Dell & Best Buy: How Does Service and Support Work?


Yesterday evening, Dell had an open store event at local Best Buy locations in Round Rock and Cedar Park. I dropped by to take a look at some of the systems we'll be selling there like the XPS One, the XPS M1330 notebook, the Inspiron 1420 and the Inspiron 530 desktop. It was a little strange (but good) seeing Dell systems sitting right beside competitive systems in the store.

In an earlier post about Best Buy, I mentioned that I would clarify how service and support works. Here goes..

Basically, much of the service and support for machines purchased at Best Buy will be handled by them. All Dell products sold through Best Buy will come standard with a 1-year warranty. The return policy is 14 days, and are handled according to Best Buy's return policy. You can purchase extended warranties through Best Buy, and if you do, they will be responsible for support during the extended warranty period.

We've authorized both the Geek Squad and Best Buy to provide support for the Dell systems you've purchased there. So if you have questions or problems with a system you purchased, contacting Best Buy is the way to go. However, customers who buy Dell systems through Best Buy can still contact Dell for basic troubleshooting and support.

Take a look at the Dell & Best Buy homepage on for more information.

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All comments are moderated. Unrelated comments or requests for service will not be published, nor will any content deemed inappropriate, including but not limited to promotional and offensive comments. Please post your technical questions in the Support Forums or for customer service and technical support contact Dell Support.
  • Anonymous

    Given Best Buy’s obscene 15% restocking fee, anyone in their right mind would only go to Best Buy to “touch and feel” a Dell system. Then they can confidently go online or call Dell to place an order knowing what the other thousand words a picture didn’t tell you.  

    What’s more, they can customize the system to their specification and use Dell coupons found on the web.

  • Anonymous

    I wouldn’t be caught dead buying a Dell in Best Buy.  My own experience with their customer relations is absolutely horrendous.  They should be happy I am not a shareholder, if I was, people would be getting fired.

  • Anonymous

    Best Buy offers a better warranty and $50 cheaper too.  Nice!

  • Anonymous

    I wish you people get your facts straight Dell has restocking fee’s also…and best buy at least try there best to make sure people are taking care of. only people that think they can get away with everything cry like babies and complain. i got this off dell web site for those that can read.


    Restocking Fees: Unless the
    product is defective or the return is a direct result of a Dell error,
    a restocking fee of 15% may be charged on hardware, accessories,
    peripherals, parts and unopened software still in its/their sealed
    package, and on software that has not been downloaded if the software
    is delivered electronically.

    How to Return: To return products, you must contact Dell customer service (
    and receive a Credit Return Authorization Number within the return
    policy period applicable to the product you want to return. You must
    obtain a Credit Return Authorization Number in order to return the
    product. See “Contacting Dell” or “Getting Help” in your customer
    documentation or the above website to find the appropriate contact
    information for obtaining customer assistance.

    You must ship the products to Dell within
    five (5) days of the date that Dell issues the Credit Return
    Authorization Number. You must:

    • Ship back all products you are seeking
      to return to Dell. At Dell’s discretion, credit for partial returns may
      be less than invoice or individual component prices due to bundled or
      promotional pricing and any unadvertised discounts or concessions.
    • Return
      the products in their original packaging, in as-new condition along
      with any media, documentation, and all other items that were included
      in the original shipment.
    • Ship the product(s) at your expense, and insure the shipment or accept the risk of loss or damage during shipment.

    Upon receipt of
    the complete returned purchase, Dell will issue a credit or a refund of
    the purchase price paid, less shipping and handling and applicable
    restocking fees.

  • Anonymous

    After having delt with Dell’s alleged customer service, If I ever buy another Dell product (which is extremely doubtful), I will buy it from Best Buy to keep from having to deal with Dell again.

  • Anonymous


    I think it is YOU who needs to get real world facts straight…

    In spite of Dell’s written, policy, I have never faced having to pay a restocking fee where Dell is concerned. Nor have many thousands of others. The keywords that tilts the senario in the customer’s favor is “defective” and “Dell error.” There are plenty of legitimate issues which allow for a full refund.

    The same cannot be said about Best Buy. They charge this restocking fee if the product is merely, “opened.” See their policy on their website. Have fun trying to prove item is defective with Best Buy’s CS. What’s more, If you manage to convince them that the item is defective, they only give you credit, not a refund.

    Staples is the better place to buy Dell systems from if you are looking to buy preconfigured Dell systems retail.

  • Anonymous

    Loyal and very happy Dell customer here.  In particular, I have been extremely impressed with the various customer service improvements Dell has made over the last two years or so (a HUGE improvement over the experience I had with my first Dell back in 1999).  I love the Dell Support Center widget, it makes diagnostics a snap.  My only other PC experience is with Sony, a company with no customer service focus, and HP, which seems about on par with Dell. 

    I've had an XPS M1710 for a couple of years– incredible machine.  A couple of weeks ago I was at Best Buy casually looking at desktops (my Sony was on its last legs) and I immediately gravitated to an XPS 420.  I found a store with one in stock (this particular item is especially in demand at Best Buy, it seems) and when the Best Buy salesperson asked me if I wanted to purchase their extended warranty I told him "no thanks, I am very happy with Dell's standard warranty" and that was that.

    After I got the baby up and running I ran the standard Automated Scan and it identified a couple of problems (nothing major as the machine runs like a dream).  There was a button on the right that said "tell me more".  I clicked on it thinking that I would be directed to a FAQ sheet but instead I was kicked into a chat with a Dell service person.  He started helping me but as soon as he realized that the computer was from Best Buy he told me to call Geek Squad and basically dropped the chat.

    Instantly, my phone rang.  It was an automated call from Dell customer service to check on whether I had any remaining issues because they knew the chat was terminated prematurely.  As soon as the lady heard I was a Best Buy customer she also refused to provide support and told me to call Geek Squad.

    At this point I decided to do some research.  I poured over the printed Limited Warranty in the box.  Everything clearly states that Dell is the responsible party.  I find nothing about a third party being responsible if the product is purchased from a retail outlet other than Dell.

    Then I used the Dell Support Center to find the warranty associated with my service tag, here's what it says:

    Next Business Day Parts Delivery: BBF 1/28/2008-4/28/2009 (409 days)
    Next Business Day Parts Delivery DELL: 4/29/2009-7/27/2009 (89 days)
    Technical Support – Phone Assistance DELL: 1/28/2008-4/28/2009 (409 days)
    Technical Support – Phone Assistance DELL: 4/29/2009-7/27/2009 (89 days)

    Armed with this information, I called Dell customer service.  The state-side service rep was very sympathetic as I explained how Dell's own documentation is steering me to Dell, starting with the button that called up the chat.  However, after consulting with his supervisor each time I made another point, all he could do is– you guessed it– tell me to call Geek Squad.  At one point his supervisor told him that my status was the equivalent of an HP customer calling Dell for help.

    So I took the advice and I called Geek Squad.  I explained to the lady that I had an error message from a Dell Scan and I am trying to interpret what it means.  She promptly told me that if I want to talk to anyone at Geek Squad I would need to shell out 49 bucks.  When I protested, she suggested that I stop by the Geek Squad counter at Best Buy.

    I did just that and I was told by Best Buy/ Geek Squad staff that EVERYTHING they sell comes with a manufacturers warranty.  I asked for some kind of proof and he called up my machine on their retail website and pointed to the "1 year warranty" line saying that this always means manufacturers warranty (and I believe him, since it says the same thing for all their devices, including stuff that Geek Squad wouldn't know how to fix).

    Now I see the policy you refer to in this blog post, but I have to say it's a bit vague.  It says that you are supposed to take your computer to Geek Squad in order to get it fixed, but it doesn't say whether the actual service is provided by Dell.  My Sony laptop was bought at Best Buy and when the hard drive died I took it to Geek Squad and they sent it to Sony for me. 

    If you look at the above citation from my Service Tag warranty it just says that Best Buy is responsible for "Next Business Day Parts Delivery," whereas Dell is responsible for phone support (and I assume this would include chat support too). 

    Right now I am not having any problems with the machine (best computer I ever had, actually). In the event something goes wrong, I will insist on Dell support because the warranty that came with my machine says I am entitled to Dell support.  Is there a way to get clarification from someone at Dell about this who is high enough up the ladder to actually look at the documentation I am providing regarding the warranty that Dell is telling me I have with them?

    After visiting the store I attempted to deal with this through email support and, once again, I was told to call Best Buy.  However, the email support guy didn't respond to anything I said, he just reflexively told me to go away when he saw the phrase "Best Buy."

  • Anonymous

    Lionel, thanks for posting my entry on your blog, after I entered it I read your policy about not getting too specific about an actual customer service experience and figured, wrongly, that you would not post it.  I even said that in a post on another blog where your employee Mike was trying to respond to a less complete explanation of my situation.  Mike seems very earnest, but he has not responded to my latest post yet.  The other blog is called The Blade by Ron Shenone

  • Anonymous

    Best Buy and Dell are running a scam. One week after buying my Dell at Best Buy I needed tech support. Dell refused to talk to me since I bought from Best Buy — Best Buy refused to talk to me and told me to talk to Dell.

    WARNING: There is a one year warranty from Dell in the box, but if you bought from Best Buy it is worthless paper.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks to all for this post.  Last week I purchased a Dell i530-113B from Best Buy – instead of Dell – due to the urgent need to get a computer.

    I have been a Dell customer for over 10 years – all direct.  I purchased computers from HP, Toshiba, and Gateway previously.  

    Optiplex GX270, Latitude 620D,  Dell 8200 and now the i530.

    There were 3 reasons I moved to Dell: a) they will let you do the warranty work on your computer or let you add parts without voiding the warranty b) tech support is excellent   c) they provided the operating system disks.

    Now, with my purchase all of these positive factors appear to have been negated.  The unit did not come with operating disks and I also had an experience when calling Dell to discuss upgrading the i530 with a video card, they wouldn't even talk to me to make a sale!  

    This is very disappointing that their marketing team regarding channel management seems to have missed something – it says Dell on all the warranties but they won't support it.  It is their name on the computer, but they don't appear to support it.  They should just have done a private label deal with Best Buy based on what I am reading and my experience of one week.

    I think I'll be making a quick visit to Best Buy for a bit of preventative discussion. 

  • Anonymous

    It is a scam, we bought a Dell 530 vista 64 at Best Buy 2 weeks ago and because of a driver problem we need to set it back to factory condition. The operating system is on a seperate partition and the usual ways of restoring it do not work now. I called Dell and they told me I had to call the Geek squad to get the information on how to restore the system. I called Geek squad and they will not tell me how to do it without paying them 169 dollar. Dell provides no manuals with these computers with this information. Didn't I purchase a license for a single copy of this operating system? How can Dell refuse to allow me access to it without paying Geek Squad an addition 169 dollars? If this is not illegal it sure has made me very sour on buying anything from Dell or Best Buy again.

  • Anonymous

    Follow up on my previous message.

    I got a call from Dell's Global Escalation Management Team who agreed to send me system disks so I could reinstall the operating system. I am gratefull for their quick response and a resolution but I should have been offered this when I talked to Dell on the first phone call  and not directed to Best Buys Geek Squad who would do nothing for me without paying them $169.

     Dell, Please make this option to obtain the system DVD easy for your customers, I should not have to send an email to a Dell VP to get action. And Best Buy, make it known BEFORE THE SALE, that if a Dell computer is bought from your store, the purchaser will not recieve support from Dell beyond how to hook up the mouse or keyboard.  Your price does not look so good when the truth is brought to light.


  • Anonymous

    Computers are best purchased by the manufacturer to avoid the run around. Myself have been in that position and lost on investments at Bestbuy.

    Laptop Toshiba that I purchased was unable to use outlook express due to a 24 digit reg. key that is needed to start the program up, mentioned this to bestbuy and they claimed they NEVER heard of it.
    Meanwhile, most programs have registration key #'s that you have to insert to register a program to work for you.

    The corruption is thick and if you google them you will see. So after losing money on a laptop that was set to terminate on a specific date 6 months later after I bypass the 6 month free credit card scam ( in dispute with them) suddenly my hardrive died and my comp was hacked and had an awful virus.

    The Toshiba recovery disc that came with the comp was not able to read but the CD that came with my Dell was able to read on the Toshiba comp hmm why is that?
    I have to replace the entire hard drive for my Toshiba from Best Buy to work. Much scamming hidden costs and fine print jargon. Refurbished comps also.

    Watch out for interest free they claim never to receive last payment so they can charge you late fees and demand full balance or…… you will have to pay deferred interest plus what you owe.

    So I ordered from Dell. Got a WINDOWS VISTA CD and recovery for my comp as well as cd's aof all the programs installed. My comp was built from scratch for my particular needs.

    Never buy comps from BestBuy and from what my IT friends say never get a comp fixed there.

    We trust people not to scam us and we trust not to buy lemons and be stuck in lemon pits but businesses run on customer issues and problems so why make life easy for you when it is all about profit. You can google confessions of best buy employees and other secrets online.


    I know I got beat out of 2 comps from them.

    Cut up the card closed the account and walked away.

  • Anonymous

    I bought a nice Dell XPS 1330 a couple of days ago.  It worked fine except that the wireless was intermittent.  I called Dell and since I bought at Best Buy they said sorry no service from us. (supervisor backed this up) I was not told about this at time of purchase. The info in the box says that Dell has a warranty on it.

    Best Buy said they don't support wireless problems even if it has never worked right.  I could pay for support at an hourly rate.

    The machine is going back! I hope there will be no restocking fee but if there is I will pay then contest on my credit card as a fraudulent sale.

    I was shocked by this practice.  I buy Dells in large numbers at work.  Never again.  From now on I guess I only have HP as a reasonable option.

  • uh60james

    Apparently this issue has been fixed as of May 11th.  Supposedly we will be able to choose between Dell and Geek Squad when we require support.  A requirement is registering your system on Dells website at .  Here is a link to the article can a Dell employee confirm this?

  • uh60james

    I found the answer myself and this is great news, here is a link to the blog.