Can Dell warranty service repossess a laptop?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by nagromme, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    My friend made just one payment on her new Dell and then lost her job. 6 months later, the debt has gone to collections—and the laptop has died*.

    It’s within the 1-year warranty, but she’s afraid to call Dell for service: she thinks they may tell her to send the laptop back for service... and then repossess it instead of fixing it.

    Any thoughts? Is there a chance they will repossess the laptop if she calls for warranty service? I would hope the warranty would be honored, but I just don’t know.

    (* Windows Update crashed in the middle of an automatic update, leaving the system unable to function outside of Safe Mode. In addition, the DVD drive is physically dead, so she can’t re-install Windows. As for paying the debt... even if she finds a job in this economy, the amount she owes Dell is now double what the machine cost, and she has other more important expenses such as her mother’s health care. So I don’t see the debt being paid while the machine’s still in warranty.)
  2. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    Did she finance it through Dell? Then you never know, they might.

    Did she finance it with a credit card? Dell has absolutely no idea that she's defaulted on it.
  3. nagromme thread starter macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Good question! Some relevant details:

    * It’s financed through Dell.

    * She’s not in bankruptcy or anything like that. Just a lot of collections agencies after her. (A shame: not long ago she had perfect credit, and has never gone in to debt for anything non-essential.)

    My hope is that Dell might legally have to honor the warranty unless they’re willing to forgive the debt. Wishful thinking? Failing that, I’d hope they would simply TELL her she can’t get service.

    The real risk I’m investigating is whether they can/might SAY they will offer service and then repossess it instead. (Either through intentional deceit, or because the credit department and warranty department don’t communicate well enough.) Better to have a computer in Safe Mode than none at all: she needs to be able to apply online for jobs.
  4. rpaloalto macrumors 6502a


    Sep 19, 2005
    Palo Alto CA.
    No, they can't, and they wont.
    The laptop, is her laptop. The money owed is a entirely separate matter.
    It's not like a bank repossessing a car. Most car loans are set up as to the bank being the official owner until you pay off the loan. That is why they can reposes the car.
  5. MacNut macrumors Core


    Jan 4, 2002
    They don't have laptop repo men as far as I know.
  6. nagromme thread starter macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Someone said Dell’s “loans” are really more of a rent-to-own plan where they DO own the computer until you pay it off. But that’s easy to check on—she has the paperwork.

    Maybe the simplest is for her to ask flat out—"do you ever repossess a laptop if I send it in?"

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