Dell keyboard letters worn out - not a warranty item!

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Tiny Tim, Dec 11, 2003.

  1. Tiny Tim

    Tiny Tim Guest

    I have a Dell Inspiron 8000 which is 2.5 years old. Several of the keys have
    worn to the point where it is difficult to see what the letters are - the
    "L" looks just like a ":" and "M" and "N" are almost indistinguishable.
    Others are also disappearing. This is my own personal laptop and I'm the
    only user. I'm very much a point and click surfer and do not do a great deal
    of typing so the keyboard is not that heavily used.

    I just filed a problem with Dell and haven been told this is not a warranty
    claim, even though I have a 3 year on site warranty that cost me £199. I
    fail to see why this problem is not covered. The keyboard is becoming near
    to unusable and is therefore "broken" in my opinion. If I had a stuck key
    they would fix it. It appears that even though they have failed to
    design/build the lettering adequately that that is not sufficient
    justification for a warranty claim.

    This does not seem fair to me. I was not aware a keyboard was a consumable
    item and expected to wear out. It is not exactly like a car tyre or clutch
    that is expected to wear and be replaced. This is a design/build defect. I
    have researched on the Dell Talk forums and I am not the only one to
    experience this problem. Indeed, one person seems to have the identical
    letters disappearing too.

    I also have a 5 year old Dell Inspiron 7000 laptop, which I used for 2.5
    years before passing it on to my girlfriend when I got the I8000. The keys
    on that are still as good as new, so this is an I8000 problem, not a "Tim
    Dodd" problem.

    I fail to see on what grounds Dell can reject this as a warranty claim. What
    are your views?

    Thanks,
    Tim.
     
    Tiny Tim, Dec 11, 2003
    #1
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  2. Tiny Tim

    Beck Guest

    My views are that Dell is taking the piss. Scream "small claims court" to
    them, it may get their attention
     
    Beck, Dec 11, 2003
    #2
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  3. Tiny Tim

    The Hedonist Guest

    Keys on keyboards wearingout have never been a warranty claim read your T &
    C but what you might try is to say you have a drifting curser problem :)
     
    The Hedonist, Dec 11, 2003
    #3
  4. Tiny Tim

    Tiny Tim Guest

    Hmmm. I'll have to hunt down my Ts&Cs.

    I'm afraid a wandering cursor isn't a problem but the "K" screw did fall out
    from underneath a few weeks ago and will not stay put as the threads have
    stripped themselves automatically (prior to me trying to screw it back in).
    I've written back to Dell and told them they can send an engineer to fit a
    new screw :) unless of course the warranty doesn't cover equipment falling
    to pieces either.

    I would have been happy to be sent a new keyboard to self-fit, or even just
    new keys to replace the worn ones but if they want to play silly buggers
    then so can I. Since I reported the hardware problem with the screw today I
    fully expect an engineer to turn up tomorrow to sort it out.
     
    Tiny Tim, Dec 11, 2003
    #4
  5. Tiny Tim

    Leythos Guest

    That type of wear is considered NORMAL WEAR AND TEAR - nothing about
    that is considered broken and coverable under warranty.

    That's the same as asking them to replace your car tires after 38,000
    miles since they came with a 40,000 mile warranty....

    About every keyboard I own, for the last 25 years, has had key letters
    wear off - CRTL, A, S, Enter, R-Shift are all problems.

    The same would be true of your mouse - the little teflon strip is
    considered something that wears out - it's not a warranty item either.
     
    Leythos, Dec 11, 2003
    #5

  6. Don't know about warranty claim views... but you can call and report that
    the M and N keys dont work.... they will send a tech with a new keyboard
    after a bit of over the phone trouble-shooting.

    The onsite tech may check it out... and I say MAY... because I have yet to
    see a Dell tech (all contractors) actually waste time checking the problem
    out once a 'repair/replace' ticket has been issued. They have the part...
    so they just replace it. Besides... you can tell him its intermittent and
    just didnt happen to him... but it happens to you all the time. If he
    refuses to replace it... just keep calling and reporting the problem... they
    will eventually get sick of the calls and just replace it.

    Cheers,
    Kevin
     
    Kevin Watters, Dec 11, 2003
    #6
  7. Tiny Tim

    Tiny Tim Guest

    I'm afraid I have to disagree about normal wear and tear. How can a keyboard
    be compared to a car tyre? It is an integral part of the control interface
    to the machine and as such is more like a steering wheel. Steering wheels
    are expected to last the life of the vehicle and should not need replacing -
    ever. A steering wheel is not a consumable item. Car tyres are, and are
    accepted as such. The nearest analogy to tyres might be the battery and most
    people recognise the need for a more limited battery warranty. A keyboard is
    not fit for purpose if it wears out in 2.5 years of light use.

    For a PC some wear and tear may be no big deal as you can pick up a keyboard
    for £10 and just plug it in. When the keyboard is an integral part of the
    build, as in a laptop, that is not so straight forward. I can't just nip
    into PC world and pick up a new keyboard for my laptop and just pop it in.

    I would be interested to see where keyboard wear and tear is excluded
    because I can't find anything on the Dell site. This link makes no mention -

    http://www1.euro.dell.com/content/t...topics/footer/terms?c=uk&l=en&s=gen&~lt=popup
     
    Tiny Tim, Dec 11, 2003
    #7
  8. Tiny Tim

    Leythos Guest

    While I appreciate your situation, the wearing of the letters is a
    normal problem that is considered non-warranty in most cases. The same
    method for imprinting your laptop keyboard is used on non-laptop
    keyboards, so why would you expect it to be any different.

    As someone else posted, call them and say that several keys are not
    working properly - it will be replaced.
     
    Leythos, Dec 11, 2003
    #8
  9. Tiny Tim

    Paul Giverin Guest

    I have to agree with you. Your steering wheel analogy is much more
    appropriate than tyres.

    I've just binned a cheap keyboard that has been in daily use for seven
    years and the lettering was fine on that. A laptop keyboard can't be
    replaced that cheaply and you would expect better from a quality
    manufacturer like Dell.
     
    Paul Giverin, Dec 11, 2003
    #9
  10. Tiny Tim

    Tiny Tim Guest

    I will take that route if I have to but as a UK consumer there is certain
    protection afforded me. I have looked at the Trading Standards website and
    found some legislation that pertains to the purchase of computers, here....

    http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/cgi-bin/havering/con1item.cgi?file=*ADV0055-1111.txt

    The site mentions the Sale Of Goods Act 1979 and I quote from that ....

    "The computer should be of a satisfactory quality, fit for its purpose and
    as described. When deciding whether the computer is of a satisfactory
    quality, its appearance, finish, durability, safety and freedom from even
    minor defects can all be taken into account. If the computer is faulty, you
    have a legal claim against the retailer of the computer, who should help you
    to resolve any problems. "

    Please note the "durability" remark in the SOGA. This laptop cost me well
    over £2,000. I strongly believe that the keyboard should remain usable for
    more than 2.5 years. I doubt that any consumer would argue with that
    opinion.

    Also, from
    The Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and The Unfair Terms in Consumer
    Contracts Regulations 1999

    "These laws allow you to challenge terms that may be unfair or unreasonable
    to you as a consumer. The standard terms and conditions used by the retailer
    should be written in clear language. It is illegal to have a contract term
    that attempts to restrict a consumer's rights. In some cases your local
    Trading Standards Department may be able to take action to prevent a company
    from using unfair terms in its contracts."

    Even if Dell do exclude wear and tear of a keyboard this does not seem
    reasonab;e within the timeframes here. Hey look - I just typed a ";" instead
    of an "l". That's the problem mow and it will only be getting worse over
    time. Effing hell, now I'm typing "m"s instead of "n"s. These errors were
    both legit and are down to the problems with the keyboard.

    I shall put these points to Dell and if that doesn't improve matters I will
    be taking up the matter with Trading Standards. I may as well contact BBC
    Watchdog too. Have a nice day, Dell :)
     
    Tiny Tim, Dec 11, 2003
    #10
  11. Tiny Tim

    Leythos Guest

    I suggest that you go the route of a defective keyboard - keys not
    working. Once they start keeping notes on your calls you won't be able
    to claim they keys are not working and it will be heck trying to get
    them to honor the above act you mention.

    Sometimes the quickest method is to just claim it's broke and get a new
    one that way.

    Let us know how you make out with Dell.
     
    Leythos, Dec 11, 2003
    #11
  12. Tiny Tim

    Tiny Tim Guest

    Well I've sent an email laying out the Sale of Goods Act etc. and await a
    reply.

    Out of interest I've just started looking into the cost of replacement parts
    and a new keyboard is £95+VAT here -
    http://www.laptopbits.co.uk/Database_files/Inspiron_8000.htm

    I've also found them for £15 new here -
    http://www.stores.ebay.co.uk/laptopxsdelllaptopsspares/plistings/list/all/dept11/?col=2&dir=-1
    although not for my exact model.

    The Dell UK site does not list spares for the I8000 at all and for the I8200
    there is no keyboard listed. To be honest I wouldn't get too worked up over
    £15 but if the cost is in excess or £100 to fix this then I will pursue a
    solution from Dell as necessary.

    Ta ta.
     
    Tiny Tim, Dec 11, 2003
    #12
  13. Tiny Tim

    the yeti Guest

    I see no issue here. My favorite analogy is cars. Car warrenties do
    not cover brake pads, and you usually have to replace pads before the
    warrenty is over. You said that your keyboard is essentially
    unusable. A car with out brake pads is essentially unusable to, but
    people do it all the time. God knows I have driven cars when the pads
    were totally shot and I've typed on keyboards with no letters on them
    either. As for the warrenty covering a stuck key, well car warrenty's
    cover frozed calipers too. It's just called items that have normal
    wear and tear. Get over it, get a marker and reletter your keyboard.
     
    the yeti, Dec 11, 2003
    #13
  14. Bad analogy, Leythos. Tires under warranty have always [or at least
    during the 45 years I have been driving] been replaced on a pro-rated
    basis, with the basis being miles-driven versus warranty mileage. In
    your example, 38,000/40,000 = 95%. In a straight line case, you would
    be credited with 5% of the purchase price toward a replacement tire,
    representing the 2000 miles of service you did not receive.
     
    Ogden Johnson III, Dec 11, 2003
    #14
  15. Tiny Tim

    Don Coon Guest

    You can also buy keycaps on Ebay; typically 3 for $5US.
     
    Don Coon, Dec 11, 2003
    #15
  16. Tiny Tim

    Steve W. Guest


    Jurisdiction
    Irish law and the exclusive court jurisdiction of the Irish courts will
    apply to this Agreement. The Vienna Convention on Contracts for the
    International Sale of Goods is excluded.


    Warranty
    Unless otherwise stated, Dell guarantees to you that Dell-branded
    Products will be free from defects for 12 months from delivery and spare
    parts for 90 days from installation or delivery date, whichever is the
    earlier. Should Product be defective within this period, Dell will
    repair or replace Product within a reasonable time. All reasonable care
    and endeavour shall be used to resolve problems within a realistic
    period in the circumstances. Dell manufactures and repairs using
    components, which are new or equivalent to new in accordance with
    industry standards and practice. Notebook batteries are delivered with
    one-year warranty (not upgradeable). Dell warranty is given in place of
    all implied warranties and that such implied warranties are excluded to
    the fullest permitted extent. Dell may revise its limited warranties
    from time to time but any such change will not affect products ordered
    by you prior to the date of such change.
    Dell does not give a warranty guarantee protection for: damage caused by
    incorrect installation, use, modifications or repair by any unauthorised
    3rd party or yourself;
    force;<<<<<<

    fitness for any particular purpose;
    3rd Party Products, Software and IM specified by you. You will receive
    the warranty or licence for these products directly from their
    manufacturer or licensor;
    any instruction given by you and correctly performed by Dell.
     
    Steve W., Dec 11, 2003
    #16
  17. Tiny Tim

    Tom Swift Guest

    Out of luck, I'm afraid. Irish law specifically excludes relief for
    keyboards. The Vienna Convention was created to restore protection for
    keyboards, and would pre-empt Irish law, however, the EULA explicitly states
    that the Vienna Convention is excluded.

    (Who says a correspondance law school degree isn't worth the paper it's
    printed on?)

    Tom Swift

    <snip>
     
    Tom Swift, Dec 11, 2003
    #17
  18. Tiny Tim

    John Guest

    I'm going to side with the computer owner in this case.
    We're not dealing with analogies, or even whether an item is "unuseable".

    Items that are specifically designed by the manufacturer to wear out in use
    are "consumeables", and not normally covered by the warranty.
    Examples of these items are: tires, brake pads, batteries, ink cartridges,
    etc.
    The key element is -- they are designed to wear out by nature --
    consumeable.

    The lettering on your keypad is not designed to wear off. If it does, it's
    defective. And; covered under warranty.

    When I did tech support, we tried to determine whether it was cosmetic, or
    affected useabitity.
    If the problem affected useability, we replaced the keyboard.


    John
     
    John, Dec 11, 2003
    #18
  19. Tiny Tim

    Beck Guest

    But if the product if not of good quality then they should cover it. They
    are trying to get out of using shoddy products by insisting it is not
    covered by the warranty. Its balls. If the product is not fit for its
    purpose within warranty, then its not fit. Simple as that. Keyboards are
    not consumables like paper that you can replace cheaply, they are very
    expensive and so therefore should be built to last. If they do not last,
    then its shoddy workmanship and therefore should be replaced.
     
    Beck, Dec 11, 2003
    #19
  20. Tiny Tim

    Mark Guest

    If that's "NORMAL WEAR AND TEAR" for a Dell, I'll have to reconsider
    using them for my next purchase. This Gateway dates back to 1997 and I
    see no signs of lettering wearing off any of the keys with pretty heavy
    use over those 6 years.
     
    Mark, Dec 11, 2003
    #20
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