Shutterstock

Help! The wireless Internet on my Dell won’t work

Cheryl Emerson’s wireless Internet connection won’t work on her Dell computer. She spends an additional $236 to get it fixed but it’s still dead. Now what?

Question: I own a Dell Studio laptop computer that won’t connect to my WiFi. It’s usually plugged into the wall, so that hasn’t been an issue, until now.

I’m a pastry chef, and I teach baking in a high school culinary arts program. I will be going to France for five weeks this summer, where I’ll need to use my non-existent WiFi.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by FocusPoint International -- FocusPoint International’s CAP Travel Medical and Security Assistance Plan comes standard with a robust mobile app that includes destination-based health, safety, and security intelligence, COVID-19 specific information, a one-touch assistance button, and much more. CAP includes unlimited 24/7 advice for a long list of travel mishaps often overlooked by traditional travel insurance. CAP also provides a no-cost response to incidents of riots, strikes, and civil commotion, natural disasters, with medical evacuation to a home hospital of choice, should you suffer from a medical mishap resulting in hospitalization. Indemnity to cover all CAP financial risk is reinsured 100% by AM Best, A rated underwriters at Lloyds, London.

Yesterday, I contacted Dell support, and I bought an additional one-year warranty for my Studio. I spent an additional $236 to have the computer repaired and for the warranty.

I spent a total of about 5 hours with or waiting for Dell technicians I could barely understand. As far as I’m aware, my computer was emptied and then everything reinstalled.

The technicians also played with my cable, modem and router remotely. By the time they were done, they disconnected both my WiFi and Internet access for all gadgets and my land phone line.

The final tech tried telling me it was the fault of Comcast and their signal was going “in and out.”

My Internet connections and phone lines could not have worked more perfectly than prior to me contacting Dell. My son had to spend well over another hour working with Comcast to get our home back to where it was prior to Dell “fixing” the WiFi on my computer.

In the early evening, Dell tech support called me back and asked to continue on with their help. My class begins tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. and I would like someone to help me with this or reverse the charge for a one-year warranty that I doubt is even worth it.

Cheryl Emerson, Milford, NH

Answer: This isn’t the first Dell case we’ve had come through here, and something tells me it won’t be the last. Dell used to have a reputation for making — and supporting — great computers. And by way of full disclosure, I used to be a Dell owner until it started charging extra for support and for outsourcing its calls to countries where I couldn’t understand the technicians.

Personally, I would have balked at paying another $236 to fix something that should have worked in the first place. But timing is everything. Your PC came with a limited warranty that should have covered your non-functioning WiFi, if you’d just said something at the outset. Instead, you did what a lot of computer users do when something goes wrong — you found a workaround by using your wired Internet connection.

This is a letter E to represent Elliott Advocacy (Elliott.org), a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization.
Keep an eye on what we are doing at Elliott Advocacy

Be the first to get the latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox. 

We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address

If nothing else, your story is a reminder that warranties expire and computers don’t fix themselves, except when they do. I’ve seen an update wipe out one problem, only to create another, but that’s a different story.

When Dell started circling the drain, I switched to buying Apple products. It wasn’t the perfect solution. I paid a premium for a trouble-free product, but eventually Apple began to do the same thing Dell was — selling “AppleCare” service and support that really should have been included in the price of a product.

I know I’m not going to win points with the “pay more, get more” crowd that loves a la carte pricing, but I do see analogies in, ahem, other industries. You can’t detach a computer from support any more than you can remove a checked bag from an airline ticket or housekeeping services from a hotel. It’s just stupid and it makes the company look greedy.

After I reviewed your initial correspondence with Dell, I suggested you appeal your case to one of its executive contacts, which I publish on my website. I normally advise that before I get directly involved in a case. A representative contacted you and offered to refund the $236 you had to spend on the extended warranty. Alas, your WiFi still doesn’t work, but at least you have your money.

Is Dell's "extended" warranty worth it?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
×

Latest