Alienware Sucks!

Another tale of woe from someone who bought an Alienware computer.

Friday, July 15, 2005

The refund is in, but this blog will continue

I brought some pressure to bear on Alienware, and it was pretty clear that there was more to come.

Finally, they gave me a refund, which just hit my American Express.

When I look at all of the costs associated with this system and with Alienware's appalling support for it, I think the refund covers about 5% of my incidental and consequential losses. I don't expect to get any more than this, and I'm not pushing Alienware for more. I'll just never, ever buy anything from this company again.

It's tempting to stop this blog now, as I'm sure Alienware would like me to do ---

--- but so many legitimate-looking, serious-looking complaints about Alienware have been posted on the web and apparently never resolved on behalf of the customer ---

--- I think some computer buyers might find it useful to see how to assert their rights when a vendor treats them badly.

So, stay tuned. There's more to come.

16 Comments:

  • At 3:07 AM, Blogger Dustin Loftis said…

    Hi, everyone.

    I must say I have enjoyed reading your blog, as it has been a validation of my own issues with Alienware, though mine have been going on much longer than yours. (Whether this speaks to the last few years of mind-numbing struggle with Dell's outsourced support on my three laptops, or simply my ability to block out issues, I don't know.) I purchased, in December of 2003, an Alienware Area-51m laptop. The intent behind this purchase was to allow me to have a stable, powerful computer that would not only be as capable of running applications (such as Virtual PC, Macromedia Suite) as any desktop PC, but also be able to run the latest games for years to come. This requirement was simple: I am a member of the Air National Guard, as well as a Consultant in network security and administration. I need power and stability whether I am at home, at base, in the IT shop of some bank looking to migrate to Windows, or in Saudi Arabia.

    The pricetag of this laptop, ~$4,000, was of course, the only real hesitation. I had been following Alienware machines for years, since before they made laptops, so I was well aware of their performance reputation. Their website, and the magazines and websites who rated them, gave them glowing support ratings, touting technicians who are gamers, or are designers, using the same software I use. I justified the expense of this purchase, both to myself and to my wife, with the primary thought that: The Video Card in the system is the primary bottleneck in gaming performance, and the CPU and RAM I chose are sufficient for at least the three years of my warranty period. Alienware quite clearly promised me, both via their website, and through direct sales conversations, that my video card was modular, and could be upgraded later through Alienware.

    Problem: The Hauppage USB PVR2 TV tuner shipped with my system was defective upon arrival. I was only able to make it work once, and only for about ten minutes before it stopped, and never functioned again. I contacted Alienware about this issue, and they told me I needed drivers for this piece of equipment. I worked with their support for a few weeks, before telling them that I was no longer willing to waste my cellphone minutes on ten minutes of troubleshooting amidst an hour of listening to Alienware's ear-wrenching theme music on hold. They told me my only option for support of a defective component, was through Hauppage themselves. To avoid a tangent, I will tell you I worked with Hauppage, who never followed up on a single promised call or e-mail. I even paid to ship this piece of equipment back to them for replacement. They sent me the exact same (same serial number) piece back to me, claiming it was repaired. I doubted this, since they had not bothered to put the four case screws that held the device together back in the box with it. When I opened the box and the piece fell apart in my hand, I called Alienware. In my opinion, my dealing with Hauppage was incorrect, to begin with. I purchased this piece of equipment from Alienware, not Hauppage. I would not call Intell if I had a problem with the CPU, nor Hitachi, if the hard drive crashed. Alienware refused to support, replace or in any way help me with this problem. Hauppage never returned another phone call. The PVR2 went into the trachcan along with the $350.00 purchase price.

    My most recent issue, and the one that I find to be unacceptable, is Alienware's refusal to support their equipment, or create future upgrades for it. Two years old is not ancient, by any means. Intel CPUs have barely moved in two years, due to heat restrictions. Microsoft has not released a new bloatware (Windows) package in years, meaning my 1024 MB of RAM is more than enough. The only piece of equipment in my computer that is now aged, due to advances in hardware, is the video card. My ATI Radeon Mobility 9600 Pro is not, by any means, a slouch. However, two years has made a significant difference in GPUs and onboard RAM packages, and my computer is no longer living up to the Alienware logo on the lid. ATI and NVidia both still release new video cards in AGP format, and I believe Alienware should feel responsible for their AGP platforms, as well. I would understand if my system, five years old and out of warranty, could no longer keep up because of a architecture change. But this is not the situation. Basically, my return on investment, the money I expected to save by having a high-end laptop, and just purchasing a new video card in a few years, is gone. And I've seen complaints from many other users who are in this same situation. I am not looking for a free upgrade, just the ability to spend a few hundred dollars and put my machine back on the edge of performance.

    All in all, my experience with Alienware technical support, is that "May I place you on hold for no more than two minutes?" is an inside joke which Alienware shares with any customer who asks off-the-wall questions like: "How long will it take to get back from the depot, my orders start in three weeks." Their support is routinely uninformed, uncooperative, and to be quite honest, the same level of technical skill I would expect while calling Verizon Wireless.

    During my most recent support issue, three weeks ago, I called Alienware to recieve support on my laptop because the backlight is going out. The screen flickers when the lid is tilted a few inches, and if held there too long, goes completely out. To me, this seemed simple enough. There's a short in the LCD cable that powers the backlight. Fine. After two whole hours of explaining this to the technician on the phone, they agreed to allow me to depot the machine. My power supply was also acting up, as well, and after this call, I made a separate call to begin the RMA process, to have a new one sent out.

    When I told the technician on the phone that my power supply was and providing no power, nor was the light working, and making rythmic high pitched squeaking sounds, which could be altered in pitch by moving the last few inches of the cable around, she told me we would have to wait until my laptop returned from Alienware's depot to troubleshoot this issue. Her reasoning (remember, this is forty five minutes into the call, after thirty five minutes of hold time) is that she could not properly troubleshoot it without the laptop attached. So I unboxed and unpackaged my laptop and made her follow the troubleshooting steps, unwilling to wait another two or three weeks after my laptop was returned before I could use it. The technician then placed me on hold for another fifteen minutes, and cold transferred me back into the queue to another technician. (Who finally did dispatch my power supply, by the way. Took two and a half weeks to get to me.)

    My laptop was depoted, and returned to me in fifteen days. Knowing better than to leave my battery or hard drive in the machine, i had removed these. The depot actually left one of their test hard drives in my laptop when they returned it to me. They had replaced my DVD-RW drive, my Video card, and had not resolved my LCD backlight issue. By this time, my orders are only a week from starting, and I no longer had the time to ship my machine away again.

    I have considered the possibility of purchasing a newer laptop. The 7700 model is PCI-Express, so my assumption would be that Alienware would continue to provide video cards for it for quite some time. however, it is not Alienware's custom to make guarantees about their equipment, nor to tell prospective customers when the next release, with a new architecture, is coming out. I could run into the problem of having my machine no longer supported within six months again, and I am unwilling to risk that again. I believe Alienware has failed to fulfill their promise to me, both by no longer upgrading their existing products, and by having no process by which I can upgrade to a new model at a reduced price.

    I believe I will follow your example, put together a plan and begin discussions with them with the intention of resolving this issue. Though our situations are fundamentally different, I believe they are both impacted and in fact aggravated by Alienware's corporate and support policy.

    Dustin Loftis

     
  • At 11:30 PM, Blogger sam said…

    the story starts with video games i play alot of them and the best of them.i needed a computer to do that ,till one day i saw the alienware and the strugle starts.9 month ago i got the area 51 m5500.they said that it will run any game and its the best gaming machine ever.i was stupid i bought that.i waited a month till i got it.finally i get it ,i open the box put every thing togather and ready to start,i start the computer ,2 seconed after i start it it turned off by it self ,and i just got it out of the damn box.i called them right away,like one of the guys said the put you on hold with this annoying theme for ever hoping you to hang up.in the end i get one of them ,explaine whats going on ,put me on hold again transfer me to another person .this guys got nothing to do with support and he ddesnt even speaks english.iask for the supervisor i explain again .in the end i told him listen i just got this laptop just now out of the boxand it doesnot work you take it back fix it replace it do what ever with it and send me for what i paid for laptop that works.and i told him that you have the top name in the market and it dos not work ,he start making excuses,and on and on like he thinks he is talking to an idiot.any way .the go with me about the memory stick i take it out my self.send it to them charge me 60$somthing to make sure that am going to send the bad part.i say ok.wait a month i get the new part put in .guess what its the same problem its not working.i call them blaaa bllaaaa .in the end i had enough.i said look am sending you back the computer fix it and make sure its working or i dont want it ,and give me my money back i send it they replace the parts another month i get it ,i cant watch dvd i cant hear the audio .i called them back go through every thing again.fix the problen on the phone .hang up and then i found out that my video card is not working and even i dont have any video card at all .i grabed my gun and i was going to shoot the laptop i calm down and call them after a while from person to a person ,long minutes talking and waiting on hold the y say that my warranty had expired and i need to pay 39$for the call to assist me or pay a hundred somthing to extand my warranty . in the end they said that they are no longer carring this lap top and they have no parts for it ,so basiclly am fucked and pissed and wasted my money on somthing that looks good but i wont pay a penny for it .i stuck with it and thats it .i have to go online and look for company's that can help me with some upgrades.so in the end you got the pictuer already.

     
  • At 3:47 PM, Blogger Dave Kania said…

    I bought an Alienware M550 Laptop in December of 2006. I received it in January 2006. After several days on the phone with their tech support trying to have perform several quick fixes, They allowed me to sent it back for repairs in late January 2006. The speakers were making a loud clicking sound and the laptop would just shut off after about an hour of use. I got it back just a few days ago and still shuts off after a few hours of use. They did not even address the problem during repairs. I called back tech support who had me loosing four screws on the processors heat sink. He said this would fix the problem, Wrong. No after all the time spent on getting nothing accomplished, Alienware said I have exceeded my return time of 30 days and I an not eligible for a refund. Alienware Sucks. Beware.r5

     
  • At 3:08 PM, Blogger Jonah said…

    Dear fellow sufferers,
    I have a 2.5 year old Alienware Area-51M 766. I only brought the one year warranty...and now the video card fan is dying.
    Alienware support? Basicially they said "tough shit".
    This is painful - a $3,000 laptop and worthless after 2.5 years.
    I'm with you guys - time to start the campaign of letters.
    Thanks for the nice website. It helps to know that I'm not alone.
    George Laird, Ph.D., P.E.
    Consulting Mechanical Engineer
    www.PredictiveEngineering.com

     
  • At 5:17 AM, Blogger Michael said…

    Hi. This is my first time posting a blog but Alienware has got me to the point where I'm almost willing to take legal action. Maybe someone will have some suggestions for me as I'm experiencing some of the same issues. I'm 34 and 1 year ago I spent $3000 on an Alienware Aurora Desktop to keep me company; as I have a progressive disease and can't work and not allowed to drive; the only thing I really have is my pc for company. Anyway, the problems started shortly after receiving it and I've spent an additional 500 out of pocket trying to figure it out. The most shocking was the first incident when two connecting adapters that connect a "VGA monitor to a digital graphics card" overheated and melted within seconds ruining one of the 2 connections to video I have. Their response.......they send me 2 new adapters; the same ones that had already proven they were not going to work. I did the whole RMA thing on the monitor and went to the company they chose. That company couldn't even tell me what kind of adapters they were and took pictures to send to the monitor manufacturing company! Anyway, I replaced the cords and adapter to work on my "remaining" connection. Then I domino effect began. Message about memory, bios, no detection of a fan or batter, the CPU running in the red temperatures and taking up 90% of plenty of RAM. We, Microsoft and I, believe it is the bottleneck thing. I also have documentation from Microsoft that the hard drive shouldn't have been used. It was the wrong type. It's so severely fragmented that it's at a degraded status, non repairable, and is unable to perform restores. Now the video card no longer supports Direct 3D. Tech support as done nothing, wouldn't give me a name or supervisor, and one even hung up on me. Today it crashed with a blue screen for the last time and no longer finds an operating system. I've lost medical forms and powers of attorney as well as just the stress. I purchased a 3 year in house warranty. They have yet to offer to come here and I don't drive. I've tried to explain that were not asking for more but only what we paid for and should have received. We don't was any of those parts repaired and most of them can't; it's like buying a vehicle that's been in accidents but you can't tell. The door no longer latches, it runs extremely loud, a there is a small clicking noise. So after another round with them today, they still just want to start off with the worst problem, fix it or replace it we a refurbished part and go from there. So now I'm at the point where I'm just going to take a $3000 loss, send it back, and start looking for a good reliable budget one. I never even played one single game on it to stress out the graphics and processor. And last but not least I finally tried to restore it since I have already lost everything twice, the driver cd they gave me doesn't match up with all the hardware that's inside? So if anyone has a suggestion or can help I would be greatly appreciative to you. If not, don't worry but don't stop hounding them, I'll help spread the word. Thanks for "listening".

    Michael
    Dallas, TX

     
  • At 7:21 AM, Blogger fjc9000 said…

    Oestreicher v. Alienware Corporation
    http://www.internetcases.com/archives/2007/08/california_cour.html
    http://www.investorclaims.com/ConsumerClassAction/pending.aspx#Alienware

    It's class action but apparently only for California residents at this time. I hope more join and I hope he prevails.

     
  • At 11:33 PM, Blogger Kweichangcaine said…

    Wow,
    Finally a place to put in our $4,000 cents worth. We were also scammed. 2 months after delivery of our AW area51 M766, we were placated and patronized by Alienware and our problem unfixed (we believe overheated video card) till the warranty ran out. $4,000 paperweight that can barely surf the internet without blue screening. We now believe all of these God like praises of Alienware, OK this is a theory, are from paid people, yes, paid by Alienware to say gratuitous exaltations about the performance and greatness of Alienware. We believe this company has probably fabricated many of it's benchmarks and reliability testimonials to ultimately, and with the exit strategy, of selling to some big, duped, blue chip...like Dell. Dell is probably just finding out what a shit hole company this really is. As hollow as Enron and corrupt as the old savings and loans. Well, I was cheated out of $4000, but Dell? Wew, they probably paid 5 billion for these monkey barreled, flattish, square shaped, boat anchors. I tell you, if I ever see a guy with a t shirt on, that says, "retired Owner/CEO of Alienware" out in my neck of the woods, during Deer hunting season, well, I'd just...___________. Fill in the blank.

     
  • At 11:35 PM, Blogger Kweichangcaine said…

    Wow,
    Finally a place to put in our $4,000 cents worth. We were also scammed. 2 months after delivery of our AW area51 M766, we were placated and patronized by Alienware and our problem unfixed (we believe overheated video card) till the warranty ran out. $4,000 paperweight that can barely surf the internet without blue screening. We now believe all of these God like praises of Alienware, OK this is a theory, are from paid people, yes, paid by Alienware to say gratuitous exaltations about the performance and greatness of Alienware. We believe this company has probably fabricated many of it's benchmarks and reliability testimonials to ultimately, and with the exit strategy, of selling to some big, duped, blue chip...like Dell. Dell is probably just finding out what a shit hole company this really is. As hollow as Enron and corrupt as the old savings and loans. Well, I was cheated out of $4000, but Dell? Wew, they probably paid 5 billion for these monkey barreled, flattish, square shaped, boat anchors. I tell you, if I ever see a guy with a t shirt on, that says, "retired Owner/CEO of Alienware" out in my neck of the woods, during Deer hunting season, well, I'd just...___________. Fill in the blank.

     
  • At 10:00 PM, Blogger schooler said…

    Thanks to all you bloggers for comments. I was looking into buying one of these but doesnt' sound like a good idea. My son told me these were great laptops for gaming. Sounds like they're just "Gamey"!! Sorry for all your woes but am grateful for the heads up. I will not be purchasing one and probably better off.

     
  • At 11:14 AM, Blogger Matt said…

    i bought an alienware computer about 6 months ago.

    When i first got it, i had no problems, but that was when i first got it.

    The first week, i tried plugging it into my tv using a dvi-hdmi cable. Nothing happened. When i would plug it in, my laptop screen would repeatedly flash every two second like it was trying to connect, but something wouldnt let it.

    Im pretty computer savy, and know my way around all of its options, so i went to my nvidia settings, and tried to add another screen, but i did not have that option. It only said i could use one screen, and would not be able to use an outside montor. It did not even give me the option of using duel screens.

    That was my first problem.

    Now, my video card once again.

    Im into gaming, and this computer is fast yes, but ssslllloooowwwww after hours of play. If i do not elevate my computer, my videocard gets up to about 75 degrees c. which is HOOOTTT!!!!

    Also, if i put my computer to sleep, when i try to turn it back on, it turns on, but my screen doesnt. Mouse works, i hear things being clicked, and even click on music if im lucky and hear it, but still no picture.


    I really like my alienware, but they need a better cooling system for a laptop with all of this power. I would buy another one, but ONLY if they fixed all current heating issues, dropped the price, because honestly, paying 2500 for this computer doesn't really seem worth it.


    Im getting a new video card from alienware under my warranty, and am now going to be using one of those cooling docking stations (its not a docking station, but i dont really know what to call it... a cooling pad thing?)

    I have an alienware laptop, though i should mention that. It is VERY fast, graphics are.... ok, could be better with a bigger card, but i only got the 15 inch because i use it in class for notes and .... blogging.


    So, if you want to buy an alienware, consider looking at all the other options.



    I looked at a lot of other laptops before buying this one, and it seemed to have more power and "stuff" than other computers i was looking at. And being an architect major, i needed a computer that can handle all the programs that i need to run at the same time.



    Hope this helps, but if it didnt, hope it was a good read :)

     
  • At 1:01 AM, Blogger Phonegod said…

    I bought a Alienware desk top for my son for Xmas 2008. I get it on the 23rd, put it together on the 24th and nothing. It tells me that Hard Drive is not detected. I call AW and speak to a tech explain to him whats happening and he wants me to put in the Area 51 disc. I do, same issue. Then he wants me to reboot the computer and reformat the harddrive. What does the idiot not understand. NO HARD DRIVE IS DETECTED!!!!!!. I tell him I wanted to avoid all the loading and didn't want to build my own computer and that was way I bought one from them. Next thing I know I am diconnected. I call back no person answers this time I get the computer and wait on hold for an hour, even while I am writing this I am on hold. The computer costed me $4800.00. I even told him the lights didn't even come on, he said that is is a software issue. Thats funny when I start up my gaming computer I built 3 years ago, which is still running my games, the light come on when I turn on the power. Well, my son is 10 years old and we both play WOW, Merry Christmas son, sorry I was an idiot and took the easy way out and bought you a AW computer instead of building it myself and saving money. Now i will screw them by contacting my Credit Card Company and getting the payment back, yes they can do that, I had a friend have some issues with lights for his truck and he was credited back and the company the lights came from lost. He asked the Credit company what to do with the wrong lights they sent him and they said they didn't care if the guy want you to pay a restocking fee and shipment for the wrong light he sent you its on him too. So guys you can put it to these monsters when they don't want to do the right thing and fix the issue. It's not my job to sit at a computer 2 minutes out of the box and fix it for them over the phone and waste my time. It's their their problem to fix. Hope this helps all of you and learn your rights when buying items.

     
  • At 3:42 AM, Blogger dan said…

    Hey,

    Similar situation here. My warranty was up by just 2 months when my video card died. Alienware support told me i can buy a downgraded version of the video card that came with my laptop because they did not have any in stock. Apparantley they are having issues with the manufacturer in china. So these retards sold a shit load of these laptops with this video card and now you can't get a replacement video card. You have to get one that isn't the same quality. So now i have a $2,000 laptop collecting dust on my book shelf. I thought there products were supposed to be top quality. I guess i was wrong.

     
  • At 3:45 AM, Blogger dan said…

    hey,

    Similar situation here. My warranty was up by just 2 months when my video card died. Alienware support told me i can buy a downgraded version of the video card that came with my laptop because they did not have any in stock. Apparantley they are having issues with the manufacturer in china. So these retards sold a shit load of these laptops with this video card and now you can't get a replacement video card. You have to get one that isn't the same quality. So now i have a $2,000 laptop collecting dust on my book shelf. I thought there products were supposed to be top quality. I guess i was wrong.

     
  • At 10:07 PM, Blogger J.R said…

    Looks like with all these complaints we could have a good reason for a class action suit against ALIENWARE!!!

    I purchased an AREA-51 M9750 for work purposes. The machine was great, ran a little hot but other than that the graphics were amazing. Then it all went away.

    My warranty ended on Dec 11 08 and on Feb 12 of 09 my screen went dark after several hours on the phone with tech services it was determined my video card had gone bad.

    When I asked if I could expedite the replacement part I was told it would take 4-5 days just to process my order, then another 7-10 days to receive the part!! Or he said I could look for an aftermarket part to replace the 9750 NVIDA GEFORCE GO 8700 GT 512MB my computer had. Well wanting my computer for y business trip I set out to find the replacement part. Guess what this part is not available anywhere here in the US!!

    Frustrated I called Alienware back and began a very long tedious order process.

    You would think AlienWare would go out of their way to help you get the part needed to get your new system up and running.

    Ok its out of warranty I accepted that.

    But to make the ordering process a complete nightmare whats that about?? 57.53 minutes of my morning today were wasted working with Carlos in Latin America.

    And to think AlienWare would allow this to go on is crazy. I will never purchase another product from this company and now that I see COSTCO is offering their products we are thinking of canceling our membership there as well!!!

    BOYCOTT ALIENWARE AND EVERYONE WHO SUPPORTS THEM!!!

     
  • At 5:20 PM, Blogger VKitten77 said…

    Hello!

    I too was a sucker for Alienware. Back on Dec. 20, 2006 I purchased an Alienware Aurora M9700 laptop for $4,018.00. With the pretty "conspiracy blue" chassis my eyes sparkled with delight and happy tears when I finally recieved it. From day one I had video problems. Through weeks upon weeks with their "tech support" (what a joke) along with going through Hell with an "Alienware certified on-site technician" (which told me he had not heard of Alienware before let alone seen one and I won't go into the Hell this guy caused ) and then actually finally getting "approved" to send it to them for repairs I was disgusted. The first thing they told me that was wrong was the video drivers. Well, that didn't fix it as I knew it wouldn't. Then after several weeks with tech support they told me it was one of the video cards. Then suddenly it was both video cards they claimed. When it was sent in and I got it back the second day after sending it to them, the piece of paper they sent back with it stated they replaced the video card, the heat sinks were dirty and causing it to not function properly, and that they had given me a bad image copy of the OS on it. They never did replace the image copy or even offer to replace it. When I got it back, however, it had an additional problem with overheating every 5 minutes and shutting itself down completely. After all that was said and done and my extended 1 yr warranty from date of purchase ( instead of starting after the 30 days ) expired, I still have the problems. The original problem is the LCD screen that was installed was and still is bad. I have kept it in its box after getting it back and trying to use it for a couple of weeks since. I decided a couple of days ago to actually take it out of the box and see what I could do with my very expensive doorstopper. When I turned it over to look at the underside I noticed that some of the screws are missing from the panel. I removed the remaining screws, removed the panel, and peered inside. To my horror, I discovered that after all of this time, after they told me that the heat sinks were dirty and that they "cleaned" them, what looks like a large piece of sticky foam padding MELTED to two of the heat sinks that was NOT in there BEFORE I sent it to them (that "on-site repair guy" had finally got it open and looked inside and that, my friends, is a whole other whooper to the story..) and the panel I had removed had some of the melted sticky foam mess on it. I put on my gloves and went to town cleaning the mess ALIENWARE/DELL made of the laptop. So far I have not had any problems with overheating (knock on wood) but the original problem of the BAD LCD is, unfortunately, still present.

     
  • At 1:35 PM, Blogger texastutt said…

    I too have been duped by the Alienware scam. I have a burned out video card, and I'm just past warranty and they will not sell me a new one as they ONLY keep them for warranty. They are also now owned by that great big Dell in the sky.

     

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