advice on what insurance to buy or not buy, but quoting from item #3 of the website in question: "Once your model is off the refurb site, drop it. Voila! New laptop."
          This looks pretty clear to me. On a certain date, deliberately damage the merchandise, and the insurance that you bought will get you a new one. This part is advice on how to commit fraud. Surrounding it with other advice doesn't change that.
          • On a certain date, deliberately damage the merchandise, and the insurance that you bought will get you a new one.

            OK, yes, I completely understand your point and I wouldn't do it myself. On the other hand, the contract says "if you pay us money and break your laptop, we will replace it". I'm not really sure if I'd consider it fraud if someone does exactly what their contract permits them to do. Sleazy, sure. Fraudulent? I don't know; Dell wrote the contract and those are the terms they offered.

            Now, I have seen similar clauses used to protect the customer. My friend bought some random gadget from a big box store and realized that it didn't meet the specs on the box. When he tried to return it, the CS rep insisted that you could only return defective or damaged merchandise.

            Rep: So, you can't return that.
            Friend: Wait, your sign says that if it's broken I can.
            Rep: But it's not broken.
            Friend: ....yet. See where I'm going with this?
            Rep: Do you want that in cash or store credit?

          • by transporter_ii ( 986545 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @11:25PM (#19546507) Homepage
            Yeah, we could all get a lower price on Dell computers if everyone skips the insurance fraud, otherwise EVERYONE pays for that new laptop...one way or the other.

            Transporter_ii
            • by rainman_bc ( 735332 ) on Monday June 18, 2007 @12:59AM (#19547021)
              Yeah, we could all get a lower price on Dell computers if everyone skips the insurance fraud, otherwise EVERYONE pays for that new laptop...one way or the other.

              Doubtful. Dell isn't in the insurance business per se - they probably have an underwriter take care of it for Dell - insurance is tricky business involving actuaries and probabilities and all sorts of lame stuff a computer company shouldn't be involved in.

              Considering this is an optional warranty coverage that you pay extra for, the cost of that warranty coverage might go up, but not the laptop price.
        • by falsified ( 638041 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @10:22PM (#19546057)
          This will (rightly) be considered redundant but it bears repeating twice lest someone tries this:

          This is the exact definition of insurance fraud. Buying a policy with the explicit and premeditated goal of causing damage in order to collect on the policy is exactly what insurance fraud is.

          • by Chmcginn ( 201645 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @10:45PM (#19546247) Journal
            Actually, insurance fraud doesn't require the decision to be premeditated before the purchase of the insurance policy. If I torched my house tomorrow & tried to collect my homeowner's insurance, it would still be fraud, even though when I bought it several years ago I wasn't intending to burn it down.

            Also, fraud requires deception. If my insurance policy didn't exclude damage intentionally inflicted by me, I could burn it down & it wouldn't be fraud. So, really, the requirement is lying in order to collect an insurance claim.

      • by schwaang ( 667808 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @10:07PM (#19545943)
        Yes it's unethical. I'd never do that on purpose myself, but it's good to know anyway.
      • by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Monday June 18, 2007 @03:50AM (#19547875)
        Doesn't #3 bother anyone else? It is explicit instructions on how to commit insurance fraud. If I were Dell management, I'd want it taken down for that reason alone. ( How would you feel if someone posted your bank password on the net, thus enabling any reader to defraud you? )

        Yes, it's dishonest, but it's not at all comparable to exposing a bank password. It's more like saying "you can stuff a packet of smokes in your pocket at a supermarket and sneak out without paying". Dishonest, but anyone who was dishonest enough to do it can work that out for themself. Also, I think insurance companies will notice if you make pattern of making much claims, like shoplifting it's not risk free.

    • by mpe ( 36238 ) on Monday June 18, 2007 @05:38AM (#19548343)
      When are these companies going to learn that trying to suppress information on the internet just makes it multiply?

      When you see an honest politican riding on the back of a flying pig over a snow covered Hell...
  • by Urusai ( 865560 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @06:24PM (#19544641)
  • nice try (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 17, 2007 @06:26PM (#19544647)
    good idea because take down notices sure do work well. 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0
  • by drDugan ( 219551 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @06:27PM (#19544661) Homepage
    Oh the Tragedy!

    Somebody lets the cat out of the bag about the crap and value within a company product suite, and they go back to DMCA and takedowns.

    We are reaching the middle of the sigmoid on information exchange - until now many have still been in the old model, and moving forward there will be more activity in the new (open free information exchange) model. Old-style enterprises are pissed off by the new model. How DARE they tattle on where they make some extra money at te expense of their cusotmers. This will only increase and radically change the nature of business activity for the better, so long as people really can continue to exchange information and know who each other really are.

  • by Aphrika ( 756248 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @06:31PM (#19544687)
    Get the 1 year return to base support when you buy the PC.

    About 2 weeks after you receive the system, you'll get a phone call and an offer to upgrade to the full 3 year on-site support for around £30 ($60). That worked out at about a third of the price than if I'd bought it.
  • Insurance Fraud (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kebes ( 861706 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @06:34PM (#19544715) Journal
    I'm all for trying to get the best deal you can on any purchase. However one of the recommendations is:

    3. Extended warranty for laptops ...Once your model is off the refurb site, drop it. Voila! New laptop.
    So, basically, the recommendation is to purposefully destroy your laptop, and then file a claim under the "accidental damage" provision of Dell's extended care insurance. The insurance, by the way, does not cover purposeful damage to the property. So basically this 'tip' is "commit insurance fraud."

    Will this work? Yes. I knew a guy who did this with Dell's plan... got a nice upgrade for "free." I'm not convinced, however, that insurance fraud is really such a great idea. Nor am I convinced that this guy should be encouraging people to commit crimes.
    • Re:Insurance Fraud (Score:3, Insightful)

      by froschmann ( 765104 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @06:51PM (#19544823)
      Telling people to buy printer cartridges from kiosks by "seeing if the employees seem cool" and "paying cash" for items that aren't in inventory also seems a bit below the board.
    • Re:Insurance Fraud (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RickRussellTX ( 755670 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @06:52PM (#19544827)

      Agreed, and it makes me wonder if The Consumerist read the article carefully. They're pretty aggressive about bad behavior [consumerist.com] by companies [consumerist.com]. So it's OK if a consumer steals for personal gain?

    • Re:Insurance Fraud (Score:3, Insightful)

      by networkzombie ( 921324 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @07:02PM (#19544873)
      I agree. The author is condoning fraud and should be taken down. I purchase 10K worth of stuff from Dell each year and although I scream at their tech support for being idiots about twice a year, they still offer a great deal. If you intentionally rip people off, you are a criminal. If you tell other people that it is okay to intentionally rip people off, you are also a criminal. The article should be called - How to be a burden to society.
    • Re:Insurance Fraud (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mistlefoot ( 636417 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @07:12PM (#19544933)
      I can see it now...... Some honest people with laptops that are broken will be hassled more while trying to get a replacement as safeguards are increased to try to remedy this.

      And yes. The price of insuring your laptop may very well go up. Insurance companies aren't in the business of losing money. At the end of the day the of insurance fraud will be paid for by honest people.
    • by Chabil Ha' ( 875116 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @08:07PM (#19545257)
      That and douchebag ideas like this make it so that consumers pay more for their product. Most of the cost of auto insurance is not because of risk of accident or liability, but the risk of fraud.
    • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @09:29PM (#19545723) Homepage Journal
      Honestly, what does Dell expect. This is a business decision that Dell has made. If they are going to cover accidental damage then they also must cover deliberate damage as there is no way to tell the difference, and sometimes it is blurry. Is improper packaging accidental? Is leaving it outside knowing it might rain accidental? Clearly dropping it on purpose to get a new computer is fraud, but what of it?

      If they wanted an honest class of customer that was willing to pay a reasonable charge for a quality machine, they would not play all the games with discounts and the like. They would just offer an extended warranty that covered parts that wore our or broke, but would leave abuse to the responsibility of the customer. The fact that offer the extended warranty they do is another game they play. We know that most extended warranties are very profitable, though useful for products on which one wishes to manage maintenance costs, i.e. not cheap headphones and like. By offering such a warranty, the entice more people to purchase the product, probably more than need it, and must, in the end, still make a tidy profit. Might they make more profit without the 'fraud', might the warranty cost less without the 'fraud'. Sure, but that only effects me if I buy a dell machine, which I don't, if for no other reason than they want another $50 to support the machine that they sold me. It is games to make believe that they are getting a good value, when all they are getting is cheap computer that needs an extended warranty as it could fall apart at any minute.

    • obligatory IAALIA (Score:5, Informative)

      by Travoltus ( 110240 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @11:24PM (#19546497) Journal
      (I am a licensed insurance agent)

      You're right. It's called a moral hazard.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_hazard#Moral_Ha zard_in_Insurance [wikipedia.org]

      The writer of this article needs to apologize publicly for encouraging this.
  • by Blahbooboo3 ( 874492 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @06:36PM (#19544729)
    It's such a hassle to get a good deal from Dell. Between their rebates, coupons, instant discounts, and special offers the entire process is like buying a car!

    If dell is trying to figure out why its market share is declining, it is likely because of the difficulty in knowing what you are buying is the best price. I don't think HP makes people go through all this nonsense.

    Oh and also the whole small business vs. home office crap. What an annoyance how they both contain the exact same machines with just very slight differences.
    • Oh and also the whole small business vs. home office crap. What an annoyance how they both contain the exact same machines with just very slight differences.
      I bought an Inspiron 1501 a month ago. Small business offered it with Vista and XP; home offered only Vista. Simple question: why? :)
    • by tknd ( 979052 ) on Monday June 18, 2007 @02:49AM (#19547545)

      It's such a hassle to get a good deal from Dell. Between their rebates, coupons, instant discounts, and special offers the entire process is like buying a car!

      I haven't seen a rebate on a Dell deal yet (though I may be wrong) though they do have just about every other type of discount: coupons, percent off threshold, dollars off threshold, special base configuration prices, certain upgrade promotions (double memory, upgraded hard drive, upgraded CPU, etc.) and so on.

      While you can relate the process to buying a car, the nice thing about Dell is that it is all online and it is fast. The online portion is great because there's not a team of salesmen trying pull a sale out of you; it's just you and the website and a simple click ends it all. And because it is online, the smart people postpone buying until they've found a deal they like. It is very advantagous to you (the consumer) because Dell cannot sit a sales rep that will try every trick in to the book to get a profit off you right at that moment. Instead, you can just go to the website, see what's offered, and compare their offer to others on the internet. If you like it, you buy, if you don't, you just close the window. All they can do is keep putting up different offers hoping that you'll eventually bite. But sometimes, they screw up.

      For example, just last week they made a small boo-boo and priced a Dell C521 with an AMD dual-core, 1gb ram machine for $219 [slickdeals.net]. As a side note, the deal was posted 12:17AM early Friday morning which happens to match a certain piece of information in the article. The mistake was quickly fixed but not before it had spread the internet and was posted on various websites. Many users reported their sales going through (shipped) while some reported some orders getting cancelled.

      Anyhow, the point is the system actually works for you as long as you're willing to wait a bit (there are typically good deals every couple months) for a deal that suits you. If you're extremely wealthy on time (waiting about a full year), then you can eventually hit one of these rare deals and come out on top. Some people have been able to get a good car sale, but it requires a lot of preparation and research beforehand, and it requires that you know exactly what you want to buy. With Dell, you can just check the website once every day (only takes a minute) to see if a deal suits you. (But smart people will just check deal websites so that they only get fed the times a good Dell deal comes up ;)

  • by Spazholio ( 314843 ) <slashdot AT lexal DOT net> on Sunday June 17, 2007 @06:43PM (#19544779) Homepage
    Just in case, coral cache of the article here [nyud.net].
  • by myowntrueself ( 607117 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @06:57PM (#19544843)
    Thanks for that.

    Can we have one of these only for Apple?

  • by Dr. Photo ( 640363 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @07:11PM (#19544927) Journal
    Dell already apologized: http://direct2dell.com/one2one/archive/2007/06/16/ 18397.aspx [direct2dell.com]

    And this article was posted to Slashdot AFTER that happened, and there is STILL no "Update: Dell actually apologized before we posted this article, 'cause we're dumb."

    You're doing them a huge disservice by letting this stand uncorrected, kdawson.
  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <{moc.cam} {ta} {rcj}> on Sunday June 17, 2007 @07:33PM (#19545065) Journal
    Being cagey about their pricing only pisses off the customers and makes dell look like a fly-by-night operation.

    -jcr

  • by FuryG3 ( 113706 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @08:10PM (#19545281)
    That advice was given in the article. I'd add to that: check your states lemon laws.

    I bought a Dell Inspiron 8200 when they first came out. I bought the extended warranty (3 years) and was very glad I did. Dell laptops are going to break. I had the little clip which holds the battery on break three times, the hard drive fail twice (and then the pins broke on the replacement hard drive, counting as a third breakage), I had it serviced for LCD-related issues three times, and there's some other problem I forgot about. This all happened over 3 years, and Dell was very quick on the gun to get my stuff fixed, usually sending replacement parts in 24 hours. I would have been screwed if I hadn't gotten the extended warranty.

    As my warranty period came up, I started to get worried. The laptop was going to break again, and I'd be out in the cold. Turns out, in CA, if you get a computer serviced 3 or more times for the same problem, you can demand your money back. After some arguing with the Dell guys, they sent me an 8500 (refurb). My 3 year warranty expired the next week.

    Point is: Paying the extra couple hundred bucks for the warranty saves you from buying a new laptop. After a feeling of joy, I felt a bit guilty about getting 2 laptops for the price of one. Then again, Dell chose to make laptops which fail constantly, not me...
    • Yes, but as a consumer did you choose the Dell unit because of the low price or you liked the actual design/functionality?

      Point is we consumers do it to ourselves. We want the cheapest possible product, then wonder why the quality is low. This is with all things nowdays, ESPECIALLY airlines!

      Sometimes you do get what you pay for :)
    • We order about a dozen or more Dell Latitudes every year, and we don't have problems like you describe. Even our older D800s and D600s are working well, and they're out of warranty. We still have inevitable things like hard drives dying and batteries going flat, but that happens to everyone.

      Now, they had bought some Inspirons before I started there, and some of those are getting a bit naff; we've had a few docking stations go bad, for example. But the Lats are business-class and the Inspirons are consumer-grade, so that's not unexpected.

      Moral: you get what you pay for. Their business-class stuff is usually a bit behind the times (still not selling C2D 6420 processors, for example) and weaker on graphics, but usually well-built.

      I'd still build my own desktop PC, but alas don't have that luxury with a lapdog.
    • by tknd ( 979052 ) on Monday June 18, 2007 @03:08AM (#19547629)

      You must be one of those guys that has a bad case with lemons. My experience has been totally different. My Dell 600m is more than 2.5 years old now and has had zero problems since I bought it. The only portion that really "broke" on the machine was the rubber feet things below the laptop. The glue was wearing out so they're starting to come off. I don't care too much about them because the actual functionality of the laptop is unaffected.

      The only part that started to show serious defects was the battery which gradually lost capacity. But even at 2 years, it was still decent capacity (barely 2 hours on a full charge). This is unavoidable as all batteries tend to lose capacity over time. But lucky for me, the battery never failed, and the big Sony battery recall fiasco caused me to get a free battery replacement. Now my battery is as good as new.

      I will admit that at times the casing can seem flimsy, but at the same time it can be a pretty expensive requirement to make a laptop with more rigid casing material. On the other hand, my friend owned a 14" macbook when we first entered college. Around the three year mark, the thing was falling apart and his battery wouldn't hold a charge. At least with a cheap dell, if it starts falling apart after three years, I don't feel bad about it. Had it been something more expensive and it starts to fall apart, I feel like my investment never paid for itself. But my 600m has far outlived my expectations and unless there's a seriously good laptop deal in the near future, I doubt I'll be replacing it for another year or so.

  • Dell's attorney (Tracy Holland) was told that he would be contacted by the attorney representing Consumerist. This indicates that Consumerist is represented by counsel. In most states, the bar rules prohibit an attorney from directly communicating with represented opposing parties.
  • by kisrael ( 134664 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @08:26PM (#19545363) Homepage
    "1. Small business is better than home and home office "

    This is one prime reason why I never order online from dell. I just have this deep feeling that they shouldn't care about why I'm buying this computer... just give me the best deal, which frankly, ain't gonna very that much whether I'm a big company or joe blow. (Yes, I know bulk purchasers et bulk discounts, but still)

    So that, plus, call me old fashioned, but if it's a model I don't know, I need to touch and feel the formfactor first hand, especially for laptops.

    Micro Center in Cambridge ahoy!
  • #6 in the kiosks... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @08:38PM (#19545423)
    #6 in the kiosks section is my favorite: "Don't be surprised if the salesman asks really base/borderline-insulting questions if you act interested. They think you're a secret shopper."

    Nothing like pissing off legit customers so you can score a little higher on a phony performance score. A store I worked at dropped the mystery shopper crap while I worked there, but never explained the reason. I strongly suspect it was because the test isn't grounded in reality, but in the random chance of a single shopper once a month. They replaced it with a survey system, which is probably almost as bad... Surveys only get the best and the worst answer... Why would someone take the time to fill out a 'I got pretty normal service' answer? They don't, even if you offer $$$ prizes randomly.
  • A Few More Points (Score:5, Informative)

    by chill ( 34294 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @10:02PM (#19545923) Journal
    Dell's business sales reps work on quarterly quotas. The closer you get to the end of the quarter, the more they're willing to give you. The trick is, their quarters are shifted by one month. Instead of Jan-Feb-Mar, their quarter is Feb-Mar-Apr. So if you can get quotes in the first week of April, then hold off until the last week, they'll call you and offer all sorts of incentives to close the deal.

    Same goes for July, Oct and Jan.

    * * *

    ALWAYS check the website for deals. Probably 1 in every 5 times I've gotten quotes from our Small Business Sales rep I've found better deals online. Tell them and they'll match or beat it.

    * * *

    Get your Small Business Sales Rep to set you up a custom page with the equipment you normally order, INCLUDING ADD-ONS. For over a year I was able to purchase 15K RPM SCSI drives off of the custom page for 1/3 the price quoted on the normal site. Ditto for rack rails, RAID kits and extra CPUs.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @10:22PM (#19546055) Homepage
    ...the rest might be garnered from experience and understanding of how their business model works.

    I didn't realize, however, that there would be a noticable difference in cost depending on which type of shopping you do. I will keep that tip in mind.

    As for the warranty stuff? Definitely. And *USE* the warranty. I must say, I feel a little guilty if I were to intentionally break my laptop at the end of the warranty. That's just plain abusive and dishonest. But on the other hand, if I have an actual accident, I like knowing I can get it fixed. That said, I bought my current Dell laptop some time ago and I had forgotten that I had any warranty at all. When I realized that I was good until 2009, I called support and told them my keyboard needs to be replaced. Okay, so not really... I mean it's "worn" but it was functional. (Except when I've been playing UT2004... then sometimes the keyboard doesn't seem so responsive... but maybe that's me.) But I ordered a new one anyway. I do think my processor cooling fan is making a bit more noise than it did when it was new so I will probably make another warranty call some time before the warranty is out as well. And I ask myself once more... would I really "drop it" to get a new laptop? No... I just can't bring myself to even think about it. It's sorta sacriligeous doncha think? Who knows... I might change my mind when the time comes.

    Lately, I have found that the last few calls I have made to Dell support has gone through central America and their accents were more than acceptable. I was very pleased with Dell's selection. I mean I'd prefer that Dell hired college kids for their support... fairly bright and fairly inexpensive. But I could barely detect much of an accent from the central Americans that I heard and they also had no difficulty understanding me.

    Dell's service and pricing options are good especially when consumers know about it. Frankly, even though it's a guide to abusing Dell's good faith, it still shows Dell in pretty good light since they do offer these kinds of options for people. After all, even at the cost of giving bad people good service, it still offers good value to good people and I want to believe good people are in the majority.
  • by v1 ( 525388 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @11:41PM (#19546595) Homepage Journal
    I was shocked when I was shopping for a new digital camera and found the best deal at Dell. This was for a Canon PowerShot S3 IS. Everyone and their dog was selling it for between $300 and $400. Then out of the woodwork comes Dell, $239.

    I have no idea why it was so cheap from Dell but I am not going to complain. I have no intention of ever buying anything with the Dell brand name on it, but I have no problem buying non branded peripherals from them on the cheap. $60 off a normally bottom-dollar-$300 product is quite amazing.

    Their printers are garbage though, they are the absolute bottom of the line HPs you see at places like best buy for $59, rebranded Dell.
  • Text of Dell Apology (Score:2, Informative)

    by tcrown007 ( 473444 ) on Monday June 18, 2007 @02:08AM (#19547345)
    Dell's 23 Confessions

    Now's not the time to mince words, so let me just say it... we blew it.

    I'm referring to a recent blog post from an ex-Dell kiosk employee that received more attention after the Consumerist blogged about it, and even more still after we asked them to remove it.

    In this case, I agree with what Jeff Jarvis had to say: instead of trying to control information that was made public, we should have simply corrected anything that was inaccurate. We didn't do that, and now we're paying for it.

    I believe in the customer voice--that's why I signed up for this job in the first place. There's simply no cheating the system. When we're on the right track, folks tend to say some good things about us (or at least give us a second chance). When we mess up, they let us know quickly and vocally. Then everyone watches our reaction like a hawk.

    Now, if you'll allow me to shift gears just a bit, here's our own 22 23 Confessions list:

    1) Ok, we goofed. We shouldn't have sent a notice. To my earlier point, we appreciate the reminder from the community. Point taken. Yesterday, we also responded to a related IdeaStorm idea from user jmxz. To see more, take a look for comments from our own dell_admin1 and my good pal richard_b.

    2) An easy way to scope out deals is to go to the Home and Home Office section of Dell.com and click "As Advertised." In other words, click here. You can see what we're currently offering and then chat live with a rep if you like.

    3) We have simplified our pricing and promos. We have reduced the number of promotions per product line and the number for a single product. We've also simplified our rebates.

    4) Small Business will be different than Home and Home Office soon. There will be a real difference between systems we offer to consumers vs. small business users that goes beyond price. Since these details depend on upcoming changes in both our Inspiron line and our small business systems, I can't share more details just yet, but you will hear more in a few weeks.

    5) We are committed to being the greenest technology company on the planet. It's the right thing to do for ourselves, our environment and our customers. See details in the Programs section of this page for more information.

    6) When your computer's effective life has ended, we still care about it as much as you do, so we provide free recycling for all consumers worldwide. We can't wait for our competitors to catch up, since we all benefit from improving our environment. Please remind them.

    7) We don't think many people get excited when they have to call the Geek Squad, wait around at their house and then fork over cash when you can do the same thing in the comfort of your home on your own schedule for free. Maybe we're crazy, but we think this is more effective. Turns out our customers seem to agree. DellConnect has helped over 5 million consumers for free and has a 93% satisfaction rate in a little over one year of service. Other tools like PC-Tune-Up help automate confusing aspects of system maintenance And new tools like Dell Support Center centralize system-specific information and provide several options for reaching support to make troubleshooting easier.

    8) What if you only had to make one click to make a difference in the environment? Well, we do this everyday via our Plant a Tree for Me program. Through it, we empower our consumers to offset their system's carbon footprint by making a small contribution to purchase a tree at the time of purchase or whenever you want. And, Michael Dell is personally matching any contribution you make in June, July and August.

    9) We normally wouldn't have said this in the past, but we have some very cool PCs being introduced later this month. Stay tuned and you'll see what we mean. Matter of fact, I've seen some pictures here and here.

    10) We have a very great way for all of our customers to share ideas with us at www.ideastorm.
    • by Phoenix00017 ( 1017168 ) on Monday June 18, 2007 @10:36AM (#19550547)

      I'm going to both commend Dell for this move and attack them for turning it into a crappy promotion for themselves. Yes, they made a mistake. Yes, they listened and responded well. Bravo to them and their PR department for realizing the blunder and admitting to it (because, let's be honest - those 22 confessions were ways to get better deals on DELL systems: it was a giant ad for Dell anyway, I can't believe they decided to try to challenge it). However, the 23 "confessions" that Dell posted are utter PR crap.

      5) We are committed to being the greenest technology company on the planet. It's the right thing to do for ourselves, our environment and our customers. See details in the Programs section of this page for more information.

      9) We normally wouldn't have said this in the past, but we have some very cool PCs being introduced later this month. Stay tuned and you'll see what we mean. Matter of fact, I've seen some pictures here and here.

      *Puts on Jon Stewart voice* "All right guys, we admit it. We've been trying to hide it from you, but you found us out. We're trying to be eco friendly. We're a bit ashamed of it, but since we're now being open and honest with our consumers, we'll just say it. Oh, and why not really open up and show our underbelly to you: WE HAVE SOME AWESOME NEW SYSTEMS COMING OUT SOON!!!! GO TO OUR WEBSITE!!1!!11!"

      Plus, #23 is utter crap and was just put on there so they could literally 1-up the previous article. I've bought a lot of Dell's, and for the money they're some of the best computers you can get, but this kind of lame PR stunt, when they almost had a legitimately honest and strong response, just pisses me off.

  • by TClevenger ( 252206 ) on Monday June 18, 2007 @02:41AM (#19547485)
    There are lots of sites; I use hot-deals.org [hot-deals.org]. They come up with deals that are hard to find on the site. (For instance, a slim C521 with an Athlon 3600 dual core, 1GB of RAM, 160GB, DVD burner and a fax modem for $219 with free shipping.) They also come up with great ideas I didn't think of (for instance, about a year ago, they configured a normally $2,100 dual-processor mirrored-RAID dual-power-supply server by buying two $600 servers and cannibalizing one for parts.)

"Truth never comes into the world but like a bastard, to the ignominy of him that brought her birth." -- Milton

Working...