Consequences of Returning New Dell PC and Stopping Payment on VISA

About 7 weeks ago, I bought a Dell laptop and last week the motherboard went bad, taking my data with it. (Some saved on disk, most not.) The history of this model is not encouraging. Many reports of overheating and fried motherboards. Customer Care (what a joke) refuses to refund my payment, even prorated, and won’t exchange for another model, despite the overheating issues. (Last week, the laptop gave off an acrid smell and was really hot.)

I have been given a huge runaround, with some tech support agents promising me a refund only for another to deny it. Meanwhile, there is no documentation on Dell’s side of any of these conversations, even though I talked to two supervisors. (I don’t have there names, but I do have a tech support agent’s name: An Indian chap named Andrew.)

What consequences are there if I return this PC without authorization and cancel VISA payment? Is there any recourse whatsoever, after the 21-day return policy?

I think your luck may depend on your card’s specific agreement with you.
On the whole, you’re probably screwed, but I would suggest you check with the bank that issued your credit card.

Call your bank. What you should do is immediately send it back to Dell, and demand a refund, or alternatively a full credit towards another model. And say you will dispute it with the card issuer if they refuse. Odds are good they’ll cave in to avoid the hassle.

If you continue to have trouble, you can always write a blog about it

I’ve had excellent support from Dell. I had a problem with the hard drive on a system, and they were terrific. I did all the support over the web, so I always had a case ID and the name of the person at Dell with whom I spoke. Maybe that route will work for you.

Is this a Debit card or a Credit Card? If the latter, speak to them and demand that they stop the payment. If it’s a debit card, the cash is likely already gone, and you simply deal with Dell, though it’s a good idea to keep your bank advised.

If it’s a credit card, your contract is with Visa and they are responsible for sorting things out; if it’s a debit card, the following should help:

When dealing with Dell UK, you can cite the Sale of Goods Act and state that the product is ‘not fit for the purpose’, nor even is it of merchantable quality. You must demand a full refund, not a credit voucher. You can also claim reasonable expenses. Your local Trading Standards Dept and Citizens’ Advice Bureaux will be of great help here. If Dell are still intransigent, you should file a claim in the Small Claims Court.

Out of curiosity, what’s going on with the Dell bait-and-switch lawsuit?

Carnac the Magnificent!
The main risk you run is that Dell will continue to try to collect money from you after they see that VISA has refunded your money. This assumes that VISA will grant you the chargeback after their investigation. That’s not necessarily a given and will depend on the terms of your agreement with VISA. After a while, Dell may turn over the whole problem to a collection agency, and that will show up on your credit report. Then you will have to go through some contortions to correct the report. I see this as the worse case scenario. Dell may just give up trying to collect any money from you after they get back their defective PC.