For the first time, I had decided to buy a built computer, and not build my own. This decision was made due to time constraints, and the need for an actual warranty for the entire system. Before I would have to contact each vendor individually if a problem occurred. I had been looking into several companies such as VoodooPC, Falcon Northwest, Monarch, Alienware, and others.
I settled on Alienware due to their use of parts I would use, and wiring quality. I knew ahead of time that I was paying a premium to get a computer that was built right, but I was willing. The problem occurred when it came to actually PAYING the bill. Was it due to lack of funds? No, it was due to some internal problem between the three blind men of Alienware; Sales, Financing, and Billing. Like the three blind men trying to describe an elephant, all three parties were apt to blame the issue of not receiving payment on the other.
The problem first happened when I noticed that my order was in stasis at phase one. Phase one is a phase that means they basically have done nothing yet, but have received my order. After asking them, they told me the average wait was two days. Two days to take my money from the ALIENWARE credit card? Keep in mind, they had received my paperwork for the card on the 25th of March.
There's a reason for me mentioning the date. After two business days, and no results, I called. I transferred between departments until they basically told me in corporate speak that they had no idea where on God's green earth my paperwork was, and that I should call THEM in 24-hours.
My ire was raised, but I remained polite, as no doubt their recorded for training purposes phone system must note. I called the next day after, and was told that FINANCING e-mailed an "agent" to tell them that they had found the paperwork. They told me to wait 24-hours. I called the next day (exactly 23 hours later), and was told it wasn't 24-hours next. Apparently while losing paperwork is common, they are punctual with customer service failures to a T.
I called one hour later, and was told that they'd send ANOTHER e-mail to some "agent." The NEXT day I called, and was now becoming livid, but restraining my anger. This time they told me... to wait... another 24-hours. It was now the 30th, and after having had my paperwork for over a week, and then taking five days to try to accept payment from THEIR credit card, I had enough. I told them that I wanted assurance that I would see a resolution in 24-hours this time.
I was also strained to my wits trying to remain calm, and I know the poor girl at billing knew it. As of the 1st of the next month, they have finally accepted payment from their card. I understand delays in building, shipping, whatever. I run a business as well but delays in taking my money is ludicrous. After such a downer after I had felt so good about ordering an Alienware system, I'm still half-tempted to cancel. How can one run a business and make it so hard to take payment? I'd hate to see what happens with REAL problems such as a faulty system.
HOLYOKE, MASSACHUSETTS -- Hanger 18 has not fully worked from day one. I cannot complain about the telephone support people, they have tried but it seems like no one fully understands the system. I have sent it back to Alienware twice, and that had a tech. come to my house once to replace the video card. None of the inputs work, analog or optical and tech. support is not sure why. Is there anyone else out there who has one? They stopped selling them before the end of 2008.
In May 2006, I ordered and received an Alienware Area 51m 7700 notebook computer from www.alienware.com for a total of $3,912.00. The computer ran incredibly hot from the beginning, which eventually led to a failure of the motherboard in November 2006. I was frustrated at the time, because I've never had this problem in any (not to mention much less expensive) computer I've ever owned. "These things happen" I told myself, and fortunately the system was still covered under warranty, so I sent it in for repair.
When I got the computer back, it was at least operational, but the overheating issues continued. This eventually led to the failure of the motherboard from overheating again in June of 2007. The only difference now is that the warranty was up, and boy did Alienware like to hide behind the "your warranty has expired" angle. Yes, I understand that my warranty is one month out, but the same issue has occurred again.
This clearly points out to me that they did not properly diagnose and repair the issue the first time around. I was told that they would gladly look at the computer as long as I paid for all shipping/labor/parts, which all totaled could end up costing me a quarter of the computers worth, and this thing is barely a year old.
I did some research online and found an alarming amount of Alienware customers have had the same issues with the model Area 51m 7700. I brought this up to their customer support but they denied it, even though I found talk of a class-action lawsuit due to the failure rate of this model.
This company knows nothing of customer retention, customer loyalty (this was my second Alienware computer), customer satisfaction, and only seems to care about their profits. Please do yourself a favor and avoid them at all costs. It will save you so much frustration and anguish in the end. From now on, I will do my homework more thoroughly and make sure a company has some pride and accountability in their product before making such an expensive purchase. For now, all I have is a $4,000, year old paperweight.
NEW JERSEY -- On May 9th, 2005 I ordered an Area 51 7700 5.2G system. It arrived on May 19th, 2005. Between May 19th and 20th, the system was turned on for a total of 2 hours during which time it crashed repeatedly, i.e., repeated blue screens and memory dumps. On May 20th, I spent over 1 hour, over several phone calls, with Alienware technical support.
The quality of the technical support was poor at best. The first recommendation was that I forward the error to Microsoft and wait for them to respond. That made no sense to me. The support specialist then had me download drivers and recommended that I wait a day or two and if the problem came up again to call back. I requested a call back and was told that it was not possible. After the call ended, the system crashed 2 minutes later and again I was on the phone with Technical support. Another set of solutions was suggested. None worked.
The final recommendation was that I complete running the Windows diagnostics myself because technical support could not stay on the phone with me. At that point I decided that I was not interested in keeping a machine only 2 days old, that repeatedly crashed and poor technical support. I paid for a high quality system. I did not receive a functioning system. At no point did anyone suggest onsite service.
Upon informing Customer Support that I would be returning the system, I was told that a 15% restocking fee would apply as per the warranty. The warranty states that the fee "may" apply and "not" will apply.
Dealing with customer support was not a good experience. I was given several different dates as to when the refund would be processed. I was given different amounts to be refunded. The final insult was being told that I would be charged for Windows XP, even though the software was returned and NEVER activated.
I am now turning to regulatory agencies to get the rest of my refund.
KAPOLEI, HAWAII -- I purchased an Alienware Area-51 M5500 laptop in 08/07 for $1628. I have now been officially getting the run around from customer service. Here is my problem. About 4 months after I purchased the computer, it started to randomly shut down of its own accord. The battery level made no difference. Unfortunately, I was deployed at the time and had no real way to get in touch with the company, so I let it go until I returned from deployment. I sent an e-mail request for assistance. The response had me changing code in the BIOS which I was uncomfortable with doing.
Shortly after the request for help on this matter, the computer stopped working entirely. When turned on, all the power lights would come on but nothing would come up on the screen. Thinking that it might be a problem with the screen I attached the laptop to an external monitor.
The image that came up was of Windows trying to start (the image was also interspersed with vertical colored lines making it very difficult to see) then an error message saying something to the effect of "Windows has encountered a problem and has to shut down." I am unable to be any more specific on the message because that many of the characters had been replaced by white boxes and the screen was still covered with lines.
A local computer repair shop thinks the screen and motherboard have been fried from overheating. I was told by the technical support representative the computer was out of warranty and I would have to send it back to be repaired at my own expense. Normally, I would understand this and not have much of a problem with it. Sometimes things just happen.
After a little research, however, I discovered that since around the time I purchased my machine other people have been having the same problems; mostly caused by the laptop running too hot and damaging the motherboard or other elements. I feel that if this has been an ongoing issue that the company is aware of, a recall should have been issued to fix the problem, or at the very least the manufacturing should have been examined and altered.
Quite frankly, it boggles my mind that a mass produced Compaq laptop that I purchased almost ten years ago for half as much as I paid for the Alienware system, has never given me a single hardware issue, while the supposedly high-quality, high performance machine I purchased 16 months ago is now good for nothing more than a doorstop. According to customer service rep I spoke with, I should be perfectly content with that because I can hardly expect a custom built high-performance machine to last as long as a mass-produced factory model. Apparently, one tenth as long for double the price should be good enough for me.
44136 -- Alienware has continued to screw me also. I purchased my first Alienware about a year and a half ago. Recently it died. The hard drives are corrupted and the computer will not even allow me to reformat the drives. I purchased two new drives to try an install from scratch and I have had no luck. Alienware offers no support for their claimed "top of the line computer and customer support".
Before this crash, I was satisfied so I purchased a second Alienware computer. I bought the M9700 computer with xp pro installed. Alienware guaranteed that a free copy of Windows Vista Upgrade would be sent following registration of the computer. When the computer was received, I registered it and called Alienware to send me out the Vista upgrade cd. I waited a month and had received nothing. I called Alienware back notifying them of this and they said that it was not in their system and that I would receive it within a month. I waited yet another month and nothing came.
I called one last time notifying them of this and they said yet again that it must me in transit. For the next few months, I got busy with work and this was the last thing on my list, but as work slowed I called Alienware again. This time they told me that they could do nothing for me as the software agreement was no longer active with Microsoft and that I was out of luck. I explained that the computer was purchased during the legitimate dates that this deal was offered and was one of the reasons I made the purchase of the computer at the time.
I continued to talk to a series of Indians that continued to restate the same thing over and over, thus providing no form of customer service for my laptop with a 1 year warranty. This hassle has been very disappointing in my eyes, as a supposed to be "top of the line" computer producer continued to screw me and waste my valuable time for yet a second time.
I gave them alternatives such as cancel the original vista serial/activation if one was ever sent out, in the case that they sent it to the wrong address and then send me a new one. This would guarantee that they would not be getting scammed for multiple copies. They did not want to hear any alternatives and continually said, “there is nothing we can or will do for you.”
I have just received my Alienware Aurora ALX and all I can say is WOW. The fastest computer I've ever used in my life. I have read a lot of bad reviews, but that was after I ordered, so I got really nervous. Maybe Alienware is trying to get better reviews or something, but there is not one flaw on this computer. If you are reading this now after just ordering an Alienware pc, or if you are about to purchase one, beware of the order status on their web page. It's only updated every three or four days - my computer went from phase 5, to phase 8 instantly the next day. (Phase 5: Installing OS and necessary drivers, intro to 200 point testing, Phase 8: Shipping Prep)
The only thing that I did not like was very minor, but on Thursday I called and was told the computer was shipping the next day. Monday came so I called to make sure it shipped and apparently it hadn't, but it was being shipped the next day. I just really don't appreciate when I am lied to. Other than that the computer is flawless and just to let you know, I timed the startup for fun, and it took only 20 seconds for Vista to open, personally I think that's fast.
Conclusion: Alienware has been very helpful. For example, I ordered the AlienFx and it was $200, but the next day I looked at it and it dropped to $104. So I called Alienware and guess what? They credited $96 to my credit card. The system itself as I said many times is truly amazing. There is only one problem, well it's not really a problem but I thought I might add, it's fairly large. Other than that I am very happy with the service I received from Alienware, oh and customer support was always nice.
TEXAS -- Purchased an Alienware Area51-m7700 along with the premium 3 year onsite warranty (about $3500 total) in March of 2005. After many delays, the 14 day turnaround turned into a month and I finally received at the end of April. Towards the end of summer, I started calling tech support about my screen occasionally fading in and out and flickering. After answering questions over the phone, I was told to download new drivers and it would fix the problem. I tried that, but the problem still happened randomly, I decided I just had to live with it.
This year it started getting worse, instead of happening occasionally, it started happening every time I used the computer. I decided to try tech support again. More questions over the phone, more of me trying to self diagnose the laptop and still no physical support from Alienware (even though I had the premium warranty) and I this time I was told that my video card was overheating. They sent out some thermal paste that I was to apply and that would fix the problem. Unfortunately, that did not work either. Now the computer has started shutting off on its own and is not recharging (this on top of the original issue) unless I wiggle the AC adaptor cord where it plugs into the laptop.
Another call to tech support, more of me trying to diagnose the problem over the phone with tech support and now I am told that the AC adaptor is bad, and that will fix all the issues I have been reporting. I am also now told that the AC adaptor is only covered for 1 year and it is now out of warranty! I tried explaining that this is the same issue that I had been reporting for a year, that it was not my fault that they had not diagnosed it correctly. I get a flat NO and if I want my laptop to work, I have to buy a new power supply.
All buyers need to BEWARE! I bought the premium warranty wanting protection, and they seem to be doing all they can not to honor the warranty. I have since bought two desktop gaming systems from Digital Storm and have had great luck with these. Too bad they do not make laptops as well! I will never buy another thing from Alienware or Dell if this is their level of customer service.