I bought my first Dell computer in 1993. Over the next eight years, between myself and my family, we ended up buying 7 computers from Dell. In 2000, I swore off Dells after they refused to fix a 3-month old laptop whose screen stopped working (and, yes, I had the extended warranty thing). Even though Techdirt was going strong at the time, I didn't vent my frustrations here at the time, as it didn't seem right. However, over time, apparently, it's become quite acceptable to vent your frustrations on blogs, and Dell has been a leading recipient of it in the last year with the "Jeff Jarvis complaint." That one incident has received so much press that it appears Dell is finally trying to change how they handle service, admitting, basically, that they can't afford to service cheap computers, so they have special phone queues for more expensive machines. Of course, the "more expensive" part was what many of thought we were buying when we bought the extended warranties. However, Dell's new plans to cut costs apparently go even further. The latest plan is to "redefine free shipping" on their cheaper models. Instead of shipping them all the way to your house, they will only ship the machine to your local Post Office and make you go and get it. Considering the size of many computer boxes these days, that can be quite a pain. Instead, they'll end up having a lot of people pay "extra" for home delivery -- while still being able to advertise "free delivery." It's fine if they want to charge people for delivery. It's an expense and there's nothing wrong with that. But, to claim free delivery certainly implies free "home" delivery, so this certainly seems like somewhat misleading advertising.
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