Bits from Bill Pytlovany: Brand New Computer? Read Me First!


By Bill Pytlovany

Did you think I was going to start out by telling you all to install WinPatrol as soon as you opened up your new computer? Guess again.  I always try to write my articles from a different point of view and today may not be what you expect.

For the 2nd time I’ve had to return the Dell All-in-One Multi-Touch computer system that I’ve been dreaming about for months. The first unit had to go back because Dell shipped the wrong configuration. The 2nd system had to go back due to internal hardware failure. I should have known something was wrong when I could hear loose parts when I took the computer out of the box.

My point today is take a little time to insure your brand new computer is everything it should be or you may be sorry. Before you install your favorite software on your brand new system I have a few  recommendations.

1) Create a physical folder for documentation.
This folder should include your invoice, Service Tag number, your customer number, Order or Purchase number and any information required to identify your purchase. Keep your original DVD’s in the folder. At some time in the future you will need them and want them handy.

Write these numbers down before your computer goes under the desk or so you don’t have to keep tipping it upside down to find it again.

If you ordered your computer online you probably created an account. Copy down your log in name and account password.

2) Know and understand your Return Policy.
Go online and print out the return policy for your computer.  If you think you have 30 days think again. 

I recently experienced the Dell return policy so I have some specific tips to pass along.

  • “You must contact Customer Service within 21 days of the invoice date.”

    That’s not the date your computer arrived. If the computer is a gift or not planned to be used immediately you should keep reading this article. 

  • “Unless the product is defective or the return is a direct result of a Dell error, a restocking fee may apply of up to 15% of the purchase price paid, plus any applicable sales tax.”

    My inappropriate tip is on your first call tell them there was an error in the system configuration. Imply that you ordered a more expensive configuration and you want to return quickly so you re-order a new system online. If you tell them the computer is broken you’ll be forced through a time consuming series of phone calls with technical support to document your system is really broken.

    Lenovo says “Lenovo will accept the return or exchange of a product in its original, sealed package (except gift cards) for a full refund in cases of Lenovo error. Returns allowed for any other reason will be subject to a restocking fee equal to 15% of the purchase amount. All returns must be initiated within 21 days of the invoice date.“

    Apple requests your attention immediately. “For eligible Mac, iPod, and third-party products, you have up to 14 calendar days from the time you receive your item(s) to initiate a return. A 10% restocking fee will be assessed for opened items. Shipping fees are not refundable.”

    3) Keep all your packing materials.
    Keep all the baggies and even the little twist ties available and pack them in the original box. Keep the original box somewhere safe “just in case”.

    3 More Recommendations from Bill – for your new PC…

    This post is excerpted with Bill’s permission from his blog

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