16 February 2023

Dell Now Follows Apple's Business Model

This is a sad day for me. I have been a big supporter of Dell computers for years. I have spent a lot of money over the years choosing Dell hardware including some PowerEdge servers. When a few batteries had started reaching the end of their lives, I went to Amazon to purchase replacements. This practice has extended the life of the laptops past their supported time.

But all this changed when purchasing new batteries from Amazon. The batteries are not official Dell batteries and are prohibited from charging because the BIOS does not allow it. I surf over to Dell's site to purchase an official battery, but they do not exist. I cannot get an official Dell battery from Dell. (There is the eBay option, but that's no guarantee of a new battery.)

This is the transcript from the technical support when I inquired about batteries and the policy:

Vidya S (2/16/2023, 8:48:44 AM): Welcome to Dell Out of Warranty Chat Support. My name is Vidya Sehgal.

While I am checking the details, let me also inform you that your chat has landed to paid support queue. 

Vidya S (2/16/2023, 8:49:01 AM): Greetings, Hope you are doing well today! 

Vidya S (2/16/2023, 8:49:37 AM): To confirm, you are contacting us today in regards to the system service tag ******* ? 

Mark (2/16/2023, 8:49:41 AM): Yes 

Vidya S (2/16/2023, 8:50:35 AM): Thank you for confirming. 

Vidya S (2/16/2023, 8:50:43 AM): I regret the inconvenience this issue has caused and assure you that I will try my best to resolve the issue to your satisfaction. 

Mark (2/16/2023, 8:51:02 AM): I have purchased third-party batteries for this and other Dell laptops I own to extend their life. But for some reason, the BIOS no longer recognizes these batteries informing me to purchase official Dell batteries. I come ot the site to do that and cannot find official Dell batteries to purchase. 

Mark (2/16/2023, 8:51:37 AM): Is there no way to get these other batteries to be accepted since Dell can no longer provide what they  require? 

Vidya S (2/16/2023, 8:51:38 AM): Okay! 

Vidya S (2/16/2023, 8:52:33 AM): No! They won't work. 

Mark (2/16/2023, 8:52:51 AM): And there is no provided batteries from Dell anymore? 

Mark (2/16/2023, 8:53:13 AM): *are no 

Vidya S (2/16/2023, 8:53:30 AM): Let me check the part availability. 

Vidya S (2/16/2023, 8:54:38 AM): Part is not available. 

Tanuj S (2/16/2023, 8:55:15 AM): Welcome to Dell Out of Warranty Chat Support. My name is Tanuj Sharma.

While I am checking the details, let me also inform you that your chat has landed to paid support queue. 

Tanuj S (2/16/2023, 8:55:29 AM): Greetings, Hope you are doing well today! 

Tanuj S (2/16/2023, 8:55:45 AM): To confirm, you are contacting us today in regards to the system service tag ******* ? 

Mark (2/16/2023, 8:56:09 AM): Yes 

Tanuj S (2/16/2023, 8:56:26 AM): I can see you have mentioned issues with battery, correct ? 

Mark (2/16/2023, 8:56:58 AM): Since Dell cannot provide the part and third-party batteries are not supported, I have no options to continue using my laptops other than power cord, correct? 

Mark (2/16/2023, 8:58:26 AM): This seems like an Apple approach to business: Only allow use for the supported time and then force new purchases every few years. I'm not a fan of this. 

Tanuj S (2/16/2023, 8:59:22 AM): Unfortunately the part is not available. It is not possible for us to procure parts after certain point of time as the technology advances, the old products gets obsolete from the market. 

Tanuj S (2/16/2023, 9:00:39 AM): I understand how frustrating it is, but the parts can only be procured for 4-5 years of manufacturing as after that the system is considered as end of life. 

Mark (2/16/2023, 9:01:13 AM): The option for me to procure parts is possible through Amazon, although they are not official Dell parts. They do work as I have tested them in the past. But the programming of the BIOS restricts it. At the very least, there should be a disclaimer to accept to proceed with the use of the non-Dell batteries. 

Mark (2/16/2023, 9:01:33 AM): It not just frustrating, it's restrictive. 

Tanuj S (2/16/2023, 9:04:00 AM): That is true. Every part is not compatible with the system. That is the reason parts goes obsolete as software and hardware products advances. 

Regarding BIOS, you can try to update the BIOS if it is not updated. 

Mark (2/16/2023, 9:05:56 AM): I will try the BIOS update. but this is a real disappointment in Dell. 

Mark (2/16/2023, 9:07:39 AM): If that fails, I am going to make a public post about this policy change as a warning to others who consider purchasing equipment from Dell and am going to look for another laptop provider who will support good equipment. 

Tanuj S (2/16/2023, 9:08:26 AM): Unfortunately there is nothing we can do in this case. This is situation with all the products. We can not procure parts after a certain point of time. 

Mark (2/16/2023, 9:09:12 AM): This is a sad moment for me. I've been a big Dell supporter for years. I have spend a LOT of money on laptops and other hardware. Knowing Dell will no long honor that loyalty means I need to find another place for  it. 

Tanuj S (2/16/2023, 9:10:58 AM): We really appreciate you being a loyal Dell customer however you also have to understand that the parts can not be procured for ever.

I wish there is something I can do for you. 

Tanuj S (2/16/2023, 9:13:30 AM): Is there anything else I can assist you today ? 

Mark (2/16/2023, 9:13:50 AM): I realize these laptops will not last forever, but their lives don't need to be truncated because Dell chooses to give up on them. There is a lot of tech out there outliving their expected life cycles with other options. I have extended the lives of these laptops already with third-party batteries, so it's possible. Having Dell cut that option off from customers is the change in all this. 

Mark (2/16/2023, 9:13:56 AM): No, I guess not. 

Mark (2/16/2023, 9:14:06 AM): Thanks for confirming all this for me. 

Mark (2/16/2023, 9:14:43 AM): And if it can make a difference, please let them know about how this affects a former customer. 

Mark (2/16/2023, 9:14:57 AM): ...how this affects a now former customer. 

Tanuj S (2/16/2023, 9:15:48 AM): Thank you for choosing Dell and allowing us the opportunity to assist you. Have a wonderful day! 

Mark (2/16/2023, 9:16:02 AM): You too.

At the very least, Dell, provide a legal disclaimer in your BIOS to shift the responsibility of potential problems to the customer. I would gladly accept the waiver knowing that the batteries could cause fires. To be honest, you cannot prevent your own batteries from not catching fire. Will you cover a house fire if your own official batteries overload and cause damage? (Maybe I need to read the fine print on the documentation more closely.)

I post this as knowledge before buying Dell equipment. If you do this, know that you will spend money for a limited life laptop, not because it cannot continue to live but because Dell will not allow it to continue to live.

One more thing: I cannot update the BIOS on these laptops because the BIOS has determined that being plugged into an outlet and a dead battery insufficient power requirement to allow the update. This has turned into a lose-lose scenario.

Very disappointed, Dell.