How #Dell Misleads Customers

On May 9, 2011 I bought a Dell Streak 5 at FNAC Online, in Portugal. It’s not a popular device in Portugal. It’s a 5″ inch hybrid Android-based tablet and phone, as shown in the image below:

Dell Mini 5 Streak
Image taken from

There were several factors that made me choose this unit. One of the most important is its size, 5 inches. This is a large phone and a small tablet. For me, the large screen was key. As I have some difficulty in seeing up close, a 5-inch screen was a relief. So,  after four years, I left behind my Nokia E71, still working beautifully, and kept it as a backup phone. Which was good thinking, because now I’m back using the E71.

The story of the problem with Dell begins on May 8, 2012. Up until then  I had no problems with the device. I used it every day as a phone, to check email and read news. It was perfect as a tool in my daily mobile life. Then, on May 7, I got a call from my mother and it was impossible to hear anything she said. I put on the headset, but that was no better. Finally I turned on the speakerphone and was  able to hear the conversation. Before I switched on the speakerphone, my mother had been able to hear me, but I could hear nothing.

Since the phone was still under warranty (in Portugal every device has a 2-year warranty) I called FNAC Online. They told me to go to a FNAC shop to fix the problem.

So I did that. On May 8 I went to FNAC Chiado (Lisbon) and handed in the phone. I took the box and all accessories. FNAC examined  all the equipment but kept only the body of the phone, not taking  the cover, the micro-sd card or the battery. They told me that this was the standard procedure.

On May 29 I received I receive an SMS from FNAC saying “Repair No. 220512 is ready for pickup. Without repair.  Economically unviable …. ”

Upon receiving this message I thought “What? The device works. The defect is only the in-
ear speaker and headphone connector. Why don’t they fix it?” And so I went to see
what happened. Imagine my surprise when I received the Dell’s diagnosis:

They said my phone has moisture and therefore the warranty is void. I felt cheated. I don’t even take my phone into  the bathroom! And still they tell me that is moist – only if it’s the natural humidity of Lisbon! And they send the photo below to show the active humidity sensors:

I refused to accept the phone. I returned it saying I did not accept this diagnosis, and that the sensors must have been  activated during transport or within  Dell’s facilities, as I am very careful with moisture. FNAC returned the equipment to Dell, and we’ll see what happens.

However, because I did not take any pictures of the phone before turning it in (I never thought it would be necessary), I went to the internet to get pictures and videos of the inside of the Dell Streak 5, and what I discovered is that the sensors are identical to mine:

It is easy to see in the two photos above that the lower humidity sensor, which is underneath the battery and therefore is most exposed,  are exactly alike. This sensor can be seen without any tool. Just open the back cover and remove the battery. It is much more exposed to the weather than the second, above, which can only be seen if the phone is disassembled and therefore can be manipulated by those who refuse to honor the warranty.

Apparently in the picture it is that sensor that is activated. The one that is more difficult to access and therefore less subject to climatic factors. It is also the one that we consumers cannot control and therefore easier to manipulate by those who refuse to comply with a warranty.

My question is: how is it that the more exposed sensor is not  activated, and the less exposed one i is?
Answer: given my care with my phones, and the  example is my Nokia E71 from 2007, still in perfect working order, this sensor can only have been activated by the repairer.

This is why I refused to  accept the diagnosis, and returned the phone to Dell. A phone that cost s €349.00 shouldn’t work for just a year and  then breakdown. It‘is unacceptable that large firms like Dell abuse their customers in this way.

Hey Dell, do me a favor: comply with the warranty and give me back the phone in working order. In fact almost everything works, just not the in-ear speaker and headphone connector.

Dell, please honor the warranty and fix my phone. I want the phone working and I don’t want any excuses about moisture. DO NOT DECEIVE ME! BE HONEST!


Sobre Julio Garcia

Interessado em comportamento humano, marketing social, redes sociais, inteligência coletiva e como o design afeta o comportamento. Interest in human behavior, social marketing, social networks, collective intelligence and how the design affects human behavior.
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