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Alienated: Alienware Monitor Fails, Tony Fails to Read Fine Print

I wake up early this morning, ready for the final stretch of review before the Fed Courts exam tomorrow. I get ready, go to the library, meet my study partner. And then my Alienware doesn't wake up. The screen shows nothing but white.

Just what I need the day before my last exam.

I spend two hours on technical support hoping for a quick fix. It doesn't happen. So I think, "Fine, we'll do what we did with Dell: we'll schedule a tech to come out and replace whatever cheapo part they put in this box." After all, Alienware's customer service is supposed to be better than Dell's right?

Queue the second lousy shock of the day. It appears that for Alienware, the word "onsite" has strange meanings. Spend the extra cash for the "onsite" warranty, and here's what it gets you:

[W]e will first attempt to diagnose and resolve the problem over the telephone. If we determine that the problem is with a defective component covered by your warranty, then we will, at our option, either: (a) have you send your product to our repair facilities for repair or replacement; (b) send a technician to your home or place of business to replace the defective component; or (c) send you a component part to replace the defective component. Option (b) will apply only if you purchased the Alienware Onsite Service along with your warranty.

(emphasis mine) In other words, pay Alienware extra for their premium technical support to give them another option. That's an interesting definition of "onsite."

I suppose I shouldn't find it surprising, but it is disappointing. Talk about a brand loyalty killer. And it seems I'm not alone.

Anyway, the data has burned from my non-functional notebook--it still works using an external monitor--so it's time to wrap this up. I've borrowed a new notebook for the exam tomorrow, and if I'm lucky I can still cram every obscure Fed Courts decision into my head so that I can pass. I'll delay my anger and frustration--and the mailing of the unit back to Florida--until tomorrow. Various forms of protest flit in my mind, of course, but more than likely I'll do nothing: the frustration isn't worth it. Other than, of course, not purchasing one of their machines again.

Lousy timing, though.

UPDATE: It's only fair that I should give some thanks at this point, especially as "this point" is around 2AM on the morning of the exam. Thanks to my study partner for picking up some of the outlining slack while I sat on the phone talking to tech support, and to a good friend who has graciously loaned me her laptop for a day and a half.

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Good luck with the last exam, and congratulations for making it that far. Enjoy the post exam beers :-)

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