How to Return a Dell Laptop without Paying 15% Restocking Fee?

Last week I bought a Dell XPS 15 (9510), and since using it a few times it's been running quite hot, and the fans kick in making it loud. I've also caught it making sounds while the lid is closed, meaning it's turning on while "asleep". Additionally, the microphone and camera are really bad quality for a ~$3,000 laptop.

Due to this, I'm not happy with the laptop and would like to return it.

I've spoken to Dell support and they did some tests and said all of these things are "as intended", and not a hardware issue. They also said if I return it I may need to pay a 15% restocking fee, which means I'm paying ~$450 for a laptop that I've had for a few days.

I find it's a tricky situation, as I had no idea the fans were this loud or it ran this warm just from doing basic tasks such as browsing the internet. I haven't done any GPU-intensive tasks such as gaming or video editing. Along with testing the microphone/camera, knowing how these features are isn't possible until you've actually used it.

Is there any way I can get this returned without paying this fee?

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  • +4

    may need to pay a 15% restocking fee

    Call Dell to confirm if you do or don't and get an email saying you don't if that's the case

    • +1

      One of the Dell reps called me today to inform me that this fee may be charged. They haven't confirmed whether it will or will not be charged though. They said they'll call me later this week to see how the laptop is going, and whether I'd like to return it

      • then just wait and see i guess?

    • +1

      I'd wager he dependency will be on the condition of the device.
      If it's Mint A+++ and they can sell it as new, no fee. If there is enough blemish that they can't sell it as new and will need to move it onto their refurbished side, then the fees will come in.

      • That makes sense. Cheers

      • It will go to the outlet side either way since the box is opened

  • +10

    Sounds like buyer remorse.

    In hindsight, you should have posted in OzB a "Which laptop should I buy"…

    • +1

      The issue with those kind of threads (and reviews) is that some things aren't as apparent until you've given it a go of your own. Everyone has a different opinion.

      Plus, the XPS 15 range isn't available anywhere in-person to try - they can only be purchased online from what I can find.

      • +3

        Not sure why you went with the XPS 15 given there is no in store demo. A bit of a risk for a $3k asking price. But all high performance laptops with a slim form factor would have the above issues. It cant cool itself down quick enough without cranking up the fans.

  • +5

    All the things listed wouldn't really class as a functional failure unfortunately unless it was leading to BSOD's.
    Methinks the OP has buyers remorse and is looking for a way out of it.
    All gaming laptops are loud, all laptops have average cameras.
    Reviews would've also picked this up.

    Unfortunately you're at the hands of the dell gods.

    • +1

      I'd agree with the buyers remorse if I had a chance to try one out before spending $3k. I couldn't test a microphone or know how loud it gets when doing normal tasks without using one myself.

      All gaming laptops are loud

      This isn't a gaming laptop - it's Dell's premium range. I'm using it in a shared workspace and have had comments on the fan noise already.

      • +3

        Ooof that's a lot of money to spend on what is essentially a nicer finished $1200 laptop.

        Maybe change the plan to high power saving?
        Also maybe give the bios an update.

        My personal preference (yes i'm biased as i have one) is the lenovo carbon x1.
        light, long battery life and the best keyboard i've ever used.

        • +1

          Yeah it's a lot of money which is why I was disappointed in its use so far. I might play around with the power settings, but it seems a shame to throttle it to be honest.

      • +3

        You knew you wouldn't be able to try it out though. You took a gamble and you lost. You don't get to wish you didn't. Maybe you should have picked a laptop you could try in a shop.

        • +2

          It's analogous to buying a Mustang and say the car is too loud and then drives below 3000rpm to keep the noise down…

          • @SF3: @SF3

            Except that the whole reason for buying a Mustang is to make a racket.

  • +3

    Go to bios - change your power mangement to low energy usage -

    next time i'm seeing a laptop in shop first before buying,

    • next time i'm seeing a laptop in shop first before buying

      Unfortunately they don't stock this range in the stores, so that's not possible

      • +2

        Unfortunately they don't stock this range in the stores, so that's not possible

        So you buy something that you can try in stores, if you have specific requirements

  • The Dell staff on here thank you for letting them know to charge you 15% restocking fee.

    • +3

      This little non-Dell staff is watching carefully, to decide whether or not to ever buy Dell. It works both ways.

      • I bought an XPS 15 9550 a few years ago - will never buy Dell again. This laptop was their flagship model. It was so bad they wouldn't even sell me extended warranty within first 12 months. And plenty of incorrect info and runarounds when trying to get spare parts. The whole company is a shemozzle.

        • Yeah it's a shame when a company doesn't stand behind their products with a great return policy. The fact that I have no way to test it in-person, and have to pay 15% to return is bonkers. Watching all the YouTube reviews in the world can't prep you for how you will use the laptop yourself.

          EDIT: What laptop do you use now?

  • -2

    If a notebook has problems you shouldn't be charged a restocking fee for returning it. Keep harping about the problems and they will probably waive it.

    I think they also have a 14 day change of mind policy, but its been a while since i bought a dell notebook.

    • Keep harping about the problems and they will probably waive it.

      Yeah I'm thinking this might be my only option.

      I think they also have a 14 day change of mind policy

      The change of mind policy is the one I was told I'd be returning it under, and is why I'd need to pay the 15% restocking fee.

      • well, there's the difference … if it is as loud as you make it out to be, there's likely a wire touching the fan causing excessive noise … this could be considered a fault (similar if it's a bearing issue)

        unless they're claiming that the laptop is built to be that loud, which is quite strange …

        tone down the power management settings, fi this fixes it, then you just run it on low fan speed / noise and it should suit your needs

        • If you need to mitigate noise on a notebook by reducing its potential power then that is a big problem.

          Noise and overheating can definitely be considered a fault.

        • +1

          No loose wire required. They put tiny fans in them to save space. To do the same cooling, tiny fans need to spin real fast. Fans spinning fans generate lots of whiny noise.

      • Did you use credit card? Stop dealing with Dell and tell your credit card issuer what the problem is, how they are not helping you and not honouring their 14-day change of mind policy, and request your money back. The credit card issuer will give you back the money and ask Dell to make a case for themselves.

        • That's actually a good idea, but unfortunately I paid on debit card (I don't own a credit card)

  • I'd be surprised if you can't control the fan noise in settings. With mine (not dell) when the graphics card kicks in, so do fans. But you can set when the graphics card is used, so for me it only comes on when playing a game.

    • I'd understand if the fans were full-blast while gaming or video editing. However, I've not done any of these things - just browsed the internet and a little web development.

      I had a quick look and can't see a setting to restrict GPU use

  • I got the new 14" MBP m1 pro - thinking about returning it cause arm restricts VMs etc but I can't find a windows laptop that offers the same performance while being as cool, quiet and long battery. Was thinking about getting an XPS 9510 but I feared exactly what OP has found - hot, noisy etc

    I have a new top of the line dell latitude for work and it's good but the fan runs all the time and the camera/microphone/speakers are good but not even close to the MBP.

    • I'm considering a MBP 14" if I can return this laptop. Though I've not used Mac so it's a big step for me.

      Maybe the new M1 chip has set a new standard that Intel is not able to beat (yet), so I doubt you'll find something as quiet & cool as the MBP with comparable power.

      • If you are deep into windows and x86 and the windows way of doing things you could HATE mac os. I only use mine for personal stuff (banking, email, www, music creation etc) so I don't mind how it works. I have a new windows desktop for games or heavy video stuff.

        • yeah it definitely is a risk, though I guess I thought this XPS purchase would be risk-free (or less, anyway).

  • Look at it this way. If you have bought it second hand, you would have purchased it for $450 less, but you cannot return. Return it and count your losses. Next time, go to a retailer and look and try in person before purchase. Cheers

    • I understand your point, but there aren't any retailers that sell the XPS 15 range, so that's not possible.

      • Why did you pick a Dell? They are overpriced and junk? You can pick a cheap junk Acer Nitro for $1250 that has a tenth gen intel and an RTX3060. That way if it is a little loud and some features are not the best, you wont be cursing spending $1.2K on it. If it lasts until warranty is up then its a bonus. Then get another updated junk which will be less than the aggregate sum you have paid for the XPS

        • I had a XPS 13 for about 4-5 years which treated me well and was hoping this would be the same.

          As a sidenote, comments like this is why I don't do "What laptop should I buy" threads - everyone has a different opinion which makes it hard to choose.

          Nothing against your comment directly - you may very well be correct.

          • @dubfonik: Yes I believe so I am correct. Owning and repairing many laptops over the years; Dell, Alienware etc. I just wait for a year then I buy them second hand for 50 - 60% off its price then hope for the best. If it dies, i start the cycle again. Some have lasted many years, where many have died. The biggest killer is heat. BGA solder CPU/GPU is the culprit. Now they are prevalent on most laptops where predecessors had a ZIF socket for the CPU.

            • +1

              @vinni9284: Yeah and I imagine as the trend for thinner laptops with more power increases the heat damage will increase. That said, I've heard lots of good things about the M1 chip. I've not owned a Mac before but am considering it…

  • just focus on the noise thing … if people next to you are complaining about the laptop noise, it's gotta be pretty bad …

    i've got a work latitude 3420 and i've never heard it whir

    • Yeah and it was on a ~23 degree day. I can't imagine how it'll be in the thick of summer

      • Out of interest what programs do you run?

        Our Surface pro laptops at work only kick the fans in when you run something that requires graphics, videos, google earth, cad etc. Due to the compact nature of the design unfortunately poor thermals are a by-product.

        • As I've only just got it, it has really minimal programs installed so far:
          Brave browser, Visual Studio Code, Dropbox, Adobe XD.

          So nothing that would stress the GPU. I'm not even using XD to build - only to reference a design, so that would just use RAM if anything.

          When I spoke to the Dell support and asked about battery life, he said that I should expect about 1hr on battery. I think this is bonkers… but how can you argue if it's "by design"

          • @dubfonik: Oof a $3k ultrabook that gives 1hr on battery.
            How to Dell sell these things!?

            • @Drakesy: When he said this I was wondering whether they are required to underpromise that much so that they can't say it's a fault of theirs if I get poor time on battery.

          • +1

            @dubfonik: I recently had a similar issue (new non-XPS), with a 8-9 hour battery, lasting under 2 hours doing F all.

            Dell agent had me run various tests, which all passed, tried to fob me off saying its working as intended due to certain specs on the device.

            No one from Dell would give me clear benchmarks on this laptop, so I did some research and found my own; the worst case scenario on a laptop almost twice as powerful running audio video lasted almost 8 hours.

            Went back to Dell and showed them the benchmarks, told them it's a major fault, and not fit for purpose.

            After making me run more tests, they finally agreed it is a fault, and wanted to send a tech out for repairs.

            I rejected it, as it's new, and a major fault; it's either replace or refund according to ACCC. They finally grudgingly agreed.

            I've work with and for Dell (tech) for a long time, and this dishonesty pisses me off no end.

            So I've pulled up some benchmarks for you, I don't know your exact specs, but shouldn't be too far from this unit.


            Scroll down to or search for Battery Life.

            Roughly 6 hours battery life, give or take a little.

            Screenshot that, send it off to the Dell agent, tell them it's a major fault and not fit for purpose.

            Get it escalated, throw in ACCC if you have to.



            Scroll down to Battery Life. This might be a clearer benchmark.

            • @KSMLJ: Thanks for that info - those benchmarks might be a good starting point. The Toms Hardware review refers to an OLED version, while I purposely got the FHD (lower resolution, non-touch) display for the purpose of saving battery life at the expense of a nicer display. I might do some tests on battery to see how it goes compared to that review.

              • @dubfonik: Then the battery life should be even longer!

                This process takes a bit of work, but it's probably the best way.

                Also, go into BIOS and and just run the battery down from it.

                Time it, and take photos of start and end.

                This way, they can't give their cockamamie excuses like the software or some other bs is draining your battery.

    • My old latitude 7410 fans go on all the time. My newer 9420 does a bit too… and that's in aircon.

      • I have a 7480 that started doing this after a while with 1-2 things on (video/music and web browser)…drove me crazy.

        But a lot quieter after I changed the thermal paste. It was dry like cement.

  • Is this new the 15% restocking fee?

    I used to return dell laptops all the times and cannot recall there was ever a fee?

    • I am not sure - I've only owned one Dell product before (which wasn't without its issues, too). I've not had to return one.

  • Does it make a difference if you change the thermal management setting to "Quiet" in Dell Power Manager?

  • Which CPU did you get for your XPS 15 9510? My company just issued me with a new XPS 15 9510 and it has the i7-11800H chip. It is miles better than the 9500 (i7-10750H) in terms of thermal performance. It still idles around 40C and goes to around high 50C with light workloads. During conference calls it runs around 50-60C but I had Nvidia Broadcast running. Sure with heavy workloads, it goes to around 70-80C which is to be expected for a laptop class device with small heatsinks. Point is it is quite normal for thin and light devices to warm up. I had mine working in clamshell mode (while connected to TB3.0 dock). There are no overheating issues. The laptop is seated upright on a laptop stand. The 9510 has a pretty big exhaust beneath the hinge to support this.

    For fan noise, did you set it in the normal profile? If you set it in Cool mode, the fan will ramp up considerably but not too annoying.

  • I didn't know you have to pay restocking fees. You can always return Apple laptops without any fees within 14 days.

    Actually that is the case with almost everything you can buy in JB-HiFi as well.

    • Maybe there's a reason this range isn't found in retails shops like JB, then…

  • tell em you want to research other laptops like alienware first and will be buying one with the refund soon.

    • Ewww.. you can think about it, but I would never touch AW.

      • I’m not saying get one, just tell them that so they think your still spending all your money with them

  • Hey what's the update. Did you manage to return

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