On Your Side: Dell Delivery Problems

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When my Dell XPS 730 desktop computer kept crashing, Dell offered to replace the system. The replacement also had problems, so Dell offered to send another. When I realized that the PC would arrive while I was away, I called Dell to delay the delivery, since they'd charge me for a new PC if I didn't send the old one back within five business days. Unfortunately, the computer arrived just before I was to leave for the airport. I told the FedEx driver to take it back, and I called Dell. We arranged for FedEx to hold the PC and deliver it after I returned, but it was sent back to Dell during my vacation. Dell is convinced I still have it. Can you help me?

Mark Miller, New Fairfield, Connecticut

OYS responds: After we contacted Dell about Miller's issue, a company representative got in touch with him directly. Dell has discontinued the XPS 730, so the representative sent Miller an Alienware Area-51, which has a faster CPU and a better video card.

If you need something delivered before or after a certain date, we recommend that you go over the shipping schedule with the vendor and later reconfirm it. Ask the company to notify you as soon as your item has shipped, and to give you a tracking number so that you can follow your package's progress online.

Hotmail Hindrance

G. Ashkan of Rockville, Maryland, contacted us when his Hotmail password stopped working and he was unable to sign in to his Hotmail e-mail account. Because his messages forwarded automatically to his BlackBerry, he could read e-mail and respond to it from there, but he could not access his account or address book from his PC. His attempts to reset his password failed, and the queries he e-mailed to Microsoft's Hotmail tech support went unanswered.

After we contacted Microsoft about Ashkan's problem, a Hotmail support representative called him and helped him reset his password and regain access to his account. We were unable to learn why Ashkan had been locked out of the e-mail account in the first place.

A Microsoft spokesperson advises Hotmail customers to have an alternate e-mail address and an updated secret question and answer on file to ensure that they can easily reset their password if necessary. We recommend also storing a copy of your e-mail address book somewhere outside your e-mail account, such as in a file on your desktop or even as a printout to be stored near your computer.

Acer Notebook Recall

Acer, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, is recalling about 22,000 notebook PCs. An internal microphone wire under the palm rest can short-circuit and overheat, posing a burn hazard. The recalled models are the Acer Aspire AS3410, AS3410T, AS3810T, AS3810TG, AS3810TZ, and AS3810TZG. Not all units are affected. Acer has received three reports of computers short-circuiting, resulting in slight melting of the external casing, but no reports of injuries. Consumers should immediately stop using these laptops and contact Acer to determine whether their unit is included in the recall, and, if so, to receive a free repair. For more information, call Acer toll-free at 866/695-2237 or visit www.acer.com.

Do you have a problem with a hardware or software vendor involving customer service, a warranty, a rebate, or the like? E-mail onyourside@pcworld.com. We can't address every issue, but we will try to handle those of greatest interest.

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