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Dell chops UK PC warranties

Rest of Dell world expected to follow

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Dell has quietly chopped two years off its PC warranties in the UK.

Until last week, Dell customers got a three-year warranty - comprising one year on-site and two years collect and return - as standard when they bought a Dell consumer desktop.

But this has been reduced to a one-year collect and return warranty for UK and Ireland shoppers.

The changes were made to keep Dell in line with rivals such as Tiny Computers and Gateway, according to the company's consumer brand manager in the UK Steve Duignan. Tiny offers a one-year return and collect policy, while Gateway has a one-year on-site warranty.

"The consumers that we were selling to didn't appreciate the second and third years," said Duignan.

"We've been looking at what people do and don't value."

In exchange for the reduced warranty, Dell claims to have chopped its prices - its consumer Dimension 4100 PCs, with 1GHz, 128Mb, 20GB hard drive, 15-inch monitor and Windows ME, cost £639 in June. In July the price was cut to £579. The company is also throwing in a printer on systems bought this week.

But for customers wanting a three-year warranty, there are two options - both more expensive than the previous deal.

A three year collect and return policy from Dell will now set punters back an extra £79, while the three year next business day on site warranty costs £99.

Take into account the system's July price cut (£60), and customers wanting the basic three year warranty for a Dimension 4100 will pay £19 more - and the offer includes no on-site service, unlike the warranty package before July.

"We're not out to make the systems more expensive," said Duignan. "We are offering better value than we were in June."

Countries outside the UK still offer the three-year warranty, but Dell said it was reviewing the situation. "I would think they will start to roll out the one-year warranties, but they will have to make the decision in local countries," said Duignan. ®

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