Get a genuine Dell for a lot lessApr 10, 2000 Write an essay on this topic.
It took a little bit of a leap of faith, but calling Dell's factory outlet and ordering a refurbished Dimension XPS-T 450 last year has been the best computer buy I've ever made. I was a little bit nervous about purchasing a computer that someone had returned to Dell but everything has turned out great, and I would recommend Dell's outlet to almost anyone.
Factors you may want to consider before using the Outlet's services:
You are buying a used computer.
Dell offers a 30-day guarantee on all new computers it sells. With the quantity of computers they sell, naturally some will be returned. According to Dell, these computers are "taken apart and rebuilt to original factory specifications, then retested to ensure quality." While I can't be 100% sure that is what they did to my computer, I can tell you that I use my computer a couple hours each day, and have had absolutely no problems with it since the day I got it.
You don't really get to customize the computer for your needs and you may have to be very persistent.
Dell is selling computers other people have returned. While they do take these computers apart and rebuild them, they don't add or subtract any parts. As I understand it, computers get rebuilt and retested, and then sit, waiting for someone to buy them. This is not to say that you just take your chances when ordering a computer. When you call the outlet, you tell the agent exactly what you are looking for, and they will try to provide you with a computer that comes as close to your needs as possible.
Because I was calling during a period of high demand (around the beginning of the school year), I had to call on 3 or 4 different days until I found what I wanted. I also had to wait on hold - a lot! Tip: call as early in the day as you can, as supplies dwindle as the day progresses. Alternatively, you can write them an email detailing what you want in the hopes that they will get back to you. I wrote and called - if you have time to wait on hold, calling is much more effective.
You still get a great warranty, and decent service.
My computer came with a one year "Next Business Day" on-site service warranty and a three year limited warranty, as well as 24-hour technical support (I don't know how good the support is, as I've never had occasion to use it). I believe these warranties/support features are pretty standard for computers that come from the outlet. The customer service agents were friendly and helpful in finding the computer I wanted, although I did have to hold for a long time while waiting to speak to one. Shipping time was relatively fast; I got my computer within a week, if not sooner.
Price - why else go to all the trouble?
This article assumes that you have already decided to buy a Dell. The prices offered on refurbished Dells are deeply discounted from all-new Dells. I was able to buy a computer that Dell that would have ordinarily cost about $2300 (at the time) for about $1500. If you haven't decided to buy a Dell, you may be able to find other manufacturers' brand-new computers for the same price. Whether you can expect the same quality from the other manufacturers, I can't say.
I would recommend Dell's refurbished service to any home/home office user who has definitely decided they want a Dell, but who doesn't want to pay full price. A prospective buyer of a refurbished computer should have patience in case Dell doesn't have what you want on the day you call. If you are looking for a computer and you wish it would have arrived yesterday, this may not be the best option for you. You never know, though, they might just have what you want the day you call. For more information, try Dell's website (www.dell.com) and click on "refurbished systems."
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