Dell relents on dodgy insurance policy

Your money or your laptop: if a thief doesn’t rob you Dell’s insurance will

Late last month we covered the sorry tale of two Dell customers the Boltes who had been unable to claim for their stolen XPS laptop under Dell’s “CompleteCover Guard”.

As it turns out “CompleteCover” was anything but.

Following the media coverage Dell has caved to the pressure and given the Boltes a new laptop.

Dell Australia spokesman Paul McKeon says it hopes it did the “… right thing by the customer in the end albeit with less alacrity than we should have” referring to the sloppy level of customer service the Boltes witnessed even after Dell elevated it to senior status.

He adds “… we would not agree this example is typical of Dell’s customer service” pointing out that you can now communicate your problems directly with Dell through its turbulent IdeaStorm website.

Naturally the Boltes are overjoyed at the result and somewhat more forgiving of Dell.

“I am very happy with the outcome” says replacement XPS laptop owner Adam Bolte. “I thought there would be a catch or a request that would benefit the public’s perception of Dell. There was none.”

What’s odd is that according to McKeon what’s written on the agreement doesn’t matter.

If you recall the twist in this story was that the Boltes correctly pointed out that the limitations on the agreement around what types of theft situations Dell would cover (not many) did not apply to his XPS laptop because Dell hadn’t mentioned it in the agreement despite specifically naming other models.

“As the Boltes pointed out our terms and conditions for CompleteCover Guard did not specifically refer to XPS” says McKeon.

“But we do not accept the suggestion that as a result of this omission XPS products are exempt from the exclusions in the CompleteCover Guard service description.”

In other words if you buy something from Dell just assume the almight theft exclusion applies to it. Even if it isn’t listed. Understood?

No we don’t get it either. And we imagine an insurance lawyer would have something to say about it too.

Had the Boltes not discovered the flaw in the agreement and if Dell didn’t receive some healthy prodding from both APC and the Boltes they would no doubt still be minus a laptop.

Dell was sure to reinforce this telling us that their resolution of the Boltes’ situation was merely a gesture of goodwill. (Not we assume an admission of liability that might benefit other customers who find themselves in the Boltes’ situation.)

McKeon adds “we do appreciate that our documentation was incomplete and are grateful to the Boltes for bringing it to our attention which is why we’ve decided to replace their notebook.”

We asked McKeon why Dell’s theft cover is worthwhile for laptops. “CompleteCover Guard is part of a suite of product services Dell offers to help users minimise downtime as a result of accidental damage or theft” he says.

“Unfortunately in my case” responds Adam Bolte “the effect was the opposite.”

Guide to thieving Dell notebooks

If you’re a budding snatch-and-grab thief on the up and up and interested in moving into the notebook grab segment it would be great if you could follow this quick guide (page 3) for a successful and relatively pain-free lifting of a Dell-insured laptop.

Under Dell’s radically specific theft cover a thief would need to follow a set of instructions if the victim was to have any luck in filing an insurance claim.

The bottom line

Bolte says “I suspect there might be some better deals to be had by extending a home and contents insurance plan” says Bolte. “Certainly ‘CompleteCover Guard’ sounds much more complete than it actually is.”

However Bolte adds that the “policy booklet received with the new laptop is unchanged” which means if his notebook gets nicked again he’s covered by the same loopy conditions.

Basically if you require reasonable insurance from theft don’t buy it from a computer supplier. They’ll happily charge you out the wazoo for something so heavily restrictive it looks like a snatch for your cash.

And I won’t say it isn’t.

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