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Busted! Dell apologizes after found using fake sweepstakes to hawk warranties

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Following our report on Wednesday about Dell Support using fake sweepstakes to hawk warranties, a number of other outlets jumped on the story. Today, Dell responded to the controversy by posting a public mea culpa on its corporate blog.

"The problems Laptop Magazine faced while trying to get basic support simply should not have happened," Dell Chief Blogger Lionel Menchaca wrote on the Direct2Dell blog.

'The problems Laptop Magazine faced while trying to get basic support simply should not have happened.'

- Dell Chief Blogger Lionel Menchaca

Menchaca also wrote that the he checked with the support team leaders and verified that they do not "tolerate the use of daily drawings or other one-time offers as part of the support process." He said that the company has reminded its support techs of this policy and continues to investigate the incident where an undercover LAPTOP reporter called support and was told he won a daily drawing that let him purchase a $500 extended warranty for the low price of $317. 

Dell is also offering refunds to customers who purchased a warranty as a result of a sweepstakes offer and want their money back.

Despite the apology and promise not to use the sweepstakes tactic, Menchaca said that the company has always and will continue to market extended warranties and hardware upgrades to users who call for support. "It is true that our support agents are encouraged to provide details regarding warranty extensions in those situations when customers are near the end of their warranty period or are outside the scope of their hardware limited warranty," he wrote.

Menchaca also wrote that Dell's support reps should have provided better answers to our questions and provided bullet links to answers about how to use finger swipe on the touchpad, how to back up using Dell DataSafe and how to improve battery life. He also provided a prominent link to the Warranty to show that software issues are not covered.

In our tests, Dell's web and social-media support were solid, but a set of links wouldn't help someone who called for tech support on the phone, and that's where Dell fell way short. Hopefully, Dell will take this opportunity to improve the quality of its phone response. We'll be watching.

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