I have found that Dell Home and Dell XPS/Dell Business seemingly have different warranty policies.
For example: My old Inspiron 8600's LCD case is about to come off its hinges -- it's wobbly and all. It's almost 2 years old (in about 3 weeks.) My friend's 8600 (bought at the same time) had the same issue about 4 months ago (since he has to close and open the cover often at work) and the LCD is absolutely no longer standing vertical on its own. I suspect my 8600 will go that route in a few months as well.
So, I contacted Chat support. Both times both reps said that it's not covered under warranty even though it has a 1-year extended warranty. It's considered a "physical damage" and as such isn't covered. Huh? Ok, then what about damage due to "wear and tear" (which is absolutely true)? Nope.
Dell XPS confirmed that for the XPS reps, such wear and tear (not caused by customer damage due to "improper use") *IS* covered under warranty, but that although the XPS rep says that it should be covered, that it's still up to the Dell Home rep to make that call. Dell Business confirmed XPS rep's opinion as well (as I deal with lots of them at work.)
I was absolutely upset with Dell Home in regards to this and even seeked out the warranty terms and conditions. I pointed out to the Dell Home tech support guy that according to the page I was looking at, such damage is NOT considered "accidental damage" but that it falls under 'wear and tear'. He said something in regards to, "Sir, I cannot repair the laptop for you as it's not covered under warranty. Please contact Dell Order Support for warranty details." Ugh. So, I asked, "If I have been opening and closing the lid slowly the past 2 years and have operated the unit within guidelines shown in the instruction manual, how else could this hinge thing have occurred? Are you saying that this is considered 'accidental damage' or 'abuse or misuse not according to guidelines'?"
I eventually gave up frustrated without telling him another comparison:
If a car has been maintained regularly and driven within the operating guidelines, and its door suddenly fell off within the warranty period, is that considered "accidental damage" or "abuse/misuse"? No. It'd be fixed free of charge.
Bleah. This is the most frustrating experience I have had with Dell ever. I couldn't get anywhere after 4 -- that's FOUR -- different chats with Dell Home support (each with slightly different approaches.) I may try it one last time, but after that, it's beyond ridiculous and I may file a claim with the BBB or take it up a notch with Dell's chain of command. Unless of course, my request actually IS wrong and that the issue is NOT covered under warranty. My experience with other laptop manufacturers (and even Dell's XPS and Business units), however, tells me that I'm well within my warranty rights.
What are your thoughts on this?
My experience with support from Dell Business and Dell XPS, however, has been excellent thus far.
So, lesson: Dell Home's interpretation of the warranty terms and conditions is different than Dell Business or Dell XPS.
EDIT: By the way, I have had excellent experiences with Dell's technical support (whenever I needed to contact one for issues I couldn't possibly fix -- ie. replacement of Dell hardware) otherwise -- outsourced or not outsourced. In one instance, I was in chat with a female Indian rep. Chat somehow disconnected and she called me on my cell phone and got the issue resolved from there. She had a lovely voice, by the way :P