Peter Stern was one of those lucky holiday shoppers for Christmas last year. He knew the perfect gift to buy for his girlfriend; a new computer from Dell.
So, last December the retired attorney from Encinitas bought a new computer and hid it in the closet until Christmas Day.
“On Christmas Day I presented the gift to my girlfriend,” Stern told NBC 7 Responds. “She was very happy and she took it home and put it in her closet until after the new year.”
Stern’s girlfriend hired a computer technician to come and transfer the files from her old computer to her new computer. That’s when the problems began.
“A month after the purchase, the computer tech called me and told me that he couldn’t get the computer to work,” said Stern.
Stern called Dell and requested to return the computer for one that worked.
That’s when Stern heard the bad news.
“Dell told me that they were sorry but they couldn’t accept the return because the 30-day return window had expired.”
Stern said he had a difficult time accepting Dell’s position.
“People buy gifts and sit on them until the holiday arrives. The policy is completely impractical,
Stern said that he called Dell a handful of times, each time asking to speak to a supervisor.
“That was six hours of my time that I will never get back, not to mention most of it sitting on hold listening to canned music waiting for someone just to say, “No” to me.”
Stern spent additional hours calling his credit card company and the state’s consumer protection agency, all with no luck.
“I was at my wit’s end,” said Stern. “That’s when I said to myself, ‘Let’s see if Consumer Bob can help me.”
Stern sent NBC 7 Responds the documentation. We contacted Dell. Three weeks later, one year after Stern first bought the computer, Dell told Stern a refund was on its way.
““Gee whiz, Consumer Bob, thank goodness you're there. Happy holidays to you and your crew.”
In a statement, a spokesperson from Dell told NBC 7 Responds that Dell does in fact offer an extended holiday return policy. The deadline for that policy, however, is January 15.
“In this instance the January 15 return date was applicable; however, Dell was contacted by the customer approximately two weeks past that deadline,” wrote the spokesperson. “To support a good customer experience, we have offered Mr. Stern a full refund for his system only, which he has accepted.”