Resurrecting Dell’s 3-year warranty from the dead

Personal finance

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Our 2001FP LCD screen started dying earlier this week when a 1.5″ blue band of vertical stripes started appearing on the right side of the screen after the monitor had been on for a while. I hadn’t noticed this happening before, but after refreshing the desktop, closing applications, and restarting the computer all to no avail, I feared for the worst.

A series of searches for variations on the keywords “2001fp vertical stripe problem” on Google eventually landed me on a blog post written just earlier this month that described a that was as close to the problem that I was experiencing as I could find. Happily, I scrolled down to look through the comments on suggestions for how to fix this, only to find a comment from someone who sounded like he did LCD repairs for a living that explained that the issue was not likely something I could fix and was probably due to an overheating graphics board :(

After re-reading the post and comments, I noticed that the blogger also said that Dell had read his entry and contacted him, suggesting that his monitor might still be covered under its 3-year warranty. Luckily, my hubby is an organized person who saves containers and original boxes, and we still had our packing slip from the original box that the 2001fp came in. Keeping expectations low, I called up Dell and explained the situation.

Initially, after putting me on hold for 30 seconds, the rep came back and said that unfortunately, the warranty only applied to LCD monitors purchased after November 2005 along with a system. What a surprise. We had purchased our LCD in December 2004 without a system and only bought a new desktop (also from Dell) some months later.

Undaunted and having learned from sites like the that it pays not to give up so easily, I asked the rep to tell me what warranty came with my LCD screen. An innocent enough question worth asking.

After putting me on hold for another 3 minutes (the cynical side of me thinks he might have expected me to hang up), he came back on the phone saying, “Good news, ma’am. It seems your LCD screen is covered by the 3-year warranty.” After a bit more discussion (mostly during which the rep had me power cycle the computer to make sure the problem was with the LCD screen and not, I dunno what, maybe a big blue smudge on the screen I mistook for an LCD problem?), he assured me that he would issue a replacement monitor, which turned out to be a refurbished 2007fp that arrived yesterday. Not to jinx it, but now we only have to send the old monitor back to Dell via a prepaid DHL shipment tomorrow.

I was pretty pleased with this transaction, which I’d guess has saved us a few hundred dollars on a new LCD screen, not to mention lots of time doing too much research on the internet trying to figure out exactly what LCD to buy and from which company. But I wouldn’t have known about the possible warranty without that post, so here’s a public thank you to Joel Johnson, the author of that BoingBoing post!

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